Rising together through
better civics education

Lenny McAllister

“I have hope because there is a new generation of leaders rising up."

“I was a scholarship kid growing up. And my family always saw educational opportunity and educational equality as being one of the gateways to a more perfect union.”

“It helps with everything from understanding the role of the citizenry in America to providing people with the best opportunities to be self-determined and self-sufficient. And as an African American, I’ve seen the role of education in advancing civil rights throughout our history. We know it’s something that needs to be pursued.”

“In college, I majored in history. [We have] to understand where we came from in order to make the most of where we’re going. And you have to tell the truest and most robust story based on facts. If you’re not giving people a robust foundation of facts, it’s very difficult to forge a path that’s going to make sense – not only for the individual, but for one’s community and society.” 

“When you’re teaching and putting down a foundation in ‘facts’ that are subjective and not objective, it creates a faulty foundation. Then everything else can crumble. We need to make sure our kids are getting factual bricks for their foundation, so we can build upon that and ask them to lead once it’s time for them to lead.

“We need to teach civics, history, and about the obligation of what it means to be American – and do that in a way that talks about the sins of our past, but also the successes of our past. And [the successes] should be paramount. That’s how you get leaders, that’s how you get united in our country at a time when we need it more than ever.”

“I have hope because there is a new generation of leaders rising up. And [they’re] inclined to care enough about kids in the community to show them facts, to point them to sources that build a foundation for critical thinking, for analysis, for hope, for civic pride. That can help America be the best of itself moving forward. I think that we’re on a path where there are more people inclined to do that, and we have to support those individuals in that journey.”

“My hope is that each household takes civics and citizenry seriously. It’s not just a lesson in a classroom, it’s also a conversation at the dinner table, during a commercial break of a TV show, or on the ride home from school or basketball practice. Those are lessons that are not just one or two-conversation lessons, but conversations that are built up over the course of a lifetime so that, when they’re adults, they have an understanding of their role in society.”

Lenny McAllister
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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