“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, “The Strenuous Life”
At Civic Nebraska, we believe democracy is much more than the institutions that make up our governmental system. We view democracy as a practice, a way of life springing from devotion to the common good. And we know that it’s in all of us: in our words, in our deeds, in our civic actions, and in how we work to extend the benefits of democratic life to everyone.
Of course, democracy has never been easy; nothing great ever is. Especially during times of turmoil and uncertainty, democracy requires people’s vigilance, faith, and courage to persist. Backed by supporters like you, Civic Nebraska leads the defense of democracy in the Cornhusker State. We do this by building young civic leaders, enhancing civic life in towns and cities across Nebraska, and protecting every eligible Nebraskan’s right to vote.
In the pages of our 2022-23 annual report, you’ll see how:
›› Our Youth Civic Leadership team, which provides safe and healthy outside-of-school spaces for more than 1,000 Nebraska students every day, stepped up to halt the “civic slide” among our young people. Our six Community Learning Centers in Lincoln and Omaha are built to help young people reinforce the building blocks of powerful democratic citizenship – such as critical thinking, collaboration, and civil discourse – in their daily lives.
›› Our Civic Health Program innovated to inspire Nebraskans away from toxic political fighting and toward shared problem-solving. In March, we paired hundreds of Nebraskans across the political spectrum during the online Unify Nebraska Challenge, which built bridges across both geography and political ideology. This was also the goal of our regular screenings of the short film PURPLE and our quarterly Civic Saturday gatherings.
›› Our Voting Rights Initiatives team organized, educated, and advocated on behalf of every Nebraska voter during a pivotal election year. In 2022, we deployed hundreds of nonpartisan Election Protectors to ensure our elections ran smoothly. We battled harmful voter identification initiatives on the campaign trail and in the Nebraska Legislature, and we redoubled our efforts to bring more Nebraskans, including returning citizens, to the franchise.
Together, we are facing a momentous test of American resolve. But this test isn’t new. Generations before us in times of war and strife and unrest also asked: Should this go on, this thing of ours?Can we push past our fears and take up the work to remake America again? Can we, as a people, still make this nation what it was meant to be?
If you’re reading this, you already know the answers to these questions. You understand what it takes to get there: Audacity. Resolve. Courage. And most of all, you share in our willingness to dare mighty things.
Thank you for your support this past year. We hope you enjoy this look back, as well as what’s ahead, and that you consider renewing your support for our democracy-building initiatives.