Becoming Catalysts for Positive Change with the Stenn Family Civics Education Initiative

Parker welcomed three champions of positive change this week for the second Stenn Family Civics Education Initiative Speaker Panel: Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies President and CEO and a member of USA Today’s Inaugural Leaders of Change Madalene Mielke; Rhode Island activist, former state legislator and Senior Policy Counsel with Public Citizen’s Climate Program Aaron Regunberg; and Equality Illinois Director of Civic Engagement and advocate for public health and LGBTQ+ rights José Wilson.

Mielke, Regunberg and Wilson first took the Heller Auditorium stage at Morning Ex to dig into “Becoming a Democratically Active Citizen.” Three Upper School leaders—senior Genia Jefferson, sophomore Graysen Pendry and freshman Trisen Phillips—led the discussion as these esteemed speakers shared their insights and experiences, inspiring students and faculty/staff to engage in their communities and become catalysts for positive change.

That evening, the three speakers were present at Kovler Family Library for an intimate panel on “Raising Democratically Active Citizens,” led by students Jefferson, Pendry and freshman Zoe Polsky. Active citizenship is central to Parker’s mission, and the school was fortunate to have these guests answer questions like, “What do you think is your own (personal) duty as a responsible citizen?” and “How can we contribute to the health of our democracy?” The speakers also provided their backgrounds and spoke about questions on the health of our current democracy before opening up the conversation to questions from the audience.

Parker is very aware that the continued success of a democracy is determined by active and honest participation in the processes that shape it. And as the school works toward its mission to educate students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society, bringing in these types of thought leaders is invaluable. And so, Parker thanks Mielke, Regunberg and Wilson for providing their time and insight, as well as the Stenn family for creating the Stenn Family Civics Education Initiative and supporting Parker’s efforts.

Click here for photos or watch this panel below.

The Stenn Family Civics Education Initiative supports Parker’s mission to educate for citizenship in a diverse democracy by funding guest speakers, student programming and faculty training that provide insight into the development and responsibilities of citizens, elected officials and governmental processes. Valerie Jarrett was the first invited guest made possible by this initiative.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.