WE NEED RENEWAL
We need collective renewal, accountability, healing, and a moral vision for the America we could become. Sound government is necessary but not sufficient to heal and transition America into a society where we are all safe and free. That work belongs to us, we the people. Only we can bring our communities together, tend to our wounds, and begin the labor of reckoning, reimagining and remaking our nation block-by-block, heart-to-heart. The 2021 Inauguration is an opportunity to reframe the new era as one of transition. Each of us has a role in creating an America where all of us are safe and free, and we will only succeed if we lead with the ethic of love.
THE PEOPLE’S INAUGURATION
On January 20, 2021, we will celebrate the work of democracy as we watch a new President and historic Vice President make an oath of office. The next day, we will join them in making a commitment to our deepest values. We will hold a “People’s Inauguration.” We will come together to recommit to the project of building a nation with liberty and justice for all. Imagine live and virtual events, teach-ins, artist uprisings, music concerts, vigils, around-the-table family ceremonies, and intimate rituals – an open and distributed experience with infinite manifestations. Some events will focus on grief and healing, others on truth and reckoning, still others on joy and rising. All of them will have one thing in common: an oath that recommits us to each other:
“I, (insert name),
do solemnly vow
that I will faithfully execute my role
in healing, reimagining, and rebuilding our country,
and will to the best of my ability,
preserve, protect, and defend
dignity, justice, and joy*
for myself and for all around me,
and that I will do so with love.”
* You can fill in other core values that mean something to you: truth, liberty, wonder, regeneration
We are inviting you to take this People’s Oath and to add words of you own. We invite you to post your commitments and visions of America, in all their diversity, with the hashtag #PeoplesInauguration #RebuildingtheUnion #RevolutionaryLove.
After that, we invite you on a journey to help you fulfill your commitment called “The People’s Inauguration: 10 Days to Activate Revolutionary Love” led by Valarie Kaur and thought leaders. The teaching series will give participants tools to fulfill their oaths through the teachings and practices of revolutionary love. It will be followed by a twelve-month journey that gives participants a formal learning space, builds community, and deepens their impact.
We invite participants to reclaim our core values as a nation in their events, and in their Oaths. The foundation of all of these is the commitment to love — to let others into our hearts and into our circle of care, and leave no one behind.
- Justice: To follow the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and all harmed on the basis of race, religion, status, ability, gender, orientation, ability, or class. To reimagine institutions that serve us all.
- Truth: To restore truth-telling, the integrity of journalism, and trust in science.
- Liberation: To assure that all people are free to pursue a flourishing life.
- Wonder: To return with humility to a sense of wonder for one another and the earth.
- Regeneration: To create ways to renew resources and sustain life for generations.
- Dignity: To affirm the humanity of every person and create institutions that do so.
- Joy: To embrace joy as our birthright and create spaces to rise up, sing, dance, and otherwise celebrate the gift of being alive.
PILLARS OF AGREEMENTS
There are three pillars that support the concept of the People’s Inauguration. All participants are encouraged to reflect on these three pillars and bring them into the spirit of their events.
#1 WE ARE IN TRANSITION
We are in an era of transition. The forces that gained power in our nation in the last four years – white supremacy, nativism, patriarchy, and tyranny – are a symptom of a society in transition. Within the next twenty-five years, people of color will outnumber white people on U.S. soil for the first time since colonization, and we are at a crossroads: Will we birth an America that has never been, a nation made up of other nations – a multiracial, multifaith, and multicultural society where we affirm the dignity of every person? Or will we continue to devolve into a kind of civil war, darker and more violent than today? With the climate crisis, the stakes are existential. If we do not marshal the vision, skill and solidarity to solve our most complex problems together within the next twenty-five years, starting now, there might not be a future at all. We who are alive right now will decide whether humanity itself survives. This is our life’s work. We will not be part of the end of the transition. We will be remembered as the ones who took America, and humanity, across the threshold — if we show up to the labor.
#2 EACH OF US HAS A ROLE
Each of us has a role to play in this era of transition. Most of the institutions we inherited from the 20th century do not serve us — they still enforce hierarchies of human value. “Institutions” are not only broad systems like policing and criminal justice but also the small institutions that we move in everyday – our schools, workplaces, industries, houses of worship, spiritual centers, organizations, homes, and families. Some need to be reformed, others dismantled, and others reimagined entirely. Every institution in this country needs us to transition it into a container for beloved community – anti-racist, equitable, and sustainable. Each of us has a sphere of influence. Each of us has something to offer to the communities to which we belong – our voice, time, talent, art, innovation, platform, resources, and more. We can start creating the world “as it ought to be” from where we are, even as we push our elected leaders to enact the structural reforms and policies we need.
#3 LET’S DO IT WITH LOVE
We will only succeed if we choose to show up with love. Spiritual teachers and social reformers throughout history call us to love without limit and stand with those bearing the brunt of injustice. In America, this means we are called to center Black lives, honor Indigenous people’s memory and wisdom, follow the lead of women of color who leave no one behind, and invite white people to be not allies but accomplices who conspire with us to break chains of oppression. Love calls us to be brave with our grief, for grieving together is how we gain the information to fight for one another. Love calls us to harness our rage, for the aim of divine rage is not vengeance but to reorder the world. And love calls us to insist on the humanity of our opponents. This means allowing some of us to do the labor of listening to our opponents and holding up a vision of a future that has a place for all of us. Revolutions don’t only happen in big grand public moments, but in the spaces where a critical mass of people are coming together to inhabit a new way of being. Imagine seeding pockets of people across the nation who make love a conscious practice — where people are grieving, raging, listening, and reimagining together. We can begin to birth the beloved community where we are, even while we are transitioning the nation as a whole.
We invite educators, faith and spiritual leaders, artists, musicians, activists, parents, and students — in short, everyone — to participate with us! Outreach messages:
- Educators: Deliver teach-ins, lesson plans, and activities on democracy, anti-racism, and/or revolutionary love that invite students to create an Oath.
- Faith & Spiritual Leaders: Create sermons, rituals, meditations, and teaching series that incorporate the Oath into spiritual traditions or wisdom practices.
- Artists: Produce visual art, videos, memes and artist uprisings that bring the Oath to life.
- Musicians: Give a musical concert, live or in person, that culminates in a collective Oath.
- Activists: Gather in an organizing circle and use the Oath to anchor activism in love.
- Parents: Hold around-the-table family ceremonies inviting each person in the family, young and old, to make the Oath. Talk about how you will support each other to keep it.
- Students: Create your own expressions of the Oath online, on campus, and at home.
Anyone can create their own swearing-in using three elements:
- Oath: A recitation or expression of the People’s Inauguration Oath, modeled after the presidential oath.
- Witness: One or more people who can help you fulfill it.
- Seal: A tangible object, creation, or photo to keep as a reminder.
AUTHOR & VISION
This is a woman-of-color-led vision. Sikh American activist Valarie Kaur created the concept and has brought together a council of thought leaders to advise, co-design, and amplify the campaign. We envision creating a massive, collective moment together for people from all walks of life to recommit to each other and the project of building a multiracial, multicultural nation. Our intention is to do this at the scale of a historical mass action and to have the People’s Inauguration enter the zeitgeist of the nation at this critical juncture.
For any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.