It’s one thing to complain about voter and citizen apathy, it’s another to roll up one’s sleeves and do something about it. That’s just what Cathy Gillespie is doing. Along with Constituting America co-president, actress Janine Turner who founded the organization, the duo is tackling one of the most serious threats to U.S. democracy — an uneducated citizenry.
Their approach is unique — taking the U.S. Constitution and challenging kids to use the arts and different media to bring it to life. From public service announcements and short films, to poetry and song, Constituting America is changing the way these future leaders think about their country and the founding documents, and inspiring others to do the same.
Cathy spent much of her career in politics and public service. She met Janine Turner when she was taking a break to stay home to raise the Gillespies’ three children. The mission of Constituting America spoke to Cathy as a way to use her skills and experiences from government, but it also fueled her passion for teaching others about the importance of the Constitution as the cornerstone of U.S. democracy. Since then, she’s traveled with Janine on multi-week, cross country bus tours; spoken to countless classes of students from around the country; delivered prizes and scholarship monies to hundreds of kids and young people who enter Constituting America’s contests; and has written and helped facilitate the organization’s 90 Day Studies (which are available on the website). Perhaps most importantly, Cathy sees her work and the mission as going a lot further than anything she’s done before because it’s helping to educate and inspire others about their responsibility as U.S. citizens.
She sums it up this way, “When the Constitutional Convention closed, a woman stopped Benjamin Franklin as he walked from Independence Hall. The woman asked, “Dr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” He replied, “A Republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.” Cathy finds great personal purpose in the mission of protecting the freedoms that come with a responsible citizenry. She’s an inspiring example of what it means to inspire and enlighten others!
To learn more about Constituting America, or to get involved, check out their website at http://www.constitutingamerica.org. You will find some terrific examples of Constituting America coming to life at https://www.youtube.com/user/ConstitutingAmerica. And, don’t miss Juliette Turner’s terrific books Our Constitution Rocks and Our Presidents Rock.