Center Initiative

Columbia Voting Week: Joelle Gamble on the Challenges of Democratic Engagement

Columbia’s Annual Voting Week took place last week, kicking off the Equal Justice Center’s yearly initiative! On Thursday, October 9th, Joelle Gamble, National Director of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, led a discussion with Columbia students on “Challenges of Democratic Engagement“. The group examined policy implications and historical as well as present day examples of the changing voter landscape. Our conversation focused on a number of questions: what are the ramifications for communities, and the U.S. as a whole, when certain people do not engage in the political process?; how can we develop solutions to our current civic process?; is just voting enough?

The history of the democratic process has been shaped by many movements from the Enlightenment to Progressivism and the Populist Era.  By looking at civic engagement as a fluid moral imperative, a path with technological and generational opportunities, clearly experimentations in democracy matter! But do these experimentations come from political institutions themselves? Our group looked at a variety of solutions to increase diverse engagement such as civics classes, automatic voter registration, measures against gerrymandering, and locally-based work such as participatory budgeting/involvement at the municipal level.

Take a look at the fact sheet for the discussion here: What is Civic Participation and Why is It Important

Got any refreshing approaches to civic engagement? Comment here and make sure to reach out to me or Joelle – we’d love to hear from you!

Nikita Singareddy, Equal Justice Center Leader