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Building Civic Strength: New Hampshire Community Conversations With Laura Knoy

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What’s at the heart of civic strength? What can we do to best prepare ourselves and our youth to take on the responsibilities of participation in a democratic society? On March 15, NH Civics along with NHPR will kick off a series of candid conversations about the meaning of citizenship today. The programs will be held around New Hampshire with a diverse panel of guest speakers hosted by Laura Knoy. Attendees can choose to join in person or virtually for a live discussion about how New Hampshire's people and communities can act now to build back our civic strength.

The events will be produced as special hour-long broadcasts to air on NHPR at a later date.

"NHPR is proud to be partnering with NH Civics to facilitate these community conversations,” said NHPR President & CEO Jim Schachter. “This is an important initiative, fully aligned with NHPR’s strategic vision of the role we want to play in promoting civic knowledge and engagement in the state. You can see that focus in the work of our newsroom daily and in projects like Civics 101, our podcast that examines how our democracy works.”

“Over the past few years, as Coronavirus continues to upend all aspects of our lives, we find ourselves in an increasingly polarized climate,” said Martha Madsen, Executive Director of NH Civics. “We’ve been seeking out diverse ways to reconnect with community, redefining what active citizenship looks like, and bringing people together to talk about crucial questions – how we live and problem-solve together.”

NH Civics is the only organization in New Hampshire focused on teaching civics to all ages. Their free-of-charge programs and resources help people understand how democracy works, how to find the facts, and how to be good and active citizens.

Public trust in state and national government has declined dramatically over the last 10 years, as civics education slipped out of most school curricula. The Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election has been seen as a measure of the decline in civic literacy.

Conversations with panelists will cover a variety of topics exploring the complexities of American life today, such as:

  • What is difficult about understanding and carrying out responsible citizenship today?
  • How does a person become an engaged community member?
  • What can we do to strengthen and heal our communities?
  • What does active citizenship look like today?
  • How can each of us facilitate change within our community? 

Locations include:

  • March 15 at the Franklin Opera House,
  • April 5 at Franklin Pierce University, Rindge,
  • April 19 at the Nashua Public Library
  • May 3 at the Rochester Opera House, and
  • May 17 at the Berlin City Hall.

Attendees can choose to attend in person or virtually. Events are free, but registration is required.

Sign up and find out more at NHPR.org/events.

Invited panelists include:

  • Jo Brown, Mayor of Franklin, 
  • Dr. Dottie Morris, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Keene State College, John Greabe, UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, Professor of Law
  • Hannah McCarthy, co-host of Civics 101, 
  • Betty Tamposi, former Republican State Representative, Bush administration Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Melanie Levesque, former Democratic State Senator, business owner, 
  • Bruce Mallory, NH Listens Co-founder, Co-Author of the NH Civic Health Index, 
  • Lovey Roundtree Oliff, Exeter Select Board member, 
  • Anthony Poore, NH Humanities former Executive Director, 
  • Mallory Langkau (Groveton Middle High School teacher, DAR NH History Teacher of the Year), 
  • Aaron Blais (Exeter High School), 
  • Chris Brooks (Souhegan High School), and 
  • David Alcox (Milford High School). 

Each discussion will also include youth and young people from the community.

Based on current COVID guidelines, attendees at in–person events will be required to be masked during the program.

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