Racial Equity

Tending to Democracy

October 18, 2017  • The Bridge

“I often describe what I do as democracy-maintenance work,” explained Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, at an April talk that was part of the “Conversations With Great Leaders in Memory of Preston Robert Tisch” series. Democracy needs constant monitoring, Ifill said, before quoting James Baldwin: “I love my country and hold to the obligation to critique it.”

Joining the conversation was Michele Norris, the executive director of The Bridge, the Institute’s new program on race, cultural identity, and inclusion. The pair discussed the responsibilities of citizenship as well as groundbreaking decisions and legislation like Brown v. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act. Ifill concluded by calling for “a return to talking about the narrative of what it means to invest in public life.”