Eliminating the Humanities

Executive Director Julie Ziegler on the report that President Trump plans to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.


By now you have likely heard the report that President Trump plans to recommend elimination of National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts funding.

People are already speaking out on social media and online petitions have begun to circulate, but they are a mere whisper of the monumental backlash that is to come. Are you ready?

Contrary to the beliefs of some, the humanities do not reside merely in ivory towers. Humanities programs—backed by federal dollars—flow into small-town libraries, tiny cultural centers, and hometown fairs and festivals from Port Angeles to the Palouse. We know because that’s where Humanities Washington does the majority of its work: not in big cities, but the rural, coastal, and mid-sized towns from inland Washington to the coast. We reach communities without universities or cultural hubs, but who are excited to come together to learn about, discuss, and debate our shared history and future. Everyone deserves access to thought-provoking, cultural programs that build community. To dismantle the Endowments would put these community-building efforts at significant risk and further polarize our country.

We hope we can count on you to fight for cultural programs in our communities. For children. For seniors. For new immigrants. For communities of color. For veterans. For ALL OF US.

Since they were founded 50 years ago, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts have, through involvement at the most grassroots levels, touched nearly every American. They are not a luxury. They are not a partisan issue. The humanities enable us to learn about and tell the stories of our communities and our nation.

In the coming weeks, when the time is right, we will ask you to advocate. We will give you the talking points, and simply ask that you help spread the word. We have supported the people of Washington State for 43 years, and we’re hopeful you will support us in return. Stay tuned and get ready.

Julie Ziegler

Executive Director, Humanities Washington