America Needs All of Us, Now More Than Ever: Part 1

America Needs All Of Us, Now More Than Ever is a three-part blog series to highlight excerpts of the America Needs All of Us toolkit created by Welcoming America in 2015 to provide practical messaging tools and strategies that address people’s fears, anxieties, and prejudices head on about immigration and demographic changes in America. While the initial focus of this toolkit was on racial equity through an immigration lens, we believe its key messages on unconscious bias, overcoming fear, and racial justice in inclusion work remain more relevant than ever. 

America Needs All Of Us Part 1: Key Principles of Meaningful Messages: 


When discussing difficult topics such as systemic racism and unconscious prejudice with family and community members, it can be difficult to determine the best way to go about getting your message across in a productive manner. 

While the content of your message is important, knowing your audience and framing your message to fit that audience is just as important to getting your point across as your actual message. Thus, it is important to be knowledgeable on the key principles of meaningful messages:

1. Perception is greater than reality: A person’s opinion isn’t based on reality—it’s based on his or her perception of reality. Listen to and accept your audiences’ perceived reality, then craft your messages to resonate with it, and use these new messages to reshape perception.

2. Emotion is greater than logic: Logic supports our emotions and is used to justify our decisions, but research indicates we usually apply logic only after we’ve made our emotional decisions. Logic plays a part in decision-making, but emotion is always the main ingredient. Emotions will get people passionate about your cause. Appeal to your audience’s emotions first and you’ll win them over.

3. Brevity is greater than precision: You don’t need to accurately describe every issue or idea in your messaging. And in a world where we’ve grown increasingly accustomed to sound bites and tweets, you won’t have enough attention to do so. Use the few moments of attention people give you to convey what is essential about the work you’re doing.

4. Values are greater than features. Above everything else, your work is founded on values. Don’t talk up programs and services that may not matter to your entire audience; talk about the core values that animate your work—values that your audiences share.

5. Vibrant language is greater than jargon. Whenever possible, use clear and concise (and emotional!) language to make sure your audience can understand and connect with your message.

6. Actions are greater than magic words: Smart messaging expresses action; messaging isn’t magic, and it can’t take the place of good strategy or execution. Good messaging can’t undo or reverse bad deeds. People can tell if your actions don’t line up with your words.

7. Your audience is greater than you: Chances are, you (and your staff and board) are not the audience you need to influence. You and your closest stakeholders are immersed in the work and already bought in. Your messaging is crafted to help you reach people who are not yet engaged. It needs to resonate with their perspective and answer for them, “So what?”

To read more of America Needs All Of Us, download the PDF here