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?

In this podcast, the Engage Democracy Fellows at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement 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 This Civic Moment

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Season 3: Episode Guide

Voting 101

There’s a lot of terminology around elections that can seem inaccessible to people just beginning to vote. Here’s a short introduction to what you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Season 2: Episode Guide

Rep. Avery Bourne

Representative Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) was sworn into office on February 18, 2015, and elected on November 8, 2016, to represent the 95th District in the Illinois General Assembly.

Ness Sandoval, Ph.D.

Dr. Ness Sandoval is an associate director of Saint Louis University’s Geospatial Institute (GeoSLU) and an associate professor of sociology. His research interests include demography, urban sociology, immigration, and more.

Mike Jones II, Ph.D.

Mike Jones II, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Community Science at the Race & Opportunity Lab joins This Civic Moment to discuss his passion for St. Louis, representation in higher education, and much more.

Caroline Fan

Caroline Fan, founder and president of the Missouri Asian American Youth Foundation, joins This Civic Moment to discuss, language, identity, and representation in the political process.

Ray Boshara

Ray Boshara, senior advisor at the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, joins the show to discuss asset-based policy, the racial-wealth gap, and more.

Vivian Gibson

Author Vivian Gibson, joins us to discuss the decline of the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood. Her memoir documents the nation’s largest urban renewal project and its consequences on the black community.

Lane Koch

Lane Koch, Vice President of C3 Public Strategies, joins us to share insights on successful grassroots campaign management, movement building, and conversation across party lines.

Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum, Politics Correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio, joins us to discuss the evolving media landscape and the lack of public awareness surrounding local and state politics. 

Season 1: Episode Guide

Richard A. Gephardt

Richard A. Gephardt is President and CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs. 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.  

Scott Faughn

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 a television show called This Week in Missouri Politics.

Evan Krauss

Evan Krauss is the Director of 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. 

Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

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. 

Rabbi Susan Talve

Rabbi Susan Talve leads Central Reform Congregation. 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.

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.