1. Update

An Unfinished Democracy

By Diane Randall, July 2, 2020


As we commemorate our 244th year as a nation this Fourth of July, we know that the struggle for equality and freedom is at a critical juncture. Ours is an unfinished democracy as we live with the legacy of slavery, white supremacy, institutional racism, and oppression. Far too many people today experience ongoing discrimination and hate based on race, religion, or ethnicity.

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we recognize that those of us with European ancestors share in the complicity of wresting the ancestral lands of Indians.

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we recognize the complicity of white people’s heritage in the enslavement of Africans who were forcibly brought to our shores and whose very lives and livelihood created wealth for white people.

Our democracy remains unfinished when we tolerate injustice, whether at home or abroad.

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we recognize the complicity of white people in discriminating against Filipinos, Japanese, Mexicans, and Chinese who labored in the farms of the West Coast, staffed the canneries of Alaska, and built our railroads.

They, and millions of other immigrants and enslaved people built our country. Their labor, their persistence for justice and their hope for freedom are bedrock values of the United States. Ours is still a democracy in progress, in need of constant strengthening, in need of every voice demanding justice for all.

As the Friends Committee on National Legislation, we are called to be prophetic witnesses in seeking justice and equity; in seeking a world in which every person’s potential can be fulfilled. We are called to advocate for policies that create equality of opportunity and communities in which everyone can safely live, learn, work, worship, and love.

As we relentlessly lobby Congress and the administration, we affirm our commitment to identify, expose, and work to eliminate institutional racism and other forms of discrimination.

The on-going Black Lives Matters protests, which we fully support, are searing reminders of the call for all of us to address racial injustice now. Our democracy remains unfinished when we tolerate injustice, whether at home or abroad.

The work to end oppression must happen both within our country and in how our country creates or responds to oppression around the world.

The work to end oppression must happen both within our country and in how our country creates or responds to oppression around the world. As we celebrate our Independence Day, we are deeply dismayed by the potential annexation of portions of the West Bank by Israel.

Together with our partners, the American Friends Service Committee and the Quaker Peace and Social Witness of Britain Yearly Meeting, we call on Quakers and other people of faith to oppose this annexation and ask their governments to take effective action to prevent this annexation.

Our democracy requires the work of the people to vote, to engage with elected officials, and to speak truth to power. We will not achieve peace or justice where oppression lives.

Diane Randall

  • General Secretary

Diane Randall is the General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane leads FCNL’s staff to effectively educate and lobby for the policies and legislative priorities established by FCNL’s General Committee. A lifelong advocate for peace and social justice, Diane is a fierce proponent for citizen engagement that advances policies and practices to create a better society for all.