Community Conversations

Welcome! Thank you for joining us for the inaugural season of Community Conversations. 

The  purpose of Community Conversations serves to bridge the K-12 education communities and the greater civic, governmental, and law related education communities. For the inaugural season, each month will be rooted in its related awareness month. From here, moderators and panelists will share their compelling stories, research, and more.   It is the personal + professional stories that provide pathways for all of us to see ourselves as part of these communities and/or informed members of our community in order to achieve greater civic and community possibilities. 

While each month provides a theme, we know these issues transcend any given month. Rather, they serve as a call for greater inclusion, greater appreciation, and acknowledgment of the contributions and possibilities for an inclusive democracy.

Community Conversations is open to all and will provide space to open dialogue, share stories, and explore pathways for greater understanding of civic possibilities. Along the way, stories of resilience, joy, resistance, and persistence will help formulate our own civic and legal futures.

Thank you to the generosity of Warner Norcross + Judd.  This legal firm has helped to underwrite this inaugural speaker series.

Thank you for supporting greater understanding through dialogue, diversity, and inclusion. 

How do I join? Please use the link to register. All Zoom information will be forwarded upon registration. Thank you for joining us!

Support MCCE and the series! Link here to take action now!

Upcoming Speaker Session

Community Conversations – Be A Part of the Dialogue

Join us Wednesday, November 17 from 6-7 pm  for this month’s Community Conversation. This month themed conversation will include dialogue anchored in Indigenous Persons and cultures with an eye on civic education possibilities.  

This Zoom meeting is open to the public and serves to bridge K12 educational focus with larger communities serving to open pathways for greater civic knowledge plus lifelong learning and civic engagement.   We welcome teachers, administrators, community stakeholders, philanthropists, parent/guardians, potential and previous volunteers, and anyone/everyone interested in authentic civic learning. 

We are honored to have an amazing, talented, and dedicated panel joining us. Tune in for information on educational issues and resources. 

Sign up here!  The Zoom link will be provided upon registration.  The video with Closed Captioning will be placed online after the event.

MCCE would like to extend a special thank you to Warner Norcross + Judd for their support of this important series.

Upcoming Speaker Series Themes and Dates

November 17 – Native American & Indigenous Histories

December 15 – International Relations & Universal Human Rights

Missed a Session? No problem - watch the series here!

October’s lively Community Conversation included dialogue on issues within and beyond LGBTQIA+ communities.

Please listen and watch to the conversation with civic education dedicated panelists:

Christopher R. Riano, President of the Center for Civic Education

Jon Hoadley, Former MI State Representative

Eric-John Szczepaniak, President of the Michigan Center for Civic Education

Moderator: Ellen Zwarensteyn, Michigan Center for Civic Education

September’s Community Conversation included dialogue on issues within and beyond Latinx communities. Dr. Goett presented information including cultural and historical analysis including impact of government policy at home and their international context. 

We were honored to have Dr. Jennifer Goett of James Madison College at Michigan State University to share their knowledge, stories, and experiences with you.  

Looking for meaningful ways to engage students and communities in civic education? View this video with featured panelists who explore MCCE civic education programming.  This conversation provides an introduction to programs which engage K-12 student in authentic public literacies. Overviews and inroads for participation for We the People, Project Citizen/Project Community, Michigan Mock Trial, National Mock Trial, and Professional Learning are provided. 

Thank you to the panelists who joined us to share their knowledge, stories, and experiences with you. Colin Sullivan, Hillary Baker, Andrew Face, Peter Shaheen, and Ellen Zwarensteyn were panelists and Eric-John Szczepaniak, MCCE Board chair served as the evening’s moderator. 

MCCE would like to extend a special thank you to Warner Norcross + Judd for their support of this important series.

July’s Community Conversation: Independence Day and Freedom – Limits and Possibilities

We are honored to have the opportunity to learn from Assistant Professor Marty Jordan.   

CC coming soon

June 2021

Theme: Ability, accessibility, inclusion, civic possibilities and so much more!


Sarah Cox, Eastern Michigan University – focus on Autism in the classroom 

Annie Urasky, Director of the Division on Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR)

Also joined by: 

Alayna Lail – Rights Representative of the Division on Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing at the MDCR- focusing on the youth initiative 

Anthony Lewis – Director of Community Outreach at the MDCR – focusing on youth engagement in civil rights

June 2021

May 2021

Asian American Histories and Civic Possibilities

Dr. Meaghan Kozar,  Michigan State University

Moderator: GlenEllen Lehmberg, Intern at the Michigan Center for Civic Education

May 2021

April 28, 2021

Arab American Histories and Awareness

Matthew Stiffler, Researcher at the Arab American National Museum

Moderator: Petra Alsoofy, Outreach and Partnerships Manager at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding

April 2021

March 2021


Brandy Johnson – Policy Advisor, Education & Workforce at Executive Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Dr. Sejuti Das Gupta


Ernscie Augustin of Chalgian and Tripp

March 2021

February 2021


Dr. Amber Benton of Michigan State University

James Liggins of Warner Norcross + Judd



Ernscie Augustin of Chalgian and Tripp

Feb. 2021 - Part 1

Feb. 2021 - Part 2