I want to talk to you about democracy. A few weeks ago, I heard a recently naturalized citizen—a Syrian refugee, actually—talk about how, when she voted last November, she felt this sense of freedom she had never felt before. She described the power of her first vote and more importantly, the guarantee that no matter who won, she’d be free to cast a ballot again in four years.
When we consider the characteristics that make our democracy so valuable and unique, the freedom to vote is right up there with the three equal branches of government and our favorite freedom here at the City Club—freedom of speech.
There’s something about this moment in our nation’s history that reminds us all that our constitutional democracy depends on our vigilance and participation. As members of this City Club community, we celebrate and exercise freedom of speech; we show up for civil, civic dialogue on the tough, important issues. And we’re grateful for the way each of us participates.
This week, we launch our Spring Giving Campaign. In our 105th year of service to the community, we have a modest goal, that 105 of you will make a contribution to help us finish our fiscal year with a solid foundation for the work ahead. By way of saying thank you and celebrating our love of our democracy, when you make a contribution, we’ll send you a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
If you're a member, we are so grateful for all of your support. You understand the value of what we do and how these conversations we convene really do help democracy thrive and our community stay strong.
If you're not yet a member, we would welcome you. Whether you come to City Club events or catch us on the public radio, public television or YouTube, I know you're aware of the power and importance of what we do, and how meaningful it is to put people like you and your neighbors in direct conversation with the leaders shaping our future. If you become a member today as part of this campaign, you'll get a copy of the constitution along with all the other stuff (ticket vouchers, lapel pin, maybe a book--it's all up to you).
Here's the thing--democracy doesn't thrive without strong institutions. I'm not talking about congress and city councils. Those are important, but they don't thrive on their own. I'm talking about institutions like libraries, independent media, and conveners like your City Club, all of whom doing the work of informing and engaging civic minded people like you.
We're grateful for you, for your participation in democracy and in our communities. And we're grateful for your participation in this campaign.
You can give here. Or, if you'd like to do it over the phone or talk to us about other ways to support our work including planned giving, corporate sponsorships, and community partnerships, please call us at 216-621-0082.