Citizen University TV launches with lessons in civic power

Guest post by Eric Liu

I’m the founder of Citizen University, which works with activists, educators, and catalysts from all around the country to teach the skills and values of powerful citizenship. In my travels, I meet so many people who want to make a difference, who want to improve our politics and civic life, but who don’t know where to start or how to make things happen. Not everyone knows how power works in civic life. But everyone should. That’s why we’ve launched Citizen University TV — to share stories, skills, and strategies of citizen action.

Each episode, we’ll explore a different dimension of civic power, using case studies drawn from Seattle and around the country. I’ll frame up each episode with some ideas, and then you’ll meet the everyday activists, people just like you, who are organizing, advocating, and changing laws in inspiring ways.

This show fulfills one of the core purposes of Citizen University: to democratize understanding of how power works. And it enables us to showcase the leading role that Seattle plays in the country as a seedbed of citizen-driven change and activism.

There are many things I’m excited about as we launch this show. First, it’s a thrill to bring the work of Citizen University to more people and to present it in a new medium. Our partners at the Seattle Channel are experts at creating programming that is engaging and creative, and I’m honored to be working with them as we craft this show.

Second, I’m excited to meet some of the people who are making things happen in the community. In our first episode, I sit down with Estevan Muñoz-Howard, one of the leaders of the “democracy vouchers” initiative on the ballot last fall. I ask him how he and his team were able to enact this first-in-the-nation campaign-finance model and what lessons we can all learn from the process. And in future episodes, I can’t wait to meet more people wielding civic power in their communities, and to share their stories with you.

Third, I’m looking forward to hearing from you. I invite you to share your questions and thoughts, what you want to learn about civic power, and how it applies to your own lives. Already on the first show, we have some great questions sent in via Twitter for a social media segment that we’ll include in each episode. I encourage you to join the conversation! Tweet @SeattleChannel with the hashtag #CitizenUTV or e-mail contact@seattlechannel.org, and I’ll answer your questions on air.

I hope you will enjoy the first episode of Citizen University TV. Watch online anytime. Let’s become powerful citizens together!