A Moment to Celebrate

One thing I know to be true: the arc of the moral universe is long, but it only bends toward justice when we do the work. We have much more work to do to redesign our nation and realize the promise of equity, but we want to take a moment to celebrate the work that has gotten us to this historic moment.

We have had big wins, and deep disappointments, but through it all, we have been able to count on the relentless dedication of grassroots organizers across our nation who show up day after day to make our nation a better place. I have never been more sure of the power of our people than I am in this moment. Even in our disappointments, I see hope. I know every hard lost fight has laid the groundwork for a future win.

There are so many things making me hopeful right now and I want to lift up just a few:

  • Despite the forces of voter suppression working against us, Americans turned out in record numbers to participate in the democratic process, and the vast majority of these voters - over 75 million, more than any presidential election in history - made it clear they want a new administration to take this country in another direction.
  • Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris made history many times over as the first woman, Black person, and person of Indian heritage elected to the position, making the White House look more like the nation even as our fight for equity continues.
  • Unprecedented voter engagement in places like Georgia, led by many incredible coalitions and organizations including ProGeorgia and The New Georgia Project, flipped conservative strongholds.
  • In California, Proposition 17 won in a landslide victory and restored the right to vote for 50,000 Californians on state parole. Support for Proposition 15, despite being outspent by $20 million, a pandemic, and an economic crisis, was supported by a wide swath of Californians, providing a framework and base of power for future work and reform.
  • Florida voters passed a $15 minimum wage, increasing wages for 2.5 million Floridians.
  • Arizona voted to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund public schools.
  • Colorado became the ninth state to enact paid family and medical leave.
  • And “The Squad” is expanding with the election of some new progressive voices to Congress.

The majority of our country is signaling that we must govern in a different way. These wins are a call for progressive governing and we must embrace that. We are calling on our new administration to affirm water as a human righthousing as a basic needjobs as a guarantee, and a new vision for justice that addresses the harmful impacts of the 1994 Crime Bill.

While the conversation this week has focused on whether the demands and messages of movement leaders pushed for too much, we know the country has only changed when it was pushed into doing so. We will resist the call to prioritize comfort over change, a call that only accelerates the decaying of our democracy and economy. We will not shy away from our people, the more than 100 million facing persistent financial insecurity. We will not allow the work of equity to be held hostage, or our people to be bargaining chips in lopsided compromises that maintain the status quo. To win on equity, we will wield the tools that consistently catalyze our power — radical imagination and the courage to act — to build an equitable nation.

In the months to come, you’ll continue to hear from PolicyLink about the critical work of our generation, to reshape our democracy and economy to be just and fair, which requires redesigning our institutions to serve a multiracial democracy. Stay strong and encouraged — we are winning on equity!

In solidarity,

Michael McAfee
President and CEO