Aspen Ideas

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joins Aspen Strategy Group’s Nicholas Burns and Anja Manuel in a virtual Aspen Ideas presentation.

With election season in full swing, the Aspen Institute will launch two nights of free online programming next week aimed at inspiring people to engage in the democratic process.

Dubbed “Aspen Ideas: Show Up,” the Institute is collaborating with the media group “NowThis” to offer the nonpartisan events from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-hour event will offer a combination of discussions, impactful storytelling and performances in the first hour, with interactive sessions in the second half.

“We created ‘Aspen Ideas: Show Up’ as a way to inspire young leaders and citizens to engage in their community and, more broadly, their democracy. While great ideas about why voting matters will be shared these two nights, we wanted to go farther than just the timing of the election and share ways people can just engage right now and well into the future,” Kitty Boone, Executive Director of the Aspen Ideas Festival, said in a statement.

“From stories by remarkable young entrepreneurs flexing their activist muscle to lessons from the toolbox of the constitution, we are hoping to illustrate that there is room for everyone in this democracy to make change and make their voices heard,” she continued.

The event will be co-hosted by Eric Liu, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity program and CEO of Citizen University, as well as Zinhle Essamuah, host and correspondent of KnowThis, a daily news show from NowThis.

As the No. 1 news brand on social media, NowThis reaches 70% of Americans in their 20s, according to the Aspen Institute. The partnership marks a first between the two organizations.

Confirmed speakers for next week’s events include Chris Conley, Candace Parker, Tina Tchen, Hope Solo, Aalayah Eastmond, David Cole, Tania Israel, David Brooks and Steven Olikara. Journalist moderators include NowThis’ Versha Sharma and HBO’s Jon Frankel. Additional speakers will be announced next week.

The event is curated for any civic-minded person, regardless of political affiliation, said Killeen Brettmann, managing director in public programs.

“We hope that this extraordinary lineup of speakers and performers will leave participants inspired to take action during and beyond this pivotal moment for our country,” she said.

The inaugural events will be structured around the subjects “Better Arguments,” “Protest to Power” and “Civic Engagement: Election Day and Beyond.”

Programming on the agenda as of press time includes:

Athletes Using Their Platforms for Social Justice: Jacksonville Jaguars player Chris Conley, and WNBA LA Sparks player Candace Parker interviewed by Frankel

How Citizen Activists Influence Constitutional Law: ACLU National Legal Director David Cole speaks with NowThis Senior Correspondent Versha Sharma

How to Show Up for Gender Equality in 2020: featuring Tina Tchen, CEO of Time’s Up

Trusting Our Institutions: Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute and New York Times columnist David Brooks

Gun violence survivor Aalayah Eastmond on gun violence prevention

University of California, Santa Barbara Psychology Professor Tania Israel on “Better Arguments”

Interactive sessions with leading voices on activism and civil rights, the constitution, building relationships across difference and more

Performances by rapper Akinyemi and the band Infinity Song

More information and registration for “Aspen Ideas: Show Up” can be found at