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Experiments in Democracy on Open Source Radio Show

On October 25th, the NPR radio show Open Source featured a special show on “Experiments in Democracy” (www.radioopensource.org/experiments-in-democracy), with participation from Lani Guinier, Shoni Field (of the BC Citizens’ Assembly), Daniel Kemmis (former mayor of Mizzoula, Montana), and Gianpaolo Baiocchi. The show’s producers write:

Back in September we introduced the idea of doing a show about race, class and voting with Harvard Law professor and voting rights activist Lani Guinier. While prepping for that show, I had an amazing conversation with Professor Guinier. A conversation that, as it turned out, had almost nothing to do with race and class. Instead, we spent an hour talking about “experiments in democracy” — small but radical, hyper-local examples of people re-defining democracy to be more about civic participation and less about a few minutes in a voting booth. Specific examples she cited included a citizen assembly in Vancouver that redesigned British Columbia’s election system, deliberative citizen roundtables in Los Angeles, and participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil. So as the election approaches and we near the end of our midterms series, we’re taking a break to focus on the nature of democracy and civic engagement beyond the ballot box. How are people trying to re-invent democracy in small but significant ways? How are their efforts important or different — successful or not? And could these case studies in LA or Porto Allegre be applied on a wider scale?

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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