Also in the works (scheduling dates and details now) – Student workshops in Kenedy ISD and Dallas ISD, and a Panel Discussion in Frisco ISD. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a student workshop on “Civil Disagreements in an Era of Toxic Discourse” as part of our 2020 Campaign for Civility©.
We will be at the National Council of Social Studies Annual Conference, soaking up the amazing speakers and networking with groups that are focused on civics education (because civics educators and social studies scholars are, quite simply, some of the MOST interesting people on the planet)!
Now we are headed to Houston and Spring, Texas to collaborate with educators there and work with high school students to kick off our 2020 Campaign for Civility©!
YSCA has been busy sharing its mission and putting our resources into the hands of many small-town Texas teachers from places like Pharr, Point Isabel, Monte Alto, and Brownsville.
July 16, 2019
YSCA was invited to present in Austin to 20 teachers from around the state who were attending the Teachers Traffic Safety Academy, hosted by the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and Driving on the Right Side of the Road. Our Director shared YSCA’s Campaign for Civility and several teachers and curriculum coordinators have requested that we bring our program to their schools and districts to share with students. Fall dates are booked, spring is filling up fast, and we are so excited to have the opportunity to share our tools for civil discourse with students across Texas! This fall alone, we anticipate speaking to over 1,000 students in various locations!
“Happy Independence Day! YSCA awards Ron and Brad Dunn Memorial Scholarship to Arub A. who is attending UTD and studying Political Science; Read an excerpt of Arub’s thoughts on Civility in a Democracy below:”
In America, the term “democracy” is often defined as a system of government in which the people are represented through elected officials. While this is entirely accurate, it is important to understand that democracy extends beyond a dictionary definition or a form of government; democracy is a powerful word that encompasses each and every one of us. Democracy constitutes friendly political banter, formal debates, and activism on social media. Democratic societies are held in high praise because of their value of free speech and freedom of opinion. In order to have a successful and peaceful democratic community, civility is necessary. However, many often forget that democracy also means that differences are unavoidable and disagreements will be encountered. The reason civility is often forgotten in democracy is because it is mistaken for passiveness. Civility does not mean sacrificing your ability to stand up for what you believe in. Civility is understanding the difference between listening and waiting to talk, and the difference between an argument and a discussion. Civility is having the strength to try to understand other points of view and avoid raising your voice. Civility is being able to put aside differences and come together as one to achieve the goals that unify us. For a democracy to work in the best interest of the people, there needs to be discussion of different ideas with people of different backgrounds in order to allow the greatest ideas to prevail. With the polarization and political climate today, however, this has become very difficult. The goals the people have set are not being achieved because the lack of civility is leading to an injured democracy. Our society is crumbling because people are moving farther away from each other with no intent to come together. But it is time that we stop fighting. It is time that we understand the connection between democracy and civility and begin to value them equally. The American people have become fractured, but it does mean that we cannot heal. We are frayed, not broken. There is still hope for our community, and that hope is invested in each of us. We all have the ability to make an impact and to encourage others to respect differences. Civility will not come easily, but it will make for a brighter future and a more cohesive society. Civility will strengthen the people and our democratic government, civility will foster kindness and respect, and civility will help create the future we all aspire to have. It is time that we come together, as Americans, to stimulate the change we all hope to see.
At the invitation of the State Bar of Texas, our YSCA Executive Director, Debbie Keen, attended an event honoring the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation’s 70 years of service. The HWS Foundation has partnered with the State Bar of Texas’s Law-Related Education (LRE) division for many years to support the production of high quality civics education resources. The HWS Foundation and LRE are both fellow nonprofit organizations (501c3) and provide these educational resources to teachers across Texas, without charge. Debbie has contributed to and consulted on many LRE projects over the years and was awarded the Texas Lawyers Auxiliary Teach of the Year Award in 2015 for her commitment to promoting civics education.
Three high school seniors from the YSCA Youth Advisory Board took to the stage with three prominent speakers to discuss current events, toxic discourse, and how to shape the future. The event was attended by students from a variety of Frisco ISD high schools, and the audience was able to contribute to the discussion through Q & A. Feedback from the event was very positive and attendees requested that we do another event like this soon, but they have asked that it be longer so there is even more time to discuss the topics in depth.
The speakers at this event included:
Lewis Sifford, Esquire – Texas Trial Lawyer of the Year and former President of the American Board of Trial Advocates
Professor Cheryl Brown Wattley – Author of “A Step Toward Brown v. Board of Education”
Senior Special Agent Russ Morrison – Retired Senior Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Moderator of the event: Debbie Keen – YSCA Director
One of our Board Members is currently living abroad in Uruguay, but it’s a small world with YSCA! Abby Kraemer and Gonzalo Novoa graciously hosted friends and family and also helped us solidify technical details and plans for our April 4th Panel Discussion from South America at the same time! (Abby and Gonza are sound, light, and stage gurus!)