American Creed sparks conversation about civic engagement

Kate Stilley Steiner, producer of “American Creed,” talks about the documentary and how it is able to highlight the values that holds Americans together.

The film involves a dialogue between Stanford professors David Kennedy and Condoleezza Rice. Through the making of the film, they were able to speak with people from all around the country who are actively engaged and how they uphold the values they believe makes them American.

“Most people we speak with come up with just one or two ideas,” Steiner says. “We’ve been talking to them from all across the ideological spectrum. Everyone comes down to freedom and equal access to opportunity.”

Once the guests in the film explain what they think makes them American, they’re asked how they support that idea in their everyday lives. How do you use your freedom? What has equal access to opportunity done for you and how do you help keep that value alive? In a time where the country can seem more divided than united at times, “American Creed” focuses on the values that bring people together.

“I think we are losing the big picture,” Steiner says. “I think the untold story is that we hold all these values in common and people are working to support these ideas. If we look for these stories, we could actually see that it’s not nearly as bifurcated a nation as we think.”

Steiner says that the one true theme of the documentary is civic engagement. She says she wants the film to be the call to action to get people engaged in their communities. If “American Creed” does its job, then viewers will feel inspired to support the values that they hold dear.

“I think the film really invites Americans to get out of those silos, go to your neighborhood meetings, meet the parents of kids in your school,” Steiner says. “Look to actually reach across the divide as much as you can.”

“American Creed” originally aired on Arizona PBS on February 27, and can be seen online at

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Kate Stilley Steiner: Producer, “American Creed”

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