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On Capitol Hill

Post-January 6: Thoughts from our CEO, Shannon McCracken

January 14, 2021 — Yesterday was TNPA’s fifth Hill Day, our second virtually. Some of us joined for the first time, several were repeaters, and a couple have been going to the Hill for many years.

Yesterday felt different.

As always, we had some meetings that were very friendly stewardship meetings where we got to thank legislators and their staff for leadership on issues important to us. We received insights on how favored legislation will progress this year and offered our continued support. Other meetings fell into the persuasive category, educating legislators on our points of view and the impact of their support, or lack of support. We’re working toward change, and barring that, compromise.

This is how democracy works. We have the opportunity to be part of this, not because we’re special or elite, but because we choose to participate in civil society.

All day long we met with individuals who lived through the horrifying scenes that we watched unfold on our screens one week ago. They are among the elected legislators evacuated from the chamber floor in the middle of their workday. They are the staff who barricaded themselves inside dark conference rooms and offices, crouching under tables, listening to the mob outside their doors, and texting their families.

When the Capitol was finally secured, they resumed their work. And the next day, and the next week, they came back.

TNPA members yesterday spent time together as colleagues, elevating issues that are of critical import to the nonprofit sector. This was no more, and no less, important than ever. The nonprofit sector is an invaluable part of the solutions framework that our society needs, and it is our responsibility to protect our ability to thrive. Yesterday, more so than on our other Hill Day events, we paused to acknowledge that we are part of something much bigger: the power and privilege of individual citizens like us to be part of democracy as it is intended to be.

Shannon McCracken
Author: Shannon McCracken

Shannon McCracken is CEO at The Nonprofit Alliance.

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