Planet Word was founded in our nation’s capital on purpose. Where else should a national museum of words and language be located? Our nation was built on words, on the Declaration of Independence, on a written Constitution, on the Bill of Rights, on the soaring words inscribed on the many monuments and memorials adorning our national mall.
But as our nation watched with horror at the murder of George Floyd, it made those foundational words and promises ring terribly hollow. We were left to pray that calm words – although anguished ones – would prevail over ugly words urging violence in response to vileness.
Now we know how much work and healing remain ahead of us. Callous words of misunderstanding and divisiveness need to be erased. The time has come for us to engage in a renewed civil discourse – to hear words that heal, share words that unite, and wield words that propel much-needed updates to landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
At Planet Word we will provide a forum for such civil discourse and a place where our community, in all its vibrant diversity, can gather to share the words that bridge differences and forge solutions. We know that words will never be enough, but they are certainly the necessary precursors to action and progress.
As we move forward to a better tomorrow, let’s hold before us these powerful words: Black lives matter, words matter, change, together, choose, love.
—Ann Friedman, founder, Planet Word