Authored on August 26, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director, jeanne.massey@fairvotemn.org, 612-850-6897

Creating a Racially Just Democracy

FairVote Minnesota Hosts a Timely and Important Conversation about the State of Our Democracy with Danielle Allen, Stephen Heinz and Sondra Samuels

With Special Guest U.S. Senator Tina Smith

St. Paul (August 25, 2020) --  FairVote Minnesota (“FVMN”) today announced a virtual conversation with Danielle Allen and Stephen Heinz co-chairs of the bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). They will be joined by special guest, U.S. Senator Tina Smith. 

Our panel of experts will discuss the Commission’s report on America’s declining political institutions and civic culture, recommendations to strengthen our democracy, and ways in which these reforms can help create a more racially inclusive and representative democracy. Ranked Choice Voting is among the top reforms they recommend “to achieve empowerment for all, responsive and effective governance, and a resilient and healthy civic culture, characterized by a shared commitment of Americans to one another and constitutional democracy.” 

In the wake of protests following George Floyd’s murder, panelist and Harvard University Professor Danielle Allen explained how the Commission’s report provides a roadmap for responding to this moment; she wrote, “For this time to be different, we need not only the specific reforms to policing but also a bold and comprehensive project to constitute a healthy social contract. . . that empowers all and delivers effective and responsive governance to an empowered citizenry.” 

Sen. Smith also saw the moment as a time for bold action. In her senate floor speech honoring George Floyd last June, she explained, “Throughout our history, the hardest times have often been the times of greatest progress. And I choose to find purpose in making sure that this moment leads to real progress towards justice and equality.”

FVMN will present the webinar on Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm CT. The event is educational, and all who want to join are welcome. Please email kristen@fairvotemn.org to receive the Zoom link. 

“This essential conversation about how Ranked Choice Voting, among other reforms, can meet the challenges of systemic racism is needed for our country and particularly for Minnesota - at the fulcrum of our racial reckoning,” explained Executive Director Jeanne Massey. “We look forward to discussing ways we can reform our democracy so that all citizens are empowered and fully represented.”

Allen, Heinz, Samuels, and Smith will be joined by co-hosts Marc Gorelick & Lynn Broaddus, Barbara Forster, Penny & Bill George, Blanche & Thane Hawkins, Karla Ekdahl & Peter Hutchinson, Sam Boren & Steve King, Al & Kathy Lenzmeier, Kim Nelson, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Lois Quam, and Maureen Reed. Best Buy is sponsoring this event. 

Please contact Jeanne Massey for more information about Ranked Choice Voting and our other electoral reform efforts in Minnesota.