Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship
The Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship will deepen the national dialogue around democracy, citizenship, and community, by exploring civic engagement and political participation in the United States today and will set out a plan of action for promoting the values and behaviors that define effective citizenship in a diverse 21st century democracy.
The political culture of the United States and the makeup of its population have both changed dramatically in recent decades. From “fake news” to partisan polarization to the rise of social media, the environment in which citizens gather information and engage with one another and with their government is entirely different from that 25 years ago. The Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship has as its primary aim to enable more Americans to obtain the values, knowledge, and skills needed to participate as effective citizens in a diverse 21st-century democracy. This Commission will examine how both native born and newly arrived Americans engage with democratic institutions and exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens and will highlight factors that encourage or obstruct that engagement. In the process, the Commission will seek to increase citizens’ capacity to engage in their communities, combat rising threats to democratic self-government, and rebuild trust in political institutions.
The Commission will publish several papers on key facets related to the practice of citizenship, solicit the stories and experiences of a range of Americans with the democratic process, and explore how technology is both changing the practice of democratic citizenship and opening up exciting new sources of information for scholars who study civic engagement and political participation. The Commission is committed to engaging a wide range of voices in its research and to understanding both the challenges and opportunities facing American democracy today and in the decades ahead. Central to this work is the constructive connection between civic and political engagement, so that rekindled citizen activism across the political spectrum can be channeled into useful and sustained participation in local, state, and federal political institutions. The Commission’s report and recommendations will call attention to promising local initiatives around the country and recommend steps that communities, institutions, and individuals can take to promote engaged citizenship.