BridgeUSA CEO Manu Meel: Everyday Americans Have the Power to Make Change

At this year’s National Citizen Leadership Conference, national collegiate civic leadership organization BridgeUSA will bring nearly 50 members and CEO Manu Meel will speak. Meel says one of his passions is investing in the future of our democracy, and building an America where all people have an equal voice. 

Manu Meel is the CEO of BridgeUSA, a national organization working to engage, educate and inspire the next generation of civic leaders. BridgeUSA works to foster spaces of ideological diversity, promoting a solutions-oriented culture and values of empathy and constructive civic engagement. The American Promise value of cross-partisan collaboration to enact large structural reform aligns perfectly with BridgeUSA’s mission to bridge the growing political divide.

Meel will be a keynote speaker at the National Citizen Leadership Conference, Oct. 19-21 in the D.C. metro. At NCLC, 45 BridgeUSA students from across the country will join us to lend their perspectives on how to better engage young people in the work to get big money out of politics, and BridgeUSA representatives will share information and expertise at the organization’s table. 

Below, Meel discusses his views and shares his insights on money in politics.

Why is the issue of getting big money out of politics important to you? 

Reducing the influence of PACs and corporate money in our politics is essential to strengthening our democracy. We cannot claim to have a democracy that is inclusive and equal if our political system is most responsive to the wealthiest. My passion and goal is to amplify the impact of young leaders and invest in the future of our democracy. However, our democracy cannot function effectively with the substantial influence of big money in politics. Money in politics is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue. 

What can citizens do to help get big money out of politics? 

The needle of progress moves forward when leaders, citizens, and activists combine conviction with empathy to drive unified change in our democracy. We must never forget the power and potential of our voices. Ultimately, politics is driven by grassroots activism, and it is most responsive to the loudest voices. Therefore, citizens must advocate to get money out of politics at local, state, and national levels, and build coalitions with businesses and other wealthy influencers to push for a more equal and responsive democracy. 

What most excites you about the future of America where we the people govern? 

I have a lot of hope in our politics because I strongly believe in the power of coalitions and grassroots activism. Even in our divisive political moment, everyday people have the power to make change because the American spirit is one defined by overcoming challenges in the face of overwhelming odds. I am most excited to see a political system where all Americans have an equal voice.

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