A Statement from William Bevacqua, President of CPAN

In recent days, events in our nation have prompted a wide range of emotion, discussion and demonstrative action as we all struggle with clearly unfinished conversations about justice, equality and prejudice. At the core, it’s a conversation about what all of us, regardless of race, color or creed have a right to expect of our American civil society. I think it’s important at this moment to remember that virtually everything in our world remains a work in progress: our culture, our system of government and certainly our evolution as human beings. And that truth can be hard to acknowledge, painful to experience and challenging to address in meaningful, constructive ways. Examining what’s difficult, what’s divisive – what’s unfinished – is both the hallmark and the burden of good citizenship, and now more than ever, it’s important for us to be open to the work.
The Connecticut Public Affairs Network, along with its Connecticut Democracy Center and other projects, has long been committed to helping people become better informed, more actively engaged citizens so that our voices can be heard and that we can come together to perform the hard work of nurturing a healthy democracy and a just society. Now more than ever, we reaffirm that commitment, and will continue working to provide the tools for everyone to take part in creating solutions: whatever problems we face.

Look at the world around us right now and ask yourself: where is the robust public debate from all sides on the vital issues of the day?   What’s happened to civil discourse, where opposing views can be part of a productive discussion without being shouted down?  There is no place or platform for people of all ideologies and political persuasions to come together and explore solutions to the problems facing our society, and we want to change that.  That’s why CPAN is getting ready to launch The Connecticut Democracy Center.

No matter what you believe, where you live or whether or not you agree with your neighbors, civics and citizenship is about finding your power to help build a better world: in your neighborhood, in your community and even in the halls of the State Capitol and beyond. For nearly two decades, CPAN has worked to put the tools you need to build that better world in your living room, on your desktop and in your hands.

Our pioneering work on public affairs programming and government transparency at the Connecticut Network (CT-N) led us to start exploring historical context and modeling good citizenship at Connecticut’s Old State House, which we still do today. Connecticut History Day helps teach primary research and critical thinking to middle- and high schoolers, to provide the foundations of media literacy. And Kid Governor® proves that even 11-year-olds can create a platform to solve a problem, get elected by their peers and embark on a career of meaningful public service. We’re looking to yesterday, today and tomorrow to build that better world, and we’re only getting started.

Today, CPAN has a new objective: to make – and keep – civics cool, with new programs, new platforms and new conversations. So keep watching, and consider supporting, while we work on getting something new and exciting off the ground in the next few weeks.