Debates about election procedures and voting rights continue to heat up at the local and national levels. Meanwhile, mis- and disinformation threaten the understanding and interpretation of a wide range of vital issues, from the pandemic to the economy. Among this instability, most Americans feel that the very institution of democracy is under threat. One year after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, 92Y’s second annual State of Democracy Summit—co-presented with Aspen Digital—explored the most important questions facing the country right now, with a special focus on technology’s impact on democracy and new approaches to civic engagement, journalism, politics and policy.
How can Activism repair our democracy?
Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change and Vivian Schiller, Aspen Digital
How can racial and social justice activists combat hate and fear-based groups and movements? What tools, tech and tactics are grassroots community organizers finding effective to repair, rather than dismantle, our democracy? We’ll explore this and more with leading racial justice activist and Color Of Change President, Rashad Robinson.
What is the threat of information warfare?
Alicia Wanless, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Yasmin Green, Jigsaw/Alphabet Inc.; Will Hurd, Former U.S. Representative & Former CIA; Garrett Graff, journalist & historian (moderator)
America faces a crisis of trust and truth as bad information becomes as prevalent as good. What is the impact of information disorder, and how can lawmakers and individuals curb the spread of mis- and disinformation and the threat they pose to democracy, national security and human life?
How can we protect the right to vote?
Nsé Ufot, The New Georgia Project; María Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino; Trey Grayson, Former Kentucky Secretary of State & Managing Director of Civic Point; Sylvia Albert, Common Cause (moderator)
The 2020 election has focused sharp attention on the foundation of democracy: voting. A significant percentage of Republicans continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 presidential race as debates about voting legislation and reform are waged at the state and national levels. Leading into the upcoming midterms, how do we protect the right to vote, ensure safe elections and instill widespread confidence in the results of 2022 and beyond?
What should we do about the supreme court?
Kim Wehle, University of Baltimore Law School; Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard Law School; Emily Bazelon, Yale Law School/New York Times Magazine; Farai Chideya, Our Body Politic (moderator)
This term, the Supreme Court will hear cases on some of the most divisive issues in America today—from the Second Amendment to abortion, to the separation of church and state. What impact will these historic decisions have on civic life? And, as appointments to the Court become increasingly polarizing, is it time to reimagine how Justices are chosen, how many serve and for how long?
How divided are we really?
Carol Anderson, Emory University; Ellen Fitzpatrick, historian & professor; Carol Lukensmeyer, First Executive Director of the National Institute for Social Discourse (moderator)
As America becomes increasingly defined by record levels of polarization, we’ll explore how history has shaped this moment and if there are parallels from the past that can inform a path forward in the future.
Can journalism safeguard democracy?
Jay Rosen, journalist and NYU professor; Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post; Mitra Kalita, journalist and media executive; Errin Haines, The 19th; Vivian Schiller, Aspen Digital (moderator)
Journalists have needed to rethink long-held norms as trust in news media plummets and Americans become increasingly divided on issues ranging from public health to systemic racism, voting access, and democracy itself. How do news organizations best serve the public in a polarized, ‘post-truth world’?