December 9, 2022 | Cambridge, MA - Today, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the launch of the Our Common Purpose Communities Project, a national coalition of municipalities committed to strengthening American democracy. Lexington, Kentucky, will be the first city in the nation to join this effort and help lead this grassroots charge.
“Lexington residents are proud of their city and always interested in ways we can improve,” said Mayor Linda Gorton, who announced the partnership at a virtual conference hosted by the American Academy. “This new partnership, hosted by the American Academy, will offer new ways to participate in civic life here in Lexington. More citizen participation will strengthen our city.”
The Communities Project seeks to advance recommendations proposed in a landmark bipartisan report on democratic resilience from the Academy, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century.
“This is a pivotal time for American democracy. We know Americans want democracy and we know they are often frustrated by what they observe at the state and national levels, so it is heartening and important that local leaders are at the forefront of reinvigorating our commitment to democratic practices,” said David Oxtoby, President of the Academy, which was founded in 1780. “We are inspired by the work that has already been accomplished in Lexington and throughout Kentucky. Thank you for becoming the first Our Common Purpose community.”
As part of its Our Common Purpose commitment, Lexington will implement two recommendations from the 31 recommendations set forth in the Academy’s report. The city will design new processes to encourage resident participation in public meetings and hearings. It will also invest in civic education opportunities for residents of all ages.
The report was authored by a diverse commission comprised of leaders in academia, civil society, politics, and business from across the ideological spectrum. In the course of its work, the commission met with citizens and local leaders across the country, including in Lexington, whose residents participated in multiple listening sessions that were integral to the development of the report’s recommendations.
In October, the Academy returned to Lexington, where it held a full day of events to celebrate contributions made by Kentucky residents to the report and to discuss plans for implementing the report’s recommendations with city leaders.
Communications Director | Mayor Linda Gorton, Lexington, KY
Communications Specialist | American Academy of Arts & Sciences