By Eric Liu
Eleven years ago, I wrote a book called “Guiding Lights” for which I traveled around the country interviewing inspiring leaders in many fields about how they came to be doing what they are doing, what mentors they had, and how they plan to pass on their knowledge. After I published the book, I didn’t want to stop, and thought it would be great to continue having these conversations with the people who shape the life of this city. Thus Seattle Voices was born. No matter how busy my life has gotten over this past decade, I always looked forward to sitting down with a new guest, and having an in-depth, face-to-face conversation. The people I have met and talked to on Seattle Voices have been a constant source of inspiration, and a living example of one of my guiding principles: “Society becomes how you behave.” The educators, business leaders, artists, activists, and citizens on Seattle Voices have made our city and our region what it is today by their ingenuity, their creativity, and their passion.
It is with immense gratitude that I wrap up over eleven years hosting Seattle Voices, thankful for the work of the whole team at Seattle Channel, for the guests who shared their work and life stories, and for all those who have watched over the years. Whether you were a regular viewer, or you stumbled on us once while flipping channels, thank you for taking the time to learn a bit more about your city and those who make it the incredible place that it is.
Though I didn’t exactly expect to find this when I started out, nearly every conversation on Seattle Voices came back to citizenship. Whether they realized it or not, each of these movers and shakers in our city has contributed by taking an active civic role in their community. It is this fact that has led to my next collaboration with Seattle Channel, and the show that we will launch in early 2016: Citizen University TV. I am so excited to be deepening our partnership with Seattle Channel, as my organization, Citizen University, teams up with the station to create this new program. It will be a monthly show where I will teach lessons and skills of civic power, using case studies from right here in our community.
After over a decade at the little, black table, Citizen University TV will see me on my feet and in the community. We’ll be experimenting with a live studio audience, with field pieces highlighting work in the community, and with different modes of teaching and engagement. I can’t wait to share it with you.
For now though, I invite you join me for a look back at a small sampling of the many fascinating interviews from eleven years of Seattle Voices in our farewell show. And I encourage you to continue the conversations with your own friends and neighbors, and add your own voice to the conversation of what it means to live and work as a citizen of Seattle.
Eric Liu is the host of Seattle Voices. He is an author and the CEO and founder of Citizen University.