There is celebration and pain in the legacy of Juneteenth. There is pride and resentment in marking the Fourth of July. There is opportunity and challenge in maintaining relationships with family members who hold opposing values. And there undoubtedly will be triumph and anger following this November’s election.

Society is anything but simple — how do you make sense of complexity and find your way forward? Being American means being willing to reckon and to take responsibility for finding unity among differences. This spirit is part of our nation’s DNA: we have a legacy of healthy argument, of finding strength in diversity, and of committing to E pluribus unum in times of division. It’s time for the next chapter of this legacy.

We must find a way to hold together amidst our differences. It is not easy. Sometimes disengaging from complexity is necessary for our mental health and sense of safety. But when we practice the civic skill of reckoning, we become a thread that is weaving a little more strength into our social fabric that seems to be fraying around us. Generations of civic leaders — and ecosystems of civic efforts — have laid the groundwork, and it’s time for each of us to renew our commitment to the promise of pluralism that our democracy offers.

Reckoning and Repairing

This is the fifth step to Spark Citizenship — a year-long project to equip more Americans (just like you!) as sparks of civic activity. Every month, you’ll dig into a timely theme and receive practical resources, inspiring examples, and grounded encouragement to not only embrace this civic mindset in yourself but also spark it in others. It’s an activating, community-building, and hope-filled antidote to the polarizing pull of the 2024 election.

Looking for more? Start with joining and inviting → 

Your task this month — 

Practice embracing complexity, instead of shying away from it. Practice knowing that two things can be true at once, instead of flattening ideas and people into just one-dimension. And practice taking responsibility for repairing harm and holding your community together, instead of checking out. Invite others into this practice and create a culture where reckoning and responsibility is the norm.

Resource library — 

Over the month, we’ll be adding new ideas, tips, conversation prompts, inspiring stories, and other content to help you practice the civic skill of developing and practicing this civic skill.

Start by reading…

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