When I was a young lawyer, I saw firsthand the power of progressive leadership at a critical moment in history. I arrived in South Africa just as democracy was taking hold. As Legal Advisor to the African National Congress (ANC) Parliamentary Women’s Caucus under President Nelson Mandela, I learned how democracy could be realized through bold vision, coupled with principled strategy and collaboration between government and civil society.
While our democracy in the United States is not new, it is under sustained attack, from within. A right-wing national backlash has intensified following our country’s reckoning with racism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Roe v. Wade is on the brink of being overturned by the Supreme Court, new state election laws have stripped away voting rights from nearly 55 million people, and an aggressive effort to undermine our public education system is taking place in communities across the country with battle cries to ban – or even burn – certain books about race and sexuality from schools. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the longstanding racial and gender inequities that are woven into the fabric of our society.
We know that attacks of this kind come when real progress is on the horizon. We are facing a moment of profound peril — but also of profound possibility — with darkness and division on one side, and justice and a truly multicultural democracy on the other.
I passionately believe that with renewed purpose, collective focus, and broad momentum, we can rise to meet this moment. As president of the Democracy Alliance, I know our work in building a strong, bold, and expansive progressive ecosystem — one that leads to electoral victories, transformational policies, and progress for our nation — is more critical now than ever before. It requires, however, that the entire progressive ecosystem remains united to provide the resources to make this possible.
I could not be more excited to lead this organization, and work with our partners across the country, to protect and expand our democracy so that it works for everyone.