Democracy In Color

june, 2021

27jun3:00 pmFeaturedDemocracy In ColorConversations on the Green3:00 pm

Event Details

The fourth virtual town hall of the season will bring together nationally recognized voices to discuss how systemic issues of race shape every aspect of life in the United States.

In two campaigns for the presidency, Donald Trump won one and lost the other largely because of his brazenly racial vision of America.

Although race and identity always have shaped U.S. politics, they reemerged four years ago in what was supposed to be Obama’s post-racial America as the pivot point of the election, the unapologetic driver of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory.

But the re-energized forces that propelled Trump to The White House did not spring out of a vacuum. Rather, the crowd-pleasing candidate merely marshaled spirits unleashed half a century ago in what was a culmination of the Republicans’ 50-year “Southern strategy” to push race and identity into the political forefront.

Those issues now dominate the national conversation. In the wake of almost weekly police killings of people of color and with one city after another smoldering over another case of unequal justice, the anguish and anger of bigotry is the focus of “Common Ground with Jane Whitney’s” fourth show of the season. Part of an annual series of programs on racism in America, the June 27 forum brings together a group of trenchant voices to discuss how race and identity issues are systemic and shape every aspect of life in the country.

The television anchor Don Lemon, an outspoken critic of what he sees as America’s racial injustice, leads the symposium. The host of “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” he consistently offers viewers analysis of the events shaping our conversations about race, and was among the most prominent voices in the reckoning and protests sparked by last year’s death of George Floyd.

The second panel member is the author and political strategist Heather McGhee, a policy wonk whose recent work examines how racism affects public policy and therefore economic policies. One of the themes of her work is what she calls “drained-pool” politics, which explains how racism impacts the larger society, damaging everyone, regardless of race.

The third panelist is Jelani Cobb, who has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 2015. His columns explore the dynamics of American culture, race, and, most notably, the chaotic domestic politics that have defined the past two years. As a historian, Cobb often uses a historical lens to contextualize current events and what has led us to the present moment.
The journalist Richard Lui is our fourth panelist. An anchor for NBC and MSNBC, he posits that selflessness can curb the “selfish pandemic” he feels is responsible for the recent increase in hate crimes.

A veteran journalist, he became a household name covering headline-grabbing events such as the Arab Spring and the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. He previously worked at CNN, where he became the first Asian American man to anchor a daily national cable news show in the U.S.
Moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, this interactive symposium, which begins at 3 p.m. on June 27th and runs 90 minutes, will be live streamed, allowing anyone with an internet-connected device to participate and ask questions. Tickets can be reserved for $25 at

All proceeds from Conversations on the Green events benefit local organizations including the Susan B. Anthony Project, New Milford Hospital, Greenwoods Counseling & Referrals, and the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund, which provides immediate assistance to those risking their lives during this crisis.

Conversations on the Green brings together nationally-recognized voices together to support its mission of educating and invigorating the American public through discussion of the country’s most provocative issues and ideas. Based in Litchfield, CT, COGs are interactive, Town Hall style forums allowing both the speakers and the audience to share experiences, perspectives and insights in an effort to build an ongoing conversation that strengthens community bonds.


(Sunday) 3:00 pm