Announcing Aspen Ideas: Show Up, a Two-Night Celebration of Democracy with Media Partner NowThis

October 13, 2020

Candace Parker, Chris Conley, Tina Tchen, David Brooks, Hope Solo, David Cole, among participants in digital event October 20-21 showcasing ways to participate in a healthy democracy

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Aspen, CO & Washington, DC, October 13, 2020–The Aspen Institute announces Aspen Ideas: Show Up, two evenings of online programming aimed at inspiring people to engage in the democratic process. The participatory, nonpartisan event will be freely available to everyone, and will take place October 20-21 from 7:00pm-9:00pm ET with a combination of discussions, impactful storytelling and performances in the first hour, and interactive sessions in the second hour.

NowThis, the #1 news brand on social media, which reaches 70% of Americans in their 20s every month, is the media partner of Aspen Ideas: Show Up, marking their first official collaboration with the Aspen Institute. Journalists from the youth publisher will interview speakers, stream an  hour of content each evening on its wide-reaching social channels, and share highlights from the event on Twitter, Facebook, and on

Register for Aspen Ideas: Show Up and regular updates at

The event will be co-hosted by Eric Liu, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity program and CEO of Citizen University, and Zinhle Essamuah, Host and Correspondent of KnowThis, a daily news show from NowThis. Confirmed speakers include Chris Conley, Candace Parker, Tina Tchen, Hope Solo,  Aalayah Eastmond, David Cole, Tania Israel, David Brooks, and Steven Olikara. Journalist moderators include NowThis’ Versha Sharma and HBO’s Jon Frankel. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We created Aspen Ideas: Show Up as a way to inspire young leaders and citizens to engage in their community and more broadly, their democracy. While great ideas about why voting matters will be shared these two nights, we wanted to go farther than just the timing of the election and share ways people can just engage right now and well into the future. From stories by remarkable young entrepreneurs flexing their activist muscle to lessons from the tool box of the Constitution, we are hoping to illustrate that there is room for everyone in this democracy to make change and make their voices heard,” said Kitty Boone, Executive Director of the Aspen Ideas Festival.

“This participatory event belongs to everyone who believes in civic engagement, regardless of party or politics, and we hope that this extraordinary lineup of speakers and performers will leave participants inspired to take action during and beyond this pivotal moment for our country,” adds Killeen Brettmann, Managing Director in Public Programs, Aspen Institute.

“Ahead of the most consequential election of our lifetime, where young people have the potential to make a meaningful impact at the ballot box, NowThis is more committed than ever to informing audiences about the importance of civic engagement,” said NowThis Chief Content Officer Tina Exarhos. “We are thrilled to partner with the Aspen Institute to inspire an even larger audience to become lifelong participants in the democratic process.”

The event will present a broad overview of the different ways to participate in a democracy, going beyond the current election cycle and the daily headlines to explore the many forms of civic engagement and the endless possibilities that open up when more people take part. Content is arranged around the focus areas of “Better Arguments,” “Protest to Power,” and ‘Civic Engagement: Election Day and Beyond.” Programming on the agenda includes:

  • Athletes Using Their Platforms for Social Justice: NFL Jacksonville Jaguars player Chris Conley, and WNBA LA Sparks player Candace Parker interviewed by HBO’s Jon Frankel.
  • How Citizen Activists Influence Constitutional Law: ACLU National Legal Director David Cole speaks with NowThis Senior Correspondent Versha Sharma.
  • How to Show Up for Gender Equality in 2020: featuring Tina Tchen, CEO of Time’s Up
  • Trusting Our Institutions: Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
  • Gun violence survivor Aalayah Eastmond on gun violence prevention.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara Psychology Professor Tania Israel on “Better Arguments.”
  • Interactive sessions with leading voices on activism and civil rights, the constitution, building relationships across difference, and more.
  • Performances by rapper Akinyemi and the band Infinity Song.

Aspen Ideas: Show Up comes from the team behind the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute’s signature summer event that usually takes place annually in Aspen, CO. While all physical events were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an online festival this summer captured the same spirit of curiosity and pursuit of bold, innovative, and provocative ideas. The team is also responsible for Aspen Ideas Now, an online platform created in response to COVID-19 that curates timely conversations from across Aspen Institute programming.


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

NowThis is the #1 mobile news brand in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, June 2020]. They have a singular mission: to make news engaging and relevant for young adults by humanizing our complicated world. By providing insightful context from a youth perspective, NowThis has revolutionized how news is consumed today. Launched in 2012, NowThis’ entertaining, inspiring and informative videos are created for a mobile generation and receive over 2.6 billion monthly views [platform analytics, June 2020]. In December 2016, NowThis joined forces with Thrillist, The Dodo and Seeker to form Group Nine Media — the #1 video publisher on mobile in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, June 2020].

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