My Wish for U.S.

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My Wish for U.S.

2020-07-14 10:52

From Made By Us, a history and civics organization partnered with historical institutions across the country, My Wish for U.S. allows people to tell their wishes for the country in an effort to unite communites and inspire individuals. A few scrolls through their explore page, and one will find wishes of anti-bigotry, improved government systems, and fair democracy. My Wish for U.S. also allows users to contact local representitives with their wishes, giving users an easy first step into action.

I’ve been a co-op at HSP since spring, and have been watching this project as apart of my work here. For me, it’s been a great privilege to be apart of what I believe is an important project, as I believe it helps to shed light on the relevancy history still holds today, and gives voice to the forgotten leaders and figures who dedicated their lives towards a better America. I think it’s interesting, and very telling, how many wishes from Americans decades ago, some even a century or two, are still something we can look back on and use today. The tie between history and modern day movements and wishes is my favorite thing about the project.

While users can submit their own wishes, My Wish for U.S. has partnered with several historical institutions across America to find wishes from history that are still relevant today. As of now, while tensions are high as citizens protest America’s predatory justice system, many of these wishes from history seem more relevant than ever.

One historical wish, submitted by the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, from African American Texas politician Barbara Jordan reads “What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” Another quote, submitted by the National Institute for Civil Discourse, from suffragist Maud Wood Park, “The success of Democracy doesn’t depend on a few persons who do great things, but on many persons who do small things faithfully.” Despite these quotes being decades old, it’s clear how they stay relevant today, their messages holding the ideals of modern anti-discrimination movements: the need for a fair democracy, and the importance of community and action by the people.

There are several examples of wishes from history that tackle several issues, such as race, gender, sexuality, religion, justice, and democracy. One wish, submitted by the Arab American National Museum, said by Eman Akram Nader, “ is our human right to love, worship, and live with dignity and freedom.” could be seen as an important declaration on the behalf of every group and community in America, and another example of hopes from history driving today’s civil rights and justice leaders.

HSP’s collections hold many important wishes from the past as well. A couple from LGBT activist John Fryer and Civil Rights activist James Samuel Stemons made it onto the website, but there are several more in the collections as well. One of my favorite parts of the HSP website are the Digital History Projects, where documents relating to one topic are gathered in one place. The “Preserving American Freedom” exhibit is one I’ve used a lot since working here, in it being documents, propaganda, and letters pertaining to important movements in American history, such as women’s rights, civil rights, and important government and legal documents among other topics. In the digital library (digitized images of some of HSP's collection items) are several important collections too, such as the Thelma McDaniel collection, where civil rights papers and propaganda are gathered, the Shigezo and Sonoko Iwata papers, which detail the correspondence between a married Japanese couple placed in internment camps during World War II, and the Dora Kelly Lewis papers, a series of correspondence between women’s rights activists. While the authors of these documents don’t start with “I wish,” a read through of the papers shows the desire for a better America, a subtle wish for a fair democracy. You can learn more about the project on their website:

This post is written by Emma Weil, Programs and Services Drexel Co-Op Spring, 2020


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