Civic Saturday: Nurturing a spirit of shared purpose

The city’s first-ever Civic Saturday will be from 10:30 to noon Dec. 7 at The Bay, 2005 Y St. The event is free and open to the public.

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At a time of political unrest, rekindling people’s faith in the power they hold as ordinary citizens is more important than ever. That’s why Civic Nebraska is bringing Civic Saturday – a national phenomenon inspiring Americans to become more powerful, active citizens – to Lincoln.

The city’s first-ever Civic Saturday will be from 10:30 to noon Dec. 7 at The Bay, 2005 Y St. The event is free and open to the public. Walk-ins are always welcome to join in – but we’d suggest you reserve a seat. Click here.

Civic Saturdays began in Seattle in 2016 and are modeled after a worship service. Instead of religious lessons, however, Civic Saturdays feature a “sermon” about the importance of civic engagement. They also feature music and small-group discussions. Civic Saturdays have since spread to more than 30 cities in the United States and are the subject of the book Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy by their founder, Eric Liu of Citizen University.

Lincoln’s Dec. 7 “civic sermon” will be delivered by fellow Nebraskan Brian Smith. Smith, of Omaha, is a writer who explores how people relate to created systems and encourages Nebraskans to take a more active role in public life. He is a certified “civic seminarian” through Citizen University. Local residents will lead songs, poems, and other activities.

With small-group discussions, Civic Saturdays also allow community members who may have different views to engage with one another. Overall, the event will serve as a reminder that, despite holding different views, all of us can work together to improve our communities. 

“Civic Saturday is a real opportunity to gather with all sorts of community members in Lincoln and beyond to remind us what that shared civic spirit is,” said Amanda Barker, Civic Nebraska’s deputy executive director and head of Civic Health Programs. “Especially in the midst of a potentially divisive election cycle, it’s important to gather and focus on what’s more alike than different.”

Learn more about the history of Civic Saturday here. And then, get ready for a great morning at The Bay! We’re looking forward to seeing you.

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Pocket Democracies rely on moral certitude and ideological purity and force us to do citizenship backward. We must break free of this trap, Steve Smith told our Civic Saturday participants on Oct. 17, 2020.

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