14 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 • 1.6K 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 Our Returning Citizens Whole (with Desmond Meade)

    Making Our Returning Citizens Whole (with Desmond Meade)

    Baratunde learns to think about sacrifice and having skin in the game in terms of a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich analogy. Desmond Meade, founder of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), reminds us that to error is human and the need for second chances, and how that reminder mobilized a grassroots citizen’s movement that transcended racial and political lines to restore voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions. 

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Desmond Meade for joining us. 
    Follow on Twitter. You can learn more about the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition at https://floridarrc.com/.
    Find Desmond on Twitter @DesmondMeade or on instagram @DesmondMeade44
    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!
    HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW. ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE. 
    INTERNAL ACTIONS (Actions that help you reflect and explore your emotions and experiences related to these topics or personal actions that don’t involve others)
    Do you know anyone that you love that’s ever made a mistake?
    This is the question Desmond used to erase the lines that separate us, and create a circle of humanity around voting rights restoration. Think about it for yourself. 

    Are you the chicken, the cow, or the pig? 
    According to Desmond, in a ham and cheese omelet, the cow makes a contribution; the chicken makes a contribution; the pig makes a commitment. We need all three. Put another way, what role are you going to play?

    Read Desmond’s Book
    Let My People Vote: My battle to restore the civil rights of returning citizens. Find it in our online bookstore at bookshop.org/shop/howtocitizen. 

    EXTERNAL ACTIONS (Public actions that require relationships and interaction with others) 
    Support the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition
    https://floridarrc.com/volunteer/ Donate or volunteer.

    Find other people to take to the polls
    We’ve said this before, but talk about voting. All the time. On your Zooms. On the bus! While waving to your neighbors. Make sure people you are interacting with have voted or have a plan to vote and then follow up. 

    Spread good news
    Even if the victory is small, tell others. We are drowning in depressing information and uninspiring narratives. Be a part of changing that. Find some good news related to this election or our democracy, and tell everyone! Here’s a great resource: https://www.solutionsjournalism.org/hub 

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    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Returning Citizens in the subject line. And share 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

    • 40 min
    Making Our Presence Felt (with Angela Lang and Quentin Palfrey)

    Making Our Presence Felt (with Angela Lang and Quentin Palfrey)

    Baratunde digs into the feeling of disconnect and neglect felt by the black community in Milwaukee during the 2016 election and learns from Angela Lang, Executive Director of Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC MKE). They are changing what it means to get people politically engaged in their community, and it doesn’t start with knocking on doors, begging for votes two months before an election! Quentin Palfrey also weighs in on how data scientists and lawyers are uniting on the ground to stop voter suppression, especially targeting communities of color. 

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Angela Lang and Quentin Palfrey for joining us. 
    Follow @angela_lang and @blocbyblocMKE on Twitter. You can learn more about the BLOC MKE at https://www.blocbybloc.org/ and in this press piece here. 
    Follow @qpalfrey and @protectthevote on Twitter. You can learn more about Voter Protection Corp at https://www.voter-protection.org/.
    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!

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

    INTERNAL ACTIONS (Actions that help you reflect and explore your emotions and experiences related to these topics or personal actions that don’t involve others)
    What does it mean for your community to thrive?
    This is the question BLOC asks the people of Milwaukee, and we want you to answer it for yourself. Yes, it could be speedbumps. It is probably more. Think about it. Write it down. 
    Real change starts by doing the hard internal work. Let’s keep it up!
    In June, many of us participated in Black Lives Matter protests, posted BLM messages on our instagrams and bought all the books on how to be anti-racist. Have you read the books, continued to share content from organizations, activists, artists, and business owners within the Black community since then? Time to revisit and re-engage. 

    EXTERNAL ACTIONS (Public actions that require relationships and interaction with others) 
    Support BLOC MKE
    As a grassroots organization, they need our support to be able to go deep in engaging their community in and out of election cycles. You can give to their non-partisan or partisan arm at https://www.blocbybloc.org/donations. 
    Volunteer to be a Voter Guardian in Milwaukee. 
    BLOC MKE is training people to monitor the polls for intimidation and are trained to de-escalate situations in lieu of calling the police. You can message them if you’d like to be trained and help ensure people feel free and safe to cast their ballots. Contact them at https://www.blocbybloc.org/contact/ and mention Voter Guardian and How to Citizen in the subject line. 
    Volunteer to be a poll worker. 
    Sign up to be a poll worker through Voter Protection Corp at https://www.voter-protection.org/be-a-pollworker. The more poll workers the better to help reduce long lines. 
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    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Making Our Presence Felt 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.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

    • 57 min
    Making Our Votes Count (with Sherrilyn Ifill)

    Making Our Votes Count (with Sherrilyn Ifill)

    Baratunde speaks with Sherrilyn Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund about the very long history of voter suppression, why it still exists (hint: white supremacy and racism), and the current tactics being deployed for the 2020 election.

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Sherrilyn Ifill for joining us. 
    Follow her at @Sifill_LDF and @NAACP_LDF on Twitter. You can learn more about the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund at https://www.naacpldf.org/.
    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!
    HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW. ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE. 

    INTERNAL ACTIONS
    Become educated on the systems of oppression so you know the roots and how to fight back.
    Two good books to start with for a comprehensive take. 

    Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi

    Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B Wells

    You can buy these books and support local bookstores using our show’s bookshop.org link https://bookshop.org/shop/howtocitizen 
    Understand the Voting Rights Act and how the Shelby decision changed everything. 
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/how-shelby-county-broke-america/564707/
    Make your voting plan.
    Visit www.morethanavote.org to make your voting plan. This is the organization that LeBron James helped start, and they’ve partnered with a number of groups including Sherrilyn and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 
    Also visit https://votesaveamerica.com/plan/ the newly released tool from Vote Save America to get ready with a sample ballot for your area to plan your voting so you can be EFFICIENT at the voting booth. 

    EXTERNAL ACTIONS
    Find out the EXACT requirements of mail-in or absentee ballots in your state and share them so every vote is counted.
    The requirements and directions for voting by mail differ by state. Some require signatures by a witness on the outside of the envelope along with the witness’s address and your signature. Some require using two envelopes when mailing them back. Get the details from a trusted source or from the ballot itself and remind people to triple check these details!
    Be a democracy team captain.
    Take the lead in making sure at least three people you know vote. Follow up with them often until they have voted. Ask each one to do the same!
    Compile key information about voting and vote by mail for your state. Then simplify the directions for those you are taking responsibility for, and share resources with them. Here are two comprehensive and easy to understand sites summarizing the steps for each state: 


    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/  


    https://votesaveamerica.com/states/ 


    Finally, offer to provide a witness signature for the mail-in ballot envelope if that’s required, or offer to deliver their ballot to the drop-off location if they are unable to do so themselves.
    Support the polls.
    Bring water, masks, gloves, umbrellas, and other supplies to share with people waiting in long lines to support the polls. If you’re an artist, consider bringing your talents to the public as people wait in line. They will love you for it. 
    ------------------------------------------------------
    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Making Our Vote Count in the subject line. Also share 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.
    Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.

    • 40 min
    Making Our Voices Heard (with Maria Teresa Kumar)

    Making Our Voices Heard (with Maria Teresa Kumar)

    Baratunde speaks with Maria Teresa Kumar, President of Voto Latino, about the power in numbers of Latinx voters and the work of relationship-building for this moment. Maria shares stories of what effective government looks like and its impact on the lives of the Latinx community. 
    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Maria Teresa Kumar for joining us. 
    Follow @mariateresa1 and @votolatino on Twitter. You can learn more about Voto Latino at https://votolatino.org/.
    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!

    HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW. ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE. 
    INTERNAL ACTIONS (Actions that help you reflect and explore your emotions and experiences related to these topics or are personal actions that don’t involve others)
    Prepare yourself emotionally. This year, we have an election season, not an election day. And we may not know the result for several days or even weeks after November 3rd.  
    Make a plan to vote and start acting on it NOW.
    If you haven’t voted yet, make your plan now. Figure out how you’re going to vote, and who you’re voting for. Plan this like it’s the biggest date of your life. 
    If you can, vote early and in-person. It is still the most ideal way to vote in this election.
    A great resource with state-by-state information is at whenweallvote.org. Check it out then confirm your voting rules and deadlines with your county elections office. 
    If you plan to vote by mail (also called absentee voting in states like Wisconsin), make sure you are registered, and then VERY CAREFULLY follow the directions on how to submit your ballot. 
    Adopt a swing state and help get out the vote.
    You can phone bank or text with others organizing in battleground states - we don’t believe it is even partisan anymore to help to ensure Biden wins since Trump is no longer interested in preserving or leading a democracy. 
    Go to https://votesaveamerica.com/states/#battleground-states to learn more and sign up. 

    EXTERNAL ACTIONS (Public actions that require relationships and interaction with others) 
    Make, “have you voted?” the new “how are you?” in your conversations. 
    Check in with the people you care about. Ask them if they plan to vote or have already voted. This is healthy peer pressure.
    Once you’ve voted, let EVERYONE know (more subtle and not so subtle peer pressure on social media!) 
    Post the “I voted” sticker on your IG grid and ask others to do the same by tagging folks and using hashtag #ivoted #howtocitizen
    Volunteer with a friend to be a poll worker. 
    Because of COVID-19 and the older age of most poll workers, we have a severe shortage of poll workers in many parts of the U.S. Visit powertothepolls.org and consider becoming a poll worker yourself or encouraging people you know to volunteer. More poll workers means faster voting means more people get to exercise their power.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Making Our Voices Heard 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

    • 38 min
    Building Bridges, Not Walls

    Building Bridges, Not Walls

    Baratunde ignores the headlines about Chicago and heeds a listener’s advice to learn more about the South Side from a local artist who is building bridges in her community and literally helping people find common ground. Tonika Johnson helps us understand the pride that comes from being a Chicagoan and the root causes of today’s community struggles grounded in segregation and discrimination. Through her Folded Map Project, she is a perfect example of using art as a way to citizen.
    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Tonika Johnson for joining us. 
    Follow @TonikaJ on IG. You can learn more about The Folded Map Project at https://www.foldedmapproject.com/. 
    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.

    Internal: (actions that help you reflect on your own emotions, opinions, and experiences regarding a particular issue)
    Find your fold, as Tonika says. 
    Whether you live in Chicago or not, there is a dividing line exacerbating racial and class segregation in our lives, and we want you to find it. 
    First, reflect on your own neighborhood, and digitally identify and write down the following:

    The food you enjoy and the restaurants you support

    The neighborhood cultural institutions and local artists you appreciate

    The local businesses you depend on: grocery, bookshops, dry cleaners, etc.

    The local library and any programming it offers that you’re into

    The local news sources you rely on


    Now, think about a neighborhood you hear about in the news that is in your city, but that you may not visit because it’s “bad” or “undesirable” or because it’s too nice and inaccessible to you. 

    For that neighborhood, use the internet and social media to get to know it outside of media headlines using the questions below: 

    For the food you enjoy, find a restaurant in that neighborhood that you’d want to order from.

    Find and follow two local artists and one cultural institution to follow on social.

    Find and follow three local businesses that match the type you frequent in your neighborhood.

    Check out the corresponding library website and follow them on social media.

    Find one neighborhood news source from that neighborhood. Maybe there’s a podcast, online weekly, or social media account devoted to telling stories of that community.


    We want you to become a better citizen of your neighborhood and your whole city. 

    BONUS:
    Listen to these two episodes of This American Life called “House Rules” that examine segregation in the U.S. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/512/house-rules 
    Explore the history of redlining in your US city. This project by the Digital Scholarship Lab a the University of Richmond let’s you examine the New Deal HOLC (Home Owners’ Loan Corporation) maps which set the stage for so much segregation that persists to this day. https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=4/40.592/-104.228 

    EXTERNAL: (actions that are public and require you to interact with or join others in your community)

    For Chicago residents, use the Folded Map action kit to find your map twin. Submit your results. All this is at https://www.foldedmapproject.com/submit
    If you know an educator, share the the story - https://www.foldedmapproject.com/video and sign up for more info on the curriculum currently in development.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Bridges, Not Walls 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 upcomin

    • 1 hr 7 min
    “Let the Kids Lead” - Youth Power in Action (with Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins)

    “Let the Kids Lead” - Youth Power in Action (with Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins)

    Baratunde calls out the adults that say, “The kids will save us,” but then underestimate or don’t support kids’ efforts to participate. Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins, leaders at Civics Unplugged, share a new kind of movement and organization that is setting a vision for the future of democracy in 2030 and showing us what Gen Z leadership can look like right now.

    Show Notes + Links
    We are grateful to Josh Thompson and Zoë Jenkins for joining us. 
    Follow @joshuatthompson on Twitter or @civicsunplugged on IG or Twitter. You can learn more about Civics Unplugged at https://www.civicsunplugged.org/. 
    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!

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

    Writing exercise! Inspired by Civics 2030 program at Civics Unplugged, complete the following to start your journey as a Civics 2030 Builder:

    To me, a flourishing democracy is one…

    To me, a flourishing community is one… 

    By 2030, I pledge to have contributed to the flourishing of the following communities:

    By 2030, I pledge to have played any, many, or all of the following roles in service of creating a brighter future for my communities and American democracy

    After developing your own vision and pledge, check out these two pieces from the Civics Unplugged community for more ideas and inspiration: Why We Must Save American Democracy and What American democracy could look like in 2030



    EXTERNAL:

    Identify any young people in your life who you could support and then ask them what they are working on and how you can help.

    Nominate high school students or encourage them to apply to the Civics Unplugged fellowship and spread the word. https://www.civicsunplugged.org/apply


    Get involved as a mentor or partner in supporting Builders and the Civics 2030 Campaign. https://www.civicsunplugged.org/plug-in


    (BONUS!) Find your favorite Drake meme or parody and share it with someone who will enjoy it! 


    If you take any of these actions, share that with us - action@howtocitizen.com. Mention Kids will Lead 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

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
1.6K Ratings

1.6K Ratings

KareninaAK ,

A must listen

This pod is like a glass of cool water in the middle of the desert.

Kat Shananigans ,

Empowering, informative, personal and national

This show is eye-opening and informative. It guides personal examination and local activities that can lead to national change and improvement of our society.

g a b r i e l l e 🌺🌙✨ ,

mindful and informative

i cannot help but admire every guest brought into this podcast, they’re all so wise and knowledgeable. as well as baratunde himself. it’s nice to hear some positive news and have the ways we can improve our country explained in a non-confusing way. to everyone who is giving this podcast a negative review and saying it’s “leftist propaganda” it’s not. it’s facts, it’s what’s actually happening in the world and this podcast is offering solutions that we haven’t tried yet. we need “radical thinking” because what we have right now isn’t working for america. the constitution was not written with BIPOC or other minorities in mind, they weren’t considered people, and now thats changed, and that means that the laws and foundations of this country have to change too.

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