By Holly Zahn | January 07, 2015

Imagining America in partnership with U.S. Department of Arts and Culture* presents:  

PSOTU Logo (1)Once a year, the President delivers the State of the Union address to highlight important national issues from the past year and suggest priorities for the year to come. It’s a broadcast from one to many. But what if, once a year, we could all speak and listen to each other? What if the annual address was not a speech spoken by one, but a poem created by many?

Imagining America, in partnership with the USDAC, is excited to announce the People’s State of the Union, the first in a series of new, participatory civic rituals. From January 23-30, 2015, people across the country are invited to convene “story circles” with neighbors, friends, and community members to respond to three prompts:

  • Tell a story about a moment you felt true belonging—or the opposite—in this country or in your community.
  • Describe an experience that showed you something new or important about the state of our union.
  • Share about a time you stood together with people in your community.

Stories will be shared back online, inspiring commentary from the USDAC National Cabinet, and the creation of the 2015 People’s State of the Union Address, devised collaboratively by a diverse group of poets. This address will be delivered as a poem, livestreamed from NYC on February 1, and shared online via text and video.

How to participateCheck out the map of where story circles are happening across the country, and find out if there’s a public event to attend near you!

It’s been a challenging year: what stories do you think need telling?

Find out more:

*The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is not an official government agency, but a people-powered movement dedicated to cultivating empathy, equity, and social imagination.