On July 18, 2010, following a shootout with the California Highway Patrol, law enforcement officials arrested an assailant who had targeted the Tides Foundation and the ACLU for violence. Since then, we have been clear in our message that it should be the obligation of every American, especially those whose voices are amplified by the media, to foster civil discourse and dialogue among those who may disagree about public matters. This call for civil discourse has been joined by Independent Sector, discussed in the Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Huffington Post, and highlighted in the work of organizations like Media Matters.
This recent incident is just the latest reminder of the intolerant climate that has been created by the demagogues and fear mongering pundits of the right-wing. To ensure that Tides can respond to other moments, we are launching the Tides Civil Discourse Fund.
On August 28, 2010, the nation will celebrate the 47th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered by Rev. Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial. In a shameful attempt to co-opt Dr. King's legacy, FOX News personality Glenn Beck will deliver a "I have a plan" address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to thousands of Tea Party activists.
As a counterpoint to Beck's event, Celebrate the Dream will bring together thousands of people on the National Mall and will feature a striking art installation with the words and images of Dr. King. This beautiful exhibit will honor the true intent of the hundreds of thousands who participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Dr. King's greatest speeches will play throughout the day, and visitors will be able to participate — both on-site and online — by adding their thoughts on "What does the Dream mean to you?" The sponsors of Celebrate the Dream include Campaign for America's Future, Jewish Funds for Justice, the New Organizing Institute, and The Other 98%. Join us in celebrating Rev. King's legacy and celebrate the dream.
If you already have a fund at Tides Foundation, please contact your philanthropic advisor to contribute.
Visit www.tides.org/discourse for future appeals and updates as the work of the Tides Civil Discourse Fund grows and evolves.