100 episodes

The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.

Town Hall Seattle Civics Series Town Hall Seattle

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0 • 11 Ratings

The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.

    305. Marion Nestle with Dr. Jim Krieger: It’s Never Too Late To Begin

    305. Marion Nestle with Dr. Jim Krieger: It’s Never Too Late To Begin

    By the time food politics expert Marion Nestle obtained her doctorate in molecular biology, she had been married since the age of nineteen, dropped out of college, worked as a lab technician, divorced, and become a stay-at-home mom with two children. That’s when she got started.
    In her new memoir, Slow Cooked, Nestle reflects on how she achieved late-in-life success as a leading advocate for healthier and more sustainable diets. Recounting how she built an unparalleled career at a time when few women worked in the sciences, she shares how she came to recognize and reveal the enormous influence of the food industry on our dietary choices.
    Slow Cooked charts her astonishing rise from bench scientist to the pinnacles of academia, as she overcame the barriers and biases facing women of her generation and found her life’s purpose after age fifty. Nestle’s personal story is sure to be deeply relevant to everyone who eats, and anyone who thinks it’s too late to follow a passion.
    Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University and author of a wide range of books about the politics of food, nutrition, health, and the environment.
    Jim Krieger, MD, MPH is Executive Director of Healthy Food America and Clinical Professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health. He previously worked for 25 years at Public Health – Seattle & King County as Chief of Chronic Disease Prevention.

    Slow Cooked: An Unexpected Life in Food Politics
    Third Place Books

    • 1 hr 2 min
    304. Anya Kamenetz with Bonnie J. Rough: How the U.S. Has Failed to Put Children First

    304. Anya Kamenetz with Bonnie J. Rough: How the U.S. Has Failed to Put Children First

    Over 49 million children attend public school in the United States, with over 52,000 of them here in our Seattle Public Schools alone. The U.S. public school system guarantees every child in every city, town, and rural area in the country, a warm, safe place to grow and learn.
    While public schools in the U.S. have been around for well over 150 years, the onset of COVID-19 dramatically interrupted this long-standing institution. Tens of millions of students lost vital support — not just classes, but food, heat, and physical and emotional safety. The cost was enormous.
    But this crisis began much earlier than 2020, argues Anya Kamenetz, a longtime education correspondent for NPR. In her recent book, The Stolen Year, she exposes long-running shortcomings that led to the plight of children and families in American life. Kamenetz follows families across the country as they live through the pandemic, facing loss and resilience: a boy with autism in San Francisco who gains a foster brother, and a Hispanic family in Texas that loses a member to COVID, and finds solace when they need it most.
    Kamenetz also explores how we got to this point: how the U.S. thrusts children and caregivers into poverty, over-polices families of color, and relies on mothers instead of on infrastructure. She believes that the government, in failing to support children through this tumultuous time, has stolen years of their lives, and calls for a national reckoning to put children at the center of decision-making. While the pandemic may have disrupted our public school system, Kamenetz maintains hope that it can be the beginning of a much better future for children and their families.
    Anya Kamenetz has covered education for many years, including for NPR, where she also co-created the podcast Life Kit: Parenting in partnership with Sesame Workshop. Kamenetz is the winner of numerous awards, including the National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association (2009, 2010, and 2015), an Edward R. Murrow Award for innovation, along with the rest of the NPR Ed team (2017), the AERA Excellence in Media Reporting on Education Research Award (2022), and several others. Kamenetz is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction books: Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006); The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing, But You Don’t Have To Be (Public Affairs, 2016); and The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life (Public Affairs, 2018), and others. She has appeared in several documentaries and is a frequent speaker on topics related to children, learning and technology. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
    Bonnie J. Rough is a Seattle-based author, journalist, and parent educator whose most recent book is Beyond Birds & Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids about Sex, Love, and Equality, a groundbreaking inquiry into how we teach our children about bodies, sex, relationships, and equality. Inspired by modern lessons from the world-famous Dutch approach, Bonnie’s work on topics such as teaching consent, raising kids without sexual shame, LGBTQ+ allyship, childhood crushes, and how comprehensive sex ed underpins social justice has appeared in numerous media outlets including NPR, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Salon, and KUOW Seattle. Explore at www.bonniejrough.com.6

    The Stolen Year: How COVID Changed Children's Lives, and Where We Go Now (Hardcover)
    Third Place Books

    • 1 hr 3 min
    303. RepresentUs: Protecting Our Nation for Future Generation

    303. RepresentUs: Protecting Our Nation for Future Generation

    Are you are frustrated with the political dysfunction our country is experiencing? From unresponsive and unrepresentative government that fails to tackle our largest problems, to extremists undermining free and fair elections, it is easy to be very pessimistic about our country and its politics. There is a way forward.
    Please join Joshua Graham Lynn, co-founder and CEO of RepresentUs, who will take you through a fast-paced presentation that lays out how critical this moment is for our future, and what can be done to preserve the sanctity of our elections, restore American democracy, and protect our nation for future generations. Josh will outline a promising effort to help ensure that every vote is cast and counted, extremism is thwarted, sanity returns to our political process, and how you can help. Get excited and intrigued by what you hear and leave the evening with a sense of hope.
    RepresentUs is a strictly nonpartisan, highly effective group with a winning track record building the movement to make transformative changes to our political system, and protect our democracy.

    • 57 min
    302. Anand Giridharadas with Naomi Ishisaka: Progressive Change Through the Art of Persuasion

    302. Anand Giridharadas with Naomi Ishisaka: Progressive Change Through the Art of Persuasion

    It can be said that the lifeblood of any free society is persuasion: changing other people’s minds in order to change things. But what happens when people increasingly write one another off instead of seeking to win one another over?
    Journalist and Town Hall alumni Anand Giridharadas contends that America is suffering a crisis of faith in persuasion that is putting its democracy and the planet itself at risk. Debates are framed in moralistic terms, with enemies battling the righteous. Movements for justice are building barriers to entry instead of on-ramps, he argues, and political parties are focusing on the mobilization of the faithful rather than wooing the skeptical.
    In Giridharadas’ new book The Persuaders, he takes us inside these movements and battles, seeking out the dissenters who continue to champion persuasion in an age of polarization. He introduces us to a leader of Black Lives Matter; a trailblazer in the feminist resistance to Trumpism; white parents at a seminar on raising adopted children of color; Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; a team of door knockers with an uncanny formula for changing minds on immigration; an ex-cult member turned QAnon deprogrammer; and Russian operatives clandestinely stoking Americans’ fatalism about one another.
    As the book’s subjects grapple with how to call out threats and injustices while calling in those who don’t agree with them (but one day, just might), they point a way to healing — and changing — a fracturing country.
    Anand Giridharadas is the author of the international best-seller Winners Take All, The True American, and India Calling. A former foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times for more than a decade, he has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Time, and is the publisher of the newsletter The.Ink. He is an on-air political analyst for MSNBC. He has received the Radcliffe Fellowship, the Porchlight Business Book of the Year Award, Harvard University’s Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanism in Culture, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
    Naomi Ishisaka is the Assistant Managing Editor for Diversity and Inclusion and the Social Justice Columnist for The Seattle Times. She is an award-winning journalist and photographer who focuses on racial equity and social justice. Her writing and photography have appeared in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, City Arts, ColorsNW Magazine, Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald and other publications. Ishisaka is a frequent speaker at media workshops and community events, and is on the board of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Seattle chapter.


    The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy (Hardcover)
    Elliott Bay Books

    • 1 hr 21 min
    301. Ruha Benjamin with Jazmyn Scott and Vivian Phillips: How We Grow the World We Want

    301. Ruha Benjamin with Jazmyn Scott and Vivian Phillips: How We Grow the World We Want

    Can the choices you make on a daily basis transform society? Sociologist and Princeton professor Dr. Ruha Benjamin thinks so, and has the research to support the idea.
    Dr. Benjamin’s groundbreaking research on race, technology, and justice spanned years and focused primarily on larger, structural changes. But the scourges of COVID-19 and anti-Black police violence inspired Dr. Benjamin to rethink the importance of small, individual actions. Her new book Viral Justice offers a sweeping, deeply personal exploration of how we can shape our world through the choices we make on a daily basis.
    Part memoir, part manifesto, Dr. Benjamin vividly recounts her personal experiences and those of her family, showing how decisions that might otherwise go unnoticed can have great impact — even on an exponential scale. Through stories about her father’s premature death, her brother’s experience with the criminal justice system, and her own challenges as a young mother navigating an inequitable healthcare system, Dr. Benjamin shines a light on both the devastating impacts of chronic racism and the passions and strengths of communities driven to demand justice.
    Born of a stubborn hopefulness, Viral Justice offers a powerful and practical vision of how small changes can add up to large ones, transforming people’s relationships and communities while inspiring them to build a more just and joyful world.
    Ruha Benjamin is an internationally recognized writer, speaker, and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is the founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. She is the award-winning author of Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code and editor of Captivating Technology, among many other publications. Her work has been featured widely in the media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Root, and The Guardian.
    Vivian Phillips, Founder and President of the non-profit organization ARTE NOIR, is a communications professional and arts leader. Vivian’s professional history includes service as the Director of Communications for a Seattle Mayor, Director of Marketing and Communications for Seattle Theatre Group, Seattle University Adjunct Professor (MFA Arts Leadership), television, radio, and live performance producing, public speaking, and numerous arts and strategic communications projects. She served as the Chair for both the Seattle Arts Commission and 4Culture, and co-founded The Hansberry Project and the Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District.
    Jazmyn Scott, ARTE NOIR Executive Director, comes to Arte Noir as a long-time advisor and community organizer. For the past six years, she led programming and community partnerships for LANGSTON Seattle, where she was the organization’s first employee. Her leadership at LANGSTON catalyzed the development of new programs that engaged a wide range of local and national performing artists. Jazmyn is also the co-curator of 50 NEXT: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide interactive experience, which includes music from Seattle and Northwest Hip-Hop artists displayed at the Museum of History and Industry. Jazmyn’s community connections are extensive, and she currently serves as board vice president for Earshot Jazz and The Residency and sits on several community arts advisory boards.

    Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want (Hardcover)
    Third Place Books

    • 1 hr 9 min
    300. Cody Keenan with Marcus Harrison Green: Putting Words in the President’s Mouth

    300. Cody Keenan with Marcus Harrison Green: Putting Words in the President’s Mouth

    What is it like to be the mouthpiece for the President of the United States? You or I may have found ourselves stressed about writing an essay or sending a letter, but imagine having to craft sentences that the entire nation — and much of the world — will hear.
    Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America is the latest release by Cody Keenan, Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter. The book features an account of what were arguably the ten most dramatic days of the presidency: the Charleston church massacre, the fate of marriage equality, the outcome of the controversial Affordable Care Act, to name a few. In response to these events, Keenan composed a series of speeches in rapid succession to contend with these and other challenges — all while facing additional pressures to consistently please the POTUS with his writing.
    Grace explores not only the political, but the personal as it paints an intimate picture of White House insiders like Valerie Jarrett, Ben Rhodes, Jen Psaki, as well as the speechwriting team who worked together during this historic stretch during the Obama administration. The writing takes readers behind the scenes, revealing personal details and retracing the rhetorical tightrope walked by the first Black president, culminating with the unforgettable and unprecedented: President Obama’s stunning act as he took a deep breath and led the country in a chorus of Amazing Grace.
    This event will be a testament to the power of words: how they help shape the character of our country, and how they are capable of bringing a nation together — or tearing it apart.
    Born and raised in Chicago, Cody Keenan rose from a campaign intern in his hometown to become chief speechwriter at the White House and Barack Obama’s post-presidential collaborator. A sought-after expert on politics, messaging, and current affairs, he is now a partner at leading speechwriting firm Fenway Strategies and teaches a popular course on political speechwriting to undergraduates at his alma mater Northwestern University. Cody lives in New York City with his wife Kristen and their baby daughter Grace.
    Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald and a columnist with The Seattle Times. Growing up in South Seattle, he experienced first-hand the impact of one-dimensional stories on marginalized communities, which taught him the value of authentic narratives. After an unfulfilling stint in the investment world during his twenties, Marcus returned to his community with a newfound purpose of telling stories with nuance and complexity with the hope of advancing social change. This led him to become a writer and found the South Seattle Emerald. Marcus was the Northwest African American Museum’s inaugural James Baldwin Circle Fellow in 2022, honored by the King County Library System Foundation as a Literary Lion, and awarded the Seattle Human Rights Commissions’ Individual Human Rights Leader Award for 2020.

    Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America (Hardcover)
    Third Place Books

    • 1 hr 1 min

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