7 episodes

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.

How To Citizen with Baratunde iHeartRadio

    • How To
    • 3.5 • 1.5K Ratings

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.

    Making Work Work for Everyone (with Saru Jayaraman and Michelle Miller)

    Making Work Work for Everyone (with Saru Jayaraman and Michelle Miller)

    Baratunde wonders what today’s labor movement looks like and how workers are responding to the unprecedented consolidation of corporate power across all industries from tech to agriculture to retail. He learns how our economy and our democracy are impacted by these extremes. Saru Jayaraman speaks to the Davida and Goliath power dynamics in the restaurant industry, the origins of the $2.13 per hour minimum wage for tipped workers, and the progress of One Fair Wage. Michelle Miller of CoWorker.org reimagines how we can be agents of our economy instead of objects in the economy. 
    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Saru Jayaraman and Michelle Miller for joining us for this episode. 
    Follow @sarujayaraman and @michelleimiller on Twitter and their organizations onefairwage.com and coworker.org
    You can find this episode, a transcript, show notes and the full set of actions at https://www.baratunde.com/how-to-citizen-episodes/06-making-work-work
    Please show your support for the show in the form of a review and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords!

    HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW. ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE.

    INTERNAL ACTION:
    Reflect on your role as a worker in the context of the larger economy and ask these questions:

    Is the value I create for people in my community, society, or the environment through my work accurately reflected in how I’m compensated?

    What are the impacts on society and our collective well-being when corporations consolidate power through the court system and our elected officials?

    As a worker, do you feel represented and protected by your HR department? Why or why not? 

    If you experienced your employer violating your rights or others, are you familiar with what resources are at your disposal and generally how the law works in order to appropriately deal with the situation?


    EXTERNAL ACTION: 
    As a consumer, ask questions about worker’s pay and healthcare at the restaurants you frequent to let management know you care. Enough people asked for organics, and alternative milks, which led to change! 
    Download the ROC National Diners Guide to find places to dine that support and protect their workers. Encourage your own local restaurants to join the platform. The app is available for iOS and android. 
    Support Organizing Efforts.

    Join as a worker or ally member of Restaurant Opportunities Coalition United in the fight for worker protections for restaurant workers. 

    Donate or volunteer with One Fair Wage COVID Relief Fund


    Apply or donate to the NEW! Coworker.org Solidarity Fund


    Start a consumer-driven campaign on SpendRise using the demands outlined by One Fair Wage as one example. 


    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Making Work in the subject line. And brag online about your citizening on social media using #howtocitizen. 
    We love feedback from our listeners - comments@howtocitizen.com. 
    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.
    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of I iHeart Radio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Fight COVID With Everyone And Everything You Know (with Danielle Allen and Dr. Amy Aminlari)

    Fight COVID With Everyone And Everything You Know (with Danielle Allen and Dr. Amy Aminlari)

    Baratunde explores how, in the absence of national leadership, determined, newly-minted leaders are problem-solving and mobilizing people around them to protect and save lives during this pandemic. Danielle Allen breaks down what has ACTUALLY been happening with regional leadership and how she stays hopeful in the work of protecting all of us during this pandemic. Emergency medicine physician, Dr. Amy Aminlari, shares her experience standing up a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) operation and finding community. 
    We have an abundance of wealth and resources in this country, and yet, it has come down to very local and regional cooperation based on existing networks of trust. In this episode, we continue to learn how individuals with varied backgrounds are showing up to fight, leaving their comfort zones, and using the power of their voices, knowledge, and relationships to ensure no one is left unprotected. As our guest, Danielle Allen, put it in her recent Washington Post op-ed, “There is only one real silver bullet. It’s called grit. This is a can-do country, and our determination to beat the disease is our ultimate weapon.”
    Show Notes + Links
    Follow Danielle @dsallentess on Twitter and Amy’s efforts at @sandiegoppe on IG and national PPE efforts at @lastmileworks and @getusppe on IG. 
    Find this episode, a transcript, show notes at https://www.baratunde.com/how-to-citizen-episodes/06-fighting-covid
    For this episode, here is what you can do
    INTERNAL: 
    Make a list of the ways you’ve helped others since March 2020. Write it down. 
    Which efforts were easy and why? Which ones stretched you or were out of your comfort zone. Why did you do them if they were uncomfortable? Don’t overlook your contributions just because they seemed easy or obvious. After you’ve made the list, look at it and recognize that you’re already citizening. 
    Reflect on how else you can use who and what you know to make a difference during the pandemic. 
    What additional knowledge or relationships do you have that could uniquely benefit your immediate community in the fight against the pandemic? “Community” could be your friends, family, neighbors, church or civic group, or another interest group. What introductions can you make that might be beneficial? 
    EXTERNAL: 
    Support other “Amy’s” in your community.
    Think of other examples of people around you who are practicing how to citizen during this pandemic. Whether those efforts are big or small, how can you support them? 
    Start a civic circle as a way to connect purposefully with friends during this time. 
    Set aside an hour on Sunday mornings or afternoons to organize an ongoing civic video call with some of your nearest and dearest to discuss ways to get involved, share notes and passions, and think collectively about the power you have to take action. Connecting with others to discuss civic actions that ensure the wellbeing of all can be a new kind of church or brunch depending on your preference. Yes, we miss brunch too!
    Dig deeper by checking out the report Danielle Allen helped author. 
    It lays out what we need to invest in to strengthen our democractic culture. See the 31 recommendations, and discover what you are most equipped to help with and where your passion lies. Make a commitment to get involved in that recommendation locally.
    We love feedback from our listeners - comments@howtocitizen.com. 
    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.
    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeart Radio Podcasts. Executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at

    • 58 min
    Feeding Ourselves Our Way (with Chef José Andrés)

    Feeding Ourselves Our Way (with Chef José Andrés)

    Baratunde learns about mutual aid and local, distributed approaches to feeding ourselves during this time of crisis. José Andrés, chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen, speaks about the power of food to build community, and his belief that we can indeed feed ourselves with dignity in this moment if we have the political will to do so. Two representatives of the LA Community Fridge movement tell us about how neighbors are feeding neighbors and learning more about each other in the process. 
    While COVID has exposed the fragility of so many systems including how we eat, we look at two approaches to feeding ourselves that are largely outside the realm of government action and funding, both anchored by local community action, and provide new ways to address the food crisis in America.

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to José Andrés and Liana Sanchez and Katelan Cunningham, volunteers with LA Community Fridges.
    Follow @ChefJoseAndres on Twitter and @lacommunityfridges on IG and their linktree here. 
    We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at howtocitizen.com.
    Please show your support for the show in the form of a review and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords!

    ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE, HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO
    Internal Action:
    Internalize the idea of mutual aid versus charity by reflecting on these questions.

    Is it easy for you to ask your neighbors for help? Why or why not? 

    Think of a time when someone tried to help you and had good intentions, but missed the mark because they didn’t listen. How did that make you feel? Did you tell them they missed the mark in meeting your need? Why or why not? (Hint: your response often relates to power dynamics in a relationship).

    Think of a time when you asked for help from someone you knew and that you had supported in the past. Was it easy or hard to receive from them?

    If your brother or sister was in need, would you prefer giving to a charity to help them or supporting them directly?


    Explore more about mutual aid during this pandemic here and here. 

    External Action:
    Look into whether your neighborhood could benefit from a Community Fridge or some other mutual aid project depending on what your community needs.
    These two guides, here and here, will help you get started. Please note, this is a mutual aid model! So if you find yourself wanting to set up a top-down nonprofit or collect funds to operate or structure the work, your efforts are not aligned with mutual aid. Please read more in the links above about how mutual aid works. 
    Lend your voice to make sure the bipartisan The FEED Act becomes law.
    Under this proposed law, local, state, and tribal governments would be allowed to contract with restaurants and nonprofits to distribute meals using existing FEMA disaster funds. It is a bipartisan bill - introduced in the Senate by Kamala Harris and Tim Scott and introduced in the House by both parties!! But it’s stuck. We want you to help unstick it.
    Call the U.S. Capitol main number to reach your elected officials -- (202) 224-3121-- or dial their offices directly after identifying them online. Here are some tips on how to call Congress, and here are the House and Senate versions of the bill.
    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Feeding Ourselves in the subject line. And brag online about your citizening using #howtocitizen. 

    We love feedback from our listeners - comments@howtocitizen.com. 
    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.
    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde

    • 55 min
    Keeping Us Safe, Beyond Policing (with Dr. Phil Goff and Zach Norris)

    Keeping Us Safe, Beyond Policing (with Dr. Phil Goff and Zach Norris)

    Baratunde builds off the last episode of his previous podcast, We’re Having a Moment. He speaks with two esteemed guests, Dr. Phil Goff, who works directly with police departments around the country, and Zach Norris, who works with communities, about ways we can reclaim public safety that don’t always need to involve the police.

    Show Notes + Links
    Find Phil @DrPhilGoff and visit Center for Policing Equity and @policingequity on social media.
    Find Zach @zachwnorris and at zachnorris.com. Visit Ella Baker Center, and @ellabakercenter on social media. Also grab his book, We Keep Us Safe here.
    Find this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at howtocitizen.com. Please rate and review this podcast and share feedback at comments@howtocitizen.com. Use #howtocitizen on social media. 
    For this episode, here is what you can do.
    INTERNAL ACTIONS
    It starts with you. Explore your own relationship to feeling safe and living among your neighbors. Answer some of the following questions for yourself AND in discussion with at least one other member of your community.

    What do you need to feel safe in your community?

    What makes you feel unsafe in your community?

    How do you get to know your neighbors?

    When was the last time you made eye contact with someone in your neighborhood?

    When was the last time you talked to one of your neighbors?

    What can neighbors do to keep each other safe?

    Has a neighbor ever made you feel unsafe? What happened and what would have made it better?


    Don’t look away. Get educated on how policing works where you live.

    How much of your city and county budget go to police. What percentage is this of the total? What rank is police expenditure among top spending categories?

    Who runs law enforcement in your area? City? County? Sheriff? Chief? Who has hire/fire authority? 

    What is your most local access to law enforcement? Where is the nearest station or precinct? 

    Who is already working on public safety issues where you live? 

    Identify who is responsible for and makes public safety decisions where you live and find out which positions get voted in. 

    When is the next election for these positions in your community and who is running?


    Good neighbors don’t just call the cops. Know who you call instead of the police.

    Create a resource you can keep on hand or enter into your phone that looks like this great example from DSMNTL IG account for Washington, DC. 

    Bonus: Create these alternative number guides physically and digitally and share them widely with your neighbors, local businesses, and online. 

     
    EXTERNAL ACTIONS
    Work with local groups to help get new policies enacted that we know work.

    Read Dr. Phil Goff’s Center for Policing Equity Roadmap for Exploring New Models of Funding Public Safety. It’s been requested by over 950 communities, and now people locally are starting to implement the roadmap themselves.

    Lend your voice to CampaignZero by supporting its nation-wide campaign to end police violence. You can track state legislation on their homepage to see progress.

    Join or create an event as part of the Night Out for Safety and Liberation on  October 6. If you don’t feel comfortable going to or hosting a physical event, host a discussion with your family or online with community based on the NOSL discussion guide.



    Be a supportive bystander and report police interactions.
    Download the Mobile Justice App (created in 2015 by the ACLU to help people report on police interactions). According to the ACLU, it is completely within a US citizen’s Constitutional rights to record interactions with the police. *Note that if you do film a crime, you may become a key witness as a part of an investigation. 
    Share your answers with us. Send and email to action@howtocitizen.com. Include “public safety” in the subject line.
    And if you liked what you heard here, please share the show,

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Democracy Means People Power, Literally (with Eric Liu)

    Democracy Means People Power, Literally (with Eric Liu)

    Baratunde shares the four pillars of How To Citizen. Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, schools us on power - what it is, who has it, and how the practice of citizenship is empty without this literacy. They also discuss how this power needs to be coupled with civic character to prevent us from becoming finely-skilled sociopaths. Eric answers questions from the live audience and Baratunde gives you some ways to practice understanding and using power.

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Eric Liu for coming on the show and schooling us on power.
    Buy his books here at our online bookshop for the show that supports local bookstores. Check out Citizen University for more tools for how to citizen and follow @ericpliu on Twitter. 
    We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at howtocitizen.com.

    ACTION FOR THIS EPISODE, HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO
    External Action:  
    Start or join a club. Practice power by being in relationship with others in a self-organized environment. 
    Interacting with a group of people who are self-organized around a shared interest but who may be very different from you otherwise, allows you to experience and practice being a part of how groups of people make decisions, self-govern, be accountable to each other, negotiate different needs and perspectives, collaborate, and resolve conflicts. Because it is all self-selected, the dynamics are more peer-to-peer, mimicking how we work together as members of society as opposed to a work or family environment.
    Internal Action:
    Practice seeing and understanding power. 
    It will literally become your “super-power” as a citizen. 

    Pick an issue that you care about that impacts a specific community or the general public.

    Who benefits from the current state of things, and who doesn’t?

    Lastly, how are the decisions about this issue made - is there accountability, transparency, and participation by those most affected?

    Who influences the decision-making process and what types of power do they use?


    If you took either action or both, share with us what happened or how you felt - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Episode 01 in the subject line.

    We love feedback from our listeners - comments@howtocitizen.com. 
    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of I Heart Radio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. 
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

    • 59 min
    Prelude: Revolutionary Love is How to Citizen (with Valarie Kaur)

    Prelude: Revolutionary Love is How to Citizen (with Valarie Kaur)

    Baratunde lays the spiritual foundation for the show. His first guest, Valarie Kaur, activist and author of See no Stranger, helps us go inward to ready our hearts and minds for How To Citizen. Welcome to the show! 

    In December 2016, activist, lawyer, and Sikh faith leader Valarie Kaur, asked this question in her Prayer for America: “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?” Nearly four years later, Baratunde could think of no better spiritual invocation for this show than a conversation with Valarie, the author of See No Stranger. In the premiere episode of this podcast, Baratunde and Valarie discuss the role of love, joy and relationships in reimagining and reclaiming the act of being a citizen.

    Show Notes 
    We are grateful to Valarie Kaur for helping us give birth to this show.
    Buy her book See No Stranger here at our online bookshop for the show that supports local bookstores.
    Check out her Revolutionary Love Project; Dive into her curriculum at SeeNoStranger.com and follow @valariekaur on Twitter. 
    We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at howtocitizen.com.

    ACTION FOR THIS EPISODE, HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO
    Take 10-15 minutes to think about the questions below - ideal is to let yourself write down any thoughts that come to mind. It’s not about putting down a single word answer for each. Laying this internal foundation will be important as we start to take actions outward in relationship with others. 
    Number 1: What is your super power in our fight to make society better for us all? (voice, pen, bank account)
    Number 2: What protects you, and who has your back when things get tough? (law degree, social media feed) 
    Number 3: Who is your beloved community, the group of people you connect with most deeply? (show up with you when things get hard)
    Number 4: What object or activity will ground and center you, reminding you who you are?
    Number 5: Where do you find joy, and how will you protect your joy every day?
    We’d love to hear your reflections to one or all of these questions - email us action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Episode 1 in the subject line. 

    We love feedback - comments@howtocitizen.com. 
    Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests and live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844.

    How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of I Heart Radio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. 
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
1.5K Ratings

1.5K Ratings

JosinaBK ,

Honest and on-time

This podcast brings some of the smartest, most active thinkers and doers together to examine how to make the average American the most powerful citizen they can be. Witty, engaging, and relevant, Baratunde knows how to get us in line and keep us on-point.

woodsorm ,

Amazing Podcast!

One of my new favorite podcasts!

AllTheWordGames! ,

Learning to Citizen

This has quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. If you’re looking for an answer to the question “What can I do?” Start here. I have enjoyed each of the interviews, and I have found the internal and external actions suggested at the end of each episode so helpful. Thank you, Baratunde!

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