Democracy's Good News

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Democracy's Good News

A new series from The Democracy Group


Episode 1: How Teachers Are Creating Future Citizens

Host Jenna Spinelle highlights the positive efforts of individuals and organizations working to build a healthier democracy in our short series, Democracy's Good News.

Today we feature interviews with two civics teachers, Kimberly Huffman and Allison Sheridan, recipients of the 2023 American Civic Education Teacher Award. The teachers share their experiences and perspectives on teaching civics, civil discourse, and civic engagement.

Kimberly Huffman, teaching in Ohio, discusses her personal connection to government assistance, which influenced her decision to become a civics teacher. She emphasizes the importance of civil dialogue, understanding diverse opinions, and appreciating the freedom to disagree in shaping informed citizens.

Allison Sheridan, teaching in Florida, reveals her passion for teaching social studies to combat the lack of knowledge about government among Americans. She incorporates interactive activities and strives to equip students with skills to discuss politics civilly, especially in the age of new technology.

Both teachers express a commitment to empowering students and instilling a sense of political efficacy. The episode encourages listeners to learn more about the movement to strengthen civics education in the U.S. by visiting and participating in Civic Learning Week events.

Episode 2: When Faith and Civics Meet to Strengthen Democracy

Today we feature interviews with three religious organizations. These organizations share their current programs that promote civic duties and community engagement across the country. Harbonim Dror Camp Galil is a summer camp in Ottsville, Pennsylvania. Executive Director David Weiss joins us to discuss their daily programs for campers aged 7-17. These programs include staging protests and holding forums to discussing any topics of their choice, which can range from a later bedtime and more muffins to climate change and gender imbalance.

The Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom has been a part of Reading, Pennsylvania for nearly 160 years. Rabbi Brian Michelson talks about the decision to maintain a polling site on their campus throughout the Passover holiday in Jewish beliefs. He emphasizes the importance of religious observance but also celebrates the American right to express freedom through voting.

The Mormon Women for Ethical Government has a two-part mission, to advocate for ethical governance and empower women to be independent, ethical, and political actors. Co-Executive Director Jennifer Thomas touches on their faith-based values that have guided thousands of members in MWEG’s local chapters across 49 states to serve their local communities one way or another.

These organizations express a commitment to empowering voters, children, and women and encourage involvement in local communities through spiritual values.

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