As this report goes to press, our nation, already challenged by shifting political, economic, and
social forces, is also in the early days of a serious public health and economic crisis. While it is
impossible to predict today how the COVID-19 epidemic will impact the fabric of the United States and the world, the work done by the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship does allow one confident prediction: Americans will respond to the current challenge and its aftereffects with creative acts of generosity and innovative solutions borne of the recognition that we are all in this together. In the pages that follow, you will find this spirit expressed in Americans’ own words.
Never before has the work of the Academy reflected the voices and experiences of such a broad and diverse group of Americans. In 2019, the Commission conducted forty-seven listening sessions in cities and towns around the country and solicited the stories and experiences with the democratic process of hundreds of Americans from different demographic and political backgrounds (for a full list, see Appendix B). Their wisdom and commitment not only inspired the Commission’s final recommendations
but also demonstrate the potential for what the United States can become when all
of its citizens are actively engaged in the civic and political life of their communities and the nation.

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