Racial Equity

Can the Promise of America Be Renewed?

July 7, 2021  • Aspen Ideas to Go

The American Promise—that all men and women are inherently equal—is not being fulfilled because racism continues to corrode our society. Author and veteran Theodore R. Johnson says what’s need is a more multi-racial national solidarity, and the Black American experience has lessons on how to get there. In his book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America, Johnson writes that a blueprint for unity can be found in Black Americans’ exceptional citizenship. Even when the Federal Government broke its end of the social contract by returning Black soldiers to slavery after they fought in the Revolutionary War, for example, Black Americans continued to serve their country. Johnson tells Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, that Black Americans, like other groups that have been oppressed in the nation’s history, have picked up lessons about standing together and fighting back. Liu is also the executive director of the Citizenship and American Identity Program at the Aspen Institute.

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