Town Hall Seattle Civics Series-logo

Town Hall Seattle Civics Series


The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.


United States


The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.








332. Naomi Klein with Mike Davis: A Trip into the Mirror World

What if you woke up one morning and found you’d acquired another self—a double who was almost you and yet not you at all? Not long ago, activist and public intellectual Naomi Klein had an unsettling experience—she was confronted with an online doppelganger whose views she found abhorrent but whose name and public persona were sufficiently similar to her own that many people got confused about who was who. Destabilized, she lost her bearings, until she began to understand the experience as one manifestation of a strangeness many of us have come to know but struggle to define. As lifestyles of internet celebrities have caused reality itself to become unmoored, Klein asks, “Is there a cure for our moment of collective vertigo?” Join us at Town Hall for a trip into what Klein calls the “Mirror World,” a series of reflections on the distorted edges that exist at the borders of our daily lives that we try to unscramble. This deep dive uses a combination of studied critique and reportage along with more personal perspectives to tap into the issues of politics, socio-economics, social media, and identity. Through the endless waves of contradictory claims and AI-generated content that we have access to, Klein aims to reconnect with sturdier foundations of what we believe and how we fight for what matters to us in the sea of environmental and electronic uncertainty. Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, New York Times bestselling author, and regular contributing columnist for The Guardian. Her published works include No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, and more. She is appointed by the University of British Columbia as UBC Professor of Climate Justice (tenured) and is a founding co-director of the UBC Centre for Climate Justice. Mike Davis is the arts and culture reporter at KUOW, Seattle’s NPR member station. He’s a freelance editor at the Seattle Emerald, where he formally covered arts, culture, and politics. Mike is a Seattle native, a creative storyteller, and a proud member of the Seattle Association of Black Journalists. Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World Third Place Books


331. Jocelyn Simonson with Emily Thuma: The Power of the People

How can we fix the problems in our criminal justice system? In a feat that can seem insurmountable, a common approach is to leave the solution to experts and technocrats. But what if, instead of deferring solely to their knowledge, some of this much-needed change was carried out by the people? In her new book Radical Acts of Justice: How Ordinary People Are Dismantling Mass Incarceration, former attorney and law professor Jocelyn Simonson tells the stories of ordinary people joining together in collective acts of resistance: paying bail for a stranger, using social media to inform the public about courtroom proceedings, making a video about someone’s life for a criminal court judge, and other acts. When people join together to contest what we have been taught about justice and safety, they challenge the ideas that prosecutions and prisons make us safer. Through collective action, these groups seek to create change from within, reframing ideas of what justice can look like and showing the vital role that grassroots efforts and participatory democracy can play in not only balancing power, but in addressing the moral shortcomings of our modern carceral state and transforming the current systems of policing, criminal law, and prisons. Jocelyn Simonson is a former public defender, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, and the leading national authority on community bail funds. Her work has been cited by the Supreme Court and discussed in The Atlantic, the New Yorker, and the Associated Press, and she has written for the New York Times, The Nation, n+1, the Washington Post, and others. Radical Acts of Justice (The New Press) is her first book. She lives in New York City. Emily Thuma is an associate professor of politics and law in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Tacoma. She is the author of the award-winning book All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence. Radical Acts of Justice: How Ordinary People Are Dismantling Mass Incarceration Third Place Books


330. James Brosnahan: A Lawyer’s Career Through Groundbreaking Cases

To study history, we often look at court cases as representations of the societal issues and debates of their day. With landmark cases like Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe v. Wade, Brown v. The Board of Education, we see how the trajectory of society’s ethical and legal foundation shifts over time. You might say that major disputes serve as a mirror of sorts, where we see our society and ourselves reflected back. Federal prosecutor and top defense lawyer James J. Brosnahan takes us into the courtroom in Justice at Trial: Courtroom Battles and Groundbreaking Cases, exploring the disputes that reflect some of the most pressing issues of our time. He traces his career through critical cases like refugees on the Mexican border, the constitutional right to speak and print the truth, sexual taboos on national television, poverty and murder on Native American Reservations, hunger in America, and many others. Join Brosnahan at Town Hall as he shares his first-hand experience navigating the tensions, excitement, and challenges of the courtroom. James J. Brosnahan, a member of the California Trial Lawyer’s Hall of Fame, is a federal prosecutor and a defense lawyer who has tried 150 jury trials. He was a senior partner at Morrison & Foerster, a preeminent 1,000-lawyer international law firm based in San Francisco. For 46 years, Brosnahan has lectured internationally for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA). He has authored articles for the American Constitutional Blog, Law 360, The California Historical Society, The Daily Journal (California’s legal paper), the New York Times, Bloomberg Law, and the Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on national radio and television including ABC, CNN, Fox News, Larry King, National Public Radio, and PBS. Justice at Trial: Courtroom Battles and Groundbreaking Cases Third Place Books


329. Jennifer Pahlka with Tarah Wheeler: Outdated Policymaking in the Digital Age

These days, it feels like customer service has been nearly all digitized. While confusion over ticket orders and lost packages can be frustrating, one space where it feels necessary for technology to hit the mark is health and wellness care. While online services and rapidly evolving technology should be making this process more fluid, moments like the crash of in 2013, as well as the shaky and muddled attempt for online services to provide benefits during COVID, call the effectiveness of this technology into question. But what is the reason for such outdated and inefficient systems when it comes to providing vital aid for people? Former deputy chief technology officer, Jennifer Pahlka, responds to this query in her new book Re-coding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better. Pahlka argues that the government is stuck in an industrial-era culture, in which lofty goals set by the elite will often take years to be fully set in place. As time passes, the technology that these policies plan to implement is shockingly out of date. Pahlka makes the case that we must stop trying to move government onto new technology, but instead offer alternative methods to relying on outdated infrastructures. Join Jennifer Pahlka at Town Hall as she considers what it would mean to truly “recode” American government. Jennifer Pahlka is the former deputy chief technology officer of the United States and the founder of Code for America, a nonprofit that believes government can work for people in the digital age. Pahlka is the winner of a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, among others, and has been selected by Wired magazine as one of the people who have most shaped technology and society in the past twenty-five years. Tarah Wheeler is senior fellow for global cyber policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is also an information security executive, social scientist in the area of international conflict, and author of the best-selling book Women In Tech: Take Your Career to The Next Level With Practical Advice And Inspiring Stories. Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better Third Place Books


328. Chris Guillebeau: Finding New Pathways to Prosperity

If you consider yourself a Millennial or part of Generation Z, chances are you’ve felt a little jaded by the usual dusty office job. According to bestselling author and Town Hall veteran Chris Guillebeau, you’re not alone. Many of the post-Baby Boomer generations are choosing to rewrite the rules of capitalism. In his latest book, Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in An Economy That Hates You, Guillebeau details how many of today’s young people are burdened with debt, stagnant wages, and the ever-rising cost of living. Disillusioned with traditional, draining work models, they eschew more conventional ways of earning a living, instead opting to pursue new and creative ways to make money — alternate options to the 9-to-5 lifestyle inherited more readily by generations before. Enter a new world where creativity is currency and creators have control. Anything goes: from communities of gamers getting paid to play; to armchair pundits betting against bookies in online markets; to TikTok “Sleepfluencers,” AI artists, and others upending rules. As we explore these realms of novelty and innovation, Guillebeau offers wisdom on how others can capitalize on the new tools and platforms at our disposal, discovering our own unconventional ways to turn time and talent — on our own terms — into income. Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup, Side Hustle, The Happiness of Pursuit, and other books. He is a serial entrepreneur, the host of the Side Hustle School podcast and the founder of the World Domination Summit, an event for cultural creatives that has, for the past decade, attracted thousands of attendees to Portland, Oregon every summer. Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in An Economy That Hates You Third Place Books


327. Barry Long and David Tatro with Rebecca Crichton: Disability and Aging: New Perspectives

Long-time disability advocate Barry Long and Dave Tatro from Sound Generations share their lives and learning with Rebecca Crichton, ED of Northwest Center for Creative Ageing. They will discuss how we can all learn how to interact with and support people with both visible and invisible disabilities. Barry Long has faced life-altering challenges that have taught him the value of positive attitude and perseverance. Through his work as a professional speaker, trainer, and leadership coach, Barry has shared his message of motivation with thousands of people; helping them to take action and reach their goals through real conversation, direct guidance, and actionable plans. Long-time Seattle resident Dave Tatro Dave was diagnosed as a teenager with a hereditary, degenerative eye disease called Choroideremia. It’s the gradual loss of the rod cells in the retina. These cells are crucial to peripheral vision and night vision. As he ages, his range of vision continues to narrow to a type of tunnel vision and night blindness. It’s considered low-vision or ‘legal’ blindness. Luckily, the use of a white blind cane has helped Dave stay relatively independent. He can get around on own own when he take his time and adjusts his expectations. He has great admiration for those with more complicated life challenges Rebecca Crichton started her “Encore Career” as ED of NWCCA in 2012 after 21 years with The Boeing Company. She refashioned her skills and knowledge as a writer, curriculum designer, and leadership development coach to offer programs related to Creative Aging at many venues in the Seattle area. An active participant in the local aging community, she writes regularly for 3rd Act Magazine.


326. Saving Journalism, Saving Our Democracy With Florangela Davila, Jelani Cobb, Michael McPhearson, and Frank Blethen

If journalism is the lifeblood of our democracy, then why does it feel like its chronically on life support? Nationally, thousands of news outlets have been crushed under the weight of financial distress. The few that survive are driven by profit motives, rather than seeking to educate and inform. Locally, we’ve witnessed the closures of the Seattle Chinese Post, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, and the Seattle Globalist. While other outlets have been forced to either go exclusively online or operate with skeleton newsrooms. So, what is to be done to halt the decay of one of society’s most essential organs? While many bemoan the decline of journalism, there are also solutions being explored for how to ensure that every community both locally and nationally is afforded journalism that is factual, accurate, and accessible. Join Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, KNKX News Director Florangela Davila, and South Seattle Emerald Executive Director Michael McPhearson as they discuss a pathway to a vibrant local media ecosystem that is a force for the public. The discussion will be moderated by Deloris Irwin of the League of Women Voters. Florangela Davila has been a journalist since 1992. For 14 years she worked at The Seattle Times, covering race and immigration. She also served as managing editor and news host at KCTS 9. The child of immigrants from Colombia and Peru, she was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. She’s earned numerous individual and team journalism honors in print, online and broadcast, most recently three regional Murrow awards for KNKX. Jelani Cobb is the Dean of Journalism at Columbia University. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2015. He received a Peabody Award for his 2020 PBS Frontline film Whose Vote Counts? and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary in 2018. He has also been a political analyst for MSNBC since 2019. Michael McPhearson is the executive director of the South Seattle Emerald. He is the former executive director of Veterans For Peace. As co-coordinator of the Ferguson/St. Louis Don’t Shoot Coalition and leading a delegation to support the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, he recognizes the critical role of community media for social change. He has testified before Congress and is currently a board member of the ACLU of Washington. Frank Blethen is the publisher of The Seattle Times and the great-grandson of the 126-year-old company’s founder. Delores Irwin is co-chair of the League of Women Voters of Washington committee that produced the 2022 study “The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy.” She graduated from Cal State University, Fullerton, with a BA in Communications/Journalism, and was a newspaper reporter for several years at Southern California newspapers, including the Orange County Register. She is a former public information officer for a city and also worked for a public hospital and a community college district, all in Southern California. She is the former League president in Kittitas County. Presented by Town Hall Seattle and South Seattle Emerald.


325. Simon Johnson: Can AI Power Up Progress?

With today’s emerging technologies, including things like artificial intelligence, are quickly becoming mainstream. AIs like ChatGPT, the chatbot that can produce answers to questions and write essays and poems, have become sensational hits in our culture. What’s the cost of all of these so-called advances? If you ask economist Simon Johnson, the cost could be astronomical. In his latest book, Power and Progress (co-authored with MIT’s Daron Acemoglu), Johnson believes that we are at a pivotal point in history where technology could either provide widespread prosperity or accelerate the power and wealth gaps in our society. Many people throughout history, and in current today, have assumed that technological advances mean progress for all. Johnson explores how this assumption actually played out throughout history. The wealth generated by technological improvements in agriculture during the European Middle Ages was captured by the nobility and used to build grand cathedrals while peasants remained on the edge of starvation. England’s first hundred years of industrialization delivered stagnant incomes for working people. And throughout the world today, Johnson argues, digital technologies and artificial intelligence undermine jobs and democracy through excessive automation, massive data collection, and intrusive surveillance. So are we doomed to repeat history? Johnson would say no. He also demonstrates that the path of technology was once — and may again be — brought under control. The tremendous computing advances of the last half-century can become empowering and democratizing tools, but not if all major decisions remain in the hands of a few powerful tech leaders. Combining economic theory and a manifesto for a better society, Johnson provides the vision to reshape how we innovate and the question of who really gains from technological advances. Simon Johnson is the Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT and a former chief economist to the IMF. His much-viewed opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Atlantic, and elsewhere. With law professor James Kwak, Simon is the co-author of the bestsellers 13 Bankers and White House Burning and a founder of the widely-cited economics blog The Baseline Scenario. Purchase book from Third Place Books


325. Raja Shehadeh: A Portrait of a Palestinian Father and Son

In his life, Aziz Shehadeh was many things — among them a lawyer, a political detainee, and the father of activist and author, Raja Shehadeh. Raja’s latest book, We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I, is a subtle psychological portrait of a complicated father-son relationship. Set against the backdrop of continuing political unrest, Raja describes his failure as a young man to recognize his father’s courage as an activist, and, in turn, his father’s inability to appreciate Raja’s own efforts in campaigning for Palestinian human rights. Then in 1985, Aziz Shehadeh is murdered, and Raja undergoes a profound and irrevocable change. We Could Have Been Friends acts in part as the story of Palestine’s continual fight against multiple foreign powers, but at its core presents a poignant unraveling of a complex father-son relationship, unlike many we have seen before. Raja Shehadeh is Palestine’s leading writer. He is also a lawyer and the founder of the pioneering Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq. Shehadeh is the author of several acclaimed books including Strangers in the House, Occupation Diaries, and Palestinian Walks, which won the prestigious Orwell Prize. We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir Third Place Books


324. Simon Sebag Montefiore: Family Matters: Famous Families Throughout History

950,000 years ago a family of five walked along the beach and left their prints behind. Now, we can view that poignant portrait etched in time — fossils of footprints on the beach — and think of our own families and what memory we might leave in our wake. For award-winning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, these familiar footprints serve as an inspiration for his latest research in world history — one that is genuinely global, spans all eras and all continents and focuses on the family ties that connect every one of us. In his book The World, Montefiore chronicles the world’s great dynasties across human history through palace intrigues, love affairs, and family lives, linking grand themes of war, migration, plague, religion, and technology to the families at the heart of the human drama. These families are diverse and span across space and time. Montefiore tells the stories of the Caesars, Medicis and Incas, Ottomans and Mughals, Bonapartes, Habsburgs and Zulus, Rothschilds, Rockefellers and Krupps, Churchills, Kennedys, Castros, Nehrus, Pahlavis and Kenyattas, Saudis, Kims and Assads. He ties in modern names such as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Volodymyr Zelensky. These powerful families represent the story of humanity, with bloody succession battles, treacherous conspiracies, and shocking megalomania alongside flourishing culture, moving romances, and enlightened benevolence. Montefiore’s work encourages us to pause and consider our own footprints — and how they might connect to narratives of the future. Simon Sebag Montefiore is a historian of Russia and the Middle East whose books are published in more than forty languages. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards, and Young Stalin won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Award, and le Grande Prix de la biographie politique. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London. The World The Elliott Bay Book Company


323. S. C. Gwynne: The Tragic Tale of British Airship R101

Airships, those airborne leviathans that occupied center stage in the world in the first half of the twentieth century, were a symbol of the future. The British airship R101 was not just the largest aircraft ever to have flown and the product of the world’s most advanced engineering — it was also the linchpin of an imperial British scheme to link by air the far-flung areas of its empire from Australia to India, South Africa, Canada, Egypt, and Singapore. No one had ever conceived of anything like it, and R101 captivated the world. There was just one problem: beyond the hype and technological wonders, these big, steel-framed, hydrogen-filled airships were a dangerously bad idea. Journalist S.C. Gwynne’s book, His Majesty’s Airship, features a cast of remarkable and often tragically flawed characters, including: Lord Christopher Thomson, the man who dreamed up the Imperial Airship Scheme and then relentlessly pushed R101 to her destruction; Princess Marthe Bibesco, the celebrated writer and glamorous socialite with whom he had a long affair; and Herbert Scott, a national hero who had made the first double crossing of the Atlantic in any aircraft in 1919 — eight years before Lindbergh’s famous flight — but who devolved into drink and ruin. These historical figures — and the ship they built, flew, and crashed — come together in a grand tale that details the rocky road to commercial aviation. S.C. Gwynne is the author of Hymns of the Republic and the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife. His Majesty's Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World's Largest Flying Machine Third Place Books


322. Josephine Ensign with Anna Patrick: Health and Houselessness in Seattle

Home to over 730,000 people, with close to four million people living in the metropolitan area, Seattle has the third-highest homeless population in the United States. In 2018, an estimated 8,600 homeless people lived in the city, a figure that does not include the significant number of “hidden” homeless people doubled up with friends or living in and out of cheap hotels. In Skid Road, Josephine Ensign digs through layers of Seattle history—past its leaders and prominent citizens, respectable or not—to reveal the stories of overlooked and long-silenced people who live on the margins of society. Josephine Ensign is a professor in the School of Nursing and adjunct professor in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling through the Safety Net, Soul Stories: Voices from the Margins, and the Washington State Book Award Finalist Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in Seattle. Anna Patrick is a reporter for Project Homeless, a community-funded team at The Seattle Times dedicated to covering the region’s homelessness crisis. Before joining The Seattle Times, Anna was a journalist in her home state of West Virginia, where she worked as a feature writer at the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia and then later as a freelancer, covering stories throughout Appalachia. Skid Road The Elliott Bay Book Company


321. Andrea Ritchie and Angélica Chazaro: A Primer on Police Abolition

A primer on police abolition from veteran organizers. What could it look like to live in a world where, instead of relying on policing and prison to put halt to harm, violence is stopped before it even has a chance to begin? In No More Police, organizer and attorney Andrea J. Ritchie and New York Times bestselling author Mariame Kaba detail why policing doesn’t stop violence and instead perpetuates widespread harm. Outlining the many failures of contemporary police reforms, they explore demands to divest from policing and invest in community resources to create greater safety through a Black feminist lens. No More Police centering survivors of state, interpersonal, and community-based violence, and highlights uprisings, campaigns, and community-based projects. Part handbook, part road map, the book calls on readers to turn away from systems that perpetrate violence in the name of ending it, and instead turn toward a world where violence is the exception — a world where safe, well-resourced and thriving communities are the rule. Ritchie joins us at Town Hall to make a case for a world where the tools required to prevent, interrupt, and transform violence in all its forms are abundant. Andrea J. Ritchie is a nationally recognized expert on policing and criminalization and supports organizers across the country working to build safer communities. She is the co-founder of Interrupting Criminalization, the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, and the co-author (with Mariame Kaba) of No More Police (The New Press). She lives in Detroit. Professor Angélica Cházaro teaches Critical Race Theory, Poverty Law, Professional Responsibility, and courses on Immigration Law. Professor Cházaro earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she received the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for Excellence in Clinical Advocacy and was named a Lowenstein Fellow. She was a Kent Scholar, a Stone Scholar, and an editor of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Before attending Columbia, Professor Cházaro earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Harvard University. No More Police Third Place Books


320. Gregory Smithers with Hailey Tayathy: Decolonizing Gender

Before 1492, hundreds of Indigenous communities across North America included people who identified as neither male nor female, but both. They went by aakíí’skassi, miati, okitcitakwe, or one of the hundreds of other tribal-specific identities. After European colonizers invaded Indian Country, centuries of violence and systematic persecution followed, imperiling the existence of people who today call themselves Two-Spirits, an umbrella term denoting feminine and masculine qualities in one person. Despite centuries of colonialism, the Two-Spirit people are reclaiming their place in Native nations. Gregory D. Smithers’s book, Reclaiming Two-Spirits, seeks to decolonize the history of gender and sexuality in Native North America. It honors the generations of Indigenous people who had the foresight to take essential aspects of their cultural life and spiritual beliefs underground to preserve their stories. Drawing on written sources, archaeological evidence, art, and oral storytelling, Reclaiming Two-Spirits spans the centuries from the Spanish invasion to the present, tracing massacres and inquisitions and revealing how the authors of colonialism’s written archives used language to both denigrate and erase Two-Spirit people from history. But as Gregory Smithers shows, the colonizers failed — and Indigenous resistance is core to this story. Reclaiming Two-Spirits amplifies their voices, reconnecting their history to Native nations in the 21st century. Gregory D. Smithers is a professor of American history and Eminent Scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University and a British Academy Global Professor at the University of Hull in England. His research focuses on Cherokee and Southeastern Indigenous history, as well as gender, sexuality, racial, and environmental history. His books include Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal and The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity. Follow him at and on Twitter (@GD_Smithers). Hailey Tayathy is an enrolled member of the Quileute Tribe, a visual artist and Seattle’s premier Coast Salish drag queen. They are a founding member of the Indigenize Productions artist collective and organizer of the Indigiqueer Festival. Tayathy uses their queer Native experiences to inform their unique brand of drag. They aim to bring healing to Indigenous communities and to show everyone that Indigiqueers are still here and are stronger and more beautiful than colonizer minds can imagine. Reclaiming Two-Spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal & Sovereignty in Native America Third Place Books


319. Nate G. Hilger with George Durham: The Parent Trap

Few people realize that raising children is the single largest industry in the United States. Parents are expected not only to care for their children but to help them develop the skills they will need to thrive in today’s socioeconomic reality — but most parents, including even the most caring parents on the planet, are not trained in skill development and lack the resources to get help. How do we fix this? The solution, economist Nate Hilger argues, is to ask less of parents, not more. Hilger makes the case that America should consider child development a public investment with a monumental payoff, and suggests that we need a program like Medicare — call it Familycare — to drive this investment. To make it happen, parents must organize to wield their political power on behalf of children — who will always be the largest bloc of disenfranchised people in this country. In his new book The Parent Trap, Hilger exposes the true costs of our society’s unrealistic expectations around parenting and lays out a profoundly hopeful blueprint for reform. Nate G. Hilger is an economist and data scientist in Silicon Valley. His debut book, The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis, was listed as Required Reading for Parents by the Next Big Idea Club and named a Favorite Parenting Book of 2022 by Greater Good Magazine. His work on child development and inequality has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vox, The Washington Post, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, and many other media outlets. George Durham is the executive director of Seattle-based Linksbridge SPC. He has experience leading projects and working with teams in global health and development, corporate social responsibility, and global communications. George has led three Seattle-area nonprofit organizations. An avid cyclist, George commutes nearly every day – rain or shine – via bicycle, and aspires to ride across the country one day. The Parent Trap: How to Stop Overloading Parents and Fix Our Inequality Crisis Third Place Books


318. Nate Gowdy: The Insurrection in Photos

Nate Gowdy had previously photographed 30 Donald Trump rallies. He thought he was fully prepared for what should have been the grand finale, but the events that unfolded on January 6th, 2021, were more than anyone could have expected. As the event transformed from protest to outright insurrection, Gowdy never stopped photographing. The result is his first monograph, Insurrection — a comprehensive yet intimate account of the events of that fateful day. The 150-page book moves readers through the day in timestamped, chronological order, bringing them a firsthand account of not just the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but what it was like to be a journalist on the front lines. Juxtaposed are scenes of domestic terrorists kneeling and praying, posing for group photos, eating hotdogs, rampaging against the Capitol’s sworn protectors, and defiling the Inauguration Day stand, historically reserved for the stately pomp and circumstance of our representative government. On assignment for Rolling Stone, Gowdy was deemed “fake news” and assaulted twice for having professional cameras. Gowdy joins us in the Wyncote NW Forum to share more about that historic day in January. Nate Gowdy captures the complexities of American politics with striking clarity. Since chronicling Washington state’s fight for marriage equality in 2012, he has traveled the US to photograph pivotal events, figures, and movements across the political divide. His images have been featured in Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, PBS NewsHour, Thom Hartmann, CNN, and TIME, where his Bernie Sanders portrait graced the cover in 2016. As a co-founder of The American Superhero Project and co-author of Our Students, Their Stories, a book celebrating Seattle Public Schools’ LGBTQIA+ students, families, and staff, Gowdy is committed to elevating underrepresented voices. He serves as the official photographer for Seattle Pride, and his documentary fine art is represented at Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. INSURRECTION


317. Timothy Egan: The Revolutionary Woman Who Revealed the Cruelty of the KKK

The Roaring Twenties – the Jazz Age – has been characterized as a time of Gatsby frivolity. But it was also the height of the uniquely American hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. Their domain was not the old Confederacy, but the Heartland and the West. They hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics, and immigrants in equal measure, and took radical steps to keep these people from the American promise. And the man who set in motion their takeover of great swaths of America was a charismatic charlatan named D.C. Stephenson. Stephenson was a magnetic presence whose life story changed with every telling. Within two years of his arrival in Indiana, he’d become the Grand Dragon of the state and the architect of the strategy that brought the group out of the shadows – their message endorsed from the pulpits of local churches, spread at family picnics and town celebrations. Judges, prosecutors, ministers, governors, and senators across the country all proudly proclaimed their membership. But at the peak of his influence, it was a seemingly powerless woman – Madge Oberholtzer – who would reveal his secret cruelties, and whose deathbed testimony finally brought the Klan to their knees. Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize—winning reporter and the author of nine other books, most recently the highly acclaimed A Pilgrimage to Eternity and The Immortal Irishman, a New York Times bestseller. His book on the Dust Bowl, The Worst Hard Time, won a National Book Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. His account of photographer Edward Curtis, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, won the Carnegie Medal for nonfiction. A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them The Elliott Bay Book Company


316. Kathleen McLaughlin with Shaun Scott: Selling Blood to Make Ends Meet

Journalist Kathleen McLaughlin knew she’d found a treatment that worked on her rare autoimmune disorder. She had no idea it had been drawn from the veins of America’s most vulnerable. Blood Money shares McLaughlin’s decade-long mission to learn the full story of where her medicine comes from. She travels the United States in search of the truth about human blood plasma and learns that twenty million Americans each year sell their plasma for profit — a human-derived commodity extracted inside our borders to be processed and packaged for retail across the globe. McLaughlin investigates the thin evidence that pharmaceutical companies have used to push plasma as a wonder drug for everything from COVID-19 to wrinkled skin. In the process, she unearths an American economic crisis hidden in plain sight: single mothers, college students, laid-off Rust Belt auto workers, and a booming blood market at America’s southern border, where collection agencies target Mexican citizens willing to cross over and sell their plasma for substandard pay. McLaughlin’s findings push her to ask difficult questions about her own complicity in this wheel of exploitation, as both a patient in need and a customer who stands to benefit from the suffering of others. Blood Money weaves together McLaughlin’s personal battle to overcome illness as a working American, with revealing portrait of what happens when big business is allowed to feed, unchecked, on those least empowered to fight back. Kathleen McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist who reports and writes about the consequences of economic inequality around the world. A frequent contributor to The Washington Post and The Guardian, McLaughlin’s reporting has also appeared in The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The Economist, NPR, and more. She is a former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT and has won multiple awards for her reporting on labor in China. Blood Money is her first book. Shaun Scott is a Seattle-based writer and historian. A former Pramila Jayapal staffer and Bernie Sanders 2020 Washington State Field Director, he is currently the Policy Lead at the Statewide Poverty Action Network. His essays about popular culture and late capitalism have appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, and Jacobin Magazine. He is the author of the paperback Millennials and the Moments that Made Us: A Cultural History of the US from 1982-Present, and the forthcoming hardcover from UW Press Heartbreak City: Sports and the Progressive Movement in Urban America. Blood Money The Elliott Bay Book Company


315. Afterglow - Envisioning a Radically Different Climate Future

Could the power of story-telling help create a better reality? Afterglow is a stunning collection of original short stories in which writers from many different backgrounds envision a radically different climate future. Published in collaboration with Grist, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions, these stirring tales expand our ability to imagine a better world. Afterglow draws inspiration from a range of cutting-edge literary movements including Afrofuturism, hope-punk, and solar-punk—genres that uplift equitable climate solutions and continued service to one’s community, even in the face of despair. The Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, disabled, feminist, and queer voices in this collection imagine intersectional worlds in which no community is left behind. Whether through abundance or adaptation, reform, or a new understanding of survival, these stories offer flickers of hope, even joy, as they provide a springboard for exploring how fiction can help create a better reality. Panelists Sheree Renée Thomas is a New York Times bestselling, two-time World Fantasy Award-winning author and editor. A 2023 Octavia E. Butler Award honoree and a 2022 Hugo Award Finalist, she is the author of Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future, a Locus, Ignyte, and World Fantasy Finalist, Marvel’s Black Panther: Panther’s Rage novel, and she collaborated with Janelle Monáe on “Timebox Altar(ed)” in The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer. She co-edited Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction, a NAACP Image Award Nominee, and is the Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Sheree lives in her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, near a mighty river and a pyramid. Justine Norton-Kertson is a genderfluid author of stories and poems as well as a screenwriter, game maker, musician, and community organizer. They’re the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Android Press and Solarpunk Magazine. They’ve been published in magazines such as Utopia Science Fiction and Jupiter Review. Their anthologist debut, Bioluminescent: A Lunarpunk Anthology, was published in January 2023 from Android Press. And their debut nonfiction book, Solarpunk Witchcraft, is forthcoming from Microcosm Publishing in 2024. They live in rural Oregon with their partner, puppies, cats, goats, bunnies, and beehives. Find them at Andrew Simon is a writer and editor living in Seattle. Simon has been an editorial leader at award-winning media organizations including Grist, Fast Company, ESPN, and Complex Media. He’s launched a journalism fellowship, the annual Grist 50 list, and a podcast, among other projects. He currently works on thought leadership and business solutions. He is co-author of the book ‘Racing While Black: How an African-American Stock Car Team Made Its Mark on NASCAR.’ Tory Stephens creates opportunities that transform organizations and shift culture. He is a resource generator and community builder for social justice issues, people, and movements. He currently works at Grist Magazine as their climate fiction creative manager and uses storytelling to champion climate justice, and imagine green, clean, and just futures. In another life, he owned a kick-butt streetwear company, and he would have gotten away with eating the last cookie too if it weren’t for his three meddling kids. Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Its goal is to use the power of storytelling to illuminate the way toward a better world, inspire millions of people to walk that path with us, and show that the time for action is now. Afterglow Third Place Books


314. Krista R. Pérez with Jasmine M. Pulido - Deracinating Racism

No matter how we identify, we all have a lot to unpack. While there is a multitude of texts with universal application, community organizer Krista R. Pérez has written a book specifically with a BIPOC audience in mind. In Unearthing Our Roots, Pérez encourages advocates, activists, and leaders from historically marginalized groups to implement transformative and healing practices within their communities. Pérez extends an invitation to readers to unearth and uproot racist, anti-Black, ableist, and other biases that fracture relationships surrounding their communities. With decades of lived experience and a multidisciplinary approach, Pérez presents guided journal prompts for examining our own intentions, strategies for unraveling harmful biases and behaviors, and transformative and restorative practices for communities of historically marginalized groups at both micro and macro levels. Partially funded by the Tacoma Arts Commission, Unearthing Our Roots is a book that doubles as a clarion call. Krista R. Pérez aims to share her story, all parts of her story, including her softest and strongest parts, her sacred nature, the joy of motherhood, and her deeply rooted cultural values, to create spaces for Women of Color to show up in all capacities. Krista is also a proponent of integrated leadership, in which we bring all parts of ourselves to our professional workspaces. By making our whole selves visible we learn to value our whole selves, and others, as others and community members. Jasmine M. Pulido is a Filipina American writer-activist, small business owner, and mother. Her written work has been featured in the South Seattle Emerald, International Examiner, The Postscript, and Give Grief a Voice. Her work has been performed through Velasco Arts and Bindlestiff Studio. She recently wrote her first play, “The Master’s Tool” exploring the struggles of BIPOC folks in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion work in white-dominant non-profit workplaces. Jasmine is pursuing her Master’s in Social Change at Starr King School for the Ministry. She writes a bi-weekly substack called “Liberation Library” and is currently working on her first novel. Unearthing Our Roots Blue Cactus Press