The Uvalde, Texas school shooting that resulted in 19 children and 2 teachers dying at the hand of an 18 year old with an AR 15 rifle has generated grief, outrage and discouragement about what is going on in our country.  To offer some encouragement and ways of re-thinking what is possible, we are highlighting the Great Society envisioned and worked on by President Lyndon Johnson in the early 1960’s.  Against many political adversities, President Johnson helped galvanize and institute programs still going on today that have lifted people out of poverty and brought about greater equity for people across the country, though, there is no doubt that more work in these areas is needed.

At his May 22, 1964 Commencement Address at the University of Michigan, where he presented his Great Society Vision, he closed by imploring, “There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.”

Consider reading this information about the Great Society and then discussing the following questions with family and friends:

  1. What did you learn about Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society vision and programs that you didn’t know before?
  2. How does knowing about the Great Society vision and programs make you feel about what is possible for America?
  3. What would be the highest priority for you as your desired vision for America over the next 5 years?
    1. What would you envision 5 years from now for your priority issue?
  4. Who could you communicate with about your vision and the possible ways you and others could help bring attention to your priority?

Four More Questions to Move Toward Positive Change

  1. What prompted you to name your priority for America over the next 5 years?
  2. What feelings do you experience when you consider this priority as something to work towards?
  3. What do you see as being in place right now that could support achieving your vision for this priority issue?
    1. Who are the people involved in working in this area?
  4. What actions could you take to get involved with these people to further your ideas and move forward toward your vision?

Additional Resources

Letters From An American, on the Great Society
Lyndon B. Johnson and “The Great Society”
What Were LBJ’s “Great Society” Programs? | History
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