CA Chief Justice to address Restoring Respect conference

March 14, 2019 | San Diego Community College District

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California, will headline Restoring Respect’s eighth annual Conference on Restoring Civility to Civic Dialogue on April 17 at the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California
Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California

The conference is presented by the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement, a partnership between San Diego City, Miramar and Mesa colleges and the University of San Diego. The focus of this year’s summit is on restoring civic literacy and revitalizing civic education across our community.

“When only  a third of Americans can name all three branches of government and a quarter can't even name one, you know you have a crisis in Civic Literacy,” said Carl Luna, a professor of political science at San Diego Mesa College who also serves as director at the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement. “We are in uncertain political and even constitutional times. Now more than ever our students and citizens need to truly understand the workings of our Republic if we are to preserve it. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, a nation cannot be ignorant and still be free. Indeed, ignorance is the plaything of tyrants.”

The April 17 program begins at 9 a.m. with opening remarks by San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance M. Carroll; the Rev. George Walker Smith, founder of the Catfish Club and the first African-American member of the San Diego Board of Education; Gail Baker, who, as vice president and provost of USD, is the university’s chief academic officer; and Stephen Ferruolo, dean at USD’s School of Law. Other speakers will include Haney Hong, president and CEO the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and Tom Karlo, general manager of KPBS, Restoring Respect’s media partner.

A panel discussion assembling academic and community leaders on the state of civic education and strategies for improving civic literacy across our community follows. Panelists include: City College President Ricky Shabazz; San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten; USD Law Professor Miranda McGowan; Elizabeth Ashford from the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State & Global Policy; and Judge Judith McConnell, administrative presiding judge for the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal who also serves as co-chair of the Civic Learning Partnership.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is scheduled to deliver the keynote address, The Critical Role of Civic Education in Sustaining Democracy, at approximately 10:45 a.m. That will be followed by the presentation by Chancellor Constance Carroll of the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement’s inaugural Cives Victor (Community Victorious) Award to Justice Cantil-Sakauye in celebration and recognition of her extensive efforts at improving civic education across California through the Power of Democracy initiative and other programs.

SDCCD Board of Trustees President Maria Nieto Senour is scheduled to give the closing remarks with Noelle Norton, dean of USD’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“We are convening a program of educational and civic leaders who have dedicated much of their professional careers to working to improve civic literacy across our society,” Luna said.

The Institute for Civil Civic Engagement is a partnership between San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges and the University of San Diego to encourage, promote, and increase civility in civic discourse. It evolved from Restoring Respect, an initiative led by a consortium of groups and organizations that include the San Diego Community College District, the University of San Diego, the Catfish Club, and others.

The eighth annual Conference on Restoring Civility to Civic Dialogue is supported and sponsored by the San Diego Community College District, USD and its College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law, the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement, KPBS, the League of Women Voters North County San Diego & League of Women Voters San Diego, the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State & Global Policy, San Diego Unified School District, the city of San Diego Retired Employee Association, and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to register online through Eventbrite or through the Institute for Civil Civic Engagement’s webpage.

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