How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.

Episodes

August 20, 2020 3 min

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. With humor and empathy, Baratunde explores societal topics that affect us all, speaks with people using their relationships and power for the benefit of the many, and offers audience members ways to participate. With so much media focused on what is wrong with our society, this show focuses on what is right and ho...

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Baratunde lays the spiritual foundation for the show. His first guest, Valarie Kaur, activist and author of See no Stranger, helps us go inward to ready our hearts and minds for How To Citizen. Welcome to the show! 


In December 2016, activist, lawyer, and Sikh faith leader Valarie Kaur, asked this question in her Prayer for America: “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our Ame...

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Baratunde shares the four pillars of How To Citizen. Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, schools us on power - what it is, who has it, and how the practice of citizenship is empty without this literacy. They also discuss how this power needs to be coupled with civic character to prevent us from becoming finely-skilled sociopaths. Eric answers questions from the live audience and Baratunde gives you some ways to practice unders...

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Baratunde builds off the last episode of his previous podcast, We’re Having a Moment. He speaks with two esteemed guests, Dr. Phil Goff, who works directly with police departments around the country, and Zach Norris, who works with communities, about ways we can reclaim public safety that don’t always need to involve the police.


Show Notes + Links

Find Phil @DrPhilGoff and visit Center for Policing Equity and @policingequ...

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Baratunde learns about mutual aid and local, distributed approaches to feeding ourselves during this time of crisis. José Andrés, chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen, speaks about the power of food to build community, and his belief that we can indeed feed ourselves with dignity in this moment if we have the political will to do so. Two representatives of the LA Community Fridge movement tell us about how neigh...

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Baratunde explores how, in the absence of national leadership, determined, newly-minted leaders are problem-solving and mobilizing people around them to protect and save lives during this pandemic. Danielle Allen breaks down what has ACTUALLY been happening with regional leadership and how she stays hopeful in the work of protecting all of us during this pandemic. Emergency medicine physician, Dr. Amy Aminlari, shares her experienc...

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Baratunde wonders what today’s labor movement looks like and how workers are responding to the unprecedented consolidation of corporate power across all industries from tech to agriculture to retail. He learns how our economy and our democracy are impacted by these extremes. Saru Jayaraman speaks to the Davida and Goliath power dynamics in the restaurant industry, the origins of the $2.13 per hour minimum wage for tipped workers, a...

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In this bonus episode, Baratunde follows up on an audience member’s question asked during the live taping of Ep 06 “Making Work Work for Everyone.” How can independent contractors or freelancers find their collective power to address issues they face as self-employed workers? What would that look like? Baratunde speaks with Mathieu Young, a creative freelancer based in Los Angeles who straddles all the employment labels from self-e...

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Baratunde calls out the adults that say, “The kids will save us,” but then underestimate or don’t support kids’ efforts to participate. Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins, leaders at Civics Unplugged, share a new kind of movement and organization that is setting a vision for the future of democracy in 2030 and showing us what Gen Z leadership can look like right now.


Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins ...

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Baratunde ignores the headlines about Chicago and heeds a listener’s advice to learn more about the South Side from a local artist who is building bridges in her community and literally helping people find common ground. Tonika Johnson helps us understand the pride that comes from being a Chicagoan and the root causes of today’s community struggles grounded in segregation and discrimination. Through her Folded Map Project, she is a...

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Baratunde speaks with Maria Teresa Kumar, President of Voto Latino, about the power in numbers of Latinx voters and the work of relationship-building for this moment. Maria shares stories of what effective government looks like and its impact on the lives of the Latinx community. 

Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to Maria Teresa Kumar for joining us. 

Follow @mariateresa1 and @votolatino on Twitter. You can learn more ab...

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Baratunde speaks with Sherrilyn Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund about the very long history of voter suppression, why it still exists (hint: white supremacy and racism), and the current tactics being deployed for the 2020 election.


Show Notes + Links

We are grateful to Sherrilyn Ifill for joining us. 

Follow her at @Sifill_LDF and @NAACP_LDF on Twitter. You can learn ...

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Baratunde digs into the feeling of disconnect and neglect felt by the black community in Milwaukee during the 2016 election and learns from Angela Lang, Executive Director of Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC MKE). They are changing what it means to get people politically engaged in their community, and it doesn’t start with knocking on doors, begging for votes two months before an election! Quentin Palfrey also weighs in ...

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Baratunde learns to think about sacrifice and having skin in the game in terms of a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich analogy. Desmond Meade, founder of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), reminds us that to error is human and the need for second chances, and how that reminder mobilized a grassroots citizen’s movement that transcended racial and political lines to restore voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians with past f...

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Baratunde wrestles with how to handle rising political violence in the U.S. by learning from a leading steward of strategic nonviolent action. Jamila Raqib, executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution, shares lessons on the superiority of nonviolent approaches to change, options for defending democracy against authoritarianism, and tips on what to do if a certain head of state refuses to leave office. Hypothetically. 

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Baratunde reflects on Election Day and contemplates the record set this week for positive COVID cases recorded in a single day. He speaks to his trusted source for all things pandemic response, Dr. Michael Osterholm, and learns about the "pandemic of kindness" that Dr. Osterholm hopes will be more contagious than the virus in the coming weeks. Dr. Osterholm shares how he keeps moving forward despite the dire facts, and he w...

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Baratunde ends Season One focused on the state of our relationships, a key pillar of how to citizen, and thus the health of our society after the most contentious election in modern history. In conversation with world-renowned relationship expert, Esther Perel, they discuss how to repair relationships in this moment, and how choosing to listen and humanize each other is not only how to citizen, but enlightened self-interest.  

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How do we wield our collective power for the many, not just the few, in order to live together even with our differences?

We feel the dangerous divisions within our democracy daily: the pandemic response, racial oppression, and political violence. In season two of How To Citizen with Baratunde, we focus on ground zero for these divisions: money, capitalism, and the economy. In a time of radical economic inequality, how do we citizen...

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In Season One we asked ourselves, what does it mean “to citizen”? How do we show up and stand up for our community? Coming off the heels of January 6th, 2021, Baratunde starts Season Two by taking a step back with the question, “How can we citizen with so much division?”. In this episode, we speak with author and filmmaker Astra Taylor who takes us back to ancient Greece and reveals how our political and economic rights are deeply ...

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This week, author Heather McGhee breaks down the driving force of American economic exclusion via the swimming pool. Baratunde asks Heather about all she has learned traveling across the country to write her book, The Sum of Us. They explore the roots of wealth inequality, the true cost of racism, and why Americans have a zero-sum worldview - meaning progress for some must come at the expense of others.

Guest: Heather McGhee - write...

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