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Becoming a Citizen Activist

Stories, Strategies, and Advice for Changing Our World

5 x 7; $16.95

224 pages

ISBN: 9781632170446

From post-inauguration rallies to #NoDAPL and the Black Lives Matter movement to the global Women’s March on Washington, the people are exercising their power through protest and community organizing in a way that hasn’t been seen in years. For those looking to organize for the first time or for seasoned activists looking to update their repertoire, the time is ripe for a playbook like Becoming a Citizen Activist. A longtime Seattle city councilmember and one of the city’s most effective and inspiring leaders of progressive political and social change since the 1960s, Nick Licata outlines how to get organized and master the tactics to create change by leveraging effective communication strategies (such as creating community through online channels like Facebook and Twitter), how to effectively engage traditional media channels, and how to congregate local and national people power. Licata demonstrates by example that we can fight city hall. Balancing an idealistic vision of a better world with the clear-eyed pragmatism necessary to build it from the ground up, this smart and powerful book will empower any activist with the tools they need to effect change.

Nick Licata was an 18-year Seattle city councilmember. His election in 2013 broke all previous records for the highest votes received citywide for a city councilmember in a contested race.

"Becoming a Citizen Activist is a handbook, not a party manual, but Licata pulls lessons from groups such as Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and even the conservative Tea Party."
Crosscut

“No matter who you are, you’ll finish this book and be inspired to head straight out to better your community and our world.”
—Pramila Jayapal, Congresswoman-elect, Washington state senator, and founder of OneAmerica

"Nick Licata is a rare combination of things: a thinker who knows grassroots activism, an idealist who can pragmatically wield power, and a politician who knows how to change culture. His compact book distills a career of great citizenship into simple lessons and memorable stories. I hope it inspires a new generation to become activists, in and out of office."
—Eric Liu, founder and CEO of Citizen University

"With plenty of real-life examples, analyses on other movements, and personal stories from Licata’s time on the Seattle City Council, “Becoming a Citizen Activist” is a thorough book that provides an excellent crash course in political activism."
—The Epoch Times

"Nick Licata knows that democracy isn’t a spectator sport and that the voices of real people are needed to build the best nation possible. Through stories of successful campaigns, practical tips, and the sharing of hard won lessons, Becoming A Citizen Activist guides the reader in how they can be a part of making democracy work for everyone. An inspiring, must-read book for anyone who has ever dreamed of a better world."
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director of MomsRising

"As good a reflection on grassroots politics in the trenches as I've seen, Nick Licata's book shows how ordinary citizens can find their voices to actually change policy—and how elected leaders like Nick can help them create these changes. Having known Nick for thirty years, I've always been amazed at how he's brought unlikely constituencies together, crossing liberal and conservative lines to achieve tangible political victories. His work and this book embody what I call radical pragmatism—not being afraid to pursue a far-reaching vision, but pursuing it in the most practical of ways, because if you're running a city your solutions have to work. I love the examples and stories, the interweave of past history and present challenges, and the sense of how change occurs on the day-to-day level. It's an invaluable guide for anyone working in their communities.”
—Paul Leob, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While

"Nick Licata has delivered a powerful book about becoming a citizen activist. As someone who spent most of my adult life in elected office, it is refreshing to see someone from the ‘inside’ opening the playbook for those seeking civic change and social justice. Too many times we want the home run, when getting solid hits is the most effective way of enacting change. Nick has been extremely effective over his career by building coalitions and doing the background work that produces results. Sharing his wisdom is not likely to win friends within the halls of government, but I think it will help balance the scale for those working in the trenches."
—Jim Hunt, former president of the National League of Cities and founder of Amazing Cities

"Becoming a Citizen Activist is a timely antidote to our poisoned democracy. At a time when corporations are treated as supercitizens while most individuals think of themselves only as taxpayers, Licata shares inspiring stories about the power of people and valuable advice for taking back our government."
—Jim Diers, author of Neighbor Power

"Becoming a Citizen Activist provides inspiration and nuggets of practical advice for anyone who wants to fight city hall and build a better world."
—Wendy Wendlandt, Chairman of the Washington Public Interest Research Group

"Nick Licata is a treasure. In Becoming a Citizen Activist he shares the wisdom he has acquired through five decades of struggle to make the world a better place. Rich with uncanny insight and the right combination of realism and optimism, Licata has produced a book that should be mandatory reading for those seeking justice in this world. He shows that we can hold the power to make social change in our hands, if we use it and use it effectively."
—Robert W. McChesney, co-author, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy

"With plenty of real-life examples, analyses on other movements, and personal stories from Licata’s time on the Seattle City Council, “Becoming a Citizen Activist” is a thorough book that provides an excellent crash course in political activism."
—The Epoch Times

"This spirited activists’ manual provides many anecdotes of democracy in action and shows how every concerned citizen could find his or her political voice."
—Library Journal

"Whether it's explaining the skills and tactics that activists will need to know and use while promoting their goals or presenting examples of successful citizen-led campaigns for social change, Licata effectively teaches his audience how, as ordinary citizens, they can change the world."
—HistoryLink.org

"Becoming A Citizen Activist is Licata’s attempt to share the lessons he’s learned to help people effectively navigate city politics."
The Nation

"An inspiring and entertaining book about local activism."
Dissent Magazine

"A soft spoken recap of Seattle’s progressive victories over the the last 30 years, complete with lessons learned."
Seattle Met

"In his new book, Becoming a Citizen Activist, Licata argues that everyone has the potential to make a difference, and shares success stories, practical tips for winning a campaign and insights into the inner-workings of power and politics."
—International Network of Street Papers

“Fortunately for those seeking relevant political advice, former Seattle City Councilor Nick Licata has just published a handbook.”
—In These Times

“[Retirement is] not the end of Licata’s social-justice crusade.”
Pittsburg City Paper

“Brimming with inspiring stories on how people can take charge of their democracy.”
—History News Network

“Citizen engagement...[is] bringing greater equality to our city.”
—Seattle Times

“Enacting far greater change.”
—Capitol Hill Seattle

“If Bernie makes you want to change the world, then, Nick Licata can show you how to bring the revolution home.”
—Southside Pride

"Part technical guidance, part practical advice"
—Athens Banner-Herald

"...an informative presentation from Nick Licata" 
—The Red & Black

"Practical advice from a long-term city councilman about how to lobby your elected officials and effect change in your neighborhood as well as nationwide." 
NW Book Lovers 

"Becoming a Citizen Activist will … tell you how to get to work on all levels of government, touching on real-life instructions for engaging your fellow citizens, communicating with politicians, and using the right tools to reach the right people."
BookRiot

"[Licata] hopes his primer will take the next generation of citizens to become activists through a step-by-step method that leads to significant and lasting accomplishments." 
Bowling Green State University News

"It is inspiring to read about how everyday people like myself have been the catalysts for massive change at the local level, which has a direct and positive impact on thousands of other people and the environment." 
—Elephant 
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