Enlighten America™ is B’nai B’rith’s response to a society in which intolerance, coarseness and even violence are becoming more and more prevalent. This program is based on the simple premise that the best way to achieve a society free of intolerance is for people to take individual responsibility for their actions. Enlighten America™ recognizes that a community reflects the mores of its citizenry.
Originally created in August 2000 as a response to a spate of intolerant acts, it is equally—if not more—relevant today.
While the program can be effectively implemented by individual families in their own homes, it can also be used as a starting point for community-wide action projects. Both individually and communally, the program provides a voice to speak out against prejudice and bigotry, hatred and violence, and on behalf of tolerance and understanding in our communities.
The centerpiece of the Enlighten America™ program is a simple pledge that individuals take to refrain from using slang expressions or telling jokes based on race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or physical or mental challenges that would serve to demean another, and to act with civility even if one strongly disagrees with the position taken by others on political issues.
Make the Pledge
> Sign the Personal Enlighten America™ pledge on our special Enlighten America™ Facebook page.
There you can also share the pledge with others and encourage them to join you in taking the pledge.
The B’nai B’rith Enlighten America™ program includes:
> Promoting the personal pledge as an integral part of holiday observances including at this year's Thanksgiving table. Click here to download a PDF of the Enlighten America™ Thanksgiving pledge.
> Sharing the pledge through other opportunities such as community solidarity events in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday; remembering those who gave their lives to protect our rights and freedoms on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day; and, this year in particular, at observances of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. As we recalled the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., we dedicated ourselves to preserving the rights of all people to live in freedom and security.
> Promoting the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (literally repairing the world) encouraging people to care for their world by performing deeds that seek to repair defects in our society. Enlighten America™ is one of those deeds.
> Individual families reciting a special reading as part of their Passover Seder. Click here to download a PDF.
There you can also share the link with friends and family members who you think might also want to include this in their Seder. Also, please share your experiences and stories with others via the Enlighten America™ Facebook page.
> Individuals volunteering to serve as advocates for this campaign, promoting the personal pledge to families and communities.
> Individuals reaching out to local community newspapers to spread the pledge and its message. Ask local businesses and facilities to post it on their bulletin boards.
> Getting local, state or federal government officials to proclaim an Enlighten America™ Day, Week or Month.
> Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to spread the word about Enlighten America™ and the personal pledge.
For more information, call 212-490-3290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.