A Message from New People For the American Way President Ben Jealous:
This is a critical time for our nation. People For the American Way is uniquely equipped to meet this moment.
These challenging times demand more of all of us. For me, that has meant a time of soul-searching and a deep conversation with myself about where I can be most effective. In coming to PFAW, I am returning to my roots as an organizer after a half-decade hiatus from this work. Organizing is a tradition for my family. My 103-year-old grandmother was born into and grew up in the early civil rights movement. She remains active to this day. My parents met as organizers. I was raised in a community of activists that engaged in collective action to defend and advance civil rights, LGBTQ equality, racial justice, gender equality, immigrants’ rights, and opportunity for all.
I am committed to making our PFAW family an even more powerful organizing force. We will build on the tradition that Barbara Jordan, Dolores Huerta, and Norman Lear have created over the years. We will continue to be the most effective multiracial, multigenerational force for change in the country. Together, we will change the course of history.
To do this, we will ask more of everyone in the People For the American Way family. The stakes are high and our goals are not small.
I believe America’s destiny remains as Frederick Douglass defined it more than a century and a half ago: to be the most perfect example of “the unity and dignity of the human family that the world has ever seen.”
People For the American Way’s purpose has always been to accelerate us toward that day. We have the opportunity in this moment to transform public safety and racial justice by passing landmark legislation at every level. And in November, we have the opportunity to fire Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and any politicians who make themselves a barrier to a better future for our nation.
The Trump administration and its allies have inflicted terrible harm. They have not, however, succeeded in killing our values or our aspirations. If anything, their attacks have galvanized us.
There is a wave of young candidates running across the country who have a clear vision for transforming public safety and racial justice in this moment when our nation is crying out like never before for both. Their vision and their candidacies will inspire legions of voters to both turn out and organize for the right of every person to freedom, opportunity, justice, and equality. And People For the American Way will be a critical ally in their victories.
From the beginning, we have stood together against those who would make America smaller than its dreams. The greatest threat to our success this fall is our own despair. Let us – this great, multiracial, multigenerational organization of more than a million activists and organizers – rise up together, claim our victories in advance, and proclaim in the words of the great poet-activist Langston Hughes: America will be!