Strengthening Our Democracy: Taking Action at the National, State & Local Levels

This three-part series of interactive forums explores both the obstacles and the opportunities that confront our democracy and the Democratic Party on the national, state, and local levels. Following analysis and first-hand perspectives from a diverse and accomplished panel of speakers, attendees had the chance to engage in a breakout strategy session of their choosing, coming away with specific insights and action items that will equip both experienced activists and first-timers alike with concrete ways to make a critical difference.

Click here for a list of resources you can use to follow up from the forums.

June 17 | Local Actions, More Voices

Video: Strengthening the Democratic Party – and Democracy – Local Actions, More Voices | Arlington Community Media, Inc. (

Our final forum this spring took place on Thursday, June 17 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Our keynote speaker was Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and other speakers included Zane T. Crute of Mystic Valley NAACP, Gerly Adrien of the Everett City Council, and Helena Berbano of Asian American Futures. Our moderator was veteran journalist David Whitford.

Questions we explored included: How do we overcome the barriers that prevent or discourage people from taking part in our democratic process, from the fundamental act of voting to being more fully involved? How do we expand the activist base and ensure a meaningful place for those not typically engaged in electoral politics?

June 3rd | Ensuring a Democratic Victory in the 2022 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Race

Our second forum took place on Thursday, June 3, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Our special guest was our Congresswoman, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark, who provided introductory remarks.

Panelists included political strategist Wilnelia Rivera, who led Ayanna Pressley’s successful congressional campaign and was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Bostonians by Boston Magazine, and Lezlie Braxton Campbell, President of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts. Our moderator was Crystal Haynes of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, an Emmy award winning journalist with more than 15 years of broadcast experience.

Questions we explored included: Why is it so important – and so historically difficult – to elect a Democratic Governor in the state of Massachusetts? As the field of gubernatorial candidates begins to take shape, how can each of us help to ensure that a Democrat wins next year’s race?

May 6th | Strengthening the Democratic Party – and Democracy – for the 2022 Midterms

Video: Strengthening the Democratic Party – and Democracy – for the 2022 Midterms | Arlington Community Media, Inc. (

Our first forum was held virtually on Thursday, May 6th. Featured contributors included former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Co-Chair of American Bridge 21st Century, Tony Mack of Movement Voter Project, Herb Meisner of Common Cause, and author Steve Almond. Breakout sessions were facilitated by Susan Labandibar of Swing Left Greater Boston, Marlene Silva of Mass Dems Organizing Hub, and others.

Questions we explored included: Where is our nation headed? Which steps can each of us take to protect and strengthen our democracy, and how do we assemble a broad, inclusive coalition that will work to ensure equity and justice for all? And what can the Democratic Party do — amidst a global pandemic, our country’s racial reckoning, the climate crisis, and an increasingly polarized public — to grow its ranks and more effectively combat existing threats to our democratic system?

We thank our co-sponsors, who included the Democratic Committees of Belmont, Boxborough, Brookline, Concord, Lenox, Lexington, Malden, Watertown, Wayland, and Weston; Indivisible Acton Area; Indivisible Billerica Tewksbury Wilmington; Our Revolution Arlington; Swing Left Greater Boston; Voter Choice Massachusetts; and Young Democrats of Massachusetts.

Thank you to Danielle Laquer for creative design contributions.