This week, October 3rd through October 7th, is Humanities Check-In Week. We are joining forces with the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities on this nation-wide campaign to “check in” with Members of Congress to remind them that federal funding for the humanities is essential.
Please join us by writing to your Members of Congress in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and encouraging others to do so. Your messages are critical to show Members that their constituents value the National Endowment for the Humanities and the humanities more generally. While you’re doing this, government relations staff from higher education institutions will be contacting their Members of Congress to highlight the dynamic humanities work happening on their campuses and underscore that federal funding provides essential support for this work.
We are launching this week-long event at this particular moment for three key reasons.
The appropriations cycle has shifted in recent years.
Traditionally, advocacy for Congressional appropriations takes place in February and March as the administration releases its budget request and the House and Senate appropriations committees craft and release their spending bills. This is why we host our Humanities Advocacy Day in March every year.
In recent years, Congress has failed to pass those appropriations bills. As a result, the appropriations cycle has extended into the fall with continuing resolutions and, finally, an omnibus appropriations package, which funds the government with one bill. Last year, an omnibus was passed in December, and we expect similar timing this year. Given this new timeline, it is crucial to tell Members of Congress that humanities funding is essential in March on advocacy day and to check in with a reminder as the appropriations process heats up again in the fall.
In general, Congress should hear more from us.
Many Members of Congress have not heard from their constituents about the humanities recently. We and our partners advocate year-round, but it is important for Members of Congress to hear that their constituents believe the humanities are important. Yes, we hold advocacy day in March to align with the appropriations cycle, but we also see it as a key opportunity to educate Members of Congress about the humanities in their communities irrespective of funding requests. Ideally, this engagement between the Member and their local humanities community should be on-going and involve invitations to humanities events and updates on the impact of grants to the district and innovative programs on campuses and in communities. Humanities Check-In, scheduled about six months after advocacy day, ensures that your legislators hear about the humanities from their constituents at least twice a year and that we set the stage for a deepening relationship.
It is National Arts and Humanities Month
Since 1993, October has been celebrated as National Arts and Humanities Month. President Obama issues a proclamation marking the occasion each year in late September. In this year’s statement, he noted “in many ways, the arts and humanities reflect our national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans—as dreamers and storytellers, creators and visionaries.” We encourage you to celebrate this month in many ways, including with a message to your Members of Congress to reiterate the value of the humanities.
What Can I Do?
Please join the campaign by writing your Member of Congress—it only takes one minute! Then, spread the word by sharing the link to the campaign or this blog post on Facebook or Twitter, and ask your friends to take action in support of the humanities!
Thank you for your support!