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Act NOW In Support Of the NEA, NEH, and Other Federal Cultural Agencies

Saturday, May 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd
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The US Constitution states that a purpose of government is to “promote the general welfare.” Our capacity to understand our country and our world, and to express that understanding through works of artistic and humanistic endeavor, are critical to that goal. Earlier this week, the Trump Administration issued a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that undermines that capacity.

The President’s budget proposal calls for the eradication of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and many other cultural agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, and the International and Foreign Language Studies programs of the Department of Education (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays). (For a complete list of the many federal government programs that the proposed budget would eliminate, please visit http://thehill.com/policy/finance/334768-here-are-the-66-programs-eliminated-in-trumps-budget.)

The President’s FY 2018 budget proposal is an assault on our nation’s core values, for the arts and humanities are essential to an innovative and robust civil society in which citizens are free to question, investigate, imagine, and create a better present and future. If this radical proposal is enacted, the infrastructure of the arts and humanities in the US, and the many community-based activities these two agencies and others support in every part of our country, will be imperiled.

Of course, while the President may propose, it is the Congress that appropriates funding. We urge you to contact your US Representative and Senators NOW to tell them that you support the arts and humanities, and strongly oppose any proposal that would eliminate the NEA, NEH, and these other essential programs. Any federal budget affects many issues, and you may wish to address those separately, but if the folklore studies community does not arise in defense of artistic and humanistic expression, research, and public programming, much will be lost.

The strong response of NEA and NEH supporters earlier this year helped both Endowments win a slight increase in their current appropriations. As the struggle over the FY 2018 budget is likely to be protracted, your early action will let Congress know of our vigilant opposition to the Administration’s proposals. 

To contact your US Representative and Senators, you can use one of these three options. No matter which means of communication you choose, please briefly personalize your message by citing concrete examples of the ways in which support from these federal agencies has made a difference in your community and state. If you are employed in the field, mention the institution where you work in your state and/or Congressional district.

1. Make a phone call. You can reach the offices of all US Representatives and Senators through the US Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121. A personal phone call is preferable to an e-mail.

2. Write a message. To find the member of the US House of Representatives who represents you, go to the US House of Representatives website at www.house.gov, which will allow you to search using your home ZIP code, and will take you directly to a link to your Representative’s website and contact information. Congressional offices allow you to send an e-mail if you are from their district. You can find and contact your Senators (each US state has two) by going to www.senate.gov.

3. Make in-person visits to your Senators’ or Representative’s local or Washington offices, or to events that your Senators or Representative will be holding in your state or district in the coming weeks. Raising important issues In person can be particularly effective.

Here are some information resources you may find useful:

The Americans for the Arts Action Fund (for the NEA) and the National Humanities Alliance (for the NEH) also offer simple ways to e-mail your Representative and Senators. Please visit the AAAF’s site and the NHA’s site today; each offers a template email that you can modify as you see fit.

The AFS website has an advocacy toolkit, and a set of talking points about the importance and impact of the NEA folk and traditional arts funding, that you can use in your own advocacy.

Please keep AFS informed (at americanfolkloresociety@gmail.com) about your Congressional contacts, including any responses you receive.



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American Folklore SocietySister Society: SIEF
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