(From Pat at Cambridge Forum)
ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2015, AT 7:00 P.M. Cambridge Forum hosts political scientist ERIN O’BRIEN discussing the new movement toward voter suppression and its impact on our democracy. PHILLIP MARTIN, senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, responds, reflecting on the legacy of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in light of today’s changes. O’Brien examines the varied ways in which ballot access is currently being restricted and the causes for these new policies. Where does the impulse toward voter suppression come from? What roles have extra-governmental organizations played in developing current policies? What about the courts? What can citizens do when laws and public policies conflict with the ideals of democracy? The free program takes place a First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square.
ERIN O’BRIEN is chair and associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research and teaching interests focus on the politics of poverty and social welfare policy, voting access policymaking in the United States, and gender in political participation and representation. She is the author of The Politics of Identity: Solidarity Building among America’s Working Poor and co-editor of Diversity in Contemporary American Politics and Government and has contributed chapters to numerous other books. Among her journal articles, “Jim Crow 2.0?” detailing her study of new voter restriction policies, excited interest in both academic and media circles. In addition to her academic publications, O’Brien has written policy briefs and contributes regularly to the popular press. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic; The Boston Globe; The Washington Post; The Daily Beast; Huffington Post; Salon; and on the Melissa Harris Perry Show (MSNBC); Politics Nation with Al Sharpton (MSNBC); The Takeaway with John Hockenberry (NPR); Under the Radar with Callie Crossley (WGBH, NPR); and Boston Public Radio (WGBH).
PHILLIP MARTIN is senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, where he has reported on human trafficking, the Boston Marathon bombing, Whitey Bulger, carbon offset schemes, police shootings, training and race, the Occupy movement and the fishing industry in New England, among other topics. In 2011 he joined a group of students who marked the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders by recreating their journey. Martin has received various journalistic honors, including a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism, the Margaret and Hans Rey WGBH producer of the year award, the 2010 Asian American Journalists Award for National Radio Reporting, the 2008 Ruben Salazar Award and the 2005 NABJ Radio Documentary Award.
This program is funded in part by MassHumanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The program is free and open to the public. The forum takes place at the First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square. Cambridge Forum is recorded and edited for public radio broadcast. Edited podcasts are available, and select forums can also be viewed in their entirety on YouTube.
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