Youth Civic Education Roundtables
AGE-UP (All Girl Everything Ultimate Program): AGE-UP is an empowerment-based youth leadership and community-building program for teen girls in South Seattle. AGE-UP uses girls’ passion for Ultimate Frisbee as a hook to engage them in long-term intentional work developing leadership skills, critical awareness, healthy habits, and positive identity.
The Mockingbird Society advocates to reform the child welfare system based on the personal experiences of children, youth, and families who are directly impacted by foster care and homelessness. This organization teaches youth about the legislative and administrative processes, provides opportunities for youth to express themselves both orally and in writing, and connects them with key policymakers and advisers to help guide youth-led reforms.
Seattle Youth Traffic Court is the first-ever youth court in Seattle, and the first-ever traffic youth court based at a law school. This youth court is a partnership among Seattle Municipal Court, Seattle University School of Law, Garfield High School, Seattle University Center for Service and Community Engagement, and the Seattle Police Department. Eligible youth who receive traffic citations from the Seattle Police Department may elect to have their cases heard by this youth court consisting entirely of Garfield High School students.
Student Mock Election Program is a program hosted by the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. The Mock Election is a valuable experience designed to establish good voting habits, with the goal that students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to fully participate in our communities, and have passion to do so.
Capitol Classroom is designed to teach how the state legislative process works by involving students directly in it. The primary goal of Capitol Classroom is for students to learn how to participate in and influence the legislative process. In Capitol Classroom, each participating classroom is assigned a lobbyist volunteer for the legislative session. Working with their lobbyist volunteer, each class chooses a bill to either support or oppose during the legislative session.
YTech advances digital inclusion and youth community engagement by providing access to technology, relevant skills-based curriculum and training; as well as opportunities to connect, collaborate and take action. Youth use digital media to tell stories, develop their voice and launch online and in-the-community campaigns that culminate with an action project. Civic Voice participants spark dialogue around current or controversial topics, collaborate with their peers and community members and are empowered to be lifelong civic participants.
Akhil Reed Amar   Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale where he teaches constitutional law. A Legal Affairs poll placed Amar among the top 20 contemporary US legal thinkers. He is the award-winning author of numerous publications and books, including The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction, America's Constitution: A Biography and America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By. The Supreme Court has cited his work in over 20 cases, including the landmark 1998 decision in Clinton v. City of New York, which ruled the presidential line-item veto unconstitutional. http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/AAmar.htm
See Prof. Amar on the Colbert Report
Ai-jen Poo   Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, has been organizing immigrant women workers since 1996. In 2000 she helped start Domestic Workers United, the New York based organization that spearheaded the successful passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. In 2007, DWU helped organize the first national domestic workers convening, out of which the National Domestic Workers Alliance was formed. Ai-jen serves on the Board of Directors of Momsrising, National Jobs with Justice, Working America and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Among Ai-jen’s numerous awards are the Ms. Foundation Woman of Vision Award, the Independent Sector American Express NGen Leadership Award, Newsweek's 150 Fearless Women list and the Time 100 list.
Joan Blades   Co-founder of MoveOn.org, MomsRising.org and LivingRoomConversations.org
Q & A
Eric: Who (or what) inspired you to do the civic engagement work that you are doing now?
Joan: As a mediator I'm very aware that collaborative solutions are dramatically better than adversarial ones. As a founder of MoveOn I've seen how dysfunctional our political dynamics are. I believe deep broad citizen engagement is our best chance to transform the bad dynamics for healthy engagement.
Eric: How do you pass it on?
Joan: All the work I do is done in collaboration with others and I'm working to be inspirational at public speaking.
Eric: What's new and exciting in your work?
Joan: This week I got materials from a group adapting the Living Room Conversations format to structure conversations between mental health patients, their families and health providers. Seeing others take these materials and use them for their purposes is hugely exciting to me.
Annie Leonard   Co-Director, The Story of Stuff Project
Q & A with Annie Leonard
Eric: What inspired you to do the civic engagement work that you are doing now?
Annie: I started out as an environmentalist, concerned about overstressed ecological systems and the fate of our planet and my global neighbors. For years, I thought information would lead to change. If we could better document the problem and educate people, I thought, change would follow. At this point, most people know we’re facing serious environmental threats, yet change is still so elusive. I’ve come to see that it isn’t a lack of information holding us back, but a lack of civic engagement. If the millions of us who care can move from a place of concern to a place of active engagement, we can build the power to chart a more sustainable and just path forward.
Eric: How do you pass it on?
Annie: The Story of Stuff Project makes films, curricula and other tools about complex environmental and social issues so that more people can join the conversation. We freely share it all on our website, storyofstuff.org. The films have been crowd-sourced, translated, incorporated into trainings, shown in public spaces, and have even inspired dance performances on the topics covered. We’ve built a community of about 400,000 people ready to work together for real solutions.
Eric: What’s next?
Annie: We are currently working on our 9th film, The Story of Solutions. After that one, we’re taking a break from filmmaking to focus on community engagement. A diverse and energetic community has grown around our films. We’re excited to exercise our citizen muscles together to build a better future.
Mark Meckler   Founder, Citizens for Self Governance
Mark has owned a variety of businesses, and has served legal clients across many industries including internet advertising law. Mark is a long-time registered “independent” voter and prior to helping launch the grassroots tea party movement, he was not politically active. He regularly brings the Tea Party Patriots perspective to television and news media including MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, and local outlets nationwide. He authored the book Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution. His current focus is on teaching the Founder's concept of self-governance as it relates to America’s modern-day challenges.
Jacob Soboroff   Producer & Host, Huffpost Live
Jacob joined Why Tuesday? in 2006, an organization founded in 2005 to find solutions to increase voter turnout, and was Executive Director from 2007-2012. He is a host and producer for HuffPost Live, a contributor to MTV News' 2012 election coverage and is the correspondent for AMC News and KCET. Jacob co-hosted the NBC series “School Pride”, a reality series that told the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools, and is executive producer and narrator of the AMC original documentary “Committed” (directed by Oscar and Emmy nominee Morgan Spurlock). He has contributed reporting to CNN, NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” and the PBS/Wired Magazine series “Wired Science” and is a member of the associates board of City Year Los Angeles.
Jose Antonio Vargas   Founder, Define American
Award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is the founder of Define American, a new campaign that seeks to elevate our nation’s immigration conversation. In the summer of 2011, Jose stunned the media and political circles with his groundbreaking New York Times Magazine essay, "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant." Born in the Philippines, he emigrated to the United States at age 12. Jose has served as a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, covered tech, HIV/AIDS, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner   Executive Director and Co-Founder, MomsRising
Executive Director and Co-Founder of MomsRising, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner has been deeply involved in grassroots engagement and policy analysis for more than two decades, and is also an award-winning author of books and articles on subjects covering women and families, public policy, motherhood, economic security, equality, health, civic engagement, and new feminism. Started in May 2006, MomsRising is an on-the-ground and online organization with over 1 million members, as well as more than a hundred aligned national organizations, working together to increase family economic security and to help ensure all children can thrive. In addition to being a grassroots force, in both 2010 and 2011, Forbes.com named MomsRising's website one of the “Top 100 Websites For Women.”
Darnell Strom   Executive, Creative Artists Agency
Darnell Strom served as assistant director of scheduling to President Bill Clinton. In 2006, he was asked to create a program that reflected Clinton's vision of engaging the next generation of leaders and philanthropists. In 2007, Strom launched the Clinton Foundation Millennium Network, which, in two years, attracted over 6000 young leaders. Formerly, Strom served as director of the chair's office at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. At the conclusion of the Convention, Strom became the Florida director of operations for John Kerry's presidential campaign. Currently Darnell is an executive at Creative Artists Agency, an entertainment and sports agency headquartered in Los Angeles.
Howard Gardner   Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Q & A with Howard Gardner
Eric: Who (or what) inspired you to do the civic engagement work that you are doing now?
Howard: For many years colleagues and I have been studying good work, particularly in the professions. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the framework that we have developed applies quite well to citizenship. With support from the MacArthur Foundation, my colleagues and I have been studying citizenship and participation on the part of young people in the digital era, and I expect that to be the focus of my remarks at Citizen University.
Eric: How do you pass it on?
Howard: We are still carrying out research but we have already developed a “GoodWork ToolKit” for use with persons across the educational forum and at work, and we have also developed Reflection Sessions that are beginning to be used in a variety of tertiary institutions. Also, a handbook called OUR SPACE for use by educators in secondary school.
Eric: Anything new and exciting in your work that you want people to know about?
Howard: Yes. I’m fascinated by young people, members of the "app generation," and the ways in which some young people blend their online and offline lives together while others segregate them wholly or partially.
Laura Ling   Host & Reporter, E! Investigates
In March 2009, while reporting on the trafficking of North Korean women, Laura Ling was detained by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. She and her colleague, Euna Lee, were arrested and held captive in North Korea for 140 days before being granted a special pardon and returning to the United States. She has since sought to shine a light on the issue of trafficked women as well as bring greater attention to the plight of other imprisoned journalists around the world. In addition, Laura has worked as a series producer for Channel One News. She also served as Vice President of Current TV’s journalism department and created Current’s weekly investigative documentary series Vanguard. Currently, Laura is the host and report on E! Investigates, a documentary series on the E! Network. She is co-author ofSomewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home that she penned with sister, Lisa.
Wendy Spencer   CEO, Corporation for National & Community Service
Wendy Spencer began her duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) on April 9, 2012, shortly after her nomination was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She has a proven track record of nearly 30 years in volunteer management and administration, and she is the first CEO to come to CNCS directly from the field of national service.
Prior to joining CNCS, Wendy served eight years as the CEO of the Florida Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism, commonly known as Volunteer Florida. Wendy received the prestigious 2005 Governor’s Award from Gov. Jeb Bush for her leadership of this effort.
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Wendy to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. And in 2010, she was elected by her peers to chair the American Association of State Service Commissions, the nonprofit association that advocates for 54 state service commissions promoting national and community service across the United States.
Read more at the Corporation for National and Community Service website.
Tony Kushner   Playwright, Screenwriter, "Lincoln"
Q & A with Tony Kushner
Q: What lessons have you learned from working on the Lincoln script?
A: Lincoln was just kind of a miracle worker in terms of finessing almost impossible circumstances and getting a result that he felt that he needed. It was a combination of cunning and ruthlessness — he was sometimes very hard on his friends and asked them to make terrible sacrifices of their own ambitions. The job of the president is both to make the compromises necessary to actually have things happen in a democracy, which means compromising at a slower pace than anybody would necessarily like. At the same time he has to keep telling us where we’re going, what we’re trying to arrive at. And I think that Obama has done an astonishing job of doing that over and over, of reminding us that government is a good thing, and that we share responsibility for one another because without that shared responsibility our own lives are destroyed.
Q: I’ve heard you consider Obama to be a good student of Lincoln.
A: There’s this wonderful thing that John Rawls, the philosopher of law, says, and I think he’s actually quoting an old maxim: that the politician thinks about the next election, but the statesman thinks about the next generation. More than any President than I can remember, President Obama really seems to understand that he’s building something. I think he inherited a situation that’s as desperate in its way as what Franklin Roosevelt inherited. Nothing is as desperate as the Civil War that Lincoln stepped into, but the mess that Obama inherited from the previous administration is as great as anything an American President other than Lincoln has faced.
One of the things it has required of him is a willingness to compromise his own, I would assume, deepest desires in order to keep government functioning, in spite of the unprecedented level of obstruction from the Republican Party. And I think he’s asked the people who support him to understand that maintaining a hold on power and rebuilding a progressive base in the halls of power in Washington for many terms to come. This is very much what Lincoln was faced with. He had to get re-elected, but he also had to keep the border states from seceding. It’s a very mature and difficult understanding of democracy, that democracy isn’t an expression of pure ideals or personal purity, and that the pace of change is sometimes much slower than we would like.
Steven B. Johnson   Author, Future Perfect, Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson is the leading light of today’s interdisciplinary, collaborative, open-minded approach to innovation. His writings have influenced everything from cutting-edge ideas in urban planning to the battle against 21st-century terrorism. Steven was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the TopTen Brains of the Digital Future. He unites a deep understanding of scientific progress with a sharp sensitivity to contemporary online trends. Together, those traits give him an unmatched insight into how ideas emerge and spread and how they affect the world today.
Best selling author of Future Perfect, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air and The Ghost Map.
Steven blogs at stevenberlinjohnson.com.
Gavin Newsom   Lieutenant Governor of California
Gavin Newsom is an author, TV host, former Mayor of San Francisco and current Lt. Governor of California. A visionary on issues of equality, the environment, open source data and healthcare, policies he has initiated have been duplicated in cities around the world. He has recently penned his first book, “Citizenville,” which challenges ordinary citizens to use new digital tools to dissolve political gridlock and transform American democracy. He hosted the “Gavin Newsom Show” on Current TV and is a regularly featured on Meet the Press, Bill Maher and CNN.
Karl Weber   Author & Editor
Karl Weber is a writer and editor who specializes in topics from business, politics, current affairs, history, and social issues. He is particularly interested in exploring the area where business, politics, and innovative forms of activism such as social entrepreneurship overlap. Weber's recent projects include the New York Times number one best seller What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception by Scott McClellan (2008), which Weber edited; and three best-selling companion books to acclaimed films, Food Inc. (2009), Waiting for “Superman” (2010), and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), all of which Weber edited.
Blair Taylor   Chief Community Officer, Starbucks Corporation
Blair Taylor joined Starbucks in July 2012 as their chief community officer, which he describes as a "perfect opportunity to combine my community, public and corporate experience at one organization". In this role, he leads Starbucks efforts to help communities thrive through the company’s community, government relations, diversity, and global responsibility efforts.
Prior to joining Starbucks, Taylor was CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, ranked in the NonProfit Times' Power & Influence Top 50 each of the last two years, a testament to his reputation for being able to forge relationships for the benefit of the community. Since taking leadership in 2005, Taylor created a massive model for social change in South Los Angeles, skillfully engaging stakeholders in entrepreneurial initiatives to address problems facing some of the most underserved and, at times, neglected residents in the city. He also serves as a member of the Starbucks Foundation Board of Directors.
Nick Hanauer   Serial Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Author and Activist
Nick Hanauer is a Seattle-based serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author and activist with a knack for identifying and building transformative business models. Hanauer directs a significant portion of his time to social and policy issues. He coauthored The True Patriot and The Gardens of Democracy with Eric Liu and cofounded the True Patriot Network, a nonpartisan group committed to furthering patriotic ideals. He also cofounded the Washington State League of Education Voters (LEV), a nonpartisan statewide political organization focused on promoting public education, where he serves as co-president.
David Rolf   President, SEIU Healthcare 775NW
Known nationally as an innovative labor leader, David Rolf is the President of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the fastest growing union the Northwest representing 43,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana. He also serves as an International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, the international organization which represents more than 2.1 million workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Rolf, 43, has led some of the largest organizing efforts since the 1930s. He helped organize 75,000 care givers in Los Angles and started the homecare union in Washington. Rolf also helped to create the SEIU NW Healthcare Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust. He helped to spearhead inclusion of the State Balancing Incentive Program (BIPP) into the 2010 Affordable Care Act. BIPP incentivizes states to establish long-term care systems. In addition to his responsibilities with SEIU, Rolf also sits on other boards and steering committees for governmental advisory bodies, political action committees and non-profit organizations.
Eric Liu   Founder, Citizen University
Eric Liu is an author, educator and civic entrepreneur. He’s the author of The Accidental Asian and Guiding Lights and co-author of Imagination First, The True Patriot and The Gardens of Democracy. He is the founder of the Guiding Lights Network, an organization dedicated to promoting great citizenship, and the True Patriot Network, dedicated to promoting progressive civic values. Eric served as a White House speechwriter and the deputy domestic policy adviser for President Clinton.
Eric lives in Seattle, where he teaches civics at the University of Washington and hosts the acclaimed television interview program "Seattle Voices". He serves on the boards of the Seattle Public Library, the League of Education Voters, and the Swedish Medical Center Foundation. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, and a proud Seattle Public Schools parent.
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