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Beyond the Ballot Box: A Conversation About Democracy and Policing in the United States

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Hakeem Jefferson, José Luis Gandara, Cathy J. Cohen, Yanilda M. González, Rebecca U. Thorpe, & Vesla M. Weaver


Political scientist Hakeem Jefferson (Stanford University) facilitated a discussion about race, policing, and the state of American democracy with fellow political scientists. The conversation occurred a year after George Perry Floyd Jr., a 46-year-old Black man, was murdered by a White police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Moving beyond common notions of democracy that focus primarily on voting and electoral participation, the panelists discussed how American policing and the criminal justice system, more broadly, redefine citizenship, redistribute power, and shape marginalized people’s understanding of their place in society. Closing remarks addressed the potential for change in how criminal justice institutions treat marginalized people and how political scientists can more usefully contribute to efforts that strengthen democracy for all. This is an edited transcript of the conversation and includes a bibliography of the sources mentioned.

Read the transcript of the discussion here.

Watch a video/access audio of this discussion here.

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