The American ideal of opportunity is deeply embedded in our national consciousness. It’s about fairness and participation, human rights and human dignity. It binds us together as a diverse nation and it offers profound hope for the future.
Like the superhero images that flow throughout, we hope the following will help you unleash your innate power to be a voice of change toward greater and more equal opportunity in America.
Opportunity, we believe, is a theme that can unite social justice messages and constituencies while building bridges across a range of issues including civil and human rights, housing, employment, criminal justice, education, immigration, and other spheres where opportunity is at risk. While each of these issues needs focused attention and distinct solutions, talking about them through a common lens of opportunity can help build a powerful and diverse alliance of voices for change.
History shows that, to be effective in moving hearts, minds, and policy over the long term, we need more integrated and strategic messaging that mobilizes our base, while also working to expand our constituencies by bringing those in the middle toward our cause. We can do this with a strong, values-based narrative like Opportunity for All, that can change the larger national conversation, shift the culture, and result in lasting change.
In past decades, we saw the power of conservative narratives like “family values,” “big government,” and “personal responsibility” move the country away from a social justice vision across multiple issues and campaigns. A generation earlier, civil rights and, before that, the New Deal exemplified powerful progressive themes. In this new century, the theme of opportunity and the techniques described in this toolkit can help to set the public discourse, as well as public policy, back on track.
The toolkit focuses on that broader goal—identifying universal themes and values that tie together a range of issues. When our shorter-term campaigns and other communications efforts begin to add up to a larger, more cohesive story about values and a positive vision, we will each begin to see individual victories add up to transformative societal change.