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Episode Guest: Richard A. Gephardt, Founder of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement

About the Guest: Richard A. Gephardt is President and CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs. Mr. Gephardt served for 28 years in the United States House of Representatives (from 1977 to 2005), representing Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District, home to his birthplace of St. Louis. He was elected to serve as House Democratic Leader for more than 14 years, as House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995, and Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003. In his role as Leader, Mr. Gephardt emerged as one of the leading strategists of the Democratic Party’s platform and chief architect to landmark reforms in healthcare, pensions, education, energy independence, and trade policy.

Mr. Gephardt established an endowment for the Gephardt Institute for Public Service  (now the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement) in 2005. He provides ongoing support and vision for its future.  

Episode 4

Episode Guest: Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

About the Guest: Dr. Kira Hudson Banks is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Saint Louis University. She is co-founder of the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at Saint Louis University, and has served as a racial equity consultant for the Ferguson Commission and Racial Equity Catalyst for Forward Through Ferguson. Along with that work, she is co-principal of The Mouse and the Elephant, an innovative diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm. She has consulted for numerous organizations and has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles in addition to popular articles in publications such as The Atlantic and The Guardian. You can find her podcast, Raising Equity, anywhere podcasts are found.

Episode 3

Disclaimer: This episode contains explicit language.

Episode Guest: Scott Faughn, editor and founder of The Missouri Times

About The Guest: Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times. Before beginning his publishing career, Faughn was elected the youngest mayor in the history of Poplar Bluff at the age of 22. He hosts hosts a television show called This Week in Missouri Politics, which airs on Sundays on KDNL (ABC30) in the St. Louis region.

Episode 2

Episode Guest: Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation

About The Guest: Central Reform Congregation provides a vibrant urban Jewish community dedicated to supporting one another in holy ways in pursuing justice and lifelong learning, and providing a shelter of peace.

Episode 1

Episode Guest: Evan Krauss, Director of East Side Aligned

About The Guest: East Side Aligned works to align policy, practice, and investment across sectors to improve outcomes for young people. East Side Aligned is not an organization or program. It is how they refer to the Collective Impact process happening within the greater East St. Louis area to improve outcomes for young people. 

About This Podcast

In this podcast, David Blount and Louis Jones, Engage Democracy Fellows at the Gephardt Institute, connect with diverse local and regional civic and community leaders on what inspired them to engage in this civic moment and better understand what is next for our civic future.

In these conversations, we hope to understand how regular people are stepping into their civic callings and what are the beliefs and values at the root of our social fabric.

Listen to the Podcast Trailer

A New (Old) Way to Process This Civic Moment

2020 was a historic year charging us to deeply reflect on the state of our democracy and civic identity. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a new normal for every aspect of our lives. Housing, employment, education, and healthcare among other issue areas all demand robust responses from government and communities for a successful recovery and building more resilience. George Floyd, among other victims of police violence, once again stoke calls for racial justice. Activists and policy leaders push for reforms in policing along with broader criminal justice reform. 2020 also hosted an election for the US presidency on the ballot which was followed by an attack on the US capital in an attempt to disrupt a peaceful transfer of power.

As the nation grapples with these challenges and the rapidly changing public landscape, foundational tenants of civic life may provide guidance in defining our civic future.

We may see even in our travels how near and dear every man is to every other. Friendship seems to hold states together, and lawgivers to care more for it than justice; for concord seems to be something like friendship, and this they aim at most of all, and expel faction as their worst enemy; and when men are friends they have no need of justice, while when they are just they need friendship as well, and the truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle believed that “friendship seems to hold states together, and lawgivers to care more for it than justice.” This civic friendship of Aristotle is a kind of political and social solidarity in which all citizens of a polis share in the common practice of democracy while hoping for shared prosperity.

In a time of hyper-partisanship and the reconsideration of the narrative of the United States, what is the state of American democracy and the relationship between social solidarity and civic engagement? How can we reflect on the values that undergird our democracy and civic existence to envision a healthy and vibrant civic future?

This podcast will seek answers to these questions while providing listeners with multiple angles to inquire, reflect, and discern our civic identity and calling as a community. 

Podcast Hosts

David Blount

Engage Democracy Fellow

Host: Season 1

Louis Jones

Engage Democracy Fellow

Host: Season 1 and 2

Bethany Copeland

Engage Democracy Fellow

Host: Season 2

Podcast Producer

Joshua Valeri

Civic Scholar

This podcast was funded in part by a grant from the Women’s Society of Washington University.