As Outreach Manager for American Promise, Wambui Gatheru helps rally Americans across the nation and of all political stripes to engage in the citizen-led movement to get big money out of politics by passing the 28th Amendment to the Constitution—asserting that political representation is for people, not wealthy special interests.
A Connecticut native who is passionate about bringing together people of a wide array of backgrounds, Wambui says working to advance the 28th Amendment aligns with her personal goal of “having a country that works for the many, not the few.” Read on to learn more about Wambui’s work, and why she believes the 28th Amendment is the issue of our time.
Why is American Promise’s work important to you? Getting big money out of politics helps level the political playing field. In our current system, where donors, lobbyists and the ultrawealthy have more access and sway over our elected officials, marginalized groups are the most excluded in the political process. The 28th Amendment moves our country closer to political equality, where one’s voice is heard through civic action, not by donations.
Why do you encourage people across America to join the movement to promote the 28th Amendment? Winning a 28th Amendment is the issue of our time. Getting big money out of politics can help us create a foundation for the many types of reform so many Americans care about. At our 2018 National Citizen Leadership Conference, Senator Nina Turner said, “for all that we love—that is why we fight for this Amendment,” and I couldn’t agree more. Big money has washed out the voice of the everyday citizen. The 28th Amendment will help us be a better country.
What are your primary responsibilities as Outreach Manager? My role as Outreach Manager is to bridge the gaps between organizations, groups, public figures and movements all working to improve our world in some way. This issue of getting big money out of politics is so foundational so many other causes folks are fighting for daily and it’s my job to educate and invite these groups into the conversation about the 28th Amendment and see how we can work together to strengthen this movement. Daily, I speak to people in various organizations working for environmental policy, gun control, anti-corruption groups, and so many others that all recognize that big money has thwarted their efforts in some way and understand that in order to create lasting change, we need to fix the underlying issue.
Why do the young people you meet across America care about this issue? Although not a monolith, young people know political representation is important. The passage of the 28th Amendment ensures political representation is based on civic participation and the merits of ideas, not donations or nepotism. We want a country where people are able to speak about their experiences, run for office and make policy that benefits people, not corporations. Young people know that without getting big money out of politics, so many other issues we care about as a generation—the environment, access to affordable healthcare, gun control, higher education loans—can’t be fixed. These issues can only be addressed when big money’s influence is silenced by the 28th Amendment.
What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the American Promise team? I hope to empower and bring together Americans across different backgrounds to win this amendment. This is an issue that so many of us agree on but not enough of us talk about, so I aim to bring awareness to more people and organizations so this becomes a central issue for all.
Why is it important to you to empower citizens to help make change in our nation? This isn’t about elected officials, it’s about harnessing civic engagement for the greater good of democracy. We are a country ruled by the consent of the governed, and because of that it’s our responsibility as thoughtful citizens of a republic to participate and monitor the state of our democracy. When we win the 28th Amendment, it will be the result millions of Americans stepping up and flexing their civic muscles to stand up for our nation.