It sounds like Apple has done it again! There’s a new set of iPhones on the market starting from the basic upgrade to the most sophisticated pro edition. From glancing over the release notes checklist and public comments, there’re some who’re excited about the new features. There’re others (even those from the Samsung world) who don’t seem impressed.
Without sounding like a tech-head, two things might jump out at you. The cameras have a new ‘high-powered eye’ designed to let in more light. That means more ways to take pics in different room settings. Then there’s the enhance color clarity for photos. The sharpness is said to be impressive. That’s not unlike what See America In Color (SAIC) is all about. It lets in more light on American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks. When you see things in enhanced color, it’s like having a high-powered eye for hot-button issues.
If we were to hone-in on SAIC’s Fall rollout, there’re features like the Social Challenge Contests (Essay, Arts, Tech) for K-12 as well as the “Civic Life, Club Scene” program for college settings. There’s also the National Civics Day event that’s about shining a spotlight and living civic excellence. National Civics Day celebrates the importance of civics education. It also commemorates when the Federalist Papers were first published in the newspapers on October 27, 1787. These Papers were instrumental in educating citizens and convincing the colonies to ratify the Constitution. Moreover, SAIC realizes there’s always been ‘the dream’ of America. Dr King understood that in his speech at the March on Washington. He was basically saying, you can’t expect us to be ‘siding with America’ but left out of the dream.
Some politicize the Federalist Papers or use them for ideological cheap shots. But really, they were like cliff notes of the Convention or release notes of the Constitution. The founding fathers wanted to create a shift in citizenship and leadership because we were going from British subjects to Americans, from colonies to the United States of America. They had to make a choice of ‘siding with America’ between loyalist vs patriot, monarchy vs republic. Throughout our history the choice has evolved where you had to pick a side between slavery vs emancipation, secession vs union. These days it seems the choice is about party vs country, kicking the can down the road vs up the road.
If the ‘siding with America’ strategy worked with creating a shift in citizenship and leadership after the American Revolution, what if we apply the takeaways from that to help us move beyond today’s Civic Revolution of isms & schisms, lost cause, hate & bias, culture wars? It’s true, sometimes politics around town stinks. Even at the job, school or family setting, it can get in the way of progress. Growing up in a household with parents who were both public servants, there were stories that didn’t make sense then but sure do now. Creating a shift means not just looking at your position in terms of controlling power but purpose power. It might also mean having a handle on civic ideals which serve as culture links around:
There wasn’t much of a sense for diversity during America’s early days. Back then it was a kinda old school way of looking at the world in black & white. That’s why SAIC is about creating a shift to see America in color. The concept takes a page from the difference between a black & white TV and a color TV. One blasts a stream of ‘white light’ with varying intensity to give different shades of black, white and gray. The other blasts three streams of colored light to give the amazing picture we see on our color TV set. Diversity is a new & improved way to see America in its full color spectrum and splendor.
During the abolitionist movement, there was a two-part strategy in search of freedom. One was to end slavery, the other was to advance democracy. That dilemma is an ongoing struggle in America’s story. Blacks weren’t seen as fully human which caused oppression and suppression of their rights. Even after emancipation there’s been the constant struggle around the right to vote. These days the struggle takes on new forms but it’s kinda the same game. The larger concern though is whether some want to open the door to undemocratic rule where power is in the hands of those who don’t want to see diversity thrive.
Usually, when a company is formed or initiative launched, there’s a tag-line for the product, service or movement. With SAIC’s “J.A.M. With Us” campaign (join a movement), we’re “sounding-off social, shaking-up culture.” Well, at the start of America there was a slogan/motto then too. They needed something that helped to re-enforce the idea of going from separate colonies to being the United States around the Constitution. E Pluribus Unum, “Out of Many, One” became that motto. Scrolling through history we’ll find times when the United States of America was united by an ideal, motto or movement.
4. Civic Duty & Civility
In writing the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay were trying to convince the colonies to come onboard. They might have also wanted to set an example of civic duty and civility. They were skilled enough as public officials, whether elected or nominated, but civic minded enough to be creating a shift in citizenship and leadership. It’s a reminder that we gotta pick a side between civility vs cruelty, between civic duty vs ‘sabotage duty’. While some are about grifting their supporters or doing political stunts, others are working to level-up the culture where every vote counts.
If tech companies are always beefing-up their product line, why would public officials want to be dumbing-down the culture? After the Revolution, Benjamin Franklin was asked by an onlooker, “What did you all just achieve at the Convention?” His response was “A Republic, if we can keep it.” It’s the second part of his response that highlights the struggle. SAIC’s National Civics Day event is about creating a shift in citizenship and leadership, honoring public service workers and regular citizens with #CitizenStrong recognition. We’re down with that so get with the program and be among the chosen ones.
To find out more about how you can “J.A.M. With Us” in civic engagement, social change and community life, checkout the Sign-up Center with flyers and QR codes below. Learn more about the National Civics Day event, K-12 ‘Social Challenge Contests’ and the ‘Civic Life, Club Scene’ programs.
Tracks: Raiche – Pick a Side – https://youtu.be/kU_3fs2Cva4
Jon Baptiste – We Are – https://youtu.be/xcjfpDN0xyE