POSTPONED: Civic Power in a Pandemic

06/02 Tuesday | 5pm


Dear Friends,

In light of recent events, we are postponing tomorrow evening’s discussion on CIVIC POWER IN A PANDEMIC with Hollie Rousson Gilman. We will be back in touch soon with a new date.

As if it weren’t enough that thousands remain in the hospital and continue to die. As if it weren’t enough that this virus is disproportionately destroying the well-being and livelihood of those who have already suffered the most. As if it weren’t enough that we are each experiencing deaths in our own families, now, so-called law enforcement murdered the very people they were duty-bound to protect just because they could.

In this time of national outrage, one in which people are exercising their civic power to decry the pervasive and systemic racism and injustice in America, we do not want to distract from the voices on the frontlines. We do not want to distract from our shared need to speak out, go out and be part of this movement to honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless victims of racism in this country.

A conversation on civic power is more important now than ever and we want to take some time to plan a new conversation — a more interactive event — that will allow us to address what we can and must do differently. We will come back to you soon with a new date.

Beth and Hollie


RSVP Required. Please RSVP here.

Join the Future of Democracy Working Group for a conversation with Columbia professor and New America fellow Hollie Russon Gilman, co-author of the new book Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis.

The crisis of democracy is not the product of the 2016 election or the occupant of the White House but a deeper and chronic erosion of our civic infrastructure, leading to the concentration of political power. For too long, democratic reform efforts, however, have neglected to focus enough on democratic action, community engagement, citizen empowerment — civic power. At this moment of deepening crisis when we are facing complex and systemic challenges like climate change and inequality, we will talk about new strategies for institutionalizing civic power and democratic engagement in governance. Dr. Gilman will showcase on-the-ground examples of groups operating in cities and communities across America to co-create policy, services and solutions and make good on the promise to create a more public public sector. Especially as we tackle the pandemic and its public health and economic challenges, we need to address the role that communities will play in participating in the response. As Dr. Gilman will argue, if we are serious about building civic power, then we have to approach politics and governance differently. This will be a lively, interactive event and we hope you will participate in this conversation about the future of democracy.

Hollie Russon Gilman is a Political Reform program fellow at New America. Her first book is Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation and America as part of the Harvard Kennedy School’s series on governance innovation in the 21st century. Gilman also held an Open Technology Institute fellowship at New America. She also has a forthcoming co-authored book with Sabeel Rahman, Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis (2019). She served in the Obama White House as the Open Government and Innovation Advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and worked as a field organizer in New Hampshire. Gilman was a founding researcher and organizer for the Open Society Foundation’s Transparency and Accountability Initiative and Harvard’s Gettysburg Project to revitalize 21st-century civic engagement. She has worked as an advisor, researcher, and consultant to numerous non-profits and foundations including the Case Foundation, Center for Global Development, Gates Foundation, Knight Foundation, and the World Bank.

Beth Simone Noveck is the director of the Governance Lab (GovLab) and its MacArthur Research Network on Opening Governance. She is a Professor in Technology, Culture, and Society and affiliated faculty at the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. She also serves as the State of New Jersey’s Chief Innovation Officer. Beth is the author of Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing (Harvard Univ Press 2015) and Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings 2009) and co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press, 2005).

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