Act Now! Participation Workshops: Civics 101 In One Day Or Less
Back when civics classes were a regular part of the public school package, we learned not to take our democracy for granted, but there seemed little reason to take that notion to heart. Things are different now, and while we have been slapped awake and propelled into action, we find ourselves in need of coaching. What exactly are our rights, and how do we best make our voices heard?
Those who want a citizen’s refresher course can attend the Civic Participation Workshops at Berkshire Community College on Saturday, April 1. The Four Freedoms Coalition, in partnership with Berkshire Community College, is holding a day of free, non-partisan advocacy workshops, with a mission to boost the confidence of budding (and veteran) citizen activists.
The idea for the trainings came from Becky Meier, who works with adult learners in the English As A Second Language program at BCC’s South County campus. Inspired by other communities doing similar programs, she brought the idea to the Four Freedoms Coalition, an organization with which she was involved.
“Lots of people have become reenergized and politicized, on both ends of the political spectrum,” she says. “I kept hearing people say they were confused about what to do. They weren’t sure how to write letters, or they were hesitant about making phone calls. Some don’t know who their elected officials are. Something is holding people back. I realized we needed a basic civics course.”
Workshops will cover a range of topics: how to write a letter to the editor, call your legislator, use social media effectively, advocate on the local, state and national levels, and how to run for office (or help someone else to). Among the people running the workshops will be Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, and local community activists Shirley Edgerton, Sherwood Guernsey and Megan Whilden. All are volunteering their time.
Meier stresses that this is a nonpartisan event. Everyone is welcome and can choose to stay for an hour or the day.
“Hopefully, this is just the beginning,” she says. “If it’s successful, we’ll see what people are interested in, and continue to do other workshops.”
For more information and to register, click here, or call Becky Meier at (518) 781-4866.
Civic Participation Workshops
Saturday, April 1, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Berkshire Community College
1350 West St., Pittsfield, MA