Skip to content

The Obama Foundation Joins Other Presidential Centers to Affirm that “Democracy Holds Us Together”

September 7, 2023 at 10:00 AM CDT

Statement calls for a renewed commitment to American democratic values, civic responsibility, and respect for differing viewpoints; urges leaders across the United States to model our nation’s democratic principle

Chicago, Illinois– Today, Presidential Foundations and Centers across the United States, for the first time, have issued a joint statement (Opens in a new tab) regarding the future of our nation and an urgent call to action for all Americans. The statement is a reminder of our nation’s values – assuring the American people that through civic engagement and respect for our neighbors, we will continue to create a more perfect union. 

“At the Obama Foundation we are committed to rebuilding a stronger democratic culture and a more durable set of democratic institutions for the future,” said Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO. “We all have a responsibility to strengthen our democracy so we are delighted to join our fellow presidential foundations in this pledge, and encourage everyone to join us in this important work.”

The joint statement is part of the Obama Foundation’s work dedicated to building and strengthening democratic culture in the United States and around the world by developing the leaders and organizations who represent the democratic values and work so essential to democracy.   

As organizations ideally positioned to lead on this critical matter, the cosigners offer this statement:

The unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, are principles that bind us together as Americans. They have enabled the United States to strive toward a more perfect union, even when we have not always lived up to those ideals.  

As a diverse nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, democracy holds us together. We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount. At the same time, we live among our fellow citizens, underscoring the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.  

We, the undersigned, represent a wide range of views across a breadth of issues. We recognize that these views can exist peaceably side by side when rooted in the principles of democracy. Debate and disagreement are central features in a healthy democracy. Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.  

Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home. But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray. The world will not wait for us to address our problems, so we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for U.S. leadership.  

Each of us has a role to play and responsibilities to uphold. Our elected officials must lead by example and govern effectively in ways that deliver for the American people. This, in turn, will help to restore trust in public service. The rest of us must engage in civil dialogue; respect democratic institutions and rights; uphold safe, secure, and accessible elections; and contribute to local, state, or national improvement.  

By signing this statement, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy undergirding this great nation, protecting our freedom, and respecting our fellow citizens. When united by these convictions, America is stronger as a country and an inspiration for others.

Obama Foundation

George W. Bush Presidential Center

Clinton Presidential Center

George & Barbara Bush Foundation

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute

The Carter Center

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation

Richard Nixon Foundation

LBJ Foundation

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

Truman Library Institute

Roosevelt Institute

Hoover Presidential Foundation


Contact: Courtney Williams, [email protected]

About the Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world. That mission begins on the South Side of Chicago, where the Foundation is building the Obama Presidential Center. The Obama Presidential Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home. Not only will the Center generate billions of dollars of economic opportunity and help reconnect and revitalize Jackson Park, it will also serve as a reminder to young visitors—from around the city and from around the world—that their potential is limitless.