PublicSquare’s mission is to promote civic engagement and activism by convening free, community seminars that address the critical issues of our time and to mentor primarily underrepresented and low-income college students by assisting them with internships opportunities that bridge their academic work and civic aspirations. Through its educational offerings and student fellowships, PublicSquare seeks to restore robust and productive democratic debate, prepare the next generation of civic leaders, and create a more just and humane society.
This talk will place current struggles over the expansion and suppression of the right to vote in a historical context, tracing battles over voting from the ratification of the Constitution through the elimination of property qualifications, the enfranchisement of Black men during Reconstruction and the advent of Black officeholding, Black disfranchisement in the Jim Crow South, the achievement, and limits, of women’s suffrage, the rise and fall of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and current laws making it harder to cast a ballot.
The biggest challenge facing American democracy is the rise of political extremism since compromise enables our government to function effectively and is essential to enact most major legislation. This webinar explores whether political reforms involving such issues as the presidential nomination process, party primaries, gerrymandering, and campaign-finance can help minimize the role of extremist forces in our politics.
On the campaign trail, Democrats promised to break from the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Already, the Biden-Harris administration has taken several steps in that direction, but the path ahead is filled with political obstacles and legal challenges. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández will discuss options available to the new administration and challenges it is likely to face—from activists on the left and Republicans on the right.