Real Democracy Teach-In

What would real democracy do for your issue?

Wednesday, September 25, 5-9pm
Louden Nelson Community Center Auditorium
301 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

organized by Citizen Gaia and Within Reach
part of the Santa Cruz Climate Strike Coalition week of events

Speakers include: Danny SheehanErnestina SaldañaBenjamin EichertNancy Glock-Grueneich Pauline Seales

There will be delicious vegan and vegetarian dinners on the house, inspiring presentations, a chance for discussion, and community-building.

Program | Handouts | Resources | Speaker Bios | Follow Up

With a view to “do it ourselves democracy,” we’ll be reflecting on what is required to resist, restore, survive and even thrive. 
What will it take to protect the refugees among us? 
What can we do to promote the CA Green New Deal? 
What tools and techniques can we use to most wisely leverage our power as a community of informed citizens? 
With an international view, what is happening democracy-wise that can inspire and guide us in uncertain times? 

We disrupt, yes!  But non-violent resistance must ultimately turn to organization!

As Arendt wrote, “political freedom, generally speaking, means the right to be a participator in government or it means nothing.”

Radicalising democracy: How Hannah Arendt’s legacy endures in Barcelona


4:45 Doors Open Registration. (Pick-up sandwiches)
5:00 Welcome: Living—Not Alone Jennifer Beagle  
Honoring the Land and Its Peoples, Getting Grounded Michelle Merrill
5:10Between a Brick & a Hard Place: Living Democracy Today, on the Central Coast
Nancy Glock-Grueneich
5:30 “We, the People”: Enacting a California Green New Deal
Danny Sheehan
5:50 1st small group discussion (World Café)
6:00Questions & Comments
6:15Music and dance break
6:20Refugees All: Climate Change Comes Home
Ernestina Saldaña
6:402nd small group discussion (World Café)
6:50Questions & Comments
7:0010 minute break (2nd chance at sandwiches!)
7:10Where We Need to Go & How We’re Getting There
Ben Eichert
7:30 3rd small group discussion (World Café)
7:40 Questions & Comments
7:50 Music and dance break
7:55Real Democracy, Santa Cruz Style: Upcoming Opportunities
Pauline Seales
8:15 4th small group discussion (World Café)
8:35Report Out


coming soon…

This is a work in progress.
Watch this page for more information and details. Please contact us if you have questions or suggestions.

Preliminary Resources

Here are a few resources on Do-It-Ourselves Democracy that you may find useful:

Future We Need Episode 5: Change the Politics includes info on Living Room Conversations, Do-It-Yourself Democracy


Information, background articles and theoretical perspectives

Speaker Bios

Danny Sheehan, Romero Institute

Daniel P. Sheehan is a 1967 Harvard College-trained American Government & American Foreign Policy Scholar; a 1970 Harvard Law School-trained Constitutional Trial and Appellate Attorney; and a 1974 Harvard Divinity School-trained expert in the field of Comparative Social Ethics & Alternative Worldviews. Over the past fifty years, as a trial attorney, public speaker and university educator, Daniel Sheehan has helped to expose injustice, protect fundamental human rights and elucidate a compelling vision for the future for our human family in many fields. Mr. Sheehan is a fifty-year member of the State and Federal Bar Associations of the State of New York and of the District of Columbia and has been admitted to practice law before the Courts of 28 States. 
Learn more…

Ernestina Saldaña, Asamblea de Barrios

As a Disabled, Indigenous, Immigrant Woman and Mother, Ernestina’s life experiences have given her the opportunity to understand the role of the environment in determining the quality of the life and opportunities granted to those who have no control over the natural resources surrounding them. In our own backyard, the residents of Beach Flats neighborhood are in a precarious situation to face climate changes. With no barrier between them and the ocean, theirs will be one of the first communities to be engulfed by the waters in case of king tides or strong storms. Under Asamblea de Barrios, Ernestina provides information, referrals and advocacy to the residents of the different neighborhoods within Santa Cruz County. She has hosted events helping communities to self-organize, connect and empower themselves to resist discrimination, harassment and deportation. She was previously the founder of the Sanctuary Movement in Santa Cruz County. Ernestina has a BS in Civil Engineering, MS Environmental Engineering, MS Public Health, and Ph.D  Wastewater Reuse.

Benjamin Eichert, Romero Institute

Benjamin leads Romero Institute’s Greenpower initiative, which implements local climate change solutions to help communities produce renewable power. He is passionate about social justice organizing, and co-founded Big Noise Films—with whom he directed the award-winning documentary Zapatista. He has worked as an organizer and contract negotiator with the New York State Nurses Association and was the field director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s successful reelection campaign in 2012. He studied political science at Brown University.

Nancy Glock-Grueneich, Within Reach

Nancy is the founder of Within Reach, which emerged from her work as host for The Future We Need series on Santa Cruz Community TV. She is an engaged activist and community organizer with the Santa Cruz Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She worked at the state level on curriculum for the California Community College System. Nancy has an Ed.D. from Harvard University.

Pauline Seales, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

Pauline is one of the most respected and formidable organizers addressing the climate crisis in Santa Cruz through SCCAN. She is also a passionate climate change educator, bringing information and activities to schools and community events around the county. Pauline is a retired high school science teacher who taught Physics and Environmental Science.