What can and what must we do as everyday citizens to be active participants in our democracy? The protection of our democracy is urgent and one of the most vexing challenges our country faces. Increasing voting is one step. And although there are promising recent youth vote records, the United States has abysmally low voting rates. In fact, we have the ninth-lowest voting rate among the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. As a result of general apathy, the influence of money in politics, voter suppression, the Electoral College and gerrymandered congressional districts, plenty of citizens feel as if their vote doesn’t matter.
Please join us for a lively conversation about why voting matters, the history behind electoral politics, what we can do to increase political participation and become educated voters, and how we can tackle voter suppression and preserve our democracy.
PanelistsJournalist and educator Jelani Cobb writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. As recipient of the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, Cobb was praised for combining “the strengths of an on-the-scene reporter, a public intellectual, a teacher, a vivid writer, a subtle moralist, and an accomplished professional historian.” Cobb joined the Columbia Journalism School faculty in 2016.
Karine Jean-Pierre is the Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn and an NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst. Jean-Pierre previously served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Martin O’Malley for President. Prior to joining the O'Malley Campaign, in 2014 she was the Campaign Manager for ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Program. In 2011, Jean-Pierre served as Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, managing the President's political engagement in key states while leading the delegate selection and ballot access process. Before joining the re-election campaign, Jean-Pierre served as the Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she worked on the Obama for America campaign in 2008 as the Southeast Regional Political Director; she served the John Edwards for President Campaign in the same capacity. Jean-Pierre's interests demonstrate her concern for integrity and the human condition. In graduate school, she explored her Haitian roots through documentary film. Later, she worked at the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics and pushed major companies like Walmart to change their business practices. In 2014, Jean-Pierre joined the Columbia University faculty, where she teaches a course at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She received her MPA from SIPA in 2003.
Moderator Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor of United States History and Director of African and African American Studies at Stanford. She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker.com and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Root.com, and The Guardian.