Community Conversation Series





June Discussion Theme: Stealing Democracy

“The vote is the most powerful, non-violent tool we have in a democratic society.” – John Lewis, U.S. Representative

In recent years we have witnessed intrusions on our democratic process by political and government action that would decrease the number of black, Hispanic and poor people who vote.

In the recent race for Governor of Georgia the candidacy of Stacy Abram’s, the first black woman to seek that office, was derailed by her opponent’s interference in the registration of black and poor population. In the state of Florida  lawmakers sought to dilute the impact of the historic and successful 2018 referendum reinstating formerly incarcerated individuals to the ranks of voting citizens. In New York State, right here in Saratoga County, legislation was introduced to make certain that particular segments of the formerly incarcerated population are denied the right to vote. There is concerted effort on the part of some elected officials to preserve power and position by suppressing the vote of people who they think will vote against them.

In Our Name Initiative and MLK Saratoga bring us a community conversation on the theme of “Stealing Democracy.” A panel of local community members, activists, writers and thought leaders will discuss voter suppression and disenfranchisement and the threat it poses to our democratic order.

Carol Anderson’s recently published book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy will serve as the main focal point of the evening’s conversation. Copies of the book will be made available for purchase at the event.


JUSTIN P. HARRISON is the former legal director of the ACLU of Louisiana and now serves as the Legal Committee Chair for New York Civil Liberties Union Albany chapter. During his time with the Louisiana ACLU he oversaw several dozen cases dealing with free speech, student expression, online speech, government retaliation for offensive or controversial speech, school prayer, prisoners’ rights to medical care and pre-trial detention. He has briefed and argued several cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He also taught the Law of Mass Communication course at Loyola University of New Orleans. Harrison was a founding member of the New Orleans Bar Association Section on Civil Rights and edited the ACLU of Louisiana’s Students’ Rights Handbook.  He received his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College and his J.D. from the Rutgers University School of Law. 


Bierman has been the Executive Director of the NY League of Women Voters since 2008. Over the past 30 years she has served in a number of positions in local leagues, including study chair, editor of the newsletter, board member, Vice President and President.

Laura has a BA in political science from Colgate University and a Masters Degree in public administration from the University of Virginia. 

“Conversations to Build An Inclusive American Community” is a monthly discussion series in which our community’s brightest thinkers articulate their perspectives on important civic issues. The goal is to catalyze fresh thinking by bringing together people from a wide range of fields to share a conversation that is respectful, deep, empowering and unique.

The curator and sponsor of this series is In Our Name Initiative, an organization dedicated to civic learning and legislative action for social, economic and criminal justice matters. In Our Name is a component of the Skidmore College Project on Restorative Justice, a national thought and training organization dedicated to the work of reconciling victims and offenders and finding more constructive ways to deal with crime and punishment.

MLK Saratoga shares Dr. King’s vision of peace and justice for all. We work toward this vision by promoting racial, social, economic, and climate justice. We use Performance, the Arts and Dialogue to create new ways of understanding and to build a more unified, inclusive community that is truly safe and just.