Pages tagged "Featured Blog"

Young people aren’t the problem with civic participation. We’re the solution.

By Brooke Wells (a former Cities of Service AmeriCorps VISTA member). Reposted from The Fulcrum.

Wells is an Ohio State University graduate who recently completed her time as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Hamilton, Ohio. She is now a city employee.

Recent research paints a bleak picture of young people's participation in civil service.

Just 7 percent of federal government employees are younger than 30 — even though, according to some estimates, millennials will soon make up three-quarters of the country's workforce. The statistics go on: The median age of government employees is three years higher than that of the United States as a whole. More federal tech workers are over 60 than under 35. A growing number of universities report that their public administration students are choosing private-sector jobs.

And beneath all the data is a pervasive sense that trust in public officials is at an all-time low. According to the Pew Research Center, less than 20 percent of millennials trust the government "always or most of the time." Millennials also feel less connected to any one political party: 44 percent of millennials say they are independents, compared to 39 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of baby boomers.

Here’s Your Reminder That Immigrants Really Do Improve Our Lives

By Trace Mitchell. Reposted from

Immigration is looking to play a crucial role in the 2020 election. Donald Trump ran and won the presidency on a platform of increased border security, tighter restrictions on immigration, and the building of a physical wall along the southern border. On the other side of the aisle, repealing section 1325 of the U.S. Code—the portion that makes it a criminal offense to enter the country through improper channels—was a primary issue during the first Democratic debate.

No matter your views on American immigration policy, we should all take time to appreciate the many ways in which immigrants make our lives better on a daily basis.

No, this isn’t an exhaustive list. But these are just below are a few examples of how immigrants drastically improve our great American experiment.

Spaces For Chicago's Black Youth

By Jenna Przybysz. Reposted from Illinois Humanities.

Where did spaces for Chicago’s Black youth go and why have they disappeared? Moreover, what defines these spaces and how have the current Black youth responded to this decline?

These were the guiding questions that fueled the capstone scholars’ research during their three week program. Working closely with members of Honey Pot Performance, guest instructors, librarians, musicians, and archivists, the Capstone scholars unraveled these questions by understanding the long lasting effects of the Great Migration, listening to and learning from different styles and genres of music, and using different methodological approaches, especially archival research.

Diverse people must be in every room where decisions are made

By Debilyn Molineaux and David Nevins. Reposted from TheFulcrum.Us.

As we look to history, it has always been the mystics and scientists, innovators and outliers who saw the future most clearly and acted to push — or call — society forward, to awaken from our slumber of the way things are and envision a better future. The stories of their personal transformation inspire us to be better individually and collectively. With this inspiration, we can and must transform our nation into a more perfect union.

As co-founders of the Bridge Alliance, we are inspired and challenged by the problems facing our country. Our 100 member organizations work daily to protect the ideals of our American Dream so we can create healthy self-governance that has never fully existed before. Our members work to harness the tension of our differences as we enact our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, balancing individual and community needs.

The War on Empathy

Reposted from

Take a look at the meaning of the word empathy. Ruminate on its definition—“the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It is the light by which we may call forth the best qualities of our fellow Americans, and in so doing, call forth the best in ourselves. One would not think this could be controversial. But it is.

There is something subversive in empathy that makes it threatening to certain social status-quos. Most political coalitions are based, to some degree, on the dehumanization of their opponents. Some find empathy to be antithetical to the pursuit of justice. To others, empathy is the virtue of the morally irresolute. In a time when some politicians relentlessly insult their opponents on Twitter while others encourage their supporters to harass opponents in public places, empathy may not always strike everyone as a self-evident good.

It is good to understand why empathy seems to frustrate, disappoint, or even offend its critics, precisely because it is a virtue worth defending.

The poverty of partisan identity

Reposted from (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)

Pritchard is the director of strategic communications for Essential Partners, which fosters constructive dialogue where differences are driven by values, views and identities.

"Unless democratic habits of thought and action are part of the fiber of a people," the American philosopher John Dewey wrote on the eve of World War II, "political democracy is insecure. It can not stand in isolation. It must be buttressed by the presence of democratic methods in all social relationships."

Today, many of our social relationships have been stripped of those methods. Democratic habits are imperiled, if not lost. And many advocates, pundits and politicians point to "identity politics" as the cause.

I Am Probably a Felon, and So Are You

Reposted from Originally posted on

I have never been in jail. I have never been arrested. But I am probably a felon, and so are you. There are so many laws, too many for even the government to count, and the punishment for being a felon is crushing.

Some felonies might sound scarily familiar: taking a sick day when you aren’t sick, telling your friends about a bad company, or getting lost in the woods.

Some of these crimes on the books are simply bizarre. One law makes it a crime to sell “Turkey Ham” as “Ham Turkey” or with the words “Turkey” and “Ham” in different fonts (21 USC §461 & 9 CFR §381.171(d)); another makes it a federal crime to handle a crate full of imported primates without wearing waterproof shoes (42 USC §271 & 42 CFR §71.53(i)(6)(iii)(C)).

Social Media Wasn't Built for Balanced News

By Henry Brechter. Reposted from

Let’s say you live right across the street from a takeout restaurant. Their prices are a bit higher than local competitors, and there are constant rumors of health code violations and mystery meat. But for the sake of speed and convenience, you usually eat there anyway. After all, you’ve got places to be, right?

This routine may seem ignorant or lazy to some. The second-nearest eatery can’t be too far away, and you'd probably be better off if you rolled up your sleeves and made a healthy meal. But just as people opt for sketchy neighborhood takeout over the healthier, less convenient alternative, they quickly fill up on political news and information through social media feeds rather than traditional mediums — even if they know it could be bad for them.

A business leader’s perspective: Why should organizations adopt second-chance hiring?

By Emily Mooney. Reposted from

Jeffrey Korzenik is not your average banker. As the chief investment strategist and senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank, he is in charge of supervising the allocation of over $30 billion in investment assets on behalf of the bank’s clients. In addition to this not-so-meager task, he serves as the bank’s de facto economist.

But what makes Korzenik truly unique is his passion for promoting second-chance hiring—the hiring of individuals with criminal records. “You can’t manage investments well without understanding the economy, and you can’t understand the economy without understanding workforce dynamics.” According to Korzenik, the integration of marginalized workers, including those with criminal records, into the modern labor force is essential for continued economic growth and prosperity.

What Music Can Teach Us About Dismantling Organizational Silos

By Oliver Cenedella. Reposted from

Silos spell trouble, notably for advocates and policy professionals. These teams often get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding and other vital resources, making them especially reliant on other work channels for help and thus especially vulnerable to the operational inefficiencies silos create. In late June, advocates met at the Advocacy Leaders Network to discuss their experience with silos within their own organizations. 

Having spent thousands of hours at the keyboard as a musician, I've found that some lessons learned from performing music can also apply to overcoming silos.

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