The 4th of July commemorates the moment when a new generation boldly articulated the values of a new nation: freedom, equality, justice, rights and opportunity. Juneteenth, celebrated just a few weeks earlier, reminds us that people in America have fought to make those values a reality over hundreds of years, and we still have work to do. This tension between our nation’s promises and practices calls us all to dig deeper into our traditions, our history, and our role in forming “a more perfect union” going forward.
Today, amid a groundswell of interest about America’s future, how might we imagine a new kind of tradition that goes beyond hot dogs and fireworks?
An annual Civic Season, held between Juneteenth and the Fourth of July, mobilizes us all to connect with our past, take action in the present, and shape the future, through activations in our neighborhoods, cities, towns and social spaces. We invite you to join us in creating this tradition. Register today.
What to Expect
Where: National, Local and Digital
When: June 14, 2021 – July 5, 2021
Anchor Moments: Flag Day, Juneteenth, 26th Amendment, Civil Rights Act, Independence Day and more to come
A joint effort from Made By Us and Civics Unplugged, the first Civic Season is about expanding the lens: making space for more stories from the past, more voices from the present, and more input on what an annual tradition for civic participation could look like. When the Civic Season kicks off in June 2021, you can explore a multitude of offerings and activities filtered by topic, location and format, designed to support your own personal exploration into history and democracy. What role will you play?
How can I or my organization get involved?
Just like with our democracy, there are many ways to pitch in to the effort. Be the first to know about the Civic Season launch and access special events and content, or request the promotional toolkit.
Why us? Why now?
Made By Us connects young adults today with history and civics knowledge to support their civic participation. In the summer of 2020, our listening and research revealed big questions on the part of America’s young people about patriotism, citizenship and what it means to be American.
The pandemic had already laid bare major challenges and inequalities, especially for young adults, and the presidential campaign intensified the national discourse. Amid protests for racial justice and a growing awareness of the varied experiences of life in America, Black history and in particular Juneteenth took on new resonance for Millennials and Gen Z, while the 4th of July became more complicated to celebrate. How do we connect with those founding ideals today? What does it mean to live in America between the promise and the practice of democracy?
At the same time, Civics Unplugged, a Made By Us partner, was building a cohort of Gen Z superheroes dedicated to the future of democracy. They heard similar concerns and saw an opportunity to imbue more meaning, complexity and connection into the 4th of July, to give all Americans a meaningful way to reflect, commit, and take action to build a stronger democracy. Together, we envision the Civic Season as a reinvigorated tradition we all shape.
Can anyone submit a program?
We invited a broad spectrum of history, civics and cultural organizations to submit their work for consideration before the May 15 deadline. Made by Us and Civics Unplugged review all submissions. We’re looking for credible, nonpartisan, fact-based resources and programs from civic, cultural or youth-led organizations. In future years, we hope to expand to include even more resources and formats.
Who is the Civic Season for?
As an emerging tradition, we want many hands involved in shaping what a new Civic Season can become. The Civic Season is for all those out there who are wrestling with how and where to shape America’s future, beginners and experts alike.
We hope you will be a part of it!
I have ideas!
We aim to grow and evolve the Civic Season through the nation’s 250th in 2026, and invite your feedback along the way to create an inclusive, inspiring annual tradition. Come chat with us on social media @historymadebyus to share your thoughts, ideas and questions, and join our BFF List to connect with us about opportunities for input and working together.
What else does Made By Us do?
Made By Us is a coalition of over 100 history museums, sites, archives and civic education groups joining forces to engage and empower Millennials and Gen Z with history – as a tool for civic participation. Check out our recent work here.