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The Citizen Solution

January 16, 2011

The Citizen SolutionThe Citizen Solution: How You Can Make a Difference
by Harry Boyte

This Martin Luther King Day, there are calls to honor Dr. King’s legacy by making time for service and volunteering. There are a number of events being held here in Minneapolis-St. Paul where you can show up and help stock food shelves or tutor students. In addition to a one-day feel-good gesture, here’s another route to consider: pick up a copy of The Citizen Solution.

Harry Boyte — a professor, organizer, and civil rights activist who worked closely with Dr. King — calls us to move beyond volunteering and reactivate the idea of “the commons.” He urges citizens to claim their stake in public life and in government by the people; to not view government as something done for or to them. This civic philosophy, “…teaches respect for the talents and intelligence of all men and women. It involves a renewed appreciation for place. All are necessary if we are to build civic agency, that is, the capacity to work with people of different political parties, faiths, races, incomes, ages, and cultures.”

For more on Boyte and his work, check out the Center for Democracy and Citizenship.

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