What does it mean to be civic-minded?

How I think about instilling all of my work with some important values.

Blue and red collage of a heart shaped out of brains in front of images of protest.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been changing the way I talk about myself and my work.

Whereas before, I’d generally say that I’m a designer or email marketer, I’ve taken to calling myself a “civic-minded marketer, writer, and designer”. My day job is all about marketing and teaching others to market effectively, usually through writing and design. But what about the first part? What does it mean to be civic-minded?

Back in November, I published an article that attempted to define the word civics. After looking at the history of the word and a few popular definitions, I decided to define civics as:

Learning not only the science and systems of government but, more importantly, how we can all take responsibility for our collective actions and improve our communities as a result.

Most people think of civics as a subject taught (or formerly taught) at school, or something politicians do. But really, civics is about all of us interacting with our communities and trying to make those communities better.

So, for me, being a civic-minded anything means taking that to heart and thinking about how all of your actions affect those around you. It’s about taking responsibility for what you put into the world and trying to a make it a better place through your work—regardless of what your work actually is.

When it comes to marketing, writing, and design, I practice being civic-minded by:

  • Making sure my work is as accessible and inclusive as possible.
  • Using my platform at Litmus to promote diverse voices and good work.
  • Volunteering my time, skills, and money with organizations working to improve our communities.
  • Generally thinking about how my work fits in with the modern world.

Essentially, I’m learning to think of civics as less of an academic pursuit and more of a lens through which you view things, as well as something you practice constantly.

I think that everyone can—and should—become more civic-minded in their own work and lives, too. Not everyone has the luxury and privilege to pursue civics education in their free time or throughout their day, but even by asking the question, “How does this affect others?” we can all practice being civic-minded and help create a more equitable world in the process.

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