Public Policy/Advocacy

AAA Participates in Humanities Advocacy Day

Petitioning Members of Congress for additional funding for humanities-related projects was high on the agenda for AAA member Adrienne Pine (American U), AAA Executive Director Bill Davis and Director of Public Affairs Damon Dozier as they joined over 100 advocates nationwide March 8–9, 2010 to participate in National Humanities Advocacy Day, an annual event designed to promote federal support for research, education and public programs. Pine, Davis and Dozier sought funding increases for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), two agencies that provide crucial support to scholars and educators.

Unfortunately, in recent years both agencies have been woefully underfunded. The NEH, an agency of particular concern to humanities advocates and currently funded at $140 million (FY 2010), plays a critical role in supporting our nation’s infrastructure for humanities education and research. Under the most recent budget submission by the Obama Administration, funding for the agency would be cut by $7.2 million for FY 2011. Pine, Davis and Dozier joined other advocates in asking for a $64 million dollar increase in funding for the agency above FY 2010 funding levels.

March 9th was designated as the day for advocates to meet members of Congress and their staff. Pine and Dozier spoke with staff from the offices of Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL), Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Janice D Schakowsky (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), as well as Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Roland Burris (D-IL). Pine also had an opportunity to meet with staff from the office of Representative Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), and Davis met with offices representing senators serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which provides funding for the NEH.

As in the past, the AAA was a co-sponsor of the event, coordinated by the National

Humanities Alliance (NHA), a non-profit coalition founded in 1981 to advance humanities policy. See www.nhalliance.org for details on NHA activities.