The California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP)
at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
Engage! 
CCEP Newsletter
April 6, 2017


Dear CCEP colleagues, partners and friends:

Happy Spring, thanks for staying engaged with Engage! 

In this month's edition, you will find upcoming fun and educational events around the state, reports from California's first legislative hearing held at a High School and from a town hall meeting on civic engagement, and inspiring stories of engaged youth making a difference.  We share a new poll revealing how polarized Californians have become in our views on media, links and summaries of the latest civic engagement news breaking nationally and statewide, and more. 

In partnership,  

Mindy Romero, Ph.D.
CCEP Director

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Upcoming Events
Future of Democracy Symposium this Friday in Berkeley

The UC Berkeley Election Law Project @ Boalt and The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy present "The Future of Democracy," The First Annual Election & Political Law Symposium, this Friday April 7th at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall.  

This free, day-long event will feature keynote speakers Ann Ravel, former chair of the Federal Election Commission, and Justin Levitt, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.  In addition to panels on voting, election administration, and political law, attendees will also have the chance to work with the speakers to discuss ways to actively fight to improve democracy in the future.  CCEP Director Mindy Romero will be participating in the panel discussion and lunchtime symposium on voting rights.

CLICK HERE to learn more and to register for the April 7 "Future of Democracy" symposium. 
Restoring Respect Conference April 18-19
San Diego

Restoring Respect is a San Diego community initiative promoting greater civility in civic dialogue.  The 6th annual Restoring Respect Conference will be held April 18-19  at the University of San Diego's Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. This year's conference theme is, "Rebuilding Civility."
 
The goal of the conference is to continue an ongoing national dialogue on how to repair the partisan divide in American politics and civic discourse, rebuild bridges of cooperation and understanding between American political and socio-economic communities and develop pathways to more effective policy-making at the local, regional, state and national levels.  Speakers include Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and former congressmen Mickey Edwards and Dan Glickman of the Aspen Institute.  

CLICK HERE for more information.
Action Civics and Governments Engaging Youth Spring Showcase
May 13, Sacramento

The Sacramento County Office of Education is presenting a spring democracy showcase in collaboration with Action Civics and the Governments Engaging Youth Initiative on May 13th at the California State University, Sacramento Alumni Center from 10 am until 2 pm.  This free, public event is designed to help middle and high school students and their parents learn about how to participate in our democracy.  

To learn more or to register, please contact Frank Pisi: fpisi@scoe.net 
Assembly Republican Leader   Chad Mayes

The California Center for Civic Participation 
33rd Annual California Roast 
May 30, Sacramento

Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes will be the guest of honor at the 33rd annual California Roast in Sacramento on Tuesday May 30, 2017 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.  
 
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Legislative Advocate Amy Brown and other outstanding VIPS will be roasters. Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte will be the Master of Ceremonies.  
 
CLICK HERE for more information   or call 916 443-2229.
 
The Roast has honored Governors Davis, Wilson and Deukmejian; Senators De Leòn, Steinberg, Burton, Roberti and Perata; Speakers Brown, Villaraigosa, Bass, Núñez, Pérez and Atkins; and Republicans Brulte, McCarthy and Ackerman among others. Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown have also appeared. 
 
All proceeds benefit the non-partisan programs of the California Center for Civic Participation, which targets youth who don't normally get the chance to affect the political process.  
Past Event
Attendees at the first California legislative hearing held at a school
 California Senate Holds Historic Hearing on Youth Civic Engagement

The California Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee held an informational hearing at Reseda High School in Los Angeles last month titled, "From Voices to Votes: Breaking Barriers to Civic Engagement for the Next Generation."   This was the first ever California legislative hearing to be held at a high school. 

Committee Chair Senator Henry Stern and committee member Senator Robert Hertzberg attended, as did many local high school students. CCEP Director Mindy Romero gave opening testimony, providing an overview of the state of youth civic engagement in California.  Panelists included representatives of the nonprofit organizations Rock the Vote, Mi Familia Vota, Generation Citizen and NextGen Climate.  Teachers and students also provided testimony, including members of the YMCA Youth in Government Program. KNX News Radio was on hand to provide media coverage.  All in all, the event was a success, and hopefully will be part of an ongoing dialogue about how to facilitate greater and more representative youth civic participation in California.  
Civic Engagement Success Stories
 Oakland Teen Demonstrates Outstanding Civic Leadership

As featured recently on CBS Bay Area news, Oakland High School Senior Darius Aikens is proof that teens can play an active and important role in the civic life of their communities.  Aikens began to realize his leadership potential when he moved to Oakland and began attending NAACP meetings.  Today, he represents his peers and community as a student director on the Oakland Unified School District School Board.  In this role, he helps bridge the communication gap between the board and  the student body.  "Students always lean on me to lead on small scales. I felt that if I could do it on a small scale, I could do it district-wide," Aikens told a reporter last year. 
 
Aikens also attends school, works a part-time job, serves as the youth chapter president of the local NAACP chapter and is an ambassador for The Oakland Promise, a city initiative to triple the number of college graduates from Oakland.
 
Darius has overcome significant obstacles to become the young leader he is today.  His father died when he was nine years old, and his mother was unable to care for the family.  Still a child himself, he stepped up and raised his younger siblings.  "Many times I felt my life was worthless and that no one loved me," he recently told a CBS news reporter. "Those days were really difficult, I remember my siblings and I went to  school solely to eat."
 
Darius hopes to be able to continue to be a voice for the voiceless and vulnerable as he approaches graduation, and has his sights set on becoming Mayor of Oakland one day. 
 
CLICK HERE to see Darius on KPIX channel 5 CBS News. 
Expanding the Definition of Civic Engagement

Huffpost contributor Yareliz Mendez-Zamora is a recent University of Florida graduate and daughter of N icaraguan immigrants.  She is very active in her community, serving in student government, as an intern at a public defender's office, and working with local Latina/o activist groups. In a recent article, she challenges her fellow Americans to expand their definition of civic engagement beyond the ballot box.  Learn more about this young woman's take on civic engagement by reading her inspiring piece in the Huffington Post
California Civic Engagement News
California Lawmaker Holds Town Hall in Response to Divisive National Climate

Representative Evan Low held a town hall meeting in Cambell on April 1st to discuss with his constituents how the state and community groups are responding to the divisive national climate, and to empower residents to be more engaged in civic and human rights issues.

Low told the Mercury News that  he hopes the town hall will allow people to openly speak about how they can get involved at a local, state or national level, while also providing information on particular state and national issues that have arisen since the election of President Donald Trump.

Speakers included representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Planned Parenthood, and the Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network.

According to a Facebook event page, over 300 constituents attended the town hall.  One attendee commented that they came away from the event with a renewed hope for their state, country and democracy. 
New Poll Reveals Californians hold Polarized Views on Media

A new report from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies shows just how large a chasm there is between Republicans and Democrats in California when it comes to our views of the media.  "Republicans and Democrats seem to be living in alternate universes," poll director Mark DiCamillo told KQED's Scott Shafer.    

The survey of 1,000 registered California voters showed that 79 percent of Republicans have little or no faith in how journalists cover the news, while 75 percent of Democrats said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. 

National Civic Engagement News
Russian Twitter-Bots used Fake News to Impact the 2016 Election


National Public Radio coverage of Senate Intelligence Committee hearings recently revealed how Russian operatives created sophisticated TwitterBots (programs that can autonomously Tweet) to pump out Fake News to a targeted American audience. 

The Bots used accounts that appeared to belong to Midwestern Republicans in swing states while sharing false news stories on the popular social media platform prior to the 2016 presidential election in order to influence this demographic.

"So that way whenever you're trying to socially engineer them and convince them that the information is true, it's much more simple because you see somebody and they look exactly like you, even down to the pictures," former FBI agent Clint Watts testified at the hearing.  

Searching for Voter Fraud

This month's issue of Politico Magazine features an in-depth look at accusations of voter fraud in U.S. Elections.  Taking a historical perspective beginning in 2002, the authors detail the recent history of voter fraud conspiracy theories in American politics, and the lack of evidence turned up by the many investigations that have looked into this fictitious phenomenon.   CLICK HERE for the full story from Politico Magazine.  

A related op-ed piece published recently in the Sacramento Bee 
by CCEP Director Mindy Romero debunks and examines the impacts of the President's repeated false claims that voter fraud occurred in the November 2016 election.  Despite no evidence of significant voter fraud having occurred, conspiracy theories are causing many Americans to question the integrity of our electoral process. CLICK HERE to read more in the Sacramento Bee .  

Professional Opportunities
Mutual Housing of California Seeks Chief Executive Officer

Mutual Housing California seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial and mission-driven Chief Executive Officer to champion and implement the development and operations of high-quality, innovative affordable housing and resident leadership programs for the Sacramento region and beyond. 

To learn more about this position and how to apply, CLICK HERE
CCEP Outreach: In the Media
Still Debunking Trump's False Voter Fraud Claims

A recent article on the fact-checking website Politifact declaring President Trump's claim of serious voter fraud in California to be a "pants on fire" falsehood features CCEP founder Dr. Mindy Romero. Dr. Romero and other voting experts cited in the article provide compelling evidence to debunk the idea that widespread voter fraud occurred in California's 2016 Presidential Election. 

CLICK HERE to read the full story at Politifact.com. 

Democratic Voter Registration on the Rise in California

A recent nationally syndicated news story from the Associated Press on the latest partisan trends in California voter registration features expert analysis from CCEP Director Mindy Romero.  According to the article, a record 19.4 million Californians were registered to vote as of February 10, 2017.  Democratic Voter Registration is on the rise in the Golden State, while Republican registration levels have gone down, and about one quarter of voters are registered with no party preference. 

CLICK HERE to read the full story at APNews.com. 
Share Your Civic Engagement Story with the CCEP

UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project

CCEP Advisory Committee

Kim Alexander
President and Founder  
California Voter Foundation 

Matt A. Barreto
Professor, Dept. of Political Science
Professor, Dept. of Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Los Angeles


Jonathan Fox
Professor, 
School of International Service
American University  
 
Luis R. Fraga 
Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership
Professor of Political Science University of Notre Dame
Lisa Garcia Bedolla
Chancellor's Professor of Education and Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
Bruce Haynes
Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology University of California, Davis
Jongho Lee
Professor
Dept. of Political Science
Western Illinois University  

Peter Levine 
Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs,  Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
Matt Mahan
Cofounder and CEO
Brigade


James Muldavin
Executive Director
California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development
Karthick Ramakrishnan
Professor of Public Policy
University of California, Riverside
Ricardo Ramirez
Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science
University of Notre Dame

J ason Reece
Assistant Professor of Land Use Planning and Law
The Ohio State University
Cruz Reynoso
Professor of Law Emeritus
University of California, Davis
Dan Schnur
Director
Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics
University of Southern California
 Shakari Byerly
 Partner and Lead Researcher
 EVITARUS

California Civic Engagement Project
UC Davis Center for Regional Change
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