Civic education for a more just and peaceful world

After my first year of university studies, I decided to anchor myself through a careful and intentional study of my community — its history and its present — in recognition of the gap between what we want for ourselves and our neighbors and the lived realities of one another. This project encompasses news articles and legal documents, books and interviews, with attention afforded to local issues and the ways in which what happens here in the Antelope Valley relates to — and reflects — wider phenomenons in California, the United States, and the wider world. For a variety of reasons, early in the project, I decided to publish my work on my personal website: in part to hold myself accountable and in part to offer a space for others to join me in this endeavor. After all, making our democracy work is not the task of any single person; it is the common mission of all people of goodwill. 

How I approach the project

Through a review of wider works concerning phenomenon in the United States — especially in California generally and Los Angeles County specifically — I am becoming evermore familiar with the birds-eye reality of our wider communities. By combining this wider analysis with more area-specific documents (e.g. the Consent Decree between the Department of Justice and the Palmdale and Lancaster Stations of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department), I seek to understand how acknowledged crises manifest themselves in our Antelope Valley neighborhood. As I study more and more literature, I will expand my project's human testimony element, in which I seek to understand the perspectives of individual community members (with a passionate emphasis on historically marginalized voices such as BIPOC community members and non-unionized essential workers). The ultimate purpose of this project is informed action: applying what I learn through study and conversation to the way I live my life — and the way I lead. 

An important disclaimer

I do not approach this project neutrally. I am totally committed to a number of goals (such as the universal application of human rights to all people, everywhere, regardless of their identities, immigration status, or criminal culpability). 

 

I conceptualize this project as an important part of my ongoing private and public process of aligning my actions with the world as it should be. In short, I want to see a more just and peaceful world for every person, and I recognize the Antelope Valley — my home community — as the particular neighborhood in which to focus my attention at this point in my life.

Themes

For the sake of clarity, some organizational scheme is essential. I am tentatively working with the following categories:

  1. The criminal legal process

  2. Education

  3. Poverty and economic justice

  4. Civil rights (especially issues related to voting rights and practices)

  5. Public health (which encompasses environmental issues)

  6. Human rights and equity 

We are the deeds we do.

email: nsveiven 'at' stanford.edu

© 2020 by Noah Sveiven

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