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Amplify America

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Amplify America is a movement that highlights social issues, the people affected by them, and the people working to find solutions to our nation’s most persistent problems. Amplifiers are people striving to live better lives, people considered advocates and experts in their field, everyday people who freestyle creative solutions to persistent social issues, and YOU — concerned individuals eager to make a difference through informed action and a diligent commitment to sustainable change.

Meet our host

April Yvonne

April Yvonne Garrett

April Yvonne Garrett is a public and applied historian dedicated to encouraging civic participation. For more than 25 years, she has been a sought-after public intellectual skilled at distilling complex social issues for everyday people.

April is adept at creating engaging, thought-provoking spaces for people to contemplate the impact of the issues of the day. Her work provides them with useful tools for solving problems for human good.

Via Civic Frame Presents Amplify America, she highlights social issues, the people affected by them, and the people dedicated to solving our nation’s most persistent problems. April uses her experiences and public and applied history to stir a strong call to action and an urgent commitment to real-world engagement.

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In 2002, April founded Civic Frame (formerly The Groundwork Institute for Civic Dialogue), a national nonprofit organization that hosts public programs using documentary film and intellectual work to encourage critical thinking, media literacy, and civic engagement.

Her dynamic programs wed media arts, decision-makers, thought leaders, activists, artists, and the general public with colleges and universities, public libraries and museums, and public radio and television stations in diverse communities across the country.

The organization has used more than 50 social issues-focused documentaries like Fred Friendly Seminars, Manhood and Violence: Fatal Peril, Critical Condition, Waging A Living, Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, Revolution ’67, Immokalee U.S.A., The Trials of Darryl Hunt, The Interrupters, Omar and Pete, and What I Want My Words To Do To You. To date, it has reached over 75K people through 100 unique public venues such as the Brooklyn Museum, Harvard Divinity and Law Schools, Northwestern University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the University of Vermont. Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Health Care for the Homeless, Job Opportunities Taskforce, the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research, McCarter & English, LLP, and WNYC are among the organization’s over 150 national community partners.

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Amplify Baltimore, presented by Civic Frame

On a local level, she spearheaded Civic Frame Presents Amplify Baltimore, a series of quarterly conversations with a diverse array of people that highlighted how specific social issues affected the city.

With the support of over 100 ambassadors from diverse sectors and communities, Amplify Baltimore hosted quarterly conversations that explored some of the most challenging issues faced by the people of Baltimore. Each conversation highlighted how a specific issue affected the city and provided a clear path to a number of tenable solutions accessible to a diverse array of people. Topics included political literacy, public safety, public education, workforce and economic development, financial literacy, affordable housing, access to food, public and environmental health, and public transportation. At the conclusion of each conversation, people connected with information and entities to generate proactive and sustainable results. 

Amplify Baltimore evolved into a weekly, 30-minute television series that highlighted the people, organizations, and businesses working to make Baltimore better. April served as its producer, writer, and host. The national and local models of civic engagement promoted by Civic Frame and Amplify Baltimore inspired her to create Civic Frame Presents Amplify America.

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After the television show, April hosted the popular podcast, The AYG List, which featured intimate conversations with fascinating people and covered current events. Guests included NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Sherrilyn Ifill, MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder, Harvard art historian Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Slate executive editor Josh Levin, and contemporary artist Tim Okamura.

Before using her talents to empower others by advancing civic participation, April excelled in the education and social justice arenas, shaping intellectual and campus life at Columbia, Emory, and Harvard Universities, as well as the civil rights agenda of the NAACP. She served as Resident Program Assistant of the Intercultural Resource Center at Columbia University and Director of New Student Orientation and Assistant Director of Student Activities at Emory University.

While a Harvard University Presidential Administrative Fellow, she was Fellows Officer of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, a Freshman Proctor for the Freshmen Dean’s Office, Visiting Scholars Coordinator for the inaugural Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute and the American Repertory Theatre, and a Teaching Fellow in the Department of African and African American Studies. After her time at Harvard, she was appointed the first Director of Administration and Strategic Planning of the national NAACP.

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April provided administrative, editorial, and research assistance on such notable publications as the Encarta AfricanaThe Harvard Guide to African American History, and Transition Magazine. She was the special guest editor of the first Afro Chronicles of the Afro-American Newspapers Commemorative Edition of the NAACP 91st Annual Convention, which earned her the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s Leon H. Washington Award for Best Special Edition, and is a contributing essayist in the anthology Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips & Other Parts edited by Ayana Byrd and Akiba Solomon. April served as guest editor of DiverCity: The Changing Face of Baltimore, a 12-part, year-long series on race and ethnicity featured in Baltimore Magazine. Editorials she penned on social justice issues have appeared in the Afro-American Newspapers and the Pittsburgh Courier and the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City PaperBaltimore ExaminerChicago TribuneAfro-American Newspapers, and regional NPR, ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates have featured her work.

Her altruistic commitments include increasing Black, first-generation, low-income, and women’s admission, matriculation, and success rates at community colleges, colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, domestic violence survivor safety, support, and sustenance, former offender re-entry and re-enfranchisement, violence interruption, and restorative justice.

She has served as president of the Harvard Divinity School Alumni/ae of African Descent and member of the Harvard Divinity School Leadership Council, founder and chair of the Kenyon College Alumni of Color Collective, member of the Kenyon College Alumni Council and Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, and as the first female vice-president of the Baltimore City College Alumni Association. April also served on the boards of the Justice Project of Philander Smith College and the National Black Pre-Law Admissions and Preparation Conference and Law Fair.

As a first-generation, low-income, woman of color, April earned degrees in Islamic studies from Kenyon College, higher and adult education from Teachers College Columbia University, and African American Religious History from Harvard Divinity School. The Daily Record named her one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and Leading Women and she was inducted in the inaugural Who’s Who in Black Baltimore.

She is the recipient of the Community Service Award from Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, Inc., the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Kenyon College, and the Exemplary Service Award from Harvard Divinity School.

April practices Vipassana meditation and Bikram yoga and is an Usui Reiki Master.

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