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 is examining 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 seeks to increase citizens’ capacity to engage in their communities, combat rising threats to democratic self-government, and rebuild trust in political institutions.
Central to its work, the Commission conducted nearly 50 listening sessions in early 2019 around the country and solicited the stories and experiences of a range of Americans with the democratic process. In early 2020, the Commission held a convening on the practice of democratic citizenship with participants from nearly all of its listening sessions, Commission members, and other civic leaders to hear from one another and share their work. 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. The Commission has also published a series of papers on key aspects of the practice of citizenship including how technology is both changing democratic engagement and opening exciting new sources of information for the scholars who study it.
The Commission’s report and recommendations, which will be released in June 2020, call attention to promising local initiatives around the country and recommend steps that communities, institutions, and individuals can take to promote engaged citizenship in the 21st century.