Sadness, anger, resolve. We are living through one of the most trying periods we have faced as a nation.
It is as if the United States is experiencing a combination of the 1918 pandemic and the tumultuous and violent 1968 election year all at once, and all while levels of trust in government are at record lows and with a deeply polarized citizenry.
This confluence of health, economic, political and social crises has laid bare not only the shortcomings of our institutions but the inherent biases and ongoing injustices that Black men, Black women, communities of color, and immigrants suffer daily, with which we have shaped the very fabric of our society.
While none of us can simply wipe away the impact of so many decades of racism and bigotry, we can acknowledge that the activism we are now seeing has been a long time coming, and that this is a time of overwhelming pain and anger for far too many. We can embrace the need to be honest about racism and white privilege and persistent systemic inequity, we can listen carefully, and we can seek pathways forward together.
This moment calls upon us both to reflect and act. To reflect on our founding ideals, never fully realized, of liberty, justice and equality for all. And to act upon the conviction that we can, individually and collectively, improve civic life for every person. We must act to create a nation that leaves nobody behind and that upholds dignity for all.
For all of us – scholars, practitioners, leaders, and our community at large – it is time to stand up and invest in change. We must now leverage our greatest assets in service of our communities and to rebuild our institutions in support of the deep and transformational systemic changes needed to realize this nation’s full potential.
The greatest asset of any democratic society is its people. When we act together, for one another and with one another, we can bring into vision and practice Lincoln’s great ideal of a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
In hope and solidarity,
President, Ford Foundation and
Stanford PACS Advisory Board Member
Marc and Laura Andreessen Faculty Codirector, Stanford PACS
Professor of Political Science, Stanford University