“A Starting Point”

“A Starting Point”

Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

“Foolishness” joked Chris Evans about why he came to Washington DC to promote a political education project, far from the Hollywood film sets he is used to. Evans is best known for his role as Captain America in the Marvel cinematic universe, but he thinks there are other ways he can stand up for democracy and he felt the time was now.

Chris Evans

Along with actor and producer Mark Kassen and technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani, Evans founded “A Starting Point” — an educational platform that the trio hopes can be an informational guide to civic engagement. The hope is to give context, provide information and decode some of the clutter that makes politics hard to digest for the average person.

Mark Kassen

“We’re very conscious we aren’t reporters or news,” says Kassen, speaking with Evans during an interview at the National Press Club about where the evolved platform sits in the marketplace. The pair believe that they have built a field guide in some ways that people can reference when they get stuck thinking about an issue.

“Media only reaches a certain amount,” said Evans about the inspiration behind the idea. “More good can come from creating a Platform.” The actor discussed his own frustration trying to keep up with bureaucratic jargon during the 2020 election cycle and found that even as an engaged voter, he felt he was falling behind on understanding some of the issues, and this made him think that others may be feeling the same. “When you Google things, very quickly you’re in the weeds” he added, and he knew he wanted to take action.

He approached his friend and collaborator Mark Kassen and quickly the pair, along with Kiani were building what they thought was going to be a safe space for political discourse between lawmakers, voters, professionals and novices.

Mike Allen (Axios), Chris Evans and Mark Kassen

The DC trip was part of an effort to get their platform in front of the right eyes and ears to build traction ahead of the 2024 election. Stops included the press club luncheon, an evening interview session with Axios, and a discussion event at the White House in front of over 80 youths from the Close Up Foundation.

Evans said he hopes the tour will help build his user base. “In DC, if someone says this is okay… It spreads.” He hopes that “A Starting Point” will gain validation for its merits, and not just because he and Kassen hail from Hollywood.

“One of the things that impressed us when we first started coming to DC was how busy these people are,” said Kassen, reflecting on numerous trips to Capitol Hill in the last three years. “It’s important to honor their time,” he said of politicians and stakeholders.

The pair want to breed real, respectful discussion with politicians, and use that authenticity as a way of fighting against misinformation that has weaseled its way into our electoral process.

“Like Hollywood people come here with dreams of doing something” said Kassen as he looks out toward the 2024 election which is already heating up with each Presidential primary. “I have no right to be in this arena as more than just a voter,” Evans echoed with hope that their work might make a difference and emphasizing that the stakes for the election matter.

Explore the issues at www.astartingpoint.com