Building Blocks of Citizenship: 50 Ways to Be a More Engaged, Active Citizen This Year

Even for the human race, we are newborns when it comes to citizenship.

Even for the human race, we are newborns when it comes to citizenship. Our notion of citizenship was born out of the 18th century—if human history were plotted out on a calendar that would make the citizen’s birthday December 31 at 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds. In the scheme of things, we’re newcomers to the very notion of citizenship.

And we’re not exactly working overtime to catch up.

While we routinely spend our entire lives becoming good family members and our adulthood becoming good parents, when it comes to being good citizens, we’re stuck in a prolonged infancy.

That’s why we’ll be sharing essays, reports, and provocations over the next 50 weeks to reinforce 50 key building blocks to citizenship. Play around with them, experiment, stack them up, DO them—hopefully, by the end, we'll have learned to walk.

Citizen Building Block #1: Consume Local News

Citizen Building Block #2: Champion a Pet Issue

Citizen Building Block #3: Commit 1 Percent of Your Time to Service

Citizen Building Block #4: Measure Your Carbon Footprint

Citizen Building Block #5: Get a Library Card

Citizen Building Block #6: Give Blood

Citizen Building Block #7: Get a Passport

Citizen Building Block #8: Be an (Un)Simple Pilgrim

Citizen Building Block #9: Become a Member of a Cultural Institution

Citizen Building Block #10: Take an Alternate Route

Citizen Building Block #11: Learn to Cook a Dish With a Story

Citizen Building Block #12: Plant a Guerrilla Garden

Citizen Building Block #13: Learn About Your Town's Sister Cities

Citizen Building Block #14: Collect and Share Your Neighbors' Contact Info

Citizen Building Block #15: Get to Know Your Local Police

Citizen Building Block #16: Learn About Your Local History

Citizen Building Block #17: Take Public Transportation

Citizen Building Block #18: Try Biking to Work

Citizen Building Block #19: Walk 30 Minutes a Day

Citizen Building Block #20: Reduce Your Waste, Starting with a Reusable Cup

Citizen Building Block #21: Go to Your Local Park

Citizen Building Block #22: Become an Upcycler

Citizen Building Block #23: Create a Map of Your Neighborhood

Citizen Building Block #24: Take a Staycation

Citizen Building Block #25: Take a First Aid Class

Citizen Building Block #26: Support Local Businesses

Citizen Building Block #27: Be in Touch with Your Local Leaders

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship. Follow along, join the discussion, and share your experience at #goodcitizen.

Illustration by Jessica De Jesus

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.