What are you hopeful for in your community?
What is your biggest worry for yourself, your family or your community?
Maybe you’ve been asked these questions in a therapist’s office, by your spiritual advisor or your best friend, but I bet you haven’t been seriously asked by an organization like the ACLU-- and certainly not by the politicians elected to represent you.
Our democracy is built upon the idea that each one of us is deserving of liberty and dignity. The promise of our democracy is that each one of us can contribute, that we must contribute for the good of our entire society. We vote, we protest, we write and call our representatives to tell them what we need, what we want.
Yet it often feels like the day to day function of our democracy actually actively discourages such participation. Often when we do participate, it’s unclear whether our representative heard of us. At the worst of times, it’s painfully clear they didn’t.
Let’s face it: this year has been tough for Ohio’s democracy. We’ve watched as politicians actively suppressed Ohioans’ clear mandate to end gerrymandering. Politicians willfully ignored the nearly 75% of Ohio’s electorate who voted in favor of constitutional amendments in 2015 and 2018 respectively, that would enshrine fair redistricting process into law. Specifically, the majority members of the Redistricting Commission have blatantly dismissed hundreds of Ohioans who have shown up to testify, written or called their legislators.
If you’re like me, you’re sick of being ignored.
Here at the ACLU of Ohio, we’ll never stop fighting, but sometimes it’s time to change tactics. As citizens, we make the rules. Our voice is the voice of the People. So this summer, we’re not playing any games. We’re going back to the heart of true democracy: we’re going back to you.
We will enter a season of deep listening calling on communities across the state to come together, share, listen and reflect. In small groups all over Ohio: in backyards, at county fairs, at Pride parades, we will be listening to you.
We invite you to join us in this process, to speak up, and make your needs, wants and dreams known.
At the end of this process, we will use the findings to help inform our 2023 campaign priorities. Whether that means focusing on local changes to the system, a big statewide legislative change, or an issue that’s new territory for the ACLU, we invite you to lead us.
We hope these conversations not only enlighten us, but build community for you. In listening, we most often find we’re not alone. These conversations will be the beginning of a movement, a connection of like-minded folks who share deeply held values about what we want for ourselves and our communities.
This is about you. It’s your time. It’s your voice. It’s your turn to claim your power and create the community you need.