Democracy Forum 4/16/21 Divided We Stand: Can diversity be our strength?

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine

Key Discussion Points:
Whether this is one of the most divided moments in American history.
How have these fractured moments come up in our prior history?
What role is the emergence of multiracial democracy playing in this current divisive moment?
What role has race played in the divisions of the past?
Can a polity come back from such serious fragmentation?
How have we gotten past it before, or have we?

David Blight, Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies at Yale University, and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, among many other books and articles.

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Colby College. She is also an ordained Baptist minister and the assistant pastor for special projects at the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To learn more about this topic:
“Three Great Revolutions: W. E. B. Du Bois, African American Women and Social Change,” Cheryl Gilkes in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 2016.
“America is exceptional in the nature of its political divide,” Pew Research Center, November, 2020.
“How can America heal from the Trump era? Lessons from Germany’s transformation into a prosperous democracy after Nazi rule,” Sylvia Taschka in The Conversation, January, 2021.
“Appomattox and the Ongoing Civil War,” David Blight in The Atlantic, April, 2015.
“Multiracial Democracy Is 55 Years Old. Will It Survive?,” Adam Serwer in The Atlantic, January, 2021.
Anchor of the Soul, a documentary about Black history in Maine, 1994
“W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color,” wherein his pioneering team of black sociologists created data visualizations that explained institutionalized racism to the world, Smithsonian, 2018
Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, Edward Ball, 2020

Prerecorded on 4/14/2021 using Zoom technology.

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:

Martha Dickinson, Michael Fisher, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.