“This country matters to me,” Justice O’Connor said, “to you, to all of us, and frankly to the world. In order to secure the future of our democracy, our citizens must be engaged in the running of it. And that engagement starts at an early age.”
After she left the bench, Justice O’Connor founded iCivics, an interactive website that encourages young people to learn about civics. “Securing the future of our democracy requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance, and then passing that knowledge and passion along to the next generation.”
Additional speakers at the summit included Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and CEO and Executive Director of the State Bar, Joseph Dunn, and a panel of leaders from education, labor, law, and business, all involved in passing the light of democracy on to the next generation.
Civic Learning Awards
A highlight of the summit was presentation of the new Civic Learning Awards. Designed to honor successful efforts to engage high school students in civic learning and single out models that can be replicated in other high schools, the award recognized 22 high schools for their efforts. Three schools—Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy in Los Angeles, Golden Valley High School in Bakersfield, and San Marino High School in San Marino—received the Excellence Award, the highest award offered.
Diana Ledezma, a senior at Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy, was chosen as the summit’s student speaker. “From my experience,” she said, “I learned that anyone can make a difference. I believe people should work for change and get involved, because one person doing something can inspire other people to do good. When people see someone trying to help, they want to help and get involved, and that’s the feeling we need in every community.”
The Power of Democracy
“Democracy is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition,” Cantil-Sakauye said. “California is complicated, and there are challenges we must face every day to maintain a living, thriving democracy. Democracy is the key to perpetual freedom. In order to secure the rights to that future, we have to be civically engaged.”
Learn more on the Chief Justice's Power of Democracy webpage.
|Opening Remarks: Justice Judith D. McConnell, Administrative Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District |
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye watch video
Secretary of State Debra Brown (pictured left)
Civic Learning Awards
Panel Discussion: Why Civics?
Panelists: Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie, Presiding Judge, Juvenile Court, Superior Court of Sacramento County (pictured left)
|11:15–12:05||A Conversation with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor|
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, United State Supreme Court (Ret.) in conversation with
Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha (Ret.),
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law,
Pepperdine University School of Law
Call to Action
More videos will be added as they become available. Subscribe to the California Courts YouTube Channel for updates. A video of the event in its entirety is available on the California Channel.