–Classes Ranging from Constitution Basics to the Influence of Money in Elections to the Law-Making Process Will Take Place at the Queens Library in Forest Hills–

When patients in Dr. Ida Messana’s thriving Forest Hills medical practice responded to the 2016 elections with varying signs of distress, the internist prescribed an unusual treatment—get involved! Though a political neophyte herself, Dr. Messana helped start a new group to encourage citizens to educate and empower themselves.

With members drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and political views, the group called It’s Who We Are decided that its first major project will be providing free classes to anyone who wants to learn how our government and political system work and how they can become effective, active citizens.

queens-libraryWorking with the Taft Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization led by two Queens College professors, and with Queens Library, the group has organized a series of seven classes that will meet Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30 pm from October 5 to November 16 at Forest Hills Community Library, 108-19 71 Avenue, Forest Hills, NY. Topics will range from the basics of our Constitution to the influence of money in elections to how laws are actually made in Washington and Albany. For a detailed description, visit the Library’s website. Each class will include a discussion of how citizens can influence politics at every level, from their own neighborhood to the nation at large.

Professor Michael Krasner of the Queens College Political Science Department, a specialist in American politics who is also the winner of the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award, will lead the classes. (Queens College Professor of Secondary Education Jack Zevin worked with Krasner to plan the curriculum.) There will be a guest appearance by Barbara Bartoletti, veteran lobbyist in Albany for the League of Women Voters, who will teach the November 9 class on policy-making at the state level. The seventh class on November 16 will be an advocacy fair in which a wide range of advocacy groups will offer participants a chance to choose among a wide variety of options to pursue their political concerns. The classes are free and open to the public. No registration is needed.

For more information, interested residents should email iwwa.itswhoweare@gmail.com.