How To Citizen with Baratunde

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Subscribers: 25
Reviews: 2

James Rodgers
 Sep 5, 2020
This is an amazing, thought provoking and motivating podcast that everyone should listen to.

 Aug 28, 2020
Baratunde is thought provoking and insightful.


How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.

Episode Date
Fight COVID With Everyone And Everything You Know (with Danielle Allen and Dr. Amy Aminlari)
Baratunde explores how, in the absence of national leadership, determined, newly-minted leaders are problem-solving and mobilizing people around them to protect and save lives during this pandemic. Danielle Allen breaks down what has ACTUALLY been happening with regional leadership and how she stays hopeful in the work of protecting all of us during this pandemic. Emergency medicine physician, Dr. Amy Aminlari, shares her experience standing up a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) operation and finding community.  We have an abundance of wealth and resources in this country, and yet, it has come down to very local and regional cooperation based on existing networks of trust. In this episode, we continue to learn how individuals with varied backgrounds are showing up to fight, leaving their comfort zones, and using the power of their voices, knowledge, and relationships to ensure no one is left unprotected. As our guest, Danielle Allen, put it in her recent Washington Post op-ed, “There is only one real silver bullet. It’s called grit. This is a can-do country, and our determination to beat the disease is our ultimate weapon.” Show Notes + Links Follow Danielle @dsallentess on Twitter and Amy’s efforts at @sandiegoppe on IG and national PPE efforts at @lastmileworks and @getusppe on IG.  We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes at For this episode, here is what you can do INTERNAL:  Make a list of the ways you’ve helped others since March 2020. Write it down.  Which efforts were easy and why? Which ones stretched you or were out of your comfort zone. Why did you do them if they were uncomfortable? Don’t overlook your contributions just because they seemed easy or obvious. After you’ve made the list, look at it and recognize that you’re already citizening.  Reflect on how else you can use who and what you know to make a difference during the pandemic.  What additional knowledge or relationships do you have that could uniquely benefit your immediate community in the fight against the pandemic? “Community” could be your friends, family, neighbors, church or civic group, or another interest group. What introductions can you make that might be beneficial?  EXTERNAL:  Support other “Amy’s” in your community. Think of other examples of people around you who are practicing how to citizen during this pandemic. Whether those efforts are big or small, how can you support them?  Start a civic circle as a way to connect purposefully with friends during this time.  Set aside an hour on Sunday mornings or afternoons to organize an ongoing civic video call with some of your nearest and dearest to discuss ways to get involved, share notes and passions, and think collectively about the power you have to take action. Connecting with others to discuss civic actions that ensure the wellbeing of all can be a new kind of church or brunch depending on your preference. Yes, we miss brunch too! Dig deeper by checking out the report Danielle Allen helped author.  It lays out what we need to invest in to strengthen our democractic culture. See the 31 recommendations, and discover what you are most equipped to help with and where your passion lies. Make a commitment to get involved in that recommendation locally. We love feedback from our listeners -  Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844. How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeart Radio Podcasts. Executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 17, 2020
Feeding Ourselves Our Way (with Chef José Andrés)
Baratunde learns about mutual aid and local, distributed approaches to feeding ourselves during this time of crisis. José Andrés, chef, humanitarian, and founder of World Central Kitchen, speaks about the power of food to build community, and his belief that we can indeed feed ourselves with dignity in this moment if we have the political will to do so. Two representatives of the LA Community Fridge movement tell us about how neighbors are feeding neighbors and learning more about each other in the process.  While COVID has exposed the fragility of so many systems including how we eat, we look at two approaches to feeding ourselves that are largely outside the realm of government action and funding, both anchored by local community action, and provide new ways to address the food crisis in America. Show Notes + Links We are grateful to José Andrés and Liana Sanchez and Katelan Cunningham, volunteers with LA Community Fridges. Follow @ChefJoseAndres on Twitter and @lacommunityfridges on IG and their slinktree here.  We will post this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at Please show your support for the show in the form of a review and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords! ACTIONS FOR THIS EPISODE, HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO Internal Action: Internalize the idea of mutual aid versus charity by reflecting on these questions. Is it easy for you to ask your neighbors for help? Why or why not?  Think of a time when someone tried to help you and had good intentions, but missed the mark because they didn’t listen. How did that make you feel? Did you tell them they missed the mark in meeting your need? Why or why not? (Hint: your response often relates to power dynamics in a relationship). Think of a time when you asked for help from someone you knew and that you had supported in the past. Was it easy or hard to receive from them? If your brother or sister was in need, would you prefer giving to a charity to help them or supporting them directly? Explore more about mutual aid during this pandemic here and here.  External Action: Look into whether your neighborhood could benefit from a Community Fridge or some other mutual aid project depending on what your community needs. These two guides, here and here, will help you get started. Please note, this is a mutual aid model! So if you find yourself wanting to set up a top-down nonprofit or collect funds to operate or structure the work, your efforts are not aligned with mutual aid. Please read more in the slinks above about how mutual aid works.  Lend your voice to make sure the bipartisan The FEED Act becomes law. Under this proposed law, local, state, and tribal governments would be allowed to contract with restaurants and nonprofits to distribute meals using existing FEMA disaster funds. It is a bipartisan bill - introduced in the Senate by Kamala Harris and Tim Scott and introduced in the House by both parties!! But it’s stuck. We want you to help unstick it. Call the U.S. Capitol main number to reach your elected officials -- (202) 224-3121-- or dial their offices directly after identifying them online. Here are some tips on how to call Congress, and here are the House and Senate versions of the bill. If you take any of these actions, share that with us - Mention Feeding Ourselves in the subject line. And brag online about your citizening using #howtocitizen.  We love feedback from our listeners -  Visit Baratunde's website to sign up for his newsletter to learn about upcoming guests, live tapings, and more. Follow him on Instagram or join his Patreon. You can even text him, like right now at 202-894-8844. How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts. executive produced by Miles Gray, Nick Stumpf, Elizabeth Stewart, and Baratunde Thurston. Produced by Joelle Smith, edited by Justin Smith. Powered by you. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 10, 2020
Keeping Us Safe, Beyond Policing (with Dr. Phil Goff and Zach Norris)
Baratunde builds off the last episode of his previous podcast, We’re Having a Moment. He speaks with two esteemed guests, Dr. Phil Goff, who works directly with police departments around the country, and Zach Norris, who works with communities, about ways we can reclaim public safety that don’t always need to involve the police. Show Notes + Links Find Phil @DrPhilGoff and visit Center for Policing Equity and @policingequity on social media. Find Zach @zachwnorris and at Visit Ella Baker Center, and @ellabakercenter on social media. Also grab his book, We Keep Us Safe here. Find this episode, a transcript, show notes and more at Please rate and review this podcast and share feedback at Use #howtocitizen on social media.  For this episode, here is what you can do. INTERNAL ACTIONS It starts with you. Explore your own relationship to feeling safe and living among your neighbors. Answer some of the following questions for yourself AND in discussion with at least one other member of your community. What do you need to feel safe in your community? What makes you feel unsafe in your community? How do you get to know your neighbors? When was the last time you made eye contact with someone in your neighborhood? When was the last time you talked to one of your neighbors? What can neighbors do to keep each other safe? Has a neighbor ever made you feel unsafe? What happened and what would have made it better? Don’t look away. Get educated on how policing works where you live. How much of your city and county budget go to police. What percentage is this of the total? What rank is police expenditure among top spending categories? Who runs law enforcement in your area? City? County? Sheriff? Chief? Who has hire/fire authority?  What is your most local access to law enforcement? Where is the nearest station or precinct?  Who is already working on public safety issues where you live?  Identify who is responsible for and makes public safety decisions where you live and find out which positions get voted in.  When is the next election for these positions in your community and who is running? Good neighbors don’t just call the cops. Know who you call instead of the police. Create a resource you can keep on hand or enter into your phone that looks like this great example from DSMNTL IG account for Washington, DC.  Bonus: Create these alternative number guides physically and digitally and share them widely with your neighbors, local businesses, and online.    EXTERNAL ACTIONS Work with local groups to help get new policies enacted that we know work. Read Dr. Phil Goff’s Center for Policing Equity Roadmap for Exploring New Models of Funding Public Safety. It’s been requested by over 950 communities, and now people locally are starting to implement the roadmap themselves. Lend your voice to CampaignZero by supporting its nation-wide campaign to end police violence. You can track state legislation on their homepage to see progress. Join or create an event as part of the Night Out for Safety and Liberation on  October 6. If you don’t feel comfortable going to or hosting a physical event, host a discussion with your family or online with community based on the NOSL discussion guide. Be a supportive bystander and report police interactions. Download the Mobile Justice App (created in 2015 by the ACLU to help people report on police interactions). According to the ACLU, it is completely within a US citizen’s Constitutional rights to record interactions with the police. *Note that if you do film a crime, you may become a key witness as a part of an investigation.  Share your answers with us. Send and email to Include “public safety” in the subject line. And if you liked what you heard here, please share the show, leave a review, AND sign up for Baratunde's newsletter at where he announces upcoming live tapings. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 03, 2020
Democracy Means People Power, Literally (with Eric Liu)
Baratunde shares the four pillars of How To Citizen. Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University, schools us on power - what it is, who has it, and how the practice of citizenship is empty without this literacy. They also discuss how this power needs to be coupled with civic character to prevent us from becoming finely-skilled sociopaths. Eric answers questions from the live audience and Baratunde gives you some ways to practice understanding and using power.
Aug 27, 2020
Prelude: Revolutionary Love is How to Citizen (with Valarie Kaur)
Baratunde lays the spiritual foundation for the show. His first guest, Valarie Kaur, activist and author of See no Stranger, helps us go inward to ready our hearts and minds for How To Citizen. Welcome to the show! In December 2016, activist, lawyer, and Sikh faith leader Valarie Kaur, asked this question in her Prayer for America: “What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?” Nearly four years later, Baratunde could think of no better spiritual invocation for this show than a conversation with Valarie, the author of See No Stranger. In the premiere episode of this podcast, Baratunde and Valarie discuss the role of love, joy and relationships in reimagining and reclaiming the act of being a citizen.
Aug 27, 2020
Introducing: How To Citizen with Baratunde
How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. With humor and empathy, Baratunde explores societal topics that affect us all, speaks with people using their relationships and power for the benefit of the many, and offers audience members ways to participate. With so much media focused on what is wrong with our society, this show focuses on what is right and how to build on it. Our democratic experiment is up for grabs, and we the people will decide, through our action or inaction, where we go next.
Aug 20, 2020