got history?

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Unleashing the power of history for the future of democracy.

 
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our purpose

got history? is building a movement to strengthen democracy by rewiring our nation’s relationship with history. We aim to elevate the importance of history in our education system and public conversation in order to nurture civic power, empathy and our sense of community.

 
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the problem

History builds civic muscle.  It provides lessons of leadership and empathy, helps us understand how systems evolved and how we can change things that don't work.  It lets us find our personal roots and connect with a collective narrative. But many people today experience history as boring, irrelevant, and exclusive of them. This is causing our individual and collective civic muscles to atrophy.

 

#1: Our democracy is in bad shape

We lack a unifiying national narrative and move about in siloed echo-chambers reinforced by a fragmented media landscape.

Only 15% of Americans have confidence in Congress. Only 30% of millenials think it is "essential" to live in a democracy.

#2: History has been neglected

There has been no intervention from the government--at either state or federal levels--to address the fact that for years a mere 20% of American students are proficient in history at the high school level.   

While all eyes are on promoting STEM, there has been no effort to connect history with technology and innovation, even though every invention has a human context.

#3: Change efforts are fragmented

There are amazing teachers, journalists, actors, museum directors, librarians, parents, kids and grandparents bringing history to life in new ways across the country.  Historians have made efforts to organize within their associations.  But there has been no effort to expand the market or to galvanize a cross-sectoral team to elevate history for the future of our society. 

 

 

 

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the solution

America needs a movement making history as central to 21st century education and culture as STEM.   It needs a wide range of new products and platforms to make history accessible, empowering and connecting.  Got History? will be a movement builder and catalyst, creating among other things

  • An online marketplace for high quality history related media and products
  • A platform with resources for educators to help them teach history effectively for all young people
  • A platform for citizens to create and connect with local history/civic experiences

our approach

 


Moblization
We are building a non-partisan coalition of people who believe that engaging with history is critical for our democracy and who are eager to ensure that everyone gets the history they need to be a powerful changemaker and citizen. We aim to increase the visibility and impact of those who are already working towards this goal.

 


Innovation
We will run "innovation labs" with history providers, civic organizations, media and tech innovators to generate new models and products for "delivering" history to new audiences and for creating community conversations around history. We will ensure that these ideas are realized and spread across the country.

 


Marketplace
We are developing a standard for history products and experiences that build civic muscle. We will surface the best interventions and products from all corners of the country, and will build an online market place for history for parents, teachers and the general public that will make engagement with history fun, empowering, and inspiring.

 


Campaigns
We will increase public demand for history. We will rebrand history in broad-based campaigns and expand the market of people who are looking to feed their civic capacity with history-based products and experiences. We will launch public events that showcase the power of engaging with history and exploring context and personal narratives.

 

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our values

Our foundational principle is the universal and fundamental equality of human dignity.  All people are created equal and are endowed by whatever creator they hold dear by certain unalienable rights.  Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Full stop.

This principle is the founding premise of the United States.  But even 200 years into our history, not everyone experiences it as their reality.  Today, more people than ever have access to information, voice and power.  Each one of these people comes with a story and history of their own.  It is our historic challenge to build a vision for a common future that grows from an understanding of our past, as individuals, communities and as a nation.  

In our efforts to support this process, we at got history? will be guided by the following core values:

Civility 
We are a strictly non-partisan effort and insist on civility and respect in all interactions

Empathy 
There is a lot of hurt in history.  We must always see things from different perspectives and open our hearts and ears to listen.  

Accuracy  
Facts matter. And while there are different perspectives on every experience, there is a difference between fact and opinion.  Research is important to uncover facts and perspectives.

Collaboration
No one individual holds the keys to the solution.  Only a team of teams can build this.

 

History and You

We are looking for people to join our movement.  If you care about history and democracy, share your name so we can keep you posted, share your thoughts so we can be stronger.

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Fernande Raine, Founder

Got History? grew out of Fernande’s lifelong passion for changemaking, democracy and history. That journey has included

  • Studying history (in Germany and US) to understand how democracy works

  • Learning from her advisors Paul Kennedy and John Gaddis how to put history to work for the public good

  • Doing detective work and finding archival treasures to tell the story of Stalin's Oil Politics in World War II

  • Apprenticing in management and strategy as a consultant at McKinsey and Innosight

  • Bringing the concept of Social Entrepreneurship to Germany and France by laying foundations for Ashoka's spread

  • Creating and leading the People Team at Ashoka

  • Co-creating an effort at Ashoka to distill how innovators create large scale social change, with new leadership and a new way of organizing in teams of teams that create value for all participants

She lives in Brookline with her husband, their four daughters, her sister and three nephews.