During the United We Stand Summit at the White House to counter hate-fueled violence, a bipartisan group of former Directors of the White House Domestic Policy Council from the last three presidential administrations announced Dignity.us, a Citizens’ Initiative to Address Hate-Fueled Violence in America. The non-partisan effort addresses a disturbing and accelerating decline in mutual trust in America and an increase in targeted hate and violence. Hate-fueled violence, for which data was first collected in 1990, has reached levels not seen since the aftermath of 9/11 and undercuts the bonds of mutual respect that make self-government possible.
The initiative will act quickly to hear and learn from diverse points of view from around the country – including communities such as Buffalo, N.Y., Charleston, S.C., El Paso, Texas, Nickel Mines, Pa., Orlando, Fla., Pittsburgh, and Uvalde, Texas, that have drawn strength and resilience from the heart of suffering. It will then examine the evidence and develop a set of recommendations sourced from the nation and move with a sense of urgency toward implementation. The effort is also designed to support communities that often work in isolation in the aftermath of violence and can make common cause across communities in a spirit of national unity.
The initiative is co-chaired by John Bridgeland, Cecilia Muñoz, Melody Barnes and Joe Grogan (former Directors of the White House Domestic Policy Council under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump, respectively) and supported by the presidential centers or foundations of Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, William J. Clinton and Gerald R. Ford.
“Too many Americans today are fearful as they participate in everyday life – praying, learning, working, or casting a ballot – and worry about being targeted and even killed for who they are or what they believe,” said co-chairs Bridgeland, Muñoz, Barnes and Grogan in a joint statement announcing the initiative. “Sadly, many Americans look upon each other as enemies in disguise and too many communities are grieving for loved ones lost to hate. We will learn from communities that have experienced hatred and violence, together with others working on this challenge, to boost prevention, response, resilience and renewal.”
The initiative seeks to begin by listening and learning from:
- Communities across 50 states, the territories and tribal lands that have directly experienced hate-fueled violence, and those working to address it — including leaders in schools, workplaces, faith-based institutions, law enforcement, government and among youth;
- Leading researchers and experts who have studied the problem and have evidence of effective solutions;
- Nonprofits, associations and foundations that have worked to address hatred, violence and division and to build bridges across differences; and
- Those who have left groups affiliated with hatred and violence to understand their motivations for joining and why they left.
The effort is supported by a bipartisan group of foundations — David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Democracy Fund, Ford Foundation, Kettering Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Stand Together, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and more than 40 community foundations across the United States.
Dignity.us invites the American people to share testimonials, insights and ideas for how to address targeted violence and division in America at Dignity.us.