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My Generation

Richard Dreyfuss' Democracy 101

The Academy Award winner is on a mission to teach Americans about civics and history

Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss has had a long and rewarding career in Hollywood. His big break came in 1973 with American Graffiti, and it was his role in Jaws that really put him on the movie map. But even with his extended list of impressive roles in theater, film and TV, he wants his mark on America to be something more than just acting.


See also: Stars who've fought for change.


“I want to save my country,” Dreyfuss says. “I think that we are a political miracle, I think that we are the most unique nation in the history of the world, and the only ones who don’t know it are our own kids because we don’t teach it anymore”

Ignited by a perceived lack of civic education in today’s America, the actor created The Dreyfuss Initiative, a nonprofit corporation formed to revive, elevate and enhance the teaching of civics in our school systems. The goal is to enlighten kids about the power they have in a democracy and to educate them on how to effectively use it. He says that, as Americans, we need “to teach our kids how to run our country, before they are called upon to run our country…if we don’t, someone else will run the country.”

My Generation’s Traci Mitchell met with the Oscar-winner to learn more about this latest role.

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