fresh voices from the front lines of change







On June 23, Van Jones, and a broad cross section of progressive groups launched the Rebuild the Dream Movement. This is a movement of necessity: the American Dream – the dream of being able to reap the benefits from hard work, raise a family, and live with dignity – is under assault.

Twenty-five million Americans are out of work, underemployed or have simply stopped looking for a job. The U.S. is fighting three wars, scarring our nation’s brave men and women in uniform and increasing our national debt. Health care costs are out of control. Our infrastructure is crumbling, costing lives while the United States stands alone as the most developed nation without a national manufacturing plan. For the first time in history, American children face the prospect of being less educated and less well-off than their parents.

As Americans, we face a test: do we remain complacent, willing to allow our leaders, Republican and Democrat, to bail out the banks while the American people languish? Or do we make a different, harder choice?

On July 16 and 17, millions will gather in homes, churches and community centers in over 400 Congressional districts around the country to discuss what the American Dream means to them, and in August the Rebuild the Dream Movement will release the “Contract for the American Dream.” This is a Contract of the people and, most importantly, for the people. Democrats, as well as conservatives, rich and poor, rural and urban citizens, can all benefit from a secure financial system, reinvestment in education, rebuilding our national infrastructure and protecting programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This Contract will not just be a progressive solution: it will be a thoroughlyAmerican solution!

But the Contract is not where it ends. I know that the American people will not settle for the status quo. All of us, young people especially, are ready and able to make our demands clear to our representatives, to confront them publically and to demand answers. Americans are ready to make news instead of hear their voices drowned out in the echo of the media.

We must ask ourselves a hard question and then act to create a solution: when will our government choose to be one that fights for the security of the many instead of the enrichment of the few?

It is time to fight as well as to organize and discuss. Politicians must hear our voices loud and clear. Enough is enough! Americans want jobs and a secure future. We want real economic freedom and opportunity for all – not just for the corporate jet owners, hedge-fund managers and the Koch Brother cronies at Americans for Prosperity who continue to ruin the American Dream for the millions while greedily gathering political and economic strength. It is OUR Dream too! We want to take it back.

Freedom is not a bank’s option to play Russian roulette with our economy.

Freedom is knowing that your home, investments and retirement are secure and longstanding.

Freedom is not a corporation’s ability to pollute the skies.

Freedom is the creation of millions of clean energy jobs for individuals from all levels of society.

Freedom is not selling electoral outcomes to the highest bidder.

Freedom is the democratic decree of one person, one vote.

Opportunity is not a 40% unemployment rate for young African-American adults.

Opportunity is the guarantee that if you’re born an American, regardless of your race or what neighborhood you were born in, you can succeed if you work hard.

Opportunity is not working three jobs to make ends meet.

Opportunity is fair pay with benefits – that includes being able to see a doctor when you are sick and retiring after a life of hard work.

This summer it is not enough to listen in on radio, television or podcast. When we look back it will be this summer when we reclaimed the Dream…

  • When we asked our Members of Congress why they could afford the wars but could not afford to create the jobs that will ensure America’s national security and global competitiveness.
  • Why they spent time at corporate fundraisers when 1 in 4 children in this country went to bed hungry at night.
  • Why they were willing to condemn a generation of high school and college graduates to reduced job prospects and wages while they bickered on Capitol Hill. 

We will not accept it and we will not allow them to hide.

This summer is when we will tell our elected leaders in both parties that if they don’t act to bring down unemployment and reinvest in the American Dream, they will find themselves out of a job come 2012.

Join the American Dream movement. Show up at Congressional events and demand accountability. Flood the mail boxes and email inboxes and jam the phones. This call is not only the necessary thing to do: it is the right thing to do. The right thing to do for workers and small business owners, the right thing for farmers and suits, the right thing for young and old.

And….the right thing for America, whose ability to provide a secure life, ensure liberty, and promote the general welfare is only as strong as the people who are willing to stand up for what it can and should become.

Join the American Dream movement:

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