As it has with so many aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic has made civic engagement more challenging. The Civic Engagement Advisory Committee, a 22-member volunteer group that provides guidance to the Kansas Leadership Center on how to promote participation, is providing tips for Kansans to remain civically engaged during a time of social distancing and examples of communities and organizations who are energizing others to engage.
Here are nine tips they thought would be useful to share across Kansas and beyond:
1. Experiment outside your comfort zone.
2. Make leadership start with you.
3. Play an unexpected role.
4. Inspire a collective purpose.
5. Engage others.
6. Inspire others to experiment.
7. Be mindful of who’s being harmed or excluded.
8. Embrace easy ways to keep people engaged.
9. Be prepared to go to new places.
10. Give a push when it can help.
11. Don’t feel like you have to keep a stiff upper lip.
The Civic Engagement Advisory Committee is:
- Janice Blackmon, American Baptist Churches/Second Baptist Church, Kansas City
- Bobby Bonner, Cimarron Basin Community Corrections, Liberal
- Shannon Brake, McPherson Public Library, McPherson
- Misty Bruckner, Public Policy and Management Center, WSU, Wichita
- Sarah Jane Crespo, KMUW, Wichita
- Dalton Glasscock, Sedgwick County Republican Party, Wichita
- Isabel Gutierrez, Parents as Teachers Olathe Schools, Olathe
- Steven Johnson, Farm/Legislature, Assaria
- Brandon Kliewer, Kansas State University, Manhattan
- Britten Kuckelman, WSU Tech, Wichita
- Allie Medina, City of Garden City, Garden City
- Matt O’Malley, Live Well Crawford County, Pittsburg
- Jason Rabe, City of Beloit, Beloit
- Travis Rickford, LiveWell Northwest Kansas, Ludell
- Rob Sands, Kansas Army National Guard, Lawrence
- Jeanette Siemens, Leadership Pratt, Pratt
- Michelle Cuevas-Stubblefield, Greater Topeka Partnership/Leadership Greater Topeka, Topeka
- Jackson Swearer, StartUp Hutch, Hutchinson
- Keith Tatum, Kansas Neurological Institute, Topeka
- Jim Terrones, Bienvenidos KC, Olathe
- Michelle Vann, Sistahs Can We Talk, Valley Center
- Paul Wagle, Ascension Via Christi, Wichita
Their role is to help develop, inform and shape KLC’s civic engagement initiatives. The list of activities includes: publishing The Journal, a nationally recognized civic leadership magazine, hosting Journal Talks, an ongoing series of community conversations on civic issues; convening Journal launch and discussion events on current events; publishing voter resources (such as Your Local Candidates: In Their Own Words) to help Kansans make informed electoral decisions; and holding forums, programs and events highlighting civic leadership in public service.