Guest Column by Katherine Murphy
New Cultivating Civic Conversations session starting!
Sundays, April 10 – June 12, 2022. 3-4pm Pacific Time.
Registration is now open for the the Cultivating Civic Conversations About the State of Our Democracy—Spring 22 learning Community. This free, 10-week seminar is open to the public and offers participants an opportunity to step back and use a “beginner’s mind” when discussing civic education and engagement. If we want to encourage our friends, coworkers, and family to participate in our democracy, then sometimes we need a fresh approach—one that makes fewer assumptions about what “everyone knows” about our history and government
The seminar uses the LWVWA’s elementary civics textbook, The State We’re In: Washington, as the anchoring framework. This book is available online for free or in paperback; ordering information is included in the registration materials.
The course creator and facilitator, Katherine Murphy, adds content from diverse sources to expand each week’s discussion. The Sutra Spaces discussion platform is used to manage and keep all the group materials in one place. Sutra is a private company and free of advertising.
Prior to each week, participants read/listen to/watch assignments from the textbook, podcasts, or videos. Each week’s assignment has up to 25 pages of text to read and a podcast to listen to (there is usually a transcript) as well as reflection questions to consider. The assignments typically take about two hours. The Zoom sessions are one hour and include additional content as well as discussion.
Participants in previous Cultivating Civic Conversation sessions have said:
- “This excellent class opened my mind and my heart to new ways of learning and thinking about our country’s history and acting to address injustice.”
- “I am astounded at how much I learned and the resolve I now have to make a positive difference.”
- “It’s been an eye-opening journey into our history – a history I was never fully taught long ago in school…”
Katherine Murphy (Kittitas County LWV) and Wende Sanderson (Skagit County LWV) invented the Cultivating Civic Conversations (CCC) program to meet the need expressed by community and League members who want “to learn how everything works in government.” Since that is a tall order, we decided to use a seminar format and tackle one theme at a time because we believe that it easier to learn, grow, and thrive in community of learners. Research shows that long-term civic engagement is built on personal one-on-one connection and we focus on this approach.