An open letter to all who believe in democracy: 

Imagine: our families are safe, we have everything we need, our communities are thriving, we all belong, we honor and respect each other’s humanity, we are all free, and there is enough for everyone. This is not a fairy tale, but a glimpse at the future we can create together. 

At this moment in our country’s history, a powerful few are working to erode our democracy, using the Constitution as both shield and fuel, attempting to mislead us into retreat. We know that the Founding Fathers’ vision for the United States didn’t include all of us when they penned the words “We the People.” But we, the people of our multiracial democracy, have always believed in more. We know that it’s our birthright to advance a more just and fair vision that includes all—even those with a different vision for our future.

We are powerful, grounded in a clear vision, and undeterred by the long and fraught arc of transformation. Contestation of a fully inclusive democracy should not initiate retreat. Instead, we must double down on projecting and protecting our vision. In the United States, democracy has only ever been made real by the people—families, neighbors, and communities—working together for change.

We the People are the true Founders. We always have been, even when deemed invisible under the law. We have the power to realize a nation rooted in racial, economic, and gender equity—deserving of the generations to come. It is ours to build together. 

Over the coming weeks, months, and years, let us not be deterred by efforts to take us backward. The headwinds must be our fuel to create the nation of our dreams. Throughout history, countless people have devoted their lives to making today’s rights and freedoms possible—rights we must exercise to design a nation that works for all. This is our opportunity to honor those who came before us by:

  • Strengthening Our Union: Advancing a vision of a united country while being unafraid and unashamed to abolish all forms of exclusion. 
  • Perfecting Our Democracy: Accepting the enduring invitation to redesign all parts of our democratic system that prevent us from achieving a thriving multiracial democracy. 
  • Renouncing Acts of Exclusion: Acting in solidarity with those working for an equitable nation by withdrawing all forms of support from individuals and institutions working against this vision.

Writer and poet Alexis Pauline Gumbs describes Harriet Tubman by saying, “She believed in her freedom more than she believed in the structures that were incompatible with her freedom. She believed in her freedom, and she acted accordingly. And she invited other folks into that practice of freedom.”

We invite you to join us in our practice of freedom—a space of dreaming—with an understanding of your true power and birthright, to not only dream but to make those dreams a reality.

We the People of today’s United States are the Founders—we won’t cede that to anyone. At this moment, our love for all requires us to step into our power and manifest the unrealized promise of our nation within our lifetime. Hold strong in this storm. Find strength in the whispers of our ancestors: "Victory is ours."

Michael McAfee
President and CEO, PolicyLink