Danielle Allen’s Latest Column

On June 21st, Danielle Allen joined Politics for the People for an hour long discussion of two of her recent books. You can watch our conversation here. Below is her latest column for The Washington Post.

Opinion / I ran for office full of anger and despair. I felt hope when I dropped out.

Oped by Danielle Allen, June 8th 2022

Danielle Allen visiting with volunteers at the Cambridge Community Center. (Zachary Goldhammer)

A year and a half ago, I put aside my column with The Post to explore running for governor in Massachusetts. Now, I’m back. Most of the people I know are not in politics, and many of them are asking: What happened? And what’s it like?

First, here’s what happened. The exploratory listening tour went well. It confirmed my sense that this is a time for change — so after six months, in June 2021, I jumped in in full. Then I spent the next nine months fundraising, stumping around the state and building out a policy agenda. I also worked hard to win support from those likely to be delegates at the state’s Democratic convention. Those party delegates are the magic key to placing your name on the primary ballot.

But in February, in the middle of caucus season, I dropped out. We weren’t securing the delegates we needed, and knowing that, I couldn’t raise money in good faith. And if you can’t keep raising money (or aren’t independently wealthy), you’re at the end of the road. It’s just like with sharks. Keep moving or die.

So that was that.

And what it was like? The short answer: It was a very expensive but very effective form of therapy.

I started the process full of anger and despair about the direction of my state and country. When I set out in December 2020, children weren’t back in school yet in Massachusetts, and the state government wasn’t providing clear, timely and stable guidance. We were on the cusp of what turned out to be a pretty unsatisfactory vaccine rollout. Nationally, state and federal governments were at odds — first because of covid-19 and then because of a defeated president seeking to overturn an election.

I wasn’t alone in my feelings. I met people in the trades seething that building inspectors were examining construction sites via Zoom. How could that possibly ensure safety? I spoke to people who took responsibility for feeding the families of workers in the collapsing hospitality industry. The pain of running out of food before the line had barely even begun rang in their voices. One woman broke down telling me how the program she runs for single mothers seeking financial literacy had to be transformed into a site simply aimed at getting people food and diapers.

People were stretched to extremes and felt so alone in the face of overwhelming need. Our state and federal governments let us down in many specific and tangible ways.

And yet. And yet. We did not let one another down. This was the therapeutic part.

When Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout failed to provide appropriate access to the elderly and those lacking transportation, networks of civic leaders pulled together and got the job done. The Black Boston Covid-19 Coalition used get-out-the-vote techniques to help get more of the city’s residents vaccinated. In the western part of the state, the Berkshire Vaccine Collaborative organized a network of small health-care providers to serve as vaccine sites and got the state to knuckle under and deliver vaccine supplies, allowing rural-area residents to stay put for their shots.

After the murder of George Floyd, amid clear calls from communities of color to change the pattern of policing, forward progress was again achieved at the local level. The highly effective mayor of Lynn, north of Boston, helped forge a collaboration between a social justice civic organization and police that led to a pilot program, funded by the city, to build out unarmed response capacity for mental health crises. In Williamstown, in the northwestern corner of the state, community activism achieved an independent investigation into problematic policing practices, resulting in the resignation of the police chief and an effort to make a fresh start.

This is how it was throughout Massachusetts, and it was the antidote to my despair. Good work abounded. Everywhere I found people — with different perspectives — forging alliances to address some of our toughest challenges. Yes, our state government could and should do more to support and help scale it all up. Yes, our federal government is unable to answer even a shock as dire as a massacre at an elementary school. But it is also a fact that problem-solving is underway in every corner of my state. That’s bound to be true of every state.

Having had the chance to see that good work up close left me with a profound understanding of our resilience as a people and our capacity to meet even the exceptionally daunting challenges of our moment. That brought me hope. For this, I will be forever grateful.

I recommend this therapy to everyone losing hope in our democracy. All you have to do is pick an office and run for it. And this too, I believe, is how we’ll at last crack our national gridlock and get the solutions we deserve.

Opinion by Danielle Allen, a Washington Post contributing columnist, is a political theorist at Harvard University.

An invitation from Al Bell

Dear Fellow Politics for the People members,

Al Bell

I expected a lot from our call with Danielle Allen on June 21st. Turns out I am a master of understatement. Her books and her grasp of America are inspiring in the extreme. I wanted to help more Americans read Dr. Allen’s work, which are available on Amazon. In addition to recommending her books to our networks (you may remember I sent copies to my grandchildren), we can also help by writing a short Amazon review for Dr. Allen’s books. Here’s mine. Thanks!


Before buying a book I always ask, why am I motivated to read it now? In this case, it’s because Our Great American Experiment is struggling under some serious threats. I’d like to help reduce them. Too many are generated here in America itself. Enter Danielle Allen, with her new book, Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus. In just 104 pages, I got a real education.

You can, too, if you seek answers to one or more of the following questions.

  • What is making it so hard to have a constructive conversation about political issues now?
  • What have we lost that threatens Our Great American Experiment?
  • What did we learn from our experience with the Coronavirus pandemic?
  • How could we have approached it to avoid the worst health and economic impacts?
  • Faced with another pandemic, how could we handle it better?
  • Why are the experts we depend on failing to come up with optimum answers?
  • What election system changes would make the most positive difference?
  • If we wanted things to work better, what actions would be essential?
  • What components of a revived social contract between Americans are crucial?

If you really care about America and its future, spend some time with Danielle Allen. I even sent a copy to our grandchildren. They deserve better than a broken heritage. Many young Americans no longer believe a democracy is particularly desirable. Our Great American Experiment is losing ground and it needs all the help it can get.

Here is some help.

The first question I have to ask in considering a book to order is, “why am I motivated to get it? Like most of us, I have to pick and choose simply for lack of time. So, it has to matter now.

Why, then, should you read Danielle Allen’s new book, Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus? You should if you seek thoughtful answers to one or more of the following questions. What is making it so hard to have a constructive conversation about political issues now?

  • What have we lost that threatens Our Great American Experiment?
  • What did we learn from our experience with the Coronavirus pandemic?
  • How could we have approached it to avoid the worst heath and economic impacts?
  • Faced with another pandemic, how could we handle it better?
  • Why are the experts we depend upon failing to come up with useful answers?
  • What election system changes would make the most positive difference?
  • If we wanted things to work better, what actions would be essential?
  • What components of a revived social contract between Americans are crucial?

All of this in 104 pages.

If you really care about America and its future, this is more than worth your time. I have sent a copy to each of our three grandchildren. They will inherit the wind we have left them. Many Americans of their age no longer believe living in a democracy is particularly desirable or necessary. Our Great American Experiment has lost ground in the last few years. It needs all the help it can get.

Watch our P4P Discussion with Dr. Danielle Allen

On Tuesday, June 21st, people from across the country joined Politics for the People host Cathy Stewart for a virtual discussion with Dr. Danielle Allen, about her two recent works:

Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus and CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A.

As Dr. Jessie Fields put it, “Reading the books together with the book club, I’ve discovered there are many bridges to journey on between and through the two books.” Join us as we explore with Dr. Allen.

You can watch the full video below:

Four highlights from our dialogue with Dr. Danielle Allen


“If as a society we had that sense of commitment to each other and the people around us, we could do so much more for one another. There’s really not anything limiting us from the point of view of resources or capacity, even creativity. It’s really a question of what’s in our hearts towards others around us.” – Dr. Danielle Allen


“How can we protect health and the economy at the same time?”


Reflecting on her run for governor:

“It was a very expensive but very effective form of therapy. I was very angry and just full of despair before I set off on the run and for all the reasons you read about in the book… As I visited with people around the commonwealth it was just clear to me that there was so much good work and so many solutions on the ground and communities all over the state. Even solutions to the big problems we are facing…”


In response to a question from Lou Hinman on the role of the parties, Danielle  commented,

“We have a lot of work to do to achieve a solidarity worthy of the people we are here in the 21st Century….I’m an advocate for open primaries at this point, nonpartisan primaries.  From my point of view that’s a really important step. It gives candidates and media consultants the chance to communicate to the whole electorate all the way through the election. I think that’s one of the ways we can change change the dynamic so that our parties are no captured just by the really small percentage of people of are participating with them in the primaries. So we have to change those incentive structures to change the dynamic.”


Enjoy our full conversation above.

And here are the links for the announcements:


From 2022 to 2024: Independents Look Ahead

Add you voice, speak out on key issues confronting our nation, expand the conversation about why you and so many others are independent, and share your thoughts as we head towards the 2024 election. Take the survey and help us reach 5,000 independents in every state of the country.


The People – National Assembly

Our partners at The People are hosting their Fourth Annual National Assembly this coming Sunday, June 26th at 12 noon ET. The Assembly brings together Americans across the country and will focus on The People’s 2022 election strategy, a report on a new initiative – Meeting of America, and how everyday people can change democracy. You can register to attend the National Assembly here.


Politics for the People Next Selection

The Independent Voter, coauthored by Jackie Salit, president of Independent Voting, Dr. Omar Ali from UNC Greensboro, and Dr. Thom Reilly, from ASU, is being released by Routledge Press on September 29th and will be our fall bookclub selection. The book examines who independent voters are, and how they are transforming the political landscape in the United States. You can pre-order the book now. We will be talking with the authors this fall! Stay tuned for the date!


Virtual Discussion with Dr. Danielle Allen – TODAY!


We’ll explore Dr. Allen’s

two most recent works: 

Democracy in the Times of Coronavirus

CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A.

REGISTER HERE!


If you have already registered, here is the information for joining on Zoom:

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81338926187

Meeting ID: 813 3892 6187

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Dial by your location:

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Meeting ID: 813 3892 6187

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Reader’s Forum – Lowell Ward shares his thoughts on CUZ

By: Evelyn Dougherty, founder of MA Coalition of Independent Voters

I interviewed my fellow activist Lowell Ward regarding his thoughts after reading Danielle Allen’s book, Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.  

Evelyn: So, Lowell, what did you think about Danielle Allen’s book?

Evelyn Dougherty & Lowell Ward

Lowell: I thought the book was great! That the families experience, particularly his aunt’s, of pain and the devastation when he was murdered was shared so openly was what I liked and disliked. I liked it because she did such a good job of explaining the profound pain.  Pain in the black community isn’t often talked about and yet it’s lifelong. The incident may be on the news, or appear in a headline, but as the headlines fade, the families go on to grieve for the rest of their lives with what the streets took.  

Lowell: What I disliked about it was knowing that the families will be slighted and jaded having gone through this loss of their family member – it’s traumatic.  

Thank you Danielle Allen for sharing you and your families’ pain with the world.

Lowell Ward, an activist with MA Coalition of Independent Voters, Founder of Build Black Better (an initiative to stem violence, crime & poverty) had lived the street life, spent many years in prison, and is now working to make the world a better place.


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


Allen’s Run for Governor Exposes Primary Flaws

Danielle Allen ran for Governor in the Massachusetts DP primary this year and was forced to drop out of the race due to the unfair ballot access requirements.

Dr. Danielle Allen and Jackie Salit, President of Independent Voting.

Below is an article by Danielle in the Wall Street Journal outlining some of her takeaways from the race and an editorial in The Boston Herald by Independent Voting President Jackie Salit, describing the price paid by the voters of MA because of the undemocratic party primary rules.

Register HERE to join our virtual conversation with Dr. Allen on Tuesday June 21st at 3pm ET


What I Learned When I Ran for Governor of Massachusetts

American voters are hungry for common sense and purpose.
Republicans and Democrats are giving them strife and division instead.

By Danielle Allen
May 6, 2022

PHOTO: CHAD CROWE

We often hear that America is a deeply polarized society, divided by party, region, and lifestyle. We the people, pundits tell us, are hopeless, too busy pulling down the other side to clean up the wreckage. But what if we the people aren’t really the problem? What if most everyday Americans share a moral compass, even if they sometimes approach issues from different directions? What if the real problem is that our political institutions stop us from coming together?

In December 2020, I set out to test this possibility by journeying into the heart of American politics. I launched a 15-month campaign for governor of Massachusetts. I was a political outsider and a first-time candidate. I hadn’t run for anything since secretary of communications in high school, unless you count faculty council at the universities where I’ve been a professor. When Woodrow Wilson ran for office, people asked him why he’d left the university. His answer: “I was tired of the politics.” There’s a deep truth there, but at the end of the day, I can’t pretend running for faculty council is anything like running for governor. I truly was a novice.

Which means I brought a fresh perspective. The hypothesis of my candidacy was that we Americans aren’t who our national politics and politicians tell us we are. National election results lead us to believe that we’re at each other’s throats, bitterly divided, full of hate and hostility for one another. My research and civic leadership—including practical engagement on Covid policy through a rapid response impact initiative at Harvard—taught me something different.

I had noticed one mode of political participation in which Americans often show clear agreement on issues: state ballot measures. They are used in a variety of states, and they reveal an American people with a shared moral orientation. In 2018, a 65% majority of Floridians passed a ballot proposition to restore voting rights to people who had completed their felony sentences. In 2020, more than 75% of Massachusetts voters favored the Right to Repair Initiative, which gives small auto shops a legal right to access car data, allowing them to remain competitive with auto manufacturers. In that same year, 73% of Mississippians voted in a new state flag to replace old emblems of the Confederacy with new forward-facing symbols.

These three examples give a glimpse of a people with a steady and appealing moral compass oriented toward inclusion and fairness. That’s our America.

The goal of my campaign was to sync our politics back up with that supermajority. We wanted to give voice to the commitments that more than two-thirds of voters can get behind. These include a commitment to inclusion and fairness, carried out in a spirit of unity—the same spirit behind those diverse, successful ballot measures. They include a respect for entrepreneurship and business, and the need to build partnerships that link civil society, the public sector and the marketplace in resisting the power of monopolies.

I ran on a commitment to knit the state together as one commonwealth, and the campaign launched with a video titled, “Reimagine.” It called Massachusetts to transformation in the language of the Declaration of Independence. We wanted to forge partnerships across communities and among the public sector, nonprofits and business. In the 200-some communities we visited, we encountered an appetite and readiness to build those partnerships. Everywhere across our Commonwealth, people were ready to come together and face pressing challenges—the opioid epidemic, the housing crisis, the threat of rising sea levels. People were hungry to come together. My hokey metaphor of “knitting the state together” traveled well.

At the same time, we saw how voters struggled to fit that energy into existing political institutions. Too many people no longer saw a place for themselves in political parties. Active volunteers for my campaign—ones who were willing to host organizing house parties, call voters, and tell their neighbors about us—weren’t willing to enroll in my party on behalf of our campaign. The majority of Massachusetts voters are no longer enrolled in a political party.

Yet the parties control which candidates make it to the ballot for the state primary. Party primaries are open to unaffiliated voters, but the majority of voters can’t participate in determining which candidates will be available for their consideration until the primary. Our campaign foundered inside the Massachusetts Democratic Party ballot-access process, where candidates compete with one another to get their name on the ballot in roughly 600 winner-take-all local caucuses.

Unlike the Iowa presidential caucuses, these aren’t proportional. During the caucuses, the path to ballot access disappeared. Could we have organized better? Sure, though I invite anyone to give it a shot in pandemic conditions. Could I have been a better candidate? Absolutely. But I was good enough to outraise two of the three longstanding politicians in the race. I would have liked to have had the chance to bring my message directly to primary voters, but the law of politics was that our campaign must, in such conditions, fail.

What does this experience tell us? We the people are healthy, but our vehicles of political participation need some attention. We need either refurbished or new vehicles of participation to have a healthy democracy. The parties continue to own and steer our mechanisms of representation; they are the only vehicle currently available for putting forward a case for representation. Yet the majority has turned their backs on these vehicles. Our system of representation is in crisis.

The good news is that we the people want to participate. The people of Massachusetts—and, I’d wager, of America—are hungry for common-sense representation and common purpose. But we need healthy parties, or alternatives, if we’re going to have the voice, choice, and representation we deserve. In 2021, I decided to throw my hat in the ring to give people that choice. In 2022, I hope we can reinvigorate Americans’ political participation by giving them institutions that empower participation.

Ms. Allen is on leave from Harvard, where she is a university professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.


Salit: A caucus casualty and a serious loss for democracy

By Jacqueline Salit – March 5, 2022 at 12:15 a.m.

Two weeks ago, Danielle Allen, the first African American woman to seek the Democratic Party nomination for governor of Massachusetts, ended her candidacy, just a few days into the Massachusetts caucus process. Allen, a distinguished author, educator and former director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, suspended her campaign having raised more than a million dollars and after spending a year on the campaign trail.

Allen is a leading voice on the crisis in American democracy. And now she has fallen victim to one of its most insidious practices: party control over nominations.

BOSTON, MA: Danielle Allen in front of the state house February 2, 2022. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) © 2022 MediaNews Group

Allen’s campaign was unable to secure access to the Democratic Party primary ballot because to do so, a candidate must gather 10,000 signatures from eligible voters AND 15% of the delegates at the Democratic Party nominating convention. Delegates are chosen through an arduous caucus process held in every town and every urban ward.

The caucus process is the pathway not just to a party endorsement, but to the right to put your name before the voters on the primary ballot. Relatively few registered Democrats know about or participate in this process. The Democratic party caucuses heavily favor the party machine, insiders and the party-favored candidates. In this circumstance, Allen, an African American woman who was neither a politician nor a party functionary, was unable to penetrate the “insider game” of the state Democratic Party.

As Allen said as she withdrew from the race,

“… the current ballot access procedure through the current caucus system is leading to a serious impoverishment of our democracy — fewer choices on the ballot, fewer non-traditional candidates able to enter the pipeline.

Allen has put her finger on the problem. If she had been allowed to run for governor through a just and equitable competitive gateway, she would have made those concerns a central theme of her campaign. No wonder the Democratic Party has rules to re-enforce insider control. They simply don’t want to have that conversation.

Danielle Allen did. And not having her on the ballot is a serious loss for democracy.

Jacqueline Salit is president of Independent Voting and co-author of “The Independent Voter,” to be published by Routledge Press this summer.

Copyright © 2022 MediaNews Group


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


Reader’s Forum – Lou Hinman on Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus

Lou Hinman

One great merit of Dr. Danielle Allen’s book Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus is that it spells out briefly, in clear, concise language what a competent, effective, “integrative” response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States would have looked like, and why we failed to achieve it.

Most political activists, like myself, are so caught up in trying to impact on the horrific misgovernance by the Democratic and Republican duopoly, that it’s quite refreshing to hear a thoughtful, qualified thinker about policy frankly and dispassionately remind us what good governance in a democracy should look like.

The other great merit of Dr. Allen’s book is that she shows that this failure of governance was inevitable, and doesn’t follow from any lack of policy expertise (which, her book makes clear, is available in abundance from clear thinking people like herself and her colleagues). It follows, instead, from the collapse of the social contract, and lack of trust in our political system. The pandemic did not produce these problems, but it casts a harsh new light on what lies in store for us if we don’t address them.

I think it’s clear from Dr. Allen’s conclusions that the point of address must be, not defeating Donald Trump or any other politician, but strengthening our democracy across the board. There are many ideas about how to do this, but this is where we have to start.  

A rebuilt social contract is inseparable from building the new, inclusive social and political institutions that can create it (and will, in turn, be empowered and strengthened by the process of creation).

My own view is that of the many special interests that are making an inclusive democracy (that is, a real democracy) impossible, the most destructive are the Democratic and Republican parties themselves. There are 26 million registered voters in America that cannot vote in the partisan primaries, and this effectively make makes it impossible for new political coalitions (and therefore, a new social contract) to be formed. I submit that without open primaries and ballot access reform – at a minimum – we don’t stand a chance.

Lou Hinman lives in New York City and upstate NY and is an activist with IndependentVoting.org and a member of The People House of Delegates.


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


Danielle Allen discusses CUZ on PBS



In December of 2017, Danielle Allen sat down with  PBS Newshour correspondent Jeffrey Brown to discuss her book, CUZ: The Life and Times of Michael A.

“You have this terrible situation, young kids are kinda caught between a fight, between these very powerful gang organizations on the one hand and a very powerful state on the other. And the state is fighting the criminal gangs of course, but the nature of the fight is so violent and so. brutal that young people get caught up in it and the course of their life is set on a very dangerous path. I think of it as a degree of difficulty question…. We have to consider the degree of difficulty that pertains to the choice set given to particular young people. And young men, ages 10-14, in the middle of a city, man the choice set that we as a society have created for them is just horrible.” Dr. Danielle Allen

Read the full transcript here.


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


Reader’s Forum – Allen Cox shares his thoughts on CUZ

Allen Cox

I want to thank you Danielle Allen for writing this book. I don’t generally like reading books that I already know how they end, particularly when it’s about yet another young black man’s tragic death. However I thought this book revealed so much more.

Not only did you give us your unapologetic radical acceptance of Michael, given who you were and who you were becoming, but you also gave us a picture of the social, political and economic environment that produced him. I also thought this book was so much about you, and how Michael’s life and struggles impacted you.

As a long time grassroots political and community organizer,I am very moved by you not only as a brilliant scholar and intellectual but also as a decent, caring working class person who never gives up on her family or community. You have definitely made a fan of me and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Allen Cox lives in the Bronx and is a lifelong independent and grassroots community organizer. He is an outreach consultant for the Black Leadership Commission on Health.


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


Reader’s Forum – Bob Friedman shares his thoughts on CUZ

Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. – A Review by Publisher Weekly

September 2017

Allen, a professor of history at Harvard University and author of Our Declaration, tells the story of her late cousin Michael, who spent his years “from adolescent bloom to full manhood” in prison. In doing so, she puts a face to the numbing statistics of incarcerated young black boys and men. Michael’s story is not simple: he didn’t have a criminal history when he was arrested for attempted carjacking in 1995, but he was charged as an adult with multiple offenses, thus exposing him to California’s three-strikes law and leading to a plea bargain and 11 years in prison. While serving time, Michael flourished, becoming a firefighter and completing his GED and some college correspondence courses. After his release in 2006, and with Allen’s help, Michael obtained a driver’s license, bank account, library card, job, and housing. At the time, Allen was hopeful that with the help and support of his family “Michael could defy the pattern of parolees” and straighten his life out. Alas, in July 2009, barely three years out of prison, Michael was found shot dead in his car. Allen attributes Michael’s tragic death to two elements. One was that Michael found himself trapped in “a war between sovereigns: the parastate of a drug world increasingly linked to gangs on one side, and the California and federal governments on the other.” The other was his love for a transsexual woman he met in prison who in the end was charged with his murder. At its heart, Allen’s book is both an outcry and entreaty as she grapples with a painful reality: “I no longer knew a way of helping.”

My comments:

Bob Friedman

It was very fortunate for Michael that he had a relative able to help with all those essentials.  How could anyone foresee that a woman he loved would kill him? Maybe if the trans community was not segregated and abused, it would not be victimized. Maybe he was not reached in time by Dr. Allen to avoid the “third strike.”  No judgements here! Bad memories – prison produces them as many bad experiences do.  I wondered if Michael was offered those counseling services as part of his release.  It is my experience that bad memories are there but with help, they become books on a shelf rather than a constantly bubbling rue.

I heard a report on public radio about a church group that decided they were going to go out to the street, find groups of Black men, find out how they’re doing, what they need and walk them through getting it. Plenty churches, Black churches, could probably increase their congregations by taking to the streets. Will they?  Here in Birmingham, where shootings are daily as in most cities, congregations are shrinking as in most cities. City government moves quickly to bureaucracy and changes slowly, also as in most cities. Is this problem a runaway train? Our undemocratic institutions controlling and delegating civic power will not alter the way they do business.  How many “strikes” do they get?!  A parliamentary multi party system in this country would need an overwhelming majoritarian revolution to accomplish that – and that certainly means years of organizing at ever level of society. Yet, compare European imprisonment rates with ours. In my opinion, both the current two party obstructionists own no small part of January 6, 2021. 

As someone who has participated in insurgencies at numerous levels, I am now immersed in deadlines in order to build a permanent exhibit on the history and contributions of Black radio in Birmingham – the early days – 1930’s-1980’s – before it became corporativized, and give that history in modern and technological ways back to the community and, hopefully and creatively, to our youngest citizens as well – who are not particularly moved by nostalgia – and I wish Dr. Allen well in that she is alive with hope and using her sorrow and social location to give her strength to others. I’d ask if she could share any answers to running out of answers.  I hope her book tour changes lives.

Finally, I am a local poll clerk and June 21st is our run-off here in Alabama.  I hope to hear more from the program from others and the video of the conversation.

Bob Friedman is a lifelong independent and the Director of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum.


Join Politics for the People Founder, Cathy Stewart for a

Virtual Discussion with

Dr. Danielle Allen

Tuesday, June 21st @ 3pm ET

Register Here!


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