Democracy in America

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Beginning this May, the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh and the Denis Theatre Foundation will be collaborating to provide a non-partisan series of events on the theme of Democracy in America.

Periodically, often amidst crisis, Americans reconsider the status of their democratic institutions. Today is such a time, characterized by deep levels of polarization, distrust of government and most institutions, and the fraying of civil society, along with fear and uncertainty that leads to growing acceptance of the use of violence to achieve political ends. How can American citizens work together to strengthen our democratic institutions? In this series we will examine the roots of how the concept of democracy was established in United States and how it has been interpreted and challenged through the centuries, and reflect upon what core principles need to be sustained for its continuance. We hope to provide both local and national examples throughout the series, with ample opportunity for discussion and reflection.

The series will include a mix of local citizens and professional speakers, some with national name-recognition. It is designed to be accessible to people from middle school to our most senior citizens. We hope to engage people in dialogue, with questions and comments occurring at the end of each session.

The series begins with a soft opening focused on local politics, addressing the Mt. Lebanon School Board primary in May 2021. It picks back up in September, addressing the issue of voting rights, and then continues through the summer of 2022.

The Mt. Lebanon Public Library will maintain this webpage that will include information for upcoming events in the series, as well as for related local events and resources to support civic engagement. We will be sending out regular e-newsletters to promote upcoming events and new resources. Expect a good deal of communication with the lead-up to the May 18th primary elections.

  1. Upcoming Programs
  2. Recorded Programs
  3. Additional Resources

Braver Angels Collaboration:
"Braver Angels seeks to depolarize American politics. Our work is rooted in grassroots organizing. From the grassroots however, our volunteer leaders (supported by a small staff) leverage Braver Angels programs and unique organizing structure to impact community life and American institutions."

Countering Political Polarization
Greater Pittsburgh Workshops This Summer and Fall 2021
All Via Zoom and Free of Charge
Register below

Our country has become increasingly polarized over political issues. These FREE workshops will teach you strategies for both listening and speaking with people who have differing political opinions - but not to try to change anyone's mind. You will learn and practice skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of meaningful dialogue. Come to learn new skills (or reinforce existing skills) and practice in a comfortable, low-stakes environment.

AUGUST 16, 7 – 9:15 PM - Families and Politics workshops show participants how to talk about politics with their loved ones in a way that brings us closer together — not farther apart. Register by August 12 here.

Tuesday, August 31st 7-8:30 PM
American Democracy Through Painting (Virtual Event)

Register here.
This is a survey of the history of American Democracy through the artwork of American artists. From the Revolutionary period through the 21st century paintings of Ester Hernandez, art has mirrored many of the significant issues that Americans have had to grapple with.  Discussion of the images shown will provide insight into those issues, how they were depicted and how they have impacted development of our democracy.  

This program is a part of the Democracy in America series. A series of programs sponsored by The Mt. Lebanon Public Library, The Denis Theatre Foundation and the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh. 

About the presenter:
Cynthia Weisfield has a B.A., Art History from the University of Chicago.  She is a writer for "The Journal of the Print World" and was a contributor to "Women of Abstract Expressionism", a major exhibition mounted by the Denver Art Museum. She is a Study Leader for local Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs where she teaches "Women in Abstract Expressionism" and "Art as Politics: What Happened Between the Wars".  Cynthia has also taught for Mt. Lebanon Adult Education.