Take Action Here: thirdact.org/what-we-do/protect-the-vote/
The Third Act Democracy Teach-In aims to foster a sense of place and people to show how democracy does not end at the ballot box. We strive to inspire Third Actors to more actively participate in building a more democratic world, in addition to showing up at the polls. A world of neighbors, family, and friends who love, respect and care for each other in times when institutions don't protect us.
Free, fair, and functioning elections are vital to our democracy and we must mobilize people to show up at the polls. Beyond voting and elections – democracy is also about civic participation and engagement year-round. Democracy is about mutual aid and self-organized networks of direct service. Democracy is about conflict mediation, fair decision-making, and inclusive communication. And democracy is about direct action in the face of injustice.
You will learn about the history of systemic injustices in our democracy, a round-up of current voting rights laws and policies (restrictive and expansive), opportunities for civic engagement beyond voting (protest, sit-ins, policy advocacy), opportunities for mutual aid, direct and participatory democracy, and yes, how voting and elections in this year’s midterms do indeed matter and what we can do.
Panel Moderator: Heather Booth
Heather Booth is one of the country’s leading strategists about progressive issue campaigns and driving issues in elections. She started organizing in the civil rights, anti-Vietnam war and women’s movements of the 1960s. Heather started JANE, an underground abortion service in 1965, before Roe. In 2000, she was the Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, helping increase African American election turnout. She helped found the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2005. She directed Progressive and Seniors Outreach for the Biden/Harris campaign. Heather was the founding Director and is now President of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. There is a film about her life in organizing, “Heather Booth: Changing the World.”
Panelists (Listed Below):
Marisa Falcon, Apiary Practical Support
Marisa Falcon is the Founder and Executive Director of Apiary for Practical Support. Marisa has worked in nonprofits for nearly 15 years as an administrator and consultant, primarily focused in reproductive health and justice and immigration. Marisa is based in Brooklyn, where she enjoys taking long walks through the city and jumping in the ocean in January.
Sylvia Albert, Common Cause
As Director of Voting and Elections, Sylvia works with national staff and Common Cause state offices to press for reforms that expand access to the ballot for eligible voters and promote fair representation in our democracy. Sylvia has more than a decade of professional experience in public interest law and public policy campaigns in voting and fair housing. She has spent her career fighting to expand ballot access, reduce barriers to participation, and combat voter intimidation among historically disenfranchised communities. She also worked to enforce the Fair Housing Act and affirmatively further fair housing while at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley and a JurisDoctor from Georgetown University Law Center.
Michelle Williams, MA, Women Engaged
Michelle (they/them/she) is a Black, queer woman born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). They have worked in social justice, community engagement, and politics for over 14 years. They started their journey as a teenager as the first Black woman appointed Chairman of the KCMO Youth Commission, where they led a team of young people who created policy recommendations for the city government.
Michelle worked closely with the Human Rights Campaign to advance rights and visibility for Black LGBTQ+ folks. While in Arkansas, they were appointed to the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice, where they served to inform policy pertaining to incarcerated young people. Michelle was also a board member of Women Lead Arkansas, an organization geared toward the inclusiveness of women in political engagement.
Will Wilder, JD, Brennan Center for Justice
Will Wilder is a Singer Fellow in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where he focuses on voting rights litigation and felony rights restoration. Wilder earned his JD from Columbia Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and a Research Assistant for Professor Bernard Harcourt. While in law school, Wilder interned with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. Prior to law school, Wilder was a Coro Fellow in St. Louis and worked for Jason Kander’s United States Senate campaign. Wilder grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and earned his BA from Washington University in St. Louis.