May 10, 2022
9th Annual Dorothy Day Lecture Presents “Democracy in Crisis: Is National Popular Vote the Solution?”

Pam Wilmot, Director of the National Popular Vote Initiative and Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause, delivered the 9th Annual Dorothy Day Lecture on Sunday, April 24th, speaking on the topic “Democracy in Crisis: Is National Popular Vote the Solution?”

The Dorothy Day Lecture Committee honored Emmanuel College President Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN for her leadership over the last four decades. Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN commented, “Dorothy Day spoke here at Emmanuel several times and this lecture has been a wonderful way to focus on the value of an Emmanuel education.” Finally, she thanked the Dorothy Day Lecture Committee by saying, “My deep gratitude for the Committee that has kept on going, has been creative and has always reached out to the current and important issues in our lives.”  

Marie Mancuso Cromwell ’71, Chair of the Dorothy Day Lecture Steering Committee, said in her opening remarks, “We are here today because we value our democracy and our inherent right to vote.” Common Cause was founded in 1970 upon the core principle that as more eligible Americans participate, our democracy becomes stronger. In 1971, Common Cause led the campaign that won the 26th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving 18-year-olds the right to vote. “It is amazing what we can do when we work together,” said Wilmot. Wilmot noted that the 2020 election and its aftermath demonstrated the vulnerability of US democracy, and that today the U.S. is at a crossroads, with one movement to expand the voter franchise and another to shrink voting access by implementing participation barriers. One possible solution is National Popular Vote, a state-based plan to ensure every vote for President counts in every state in every election.  

Wilmot encouraged Americans to not lose hope for the future of our democracy saying, “It’s so important as we do this work, as we think about this reform and other reforms and democracy, that we remember and cherish the vision and values that propel our Constitution and democracy. Without hope, we become cynical and corrupt and turn away from the work of democracy and collective action.” She concluded, “We must uphold our part of the bargain, to push the doors open and to hold our leaders accountable in order to fight for equality, equity and inclusion for all. Democracy is resilient, but all of us working together must do what it takes to make that real and make that promise actually happen.”  

View video from the event.

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The annual Dorothy Day Lecture Series was established in 2013 by the Emmanuel College Class of 1971 to honor liberal arts as the foundation and inspiration for meaningful social action. The goal of the lecture series is to encourage ongoing engagement with issues of social justice among students, alumni and the general public. The Dorothy Day Lecture Series features speakers who are role models for contributing to positive social change. The series is named for Dorothy Day, a courageous 20th-century woman of faith who dedicated her life to the struggle for economic and social justice. 

Pam Wilmot

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