Event: Closing the Civic Empowerment Gap (webinar)

The Citizens Campaign and the Rutgers Center for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) co-hosted a webinar on “Closing the Civic Empowerment Gap.” Marybeth Gasman, director of the Center for MSIs and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice, moderated the discussion.

In her book No Citizen Left Behind, Harvard’s Meira Levinson outlined the dimensions of the civic empowerment gap in the USA, one where students of color and students in under-resourced communities are much less likely to receive education in civic skills and knowledge. This translates into lower participation and poorer representation of their interests in government at every level.

“We are interrupting this feedback loop of compounding powerlessness, and that communities with low civic engagement are ignored by those in power and democratic institutions, which then further compounds lower civic engagement, which means they’re going to be ignored even more. Power Civics can literally disrupt that system.”

Veronica Reyna

“We actually have to foster civic hope, because when our students see that when they work together as a collective they actually make change happen, they make change. They see people in action working together, participating, and we hope to instill that excitement and Inspire them to do the same.”

Rowena Tomaneng


  • Meira Levinson 
    • Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society, Harvard University 
    • Leader of Justice in Schools
  • Dr. Larry Johnson, Jr. 
    • President, Guttman Community College 
    • American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Commission on College Readiness
  • Dr. Rowena Tomaneng 
    • President of San Jose City College 
    • President of Berkeley City College in the Peralta Community College District from 2016-2020
    • American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
  • Dr. Veronica Reyna
    • Associate Director, Center for Civic Leadership, Rice University
    • Professor of Government & Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, Houston Community College
  • Michelle Curry
    • Director of Civic Trusts, The Citizens Campaign; Human Services faculty, Metropolitan College of New York; Director, Mid-Atlantic Chapter for Human Services

Meira Levinson
Larry Johnson
Rowena Tomaneng
Veronica Reyna