An Open Letter to Those Who Care About Our Nation
The protests following the tragic death of George Floyd have awakened much of the public to the plight African Americans, and other people of color, face daily in the United States. Congress and state legislatures have the responsibility to pass legislation to level the playing field, but so far they have lacked the political will to do so comprehensively and to ensure aggressive follow-through.
Americans All provides a free tool—our Heritage Honor Roll—to help generate significant momentum for the cause of equal civil rights. Most storytelling websites carry stories of well-known individuals or individuals who belong to specific groups. Our website is far more informative and inclusive. We provide historical content that provides context for the individual stories.
In addition to including stories of everyday heroes, such as our brave military and domestic first responders, we want to include the stories of people who have been denied legal, moral and ethical protections and those of people who supported—and continue to support—victims and their families. Americans All can help keep their compelling stories alive, so their experiences become more than a short-lived sound bite or news story. Storytelling is critical because many Americans do not have easy and ongoing access to information on those who, through action or inspiration, make a difference. Legacy preservation is how our program strengthens communities.
Why understanding our history is critical
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Studying history is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes. George Santayana, PhD, The Life of Reason, 1905.
When the Confederate States of America was formed in 1861 to succeed from the Union to protect its right to own slaves, Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy declared: “The Confederacy's foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and moral condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
In 1865, the military battles of the Civil War ended. In 2020 it is finally time to eradicate the prejudice that started the war and remove the symbols that have delayed its demise. To proudly display the flag and believe in its symbolism—and honor the men who led the rebellion—flies in the face of the ideals set forth in our Constitution. It is a direct violation of the intent of our Constitution and the wording of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. And, equally important--the Confederacy killed more than 200,000 American troops! Once we can begin the discussions on the underlining causes of racism, we can begin to unite our nation once again by following the ideas and beliefs that led to its formation.
How our program works
More than three decades ago, the nonprofit People of America Foundation created Americans All classroom resources to document and honor the role immigrants, both forced and voluntary, have played—and continue to play—in the growth of our nation. In addition, our program emphasizes factors that help unite, rather than divide, the American people. We fully support author/historian David McCullough’s belief that “history is the story of people.” We conducted pilot programs in 9 jurisdictions and more than 2,000 schools and libraries nationwide are continuing to use our stories and other instructional materials.
Schools, students and their community members participate for free. Schools can use our storytelling tool and supplemental social studies resources to educate students about the contributions of different ethnic and cultural groups. Families can use our tool to pass on knowledge and experiences, so children understand and appreciate their ethnic and cultural roots. Americans All’s storytelling tool and other resources will also help small businesses to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic ends; immigrant families own or manage many of these establishments that frequently employ people of color.
Legacy stories can diminish stereotypes and impart lessons on the importance of diversity and the value of all people. Our program aims to persuade the nation of the benefits of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion. We return more than 80 percent of our gross business membership fees to schools and communities.
Americans All membership provides an opportunity to create, share and record a legacy story. The story, which will be housed forever on our web-based Heritage Honor Roll and on the home landing pages of members of our Legacy Partner Alliance, can:
- Contain up to 2,000 words;
- Be published in multiple languages and updated at no cost;
- Be enhanced with photos, home movies and other media;
- Include links to other Heritage Honor Roll legacy stories, social media and other web pages; and
- Be shortened to print on an 8½” x 11” template to share with family and friends.
“Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that [all people] have to influence, teach, and inspire. Storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people. When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand intuitively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind.
This understanding also holds true in the business world, where an organization’s stories, and the stories its leaders tell, help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in bullet points or numbers don’t.”—Excerpted from a post by Vanessa Boris, author at Harvard Business Publishing, and Lani Peterson, Psy.D., a psychologist, professional storyteller and executive coach.
Access the links below to register for our program and tell an important story. After the story is completed, for greater exposure, you can link it to an unlimited number of the Legacy Partner landing pages on our website. Click here to see a sample landing page for an individual. Individual landing pages are housed with the landing pages of members of our Legacy Partner Alliance.
We look forward to working together to create a more perfect union.
Allan Kullen, President
Click here to learn how to register for a free membership in Americans All.
Click here for tips on “How to create a legacy story.”