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State of Democracy Summit

January 20, 2022 at 12 pm ET

A virtual summit proudly presented in collaboration with Aspen Digital and Craig Newmark Philanthropies

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—will explore 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.


Summit Welcome

Seth Pinsky, Vivian Schiller, Craig Newmark

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How Can Activism Repair Our Democracy?

Rashad Robinson, Vivian Schiller

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.

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What is the Threat of Information Warfare?

Alicia Wanless, Yasmin Green, Will Hurd, Garrett Graff

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?

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How Can We Protect the Right to Vote?

Nsé Ufot, María Teresa Kumar, Trey Grayson, Sylvia Albert

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?

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What Should We Do About the Supreme Court?

Kim Wehle, Laurence H. Tribe, Emily Bazelon, Farai Chideya

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?

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How Divided are We Really?

Carol Anderson, Ellen Fitzpatrick, David Greenberg, Carolyn Lukensmeyer

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.

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Can Journalism Safeguard Democracy?

Jay Rosen, Margaret Sullivan, Mitra Kalita, Errin Haines, Vivian Schiller

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’?

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What is the Future of Our Democracy?

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Sean Morales-Doyle

To wrap up the Summit, a conversation with former United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. to examine the threats to a healthy, multi-racial democracy. How do we confront systemic, racial, and socioeconomic inequities deeply embedded in our society, and what legislative reforms can pave the path to a more representative union?

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A Part of the Newmark Civic Life Series

Generously supported by


In collaboration with

The State of Democracy Summit is made possible thanks to the generous support of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation