Making Space for Civic Life with Manny Yekutiel

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“I think it should be just as easy to participate in civic life as it is to hang out with your friends at a bar.”

Manny Yekutiel

How do we make political conversations more productive? What does it mean to be meaningfully involved in our community? 

To answer these questions, Manny Yekutiel set out to create a one-of-a-kind events space, cafe, and bookshop in San Francisco’s Mission district. The result was Manny’s, a central and affordable place to become a better informed and more involved citizen.

In this episode, Manny Yekutiel explains how physical spaces are essential to making civic engagement more accessible. Manny shares why we shouldn’t make people choose between having a social life and a political life. 

He also explains how his work is continuing a long tradition of civic gathering spaces in San Francisco and elsewhere. Together, we explore the importance of physical events in an age where we increasingly cannot have them, discuss how Manny has had to adapt his business to a socially distanced world and talk about the importance of storytelling in successful political movements 

If you’re a long time activist, new to politics, or just looking for ways to get more involved in the issues that you care about, this episode is for you. Manny shares fascinating stories and lessons that you can learn from and put into action in your life. 

Show Notes:

  1. Learn more about Manny’s on their website and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  2. The food at Manny’s is provided by Farming Hope. They’re an organization that provides the unhoused and formerly incarcerated individuals with job training.
  3. Several community sponsors support Manny’s.
  4. Borderlands Books in San Francisco is an excellent example of another space community-supported space.
  5. To learn more about race in America, Manny recommends the film Just Mercy along with the books White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi.
  6. Manny Yekutiel recommends reading Team of Rivals to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.
  7. Pondering what San Francisco and other major metro areas will look like after COVID-19? Manny found this New York Times article about the decline in tourism in Venice to be thought-provoking.
  8. The Ezra Klein Show is one of Manny’s favorite podcasts.
  9. Manny recommended Swing Left to learn how about supporting Democratic political races.
  10. Manny’s go-to karaoke song is “Vanishing” by Mariah Carey.

If you enjoyed this, be sure to listen to Building a Charitable Restaurant with Cierra and Chaz of Conscious Eatery

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