New comic on civic engagement in Vermont

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, Vermont Humanities, and the Center for Cartoon Studies have joined forces to release a new comic book, titled Freedom and Unity: A Graphic Guide to Vermont Democracy. It focuses on civics education, local democracy, and the Vermont election process.

“The state of our civil discourse is in disrepair, and trust in our democratic institutions is at an all-time low” said Condos in a news release. “I believe that the antidote to these divisive times is civics education, inspiring the next generation of leaders to be invested and engaged in our democratic and civic processes.”

“By investing in our future voters and leaders, we can work to inspire a new level of civic engagement, from participating in our local town meetings, to running for higher office,” said Deputy Secretary of State Chris Winters, who represented the office in the collaborative creation of the comic.

He added that “of equal importance is teaching the next generation how to exchange ideas without vilifying each other. As a nation we need to reinvest in civics education for our youth, and this comic is a small but important step for our Vermont community.”

The Freedom and Unity launch party was held on Oct. 27 at the Center for Cartoon Studies Post Office building in White River Junction as a part of the Vermont Humanities “Where We Land: Stories that Propel Us” Fall Festival.

Copies of Freedom and Unity will be distributed to libraries around the state through the Vermont Department of Libraries, and can also be found at the State House, or the offices of the partners involved in its creation.

The collaboratoin on Freedom and Unity included a talented team from The Center for Cartoon Studies, led by cartoonist Dan Nott.

“Comic books may not be able to save democracy, but they can certainly contribute to the cause,” said James Sturm, Center for Cartoon Studies co-founder and Freedom and Unity creative contributor. “What better medium is there to engage and inform the public? I couldn't be more grateful to the leadership of our brave little state for making it happen.”

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