Baratunde on How to Citizen

Key Points

  • Being a tree hugger is really just hugging yourself. We are all connected and interdependent.

  • All people must become fluent in power. Learn how to understand and use it.

How to Citizen

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Tom Vander Ark is joined by one of his favorite podcast hosts… Baratunde Thurston, host of the How to Citizen podcast.

Baratunde is an Emmy-nominated host, author of the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black, and creator/host of How To Citizen with Baratunde which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020. He’s also a founding partner of the new media startup Puck.

He will also be keynoting SXSW EDU alongside his friend Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering.

We appreciate the work that Baratunde is doing to shed light on important people, organizations and methods to turn citizen into a verb. 


Some of our favorite How to Citizen Episodes

Schools are training grounds for how we show up. We hold onto principles, ideals, a sense of purpose that can shift with the changes of the world. 


The safest place to not know should be school. 



One person that inspired citizen as a verb? 

  • Mother: encouraged to question power, to question school. Modeled how to citizen.

Insights for edleaders? 

  • Someone has to be responsible for holding the conversation.
  • Coauthoring entrepreneurship with young people is a great way to build agency and understand power dynamics.

Another insight 

  • It is worth asking communities and fellow leaders: “What is your goal?” “What are you afraid of… what do you hope for?”

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

Subscribe to Our Podcast

This podcast highlights developing trends in K-12 education, postsecondary and lifelong learning. Each week, Getting Smart team members interview students, leading authors, experts and practitioners in research, tech, entrepreneurship and leadership to bring listeners innovative and actionable strategies in education leadership.

Find us on:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.