PROGRAM: Democracy in Dialogue

Presented by:
New York Council for the Humanities
National Partner: NEH Subject: African American/Black, Gender, History, K-12 Education, Latinos, Other, Varies Audience: All

“This initiative links local realities to national issues including migration, segregation, and gender equality. Through large public events and intensive community conversations, Democracy in Dialogue promotes civic engagement and participation, helping New Yorkers gain insight into the struggles their communities face and creating spaces where advocates can learn from those with other viewpoints. Supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Humanities.” – Humanities NY’s website

This initiative featured town-hall conversations that were video-taped and archived on the council’s website. Talks included:

  • Dialogue & Distrust: A Conversation on Race, Inequality, and Civic Cooperation (NYC)
    • The event introduced the yearlong program and discussed the importance and relevance of civic engagement and how skills in the humanities can be used as tools for civic engagement. The event was hosted by the Federal Hall National Memorial, the site where the Bill of Rights was introduced to the first Congress.
  • Gender Equality in the Workplace (Albany, NY)
    • What arguments have been advanced to keep women disadvantaged in the workplace? How have these arguments been overcome? What are the unique challenges women of color face in the workplace? What is the biggest obstacle for gender equality in the workplace today?
  • The Economics of Segregation (Buffalo, NY)
    • After decades of economic decline, Buffalo now appears to be on the upswing – affordable real estate in particular has attracted a wave of aspiring homeowners. However, add to this economic flux a legacy of segregation that ranks Buffalo among the top five most segregated cities in the country and it becomes obvious that African Americans are overlooked and pushed aside by recent economic developments after being hit hardest by the economy’s decline decades earlier.
  • Migration and Inclusion (“Migracion e inclusion”) (Jamestown, NY)
    • In light of the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico and the growing population of Puerto Ricans in Jamestown, this public discussion will address issues related to migration, inclusion, and the complex relationship between the US and its territories. What are the larger economic and political forces that fuel this migration? What led to previous waves of migration? How might the Jamestown community become more welcoming to newcomers? What do the people of Jamestown stand to gain by weaving new Puerto Rican arrivals into their social fabric?
  • Partnering for Success: Buffalo, Schools, Kids, Parents, Community (Buffalo, NY)
    • Schools are expected to be an engine of social uplift and prosperity, yet, many factors limit their ability to improve student success. How can schools and their communities partner to address funding and other key questions? How can schools improve our social and economic future as a city? What can local businesses and organizations do to build a leadership pipeline for underprivileged youth? How might the private sector support public schools? And finally, how can the public school system help facilitate community collaboration and be an asset for the community?
  • Food Insecurity in Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie, NY)
    • In recent years and especially in the Hudson Valley, the culinary industry has experienced an economic boom. How do we continue these developments in an equitable way so that everyone in the industry – from farmers to chefs to fast food workers – share in the benefits? What development opportunities are there for an urban center like Poughkeepsie amidst such a rich culinary region? What are the key economic an structural challenges the city of Poughkeepsie faces in the fight for food security? Finally, moving beyond questions of health, how does our relationship to food and quality of food serve as an index for measuring a good life?