WASHINGTON: The Harwood Project, a Pew-funded nonprofit dedicated to raising the level of public discourse, is launching a campaign urging Americans to "move beyond flag wavingby putting the ideals of post-September-11 patriotism into practice. Ignition Strategic Communications has been retained to coordinate the push.
Harwood will challenge political candidates, the news media, and the public to take advantage of the current climate of national pride to demand more of each other. "While people expressed patriotic feelings after September 11, they weren't taking the next step and doing something to create the change that people have expressed they want," explained Allison May Rosen, VP at Ignition. "Harwood is providing very concrete tools to help turn those words into actions."
The public will be encouraged to ask more of their politicians - specifically at a series of town hall meetings across the US to be held by Harwood itself. In addition, politicians will be encouraged to better explain what makes them passionate about public service, and the media will be encouraged to nurture the conversation by paying greater attention to such matters.
The encouragement will first come via "action kits
being sent to all three audiences. The kits will include tips on how to partner with others to effect change and, for the media, advice for deepening and differentiating campaign coverage.
Civic meetings will be held in seven cities - Houston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Jose, CA, Seattle, Tampa, FL, and Frederick, MD - to foster discourse between all three audiences, and all Americans will be asked to sign a "Declaration of Responsibility
that declares their dedication to "act on political conduct issues."
Formed 15 years ago by Richard Harwood, The Harwood Institute seeks to create "positive and sustainable change in areas such as education, politics and community."