Ken Schreiner, Mac McKerral and Peggy Kuhr met together. Their discussion:

WWTPD: What Would Thomas Paine Do? That’s the question Ken wanted to ask. What would Paine do in today’s world? He put the spirit of revolution into words. Who’s doing that today? We agreed that Paine would be blogging to get the word out, a digital pamphleteer.

Mac described his honors class last fall at Western KY University, called “Freedom in the Age of Terrorism.” As part of the class, he showed a documentary about the student protests against U.S. war in Vietnam. His students decided: We need a protest. And, they wanted a CD of the protest music from the 60s-70s. The students finally decided their protest topic: They decided that technology was disconnecting people rather than connecting them. They thought it would be good to have a “technology-free zone” to draw attention to this. After planning their protest, and notifying media, and making signs to carry, they staged their event. For 3 hours they stood in the gadget-free zone, where students were asked to get off their cell phones, put away their Ipods and connect face-to-face. …. Lots of resulting media attention.

Kuhr talked about the next steps for her Rosedale Middle School project, where KU students are developing an afterschool journalism program. Next: giving students more a sense of how to tell their own stories, more access to technology.

Mac may be teaching a summer forum for secondary students; Mac and Peggy said they’d help each other out with their youth projects.

Lessons from our coaching session:

  • Tell a story. (that’s what Thomas Paine would do)
  • People need freedom to be and freedom to initiate change
  • We need participation by young people in the development of the community

Peggy Kuhr