What can rural young adult perspectives teach us about Citizen Power?

Connecting Our Heartlands: Towards an Inclusive American Creed

Jan. 19, 2023

4:30-6pm EST / 3:30-5pm CST / 2:30-4pm MST / 1:30-3pm PST

Join us for a special event with three leading civic scholars and three young adult community organizers and photographers, co-creators of the ongoing American Creed: Citizen Power documentary initiative, a follow-up to the 2018 American Creed PBS Special. 

We’ll look at how helping young people explore foundational ideals like freedom, fairness and opportunity can galvanize and challenge rural communities.

What to expect

A “Show and Tell” by three young adult co-creators of the American Creed: Citizen Power documentary film and photography initiative will be framed by a panel of civic luminaries: David M. Kennedy, Eric Liu, and Danielle Allen. We’ll explore how to harness the idealism of rural young adults.

Following the photography presentations, Kennedy, Liu and Allen will facilitate breakout sessions to delve deeper into ideals, experiences and solutions rural young adults can pursue, together, in spite of differences.  

Who is it for?

This event is for rural leaders, educators, organizers, democracy advocates and photography enthusiasts and will introduce audiences to the American Creed: Citizen Power documentary initiative. 

Bonus: Special workshop for educators

Educators, stick around for a half hour interactive workshop on how to bring photography activities and other Citizen Power curricula to your community. | 6pm-6:30 pm EST / 5-5:30 pm CST / 4-4:30pm MST / 3-3:30pm PST


Photo by Sam Schimmel
Photo by Jonathan Blair
Photo by Sam Schimmel
Photo by Jace Charger
Photo by Jace Charger
Photo by Jonathan Blair

American Creed: Citizen Power Co-Creators

Jonathan Blair_headshot - Edited

Jonathan Blair

Pippa Passes, KY

Jonathan Blair will show and discuss the photography project he created with his peers in the work-study program at Alice Lloyd College, which provides a pathway to educational leadership for mountain people including children of coal miners across Appalachia.

Click here to view his Daily Yonder Viewfinder article “Phantom of the Black Diamond.”

Jace Charger

Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Jace Charger, co-founder of the very first protest camp at Standing Rock, will discuss their ongoing work protecting land and water through resistance, civil disobedience and intergenerational solidarity.


Click here to view their Daily Yonder Viewfinder article “Community, Land and Care”

Sam Schimmel

Kenai, AK

Sam Schimmel will show and discuss his Kenaitze Tribe’s movement to restore Indigenous rights to subsistence fishing and economic development in alignment with community values.


Click here to view his Daily Yonder viewfinder article “Salmon Tales.”




David M. Kennedy

Stanford University

David M. Kennedy, a Pulitzer prize winning historian, co-founded the Rural West Initiative at Stanford University. He is one of the initiators, with his Stanford University colleague Condoleezza Rice, of the American Creed: Citizen Power documentary initiative featuring the perspectives of “extraordinary, ordinary” young adult community leaders who exemplify active citizenship.


Danielle _ Allen

Danielle Allen

Harvard University

Danielle Allen is a Harvard professor of political philosophy, ethics, and public policy; a seasoned nonprofit leader; and a Washington Post columnist who advocates for democracy reform to create greater voice and access, and a new social contract that serves and includes us all.


Eric Liu

Citizen University

Eric Liu is one of the most sought-after speakers on American identity and the future of democracy, with a special interest in exploring “citizen power” and how bottom-up power works. He is the founding CEO of Citizen University and the founder/director of the Aspen Institute’s American Identity and Citizenship Program.


Whitney Kimball Coe

Whitney Kimball Coe

Center for Rural Strategies

Whitney Kimball Coe is Director of National Programs for the Center for Rural Strategies. She coordinates the Rural Assembly and oversees the curation of its gatherings of rural community organizers, scholars and culture-makers (informal humanities experts whose wisdom isn’t always recognized in academia). Kimball Coe will serve as the Connecting Our Heartlands host/facilitator and host/moderator of an episode of the Rural Assembly’s Everywhere Radio podcast exploring “an American creed.”



This event is co-presented by the Center for Rural Strategies’ Rural Assembly; their media platform, The Daily Yonder; the documentary organization Citizen Film; the National Writing Project, the nation’s largest network of teacher leaders focused on the teaching of writing; and Working Assumptions, a program that supports high school and college students to photograph and write about work and family in their lives.

This event has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this event do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Have questions about American Creed: Connecting Our Heartlands? Contact us