Many of us feel disconnected, disheartened, or anxious about the state of our country. At the same time, we feel glimmers of hope for the possibility of a better future. Gathering together, reckoning with others, and committing to live like citizens are key ways to build civic muscle.
That’s why Civic Nebraska hosts Civic Saturday – a national phenomenon inspiring Americans to become more powerful and active citizens. The next virtual gathering will be from 11 a.m. to noon CDT on March 27 on Zoom.
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Civic Saturdays began in Seattle in 2016 and are loosely modeled on a faith gathering. They feature song, poetry, readings, and a “civic sermon,” as well as opportunities for participants to engage during small-group discussions. The gatherings have since spread around the country and are the subject of the book Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy by founder Eric Liu of Citizen University.
Civic Nebraska has hosted Civic Saturdays in Nebraska since 2019.
“Civic Saturday is a space to gather as friends and strangers to nurture a sense of shared purpose in our democracy,” said Steve Smith, Civic Nebraska’s director of communications. “We gather in civic community, are inspired and encouraged to reflect and connect around American ideals and our role in upholding them, and create new civic traditions that are joyful and communal.”
The theme of March 27’s gathering is “Patriot Acts,” and will examine the unique nature and challenges of American patriotism. Music selections will be performed by Ariel Merivil of Lincoln and original poetry by Matt Mason, the state poet of Nebraska.
Smith, a writer, mentor, and community advocate, will deliver the “civic sermon.” Smith is a 2020-21 Civic Saturday Fellow with Citizen University.
Civic Nebraska hosts Civic Saturdays every other month throughout the year. The next gathering will be in May, with plans to return to in-person gatherings at some point in 2021.
“Whether in-person or virtually, it’s vital for people across Nebraska and the nation to connect in a discussion about how to live as powerful, responsible citizens and how to inspire our neighbors to do so as well,” Smith said.