About Civic Literacy & Engagement
After 18 years of running nonpartisan issue policy campaigns, I've come to "soap box" on a few anecdotal things:
1. In a free society, the more people pay attention, the less corruption there is; the less people pay attention, the more corruption there is.
2. The word "politics" has a few definitions, two of which are: a) the art or science of passing or not passing laws (issue politics), and b) the art or science of building and maintaining power (electoral politics). So if you are trying to convince your city council to change a stoplight, that is a policy campaign. If you're working to get someone elected, that's an electoral campaign.
3. I believe debate should be part of our learning fiber from an early age. We should get comfortable with disagreement and get skilled at working out differences. This should be a central part of common core curricula in my opinion.
4. Dealing with international affairs is a reality.
5. Only 36% of Americans can actually name the three branches of government. We're not very good at civics. Gravitate to trustworthy, unbiased outlets of information. While outlets of journalistic integrity might not have as much “infotainment”, at least the information is less biased.
6. We don't understand how the "system" works, so we're vulnerable to believing conspiracy theories and hyperbole. When we don't understand something, we tend to assume the worst. Most Americans generally agree on a broad vision about what society should look like, but we fight as if we do not. Because our civic literacy is bad, we're unable to disagree without getting really angry.
About Stuff I Do and Have Done
I founded Ujoin, a tech startup company and graduate of Blue Startups -- one of the nation's top accelerators. Ujoin was also in a cohort of the Conscious Venture Lab in West Baltimore. We help organizations, everyday citizens, and businesses turn their online audiences into effective advocates on policies. After working with industry leaders' platforms for years, I started work on a better, less expensive platform.
It was't a love of politics that brought me to this kind of work, but a desire to just make some changes and policy became the medium. I accept that democratic societies demand a higher level of engagement to keep power in check, and I try to work for better civic literacy across sectors and demographics. I'm also interested in accounting for the influence of money on policy decisions, elections, and court appointments; and those influences' effects on sociocultural, economic, and environmental systems within them. Generally, I also think we're here to have fun, live healthily, and care for one another, so I strive to participate with that notion in mind.
During the past eighteen years, I've built and managed issue-oriented campaigns at the municipal, county, and state levels; and managed staff and volunteers for federal efforts. Before moving to Hawaii, I earned a BA at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.