The Oath I'm Taking Today As An American

On this day in history, I, as an American, have a promise to make—an oath to take.
01/20/2017 10:40 am ET Updated Jan 20, 2017
Jeff Myers/Flickr

On this day in history, I, as an American, have a promise to make—an oath to take.

I solemnly swear that whenever I see intolerance, injustice or mistreatment taking place, I will not idly stand by and let it happen. I promise to do everything in my power to protect my fellow citizens of the world.

I promise that whenever I am able to attend protests and public demonstrations against injustice, I will do so.

I promise that, whenever possible, I will donate money to organizations that protect the rights of my fellow citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, The Southern Poverty Law Center, The National Immigrant Project, and Planned Parenthood.

I promise that whenever I am unable to donate money, I will donate my time. I will volunteer for organizations that help people who are less fortunate and less privileged than I am.

I promise to stand up for my fellow citizens of the world, no matter their race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, income, religion, or immigrant status. I promise to include those who are less privileged than I am in the fight for equality. I promise to be an ally. I promise to listen more than I speak, to allow space for the voices of those who have historically been silenced.

I promise to acknowledge the United States’ history of subjugating, oppressing, and acting violently towards minority groups. I promise to do better, and to force my government to do better.

I promise to use my power as a consumer to achieve social justice and environmental justice. I will support businesses owned by women, people of color, Native Americans, differently abled people, immigrants, Muslims, and people of other religious minorities. At the same time, I will make purchases that do as little harm to the environment as possible. I will refrain from purchasing plastics and animal products. If possible, I will refrain from purchasing petroleum. I will not do business with companies that support the expansion of the petroleum market.

I promise to speak up and object whenever I hear hate speech, rape jokes, or any other remarks that belittle a certain group of people. I promise to open up dialogue with my friends and family members about why such speech is hurtful and damaging. I promise to talk with my friends and family members about social justice issues they may not be aware of.

I promise to treat all people with kindness, no matter their political affiliation.

I promise to stay vigilant—to stay informed about what my government is doing and always be ready to support or oppose it. I promise to evaluate not just the performance of my president, but also that of my U.S. senators and congressmen/women, my state representatives and my local representatives. I promise not to fall victim to partisanship; I will not let my political party determine my opinion on a particular matter.

I promise to read the news critically and with a healthy degree of skepticism. I promise to always investigate the credibility of my news sources.

I promise to seek out editorial content written by people with different political views than mine, for I cannot hope to persuade people who disagree with me if I am unwilling to hear what they have to say as well. I promise that whenever possible, I will foster respectful dialogue with people who disagree with me.

I promise to try every day to be a better American, and a better citizen of the world. I promise to spread compassion. I promise to spread hope. I promise to get out of bed every morning ready to fight for what’s right.

And no matter how tired I get, I promise never to give up.

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