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.... Show More

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August 27, 2020 52 min

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 America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?” Nearly four years later, Baratunde could think of no better spiritual invocation for this show than a conversation with Valarie, the author of See No Stranger. In the premiere episode of this podcast, Baratunde and Valarie discuss the role of love, joy and relationships in reimagining and reclaiming the act of being a citizen.

Show Notes 

We are grateful to Valarie Kaur for helping us give birth to this show.

Buy her book See No Stranger here at our online bookshop for the show that supports local bookstores.

Check out her Revolutionary Love Project; Dive into her curriculum at and follow @valariekaur on Twitter. 

We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at


Take 10-15 minutes to think about the questions below - ideal is to let yourself write down any thoughts that come to mind. It’s not about putting down a single word answer for each. Laying this internal foundation will be important as we start to take actions outward in relationship with others. 

Number 1: What is your super power in our fight to make society better for us all? (voice, pen, bank account)

Number 2: What protects you, and who has your back when things get tough? (law degree, social media feed) 

Number 3: Who is your beloved community, the group of people you connect with most deeply? (show up with you when things get hard)

Number 4: What object or activity will ground and center you, reminding you who you are?

Number 5: Where do you find joy, and how will you protect your joy every day?

We’d love to hear your reflections to one or all of these questions - email us Mention Episode 1 in the subject line. 

We love feedback -

Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests and live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of I Heart Radio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. 

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