At a time of increasing isolation and political turbulence, rekindling people’s faith in the power they hold as 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 – back to Nebraska this month.
The virtual gathering, which will focus on the theme of “Reclaiming We,” will be from 11 a.m. to noon CDT on YouTube Live.
Civic Saturdays began in Seattle in 2016 and are loosely modeled after a faith gathering. They feature song, poetry, readings, and a “civic sermon” about the importance of civic engagement, as well as opportunities for participants to engage during small-group discussions called Civic Circles.
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 their founder, Eric Liu of Citizen University. Civic Nebraska hosted the state’s first Civic Saturday in December 2019; more in-person Nebraska gatherings had been planned before COVID-19 concerns moved them into virtual space.
“Whether in person or online, Civic Saturdays provide a space for participants to deliberate the values and practices of being a contributing member of civic life in the United States,” said Steve Smith, Civic Nebraska’s director of communications. “The power of Civic Saturday is that it gives participants the tools, inspiration, grounding, and connection to engage powerfully as citizens.”
Music selections will be performed by Jimmy Steinauer of Omaha and original poetry by Shayla Salinas-Sadowski of Lincoln. Smith, a writer, mentor, and community advocate, also will deliver the “civic sermon.” Smith is a 2020 Civic Saturday Fellow with Citizen University.
Finally, small-group discussion – via Zoom for this virtual gathering – will allow community members to engage with one another over a relevant question brought forth during Civic Saturday. Overall, the gathering serves as a reminder that all of us can work together to claim ownership of and improve our communities.
Civic Nebraska plans future virtual Civic Saturdays, including a gathering in mid- to late October.
“We’re looking forward to hosting community conversations and inspiring reflection on what it means to ‘live like a citizen,’” Smith said.