Convening Connects Local Advocates, Regional and National Leaders On Frontlines of Fights for a Democracy that Serves All People

Washington D.C. – A diverse and broad cross section of leaders, advocates and changemakers on the frontlines of the fights to preserve and advance democracy met together in Washington D.C. this week to advance collective strategies to address pressing threats to democracy and to build for a bold, inclusive, and democratic future. 

“Democracy is not a given, we must work to keep it,” said Democracy Forward President and CEO Skye Perryman.  “Attacks on public education, the rise of censorship, far-right religious extremism and Christian Nationalism, and attacks on civil rights threaten our nation’s promise of a democracy that works for all during this time.  These are the top-of-mind, kitchen table issues that directly affect communities and  people’s lives. By bringing together the people doing the hard work on the ground to defend our democracy, those who represent the fabric of our country, we are building the network we need to ensure future generations do not have their freedoms and rights eradicated by extremists.” 

The three-day Together for Democracy convening featured panels and conversations with civil rights leaders such as Maya Wiley of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, policymakers including U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro and Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones, prominent scholars, and other national and local change-makers.

“Our democracy is fundamentally about whether it’s a place for all of us,” Wiley told attendees in her opening remarks to the conference. “Our democracy is about whether we are going to fall prey to fear mongering rather than to pray at the altar of pluralism. We cannot walk alone, and here’s the thing – we don’t walk alone.” 

Panels at the event included not only discussions about ongoing threats, but also conversations about the inspirational work being done in cities and towns across the country to defend democracy, as well as tactics and tools that have proven effective in those fights. Experts shared insights and information with attendees about digital engagement, grassroots coalition building and storytelling, while public servants and other speakers offered attendees inspiration. 

“The more they try to suppress and keep us down, the more we see people rising up,” said Representative Justin Jones, who has faced unconstitutional expulsion from the Tennessee House of Representatives and continued efforts to silence his advocacy for people who need support. “If we were not powerful, if what we were saying didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to shut us down.” 

“This year is a pivotal moment for American democracy, and everyone has a role to play in protecting our country’s future,” said Congressman Castro. “In my state of Texas, we’re facing threats that are sadly familiar across the country – from voter suppression and intimidation to attacks on immigrant communities and LGBTQ+ families. In the face of these challenges, a powerful wave of activists is organizing across the country to protect our democratic freedoms. I commend the leaders and activists who gathered in Washington this week, and I was especially encouraged to see the hope and enthusiasm from our youngest voters. Thank you to Democracy Forward for organizing an important week of coalition-building and community.”

Together for Democracy brought together a diverse range of leaders, advocates, scholars, artists, innovators, and community change-makers from communities across the nation. For more information about Democracy Forward and the Together for Democracy conference, please watch the video below. 

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