JFF CEO Statement on Inauguration: Let Us Unite With Renewed Hope, Strength, and Purpose

Published jan. 20, 2021

The strength of our democracy is sustained by the persistence and faith of the American people. Over the course of our nation’s history, it has been tested and challenged; recent events have provided all too vivid a reminder. Yet history is replete with individuals who have stepped up to uphold our constitutional values and shore up our democratic institutions. As a former U.S. Department of Labor executive with a family legacy of public service, I know how precious these institutions are, and what a pivotal role they play in our society.

Today, we mark the new beginning that comes with a presidential inauguration. It’s a time to reflect on the roles we play—individually and collectively—in supporting our democracy and building a more equitable and just society. Let us recommit to these goals. As the late civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis observed, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part. . . .”

It’s a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.

President Joe Biden, in his inaugural address

At JFF, we are proud to contribute to a long history of individuals and organizations seeking to create a more equitable democratic society. We believe deeply in economic advancement for all, and we work each and every day to ensure that all individuals can achieve the too-often-elusive American Dream.

We must be honest in acknowledging that we face serious challenges. But, as did generations before us, we can and will build a brighter future together.

Maria Flynn, President and CEO, JFF

Jobs that pay fairly, enable career growth, and provide families with the stability they need to plan for the future are essential building blocks for a strong democratic society. I am continually inspired by the members of my team and our partners across the country who devote themselves to strengthening our education and workforce systems to ensure that everyone has equitable access to those kinds of jobs and careers.

This is a collective task. That’s why JFF creates space for individuals from across the political spectrum to come together to work toward a shared mission of creating equitable economic advancement. It is this discourse that is so important—this union across differences and commitment to collaboration that strengthens and upholds our democracy. As President Joe Biden said in his inaugural address today, “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

President Biden understands that the core of our democracy is Americans coming together, and that we need bold changes to heal our democracy and advance policies that will create economic opportunity for all. As he noted, “It’s a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.” This will require leadership—not only from policymakers in Washington, but from leaders across sectors: from corporations to nonprofits, organizations large and small, and community and faith leaders alike.

Of course, we must be honest in acknowledging that we face serious challenges, from a deadly pandemic to centuries-old racial injustice. But, as did generations before us, we can and will build a brighter future together. Let us unite in celebration of today’s sacred democratic tradition and look to the horizon with renewed hope, strength, and purpose.

Bold Ideas for Rethinking Education and Workforce

Read JFF's Transition Policy Memo