What We're Reading: The Vital Connection: BIPOC-Led Narrative Change and Pluralist Democracy

"Who will tell the stories that shape our future? These days, in the United States, this is a matter of fierce disagreement. On one side, a multiracial majority of people believe the US is destined to become a flourishing democracy. On the other, a white nationalist movement steadily advances its vision for a white Christian ethno-state," said Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke for Nonprofit Quarterly. "To say that the project of US democracy is at risk is far from hyperbole. White nationalists have amassed a political and narrative infrastructure that churns out a toxic pool of ideas and stories, spreading disinformation ever more widely."

"In its first five years, the Pop Culture Collaborative—a philanthropic fund co-founded and led by BIPOC, women, and queer funders and field leaders—has taken steps to learn about this white nationalist movement. We now sit with a hard truth: the social justice sector is being outspent and outpaced by a movement that is rapidly gaining ground."

"To turn this around requires understanding that securing democracy in the US will take more than tolerating difference. In our work, we draw on concepts of democracy first developed by the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indigenous societies—political theories that connect the democratic systems and pluralist cultural norms that together make societies resilient."

"Given the stark realities of generational trauma and structural inequities, building a pluralist democracy in the US requires a multifaceted strategy—coordinated across many movements, industries, and fields—that is accountable for and seeks to repair past injustices. This strategy requires centering narrative and cultural strategy and prioritizing BIPOC leaders as stewards of this work."

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