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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

    Baratunde Thurston speaks about creating informative, moving content at Tate Lecture

    Thurston+speaks+to+students%2C+alumni+and+Dallas+residents+at+Novembers+Tate+Lecture.
    Amara Asrawi
    Thurston speaks to students, alumni and Dallas residents at November’s Tate Lecture.

    There is freedom in change and living with the truth, a multiplatform storyteller and producer said Nov. 14.

    Baratunde Thurston, host and creator of How to Citizen with Baratunde and the host of America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, spoke at the Tate Lecture Series about inspiring change.

    Thurston said his mother’s guidance gave him the tools to make a difference. He started his podcast How to Citizen with Baratunde during COVID-19 to help others connect.

    “We take “citizen” to be a verb because It’s something that we do, not the status we have,” he said. “It’s an invitation to participate, not a boundary between each of us.”

    Thurston’s podcast focuses on four principles: showing up, understanding power, committing to the collective, and investing in relationships. He said investing in relationships is the most important principle.

    “To “citizen” is to invest in relationships with yourself, with others, and with the planet around you,” he said. “We need to invest in relationships because we cannot do this alone.”

    Thurston said he worked on his relationship with his mother, whom he idealized. After his mother passed, he learned that love went beyond deep appreciation.

    “To love is to know,” he said. “I want us to carry that into all kinds of relationships–interpersonal and collective.”

    His new definition of love motivated him to host America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston, where he visits other communities to understand their relationships. He has informed viewers about the oyster farmers in Maine, Native American communities and ranchers in Oregon, and the community in Elaine, Arkansas.

    “We have a lot of connectivity but not a lot of connections,” he said. “I wanted the opportunity to tell this story of this natural connection.”

    Thurston said it is not too late to change ourselves and the community around us.

    “We become the stories we tell ourselves,” he said. “[Don’t miss] out on a transformative opportunity.”

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    About the Contributor
    Amara Asrawi, Arts & Life Editor
    As our second arts & life editor, Amara shared the duties with Ellen Rogers, covered cultural events on campus, plus every Tate Lecture guest at SMU. She helps recruit and train new contributors to the newsroom as well as coordinate coverage for campus news and events. She was recently selected for the Dallas Morning News fellowship in spring 2024.  You can reach her at [email protected].