Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Deep Inequality


Amidst a national breakdown of democratic norms and a decline in the support of democracy, it is more important than ever to look at the innovative, local level civic engagement occurring across the country. At a time of national dysfunction, deepening inequality and political fracturing, there are several informative approaches occurring on the community level creating structures for people to engage, new models of community organizing, and opportunities for more genuine engagement with local governance itself.

These reforms are building shared identities and creating new connections between civil society and those working in local government. In turn, that proliferation of local-level work highlights that there is no one-size-fits-all model for participation, and the critical need to expand our standard toolkit of developing civic engagement. But when we do that work, these local level engagements offer an opportunity for a more inclusive vision of American democracy. 

To explore several innovative community driven models and their implications across the country, join New America's Political Reform and Family Center Social Policy programs for an interactive discussion with leaders renewing American democracy across their communities. 

The dialogue discussion will feature: 

Risha Berry 
Project Management Analyst, City of Richmond: Office of Community Wealth Building 

Hollie Russon Gilman@hrgilman 
Fellow Political Reform, New America 

Chris Nehls@Nehlsie 
Research and Systems Associate, Governance Program, Democracy Fund 

Marcia Chatelain, @DrMChatelain 
Class of 2017 Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, New America
Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Georgetown University 

Sean McDonald, @McDapper 
CEO, FrontlineSMS 

We will explore precisely if and how these local innovations are offering new pathways for strengthening civic capacity and the limitations of current models of civic engagement. Drawing from both a recent New America report and an accompanying capsule blog series, this event will speak the to opportunity, and challenges, for revitalizing American democracy.

Reception to follow.