A Civics Series for Today.
Tune In. Own The Issues.

October 2017 – May 2018
New York City

Civics Unplugged Orientation October 15th, 2017 Roosevelt House, New York City

There are scenes of students attending the orientation as words appear on the screen: Seventy two students from NYC and NJ Come together once a month for eight months to listen discuss and learn to agree or disagree about immigration, voting rights, the press, trade, pacs checks and balances think tanks campaign finance and their future.

A student appears on the screen with a caption that indicates her name is Maryann and she is a Civic Fellow. She says "I love Civics Unplugged. I find that I leave with more questions than answers but perhaps that's the point."

We move to another Civic Fellow named Brenner who says "Yes I think it’s a very good thing because it teaches us how to respect and value other people's opinions and how to build off their opinions and create new opinions of our own and really just make a difference in society"

We move to another Civic Fellow named Kaitlin who says, "And I, I don't know, I think I really love being able to go somewhere with our topic and not just end it when the class period ends. We can continue this going back home talking with our parents and talking with everyone we know about the conversations we have here."

We move to another Civic Fellow named Tahjai who says, "I definitely learned more things about politics especially like why they matter to people in this country and more specifically why they matter to me as an individual"

We move to Alessandra, the last of the interviewed Civic Fellows, who says, "I feel so much more aware about like politics especially in our country and I feel like it's really important for me to continue be learning about this and I'm glad Civics Unplugged gives me that resource."

Civics Unplugged is a new interactive civics education workshop series that brings New York teens from diverse backgrounds together for important dialogue on engaging civics-related topics.

Learn More About The Forum Series

Check out Civics Unplugged on Classroom Closeup, the 15-time Emmy® award-winning television show that features innovative projects in public schools.

The 2017-2018 Forum Series Wrap-up

For our Final Civic Forum, Fellows took the lead in designing and facilitating a high octane day of reflection and creativity.  After kicking off with a mixer in "civic quartets," Fellows circled through rooms in which they were asked what they would try to change if they were President.  They brainstormed civic challenges and ideas for addressing them in relation to each of our six prior Forums-- Gerrymandering and Voting Rights; Immigration; the Press, Media and Social Media;  Infrastructure; Gentrification and Affordable Housing; and Freedom of Expression. They formed small groups to come up with proposed civic solutions for challenges they identified and crafted appealing pitches to make to a Civic Shark Tank (aka Congress.) Pitches had to favorably address four criteria: Power of the Idea/Desirability, Potential Civic Impact, Feasibility, and Bipartisan Appeal. Fellows pitched some powerful ideas, providing an inspiring reminder of the civic power represented by this rising generation.

Most Recent Session

Freedom of Expression

April 15, 2018 | Roosevelt House, NY

Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, guaranteed in the First Amendment and held dear by liberals, conservatives, and libertarians.

Speaker(s): Will Creeley

Freedom of Expression

Learn more about Freedom of Expression

Discover the Issues

Explore our collection of resources relating to topics from our Civic Forum, including videos, articles, links and exclusive session content.

Voting Rights

Voting is the heart of our democracy yet voting rights have always engendered voting fights. Students delved into the context of voting today, and discussed ideas for increasing voter access and engagement.

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The United States is on the verge of changes to immigration law. Civic Fellows will investigate different perspectives and explore issues surrounding immigration reform.

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Press, Media, and Social Media

The press is often called the fourth branch of government (or “fourth estate”) as it is the watchdog of the democratic process. Fellows will explore the role the press has in shaping public opinion, the responsibility of journalists, and the challenges of our current age.

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Civic Dilemmas in Infrastructure

Infrastructure refers to the system of public works of a country, state, or region. While infrastructure refers to something physical, it is undergirded by civic actions—choices and decisions about what to invest in, where, and for whom.

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Gentrification and Affordable Housing

The term "gentrification" is often used to describe neighborhood changes that are characterized by an influx of new residents of a higher socioeconomic status relative to incumbent residents, causing rising housing values--and rising costs.

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Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, guaranteed in the First Amendment and held dear by liberals, conservatives, and libertarians.

Find Out More

Or, start from the beginning with What is Civics.

More Civics Unplugged Programming

Two ways in which we will be unplugging civics across New York City:

CivicsU Podcasts

Civic Fellows are creating a "for teens, by teens" podcast for each Civic Forum. The podcast will be comprised of highlights from the Speaker’s remarks and an interview with the Speaker along with their and their peers’ thoughts and open questions about the theme of the month. The CivicsU podcast will serve as a way to keep conversation and thinking going--and to open it up to a broader base of students.


In the spring, Civic Fellows will produce a TEDx-style conference that draws upon their experiences and learning from the year. Fellows will create and facilitate presentations, activities, and storytelling that builds more civic knowledge and sparks more civic engagement for students from across their schools and across the city.

We've merged!

As of Aug 2018, Civics Unplugged has merged with Next Generation Politics and will be changing our name and migrating to https://nextgenpolitics.org/ . Next Gen Politics is a student-created, student-led organization that fosters civic engagement and promotes a culture of collaboration and cross-partisanship within Generation Z. Given the alignment in our missions, and the range and reach of Next Gen's 15+ chapters, we are enthusiastic to join forces.

Our mission remains the same: to equip young people to understand their rights, roles, and responsibilities and strengthen their ability to engage with people from different backgrounds, appreciate multiple perspectives, and foster civic discourse. This merger will enable our Civic Fellows in New York to be in dialogue, and develop relationships, with teens from other regions who have very different lived experiences, exposing all to a broader range of perspectives and politics.

In response to the deeply divisive time we are living in, the palpable threats to democracy and civil society, and the power and potential of young people to create change, we are thrilled to support teens in expanding their civic capacity and commitment. We look forward to continuing to build this movement with you!