In August of 2000, B’nai B’rith International created Enlighten America™ in response to a series of intolerant acts that were afflicting the nation. This educational initiative provides a voice to speak out against prejudice, bigotry, hatred and violence. Our goal is to inspire and educate Americans to eliminate stereotypes and open their minds to new cultures and ideals.
The centerpiece of the Enlighten America™ program is a 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. Now, more than ever, we need to band together and promote tolerance and diversity.
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. Volunteers can take the pledge at community events or at informational tables about B’nai B’rith at community events, and use this as an opportunity to share the message with a larger audience.
Enlighten America™ has provided the theme for school assemblies that featured speakers and acting troupes that incorporated the tolerance message in their presentations.
B’nai B’rith leaders shared this program via letters to the editors at their local newspapers as well as program content of friendship messages with other organizations. Enlighten America™ has also served as the roots of the B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Writing Challenge that adopted the message of enlightenment and promotion of diversity and tolerance.
The B’nai B’rith Enlighten America™ program includes:
- Sharing and practicing the pledge every day, but especially on the days where we remember those who gave their lives to protect our rights and freedoms: Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Independence Day, Flag Day and on the anniversary of 9/11.
- Promoting the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) by encouraging people to care for humanity by performing mitzvahs (good deeds) that seek to repair defects in our society.
Share the Pledge
- Promoting the personal pledge as an integral part of holiday observances can help make a difference.
- Click here to download a PDF of the Enlighten America™ Thanksgiving pledge.
- Click here to download a PDF of the Enlighten America™ Passover pledge.