Today is Giving Tuesday, which means it’s a great time to remember one of the most important things about the work of Americans United: It touches the lives of real people grappling with real problems – and provides them with real solutions.
Often, our work makes a big splash. When the attorneys in our Legal Department filed suit on behalf of Aimee Maddonna, a South Carolina woman who wanted to volunteer to help children in foster care but was turned away from a taxpayer-supported evangelical Christian adoption agency because she’s Roman Catholic, it captured headlines nationwide.
Similarly, when members of our Public Policy Department speak out against reckless proposals on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, people take notice. When our Outreach and Engagement Department mobilizes people locally and provides them with the tools they need to be effective advocates, that reverberates and gets attention. And when AU’s Communications Department produces social media graphics, blog posts, tweets, Instagram posts and other items supporters of church-state separation can use to defend religious freedom for all, it’s very public.
But it’s important to remember the myriad of things going on every day at Americans United that don’t make the headlines but that also matter, the quiet activism that makes a big difference. Maybe it’s one of our attorneys giving advice to someone so they can solve a problem outside of court. It might be a Public Policy staff member providing pointers to a local activist who wants to address the county council on a church-state issue. It could be a Communications staffer helping an AU member write a letter to the editor or giving some information to a student working on a report. Perhaps it's the Outreach and Engagement Department helping local activists plan an event to educate people in their community.
Sometimes it’s a simple as answering the phone, responding to an email or replying to a Facebook message – things we do every day here at Americans United. When people see something wrong and they want to make it right, they need to know that Americans United is there for them.
And thanks to you, we are. At Americans United, we pull together a collection of voices from religious and non-religious people – and we amplify them. But we always remember that every issue we address starts with one voice of one person behind it. We do more than simply address the problem raised by that person – we plug him or her into a network, generating a strength and a power you can’t get standing alone.
We’re proud of the unity and energy we create, and as we do it, we keep in mind an important principle: Defending the basic rights of the American people is not a burden; indeed, it is an honor and a privilege.
But it’s one we can’t do without you, so on this Giving Tuesday, we urge you to remember the work of Americans United. And we hope you’ll bear in mind the thousands of stories that animate the work we do and the individual people – perhaps folks just like you – who make it all possible.
P.S. Also remember this: A generous group of AU donors has pooled together their resources to form a #GivingTuesday matching fund. This means that every dollar you contribute to AU for Giving Tuesday will be matched – it’ll go twice as far and double your impact on our work.
Online contributions will be matched through December 3, 2019, up to a limit of $50,000. All gifts made in excess of this limit will still provide valuable funding for AU’s efforts to defend church-state separation