On October 24, 2019 a powerful group of speakers came to the Graduate Center for a panel on  “Racism and Democracy”. They spoke about the influence of ethnic bias and racism on US democracy. We heard how the social construct of race has shaped the geopolitics of the United States historically, how those effects linger on to today, how they act as powerful determinants of exclusion and structural disadvantage for all non-white Americans, minorities, and for immigrant populations – in short: how they affect US democracy.

Watch some selected powerful footage below or the entire panel via the link at the bottom of the post.

Here historian and writer for The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, explains how “American democracy doesn’t start until the 1965 Voting Rights Act:” 


Activist Mary Hooks from “Southerners on New Ground” – an organization building communities, alliances, and coalitions of LGBTQ, People of Color, Immigrant, and Working Class communities – asks what it is going to take to “move the empire out of the way so that real democracy can be manifested:”


Bitta Mostofi is Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) talks about the representation (or lack thereof) of immigrant communities in the Census with dramatic detrimental effects for resource allocation. 


Jessie Daniels, a professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and researcher on the internet and how white supremacists were on it from its first hour: 


So where can I put my outrage?, moderator Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, President of the “National Council of Negro Women” asks.


Watch the entire panel here.


CUNY Undergrad Leaders Also Attend

CUNY’s leadership fellows from the Future Initiative’s Peer Leadership and Mentoring Program – the most promising leaders from around the campuses – also attended. We are proud to share a few of there essays and reflections of that evening here: 

By Jacqueline Real: https://futuresinitiative.org/mentors/2019/09/24/does-liberation-come-before-democracy/

By Calvin Herman: https://futuresinitiative.org/mentors/2019/10/29/democracy-reimagined-how-to-fight-for-a-better-democracy/

By Christina Valeros: https://futuresinitiative.org/mentors/2019/09/23/tell-me-what-democracy-looks-like-liberation-and-democracys-limits/