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Episode Guest: Evan Krauss, Director of East Side Aligned

About East Side Aligned: 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

Louis Jones

Engage Democracy Fellow