Practicing "I have a dream" and schools of citizenship

boyte_mlkBy Harry C. Boyte

Today, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, I’ve been thinking about the March on Washington and how much its citizenship message is relevant.

In the summer of 1963, my father, Harry George Boyte, went on staff of King’s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. At his urging I hitchhiked across the country, arriving in Washington the day before, August 27, 1963, on my way to Duke as a freshman in the fall. I lay in a sleeping bag on the floor of his hotel room. Early in the morning, I heard King’s booming voice in a nearby room, practicing “I Have a Dream.” Continue reading

Jane Addams School youth learn from neighborhood elders

bakermuralStudents from the Jane Addams School for Democracy, a program founded in part by staff from Augsburg’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship, have been organizing around issues in their neighborhood—the West Side of St. Paul—for many years. This past year, a group of teens took on the issue of racism, especially as it affects new immigrants in the community. In the process of meeting neighborhood elders and sharing a meal, the youth learned a surprising lesson.

With a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Legacy Campaign, the students carried out an intergenerational project to produce a permanent piece of art at the Baker Community Center, home of the Jane Addams School. Continue reading

A Preamble Movement

boyte_preambleHarry C. Boyte is the co-director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on organizing theory and practice at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and is in demand as a keynote speaker with faculty, students, and professionals.

Americans this election season are in an angry, anxious mood that defies easy labels. As Joel Klein describes in a Time cover story based on conversations across the country, “People told personal stories and made complicated arguments that didn’t fit neatly into their assigned political categories.”  Continue reading

Center for Democracy and Citizenship moves to Augsburg

cdc_announcementAugsburg College announced Friday that Center for Democracy and Citizenship, an organization with a reputation across the globe for innovative thinking about public engagement, will become affiliated with the College, effective July 1, 2009.

The Executive Committee of the Augsburg College Board of Regents approved the move this morning. Led by co-directors Harry Boyte and Nan Skelton, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship has been part of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

The Center for Democracy and Citizenship’s work is grounded in the belief that a healthy democracy requires everyone’s participation, and that each of us has something to contribute. This work builds on a long tradition of people of all ages working together for the common good. Continue reading