Reflections on Democracy

Reflections on Democracy

As 2022 comes to a close, we’ve been asking GC partners – teachers, staff, supporters, and more – to reflect on the theme “Together in Democracy.”

We’ve been moved and inspired by their submissions – here’s a few that stood out to us. We’ll be sharing more through the end of the year, so be sure you’re signed up to receive GC emails to see them all. 


Jane Lo, GC Board of Directors:
“Together in Democracy to me means people from all walks of life, with different points of views, working together to create a better future–even if they disagree on what better means. It’s the willingness to engage with others and wrestle with hard questions that gives democracy its power.” 

Shannan O’Neil, GC Teacher in New York:
“I’m a teacher at Fordham Leadership Academy in the Bronx. Having students involved in a curriculum that is hands-on and student centered like Generation Citizen’s, not only gets them to learn about how civics and participation in government works, but it will help them improve their lives and their neighbors lives. The whole city will begin to look and feel like a place they belong in and they have control over, versus the people at the top who make decisions without their say. I think that a lot of my students are not actively thinking about how they can make a change because they think it doesn’t matter. But when they see that grassroots movements matter, they will be more involved. I think GC and this curriculum is the best way to do that.” 

Bradley Hull, GC New England Executive Director:
“As I reflect on the meaning of ‘Together in Democracy,’ I marvel at the amazing feat we have accomplished and on which we are continuously working to perfect, that is, e pluribus unum. Together in Democracy reminds us that though we are millions of intersecting and yet autonomous identities, we come together as one to celebrate those identities and to build a land where all can thrive in equality, justice, and liberty.”

Bonnie Boswell, award-winning broadcast journalist, filmmaker, and speaker:
“I am always inspired by Langston Hughes who said: ‘America, never was America to me, and yet I swear this oath, America will be!’

“I love this quote because it is a vow to create the ideal that “America” represents based on respect for the dignity of every human being.  

“I love Hughes’ passion and clarity because it acknowledges that America, from the beginning, has not yet lived up fully to this promise— starting with the killing of the First People—the enslavement of Africans, the disenfranchisement of poor white people and the treatment of women and children. 

“We’re still living with the impact of those actions because, as a country we have not educated people about this history or provided a process for reconciliation. This we must do if we are to live up to the ideals articulated in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.  What Langston Hughes is doing in this statement, as a Black man who lived during segregation, is saying, ‘I will use my life, America’s imperfections, to make the dream of what America represents become a reality.’

“That’s my personal vow too!”