FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Serve America Together campaign kicks off with a challenge to presidential candidates: Release a Plan to Expand National Service
Leading military and civilian service organizations challenge 2020 presidential candidates to prioritize national service & unite a divided America
WASHINGTON, DC (June 26, 2019) – Serve America Together — a campaign to make national service part of growing up in America — kicked off today with a challenge to the 2020 presidential candidates. The campaign is challenging all presidential candidates to commit to make national service a priority in their first 100 days in office and to release bold plans to expand and transform national service in America. Over a dozen leading military and civilian service organizations joined together with campaign co-chairs Gen. Stan McChrystal, Arianna Huffington, Andrew Hauptman, former Gov. Deval Patrick, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Laura Lauder to call on the candidates to prioritize national service.
BY CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
"National service won’t fix everything that ails America. But in helping Americans from different places and perspectives work together to serve their country, it can start to bridge a divide that simply must be healed for Americans to come together to solve our toughest problems."
Serve America Together | Gen. Stan McChrystal, Arianna Huffington, Sec. Robert Gates, and Laura Lauder Announce “Serve America Together” Campaign Alongside Civilian and Military Service Organizations
The campaign, organized by Service Year Alliance, calls on Congress and 2020 presidential candidates to make national service part of growing up in America
WASHINGTON, DC (May 30, 2019) – Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a coalition of civilian and military service organizations plans to launch the Serve America Together campaign. Led by Service Year Alliance and co-chaired by Gen. Stan McChrystal, Arianna Huffington, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Laura Lauder, the campaign aims to make national service part of growing up in America.
The campaign, which is set to launch at the end of June, will build public awareness, engage presidential candidates, empower communities, and work with Congress to pass legislation that will make national service a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.
BY BOB WATT & JOHN STANTON, May 19, 2019
"Our country faces urgent challenges, from 4.6 million young people disconnected from jobs and school, to an opioid epidemic that kills more than 130 Americans every day. Right here in Seattle we face an affordable-housing crisis, working families that can’t afford to feed their children and a high school dropout rate that remains stubbornly above one-in-five. Instead of fighting together to solve these challenges, we have become more and more divided as a country, and Americans increasingly doubt that we can ever come together again.
We believe there is a solution, one that can have a measurable positive impact on all these challenges while also bringing us together as a country: We should work to make national service an optional — but expected — choice and opportunity for all young Americans."
BY RAHM EMANUEL, April 9, 2019
"We can begin by issuing a simple but powerful call: a policy that requires all 18-year-olds to give at least six months of their life to national service. People from different walks of life, with different backgrounds, would serve with one another as a rite of passage. Once young adults graduate high school or reach college age, they would join the military, the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or some other service-oriented organization.'
"Service Year Alliance, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., is leading the charge for a common service year. Its expansion campaign is set to launch in 2019. Yasmeen Shaheen McConnell, managing director of strategic engagement for Service Year Alliance, told the HPR that the campaign’s focus is to “grow awareness [through] influencers,” to build “demand at a local level,” and to “pass legislation and secure funding.
The legislation, which McConnell hopes will reach Congress in 2020, would propose significantly more funding for national service positions. It would not, however, immediately provide enough funding for every 22-year-old to complete that year of service. Yasmeen described what she sees as a “national moment” in which a divided nation might be brought together by a campaign like this one. To encourage widespread participation, Yasmeen said that Service Year Alliance is focused on “growing these opportunities for all Americans [so that] we are not reinforcing structural inequities” and “making sure that people can earn benefits [through service] that allow them to access the American Dream."
BY GEN. (RET.) STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL AND MICHAEL O'HANLON
"Presidential, congressional, state, and local officials should endorse the idea of at least a year of national service, not as a legal obligation, but as an increasingly widespread cultural, political, and moral expectation for all able, young Americans.
The fundamental purpose of such a program would not be to create jobs, or a low-wage pool of laborers for menial tasks. Rather, the main point would be to change the people who undertake it and thus the society in which they live.
The real product of national service, as much as the good work that participants carry out, is the group of alumni that it produces—individuals with increased maturity, civic awareness, and the empathy that comes from working with people from different backgrounds and different zip codes."