Rhode Island’s XIX: Shall Not Be Denied: Why It Matters Initiative is part of a nationwide program funded by a $1.96 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The grant supports a new national initiative, “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation,” which explores civic participation as it relates to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy. Programs will be conducted in 43 US states and territories throughout the course of the initiative. Read on for more details about Why It Matters events and programs from humanities councils across the country. All programs are free and open to the public. Click the links provided below for registration information or to watch past programs.

Humanities Montana
Why It Matters: Conversations on Civic and Electoral Engagement

January 13, 2021 – Why It Matters: The Purpose of Protest (watch recording here)

February 3, 2021 – Why It Matters: Our Urban/Rural Political Divide

March 3, 2021 – Why It Matters: The Native Vote in Montana

April 7, 2021 – Why It Matters: The Political Power of Young People

Oregon Humanities
Consider This conversation series

October 27, 2020 Consider This with Jamelle Bouie on democracy, voting, and history (watch recording here)

December 3, 2020 – Consider This with Masha Gessen on democracy and autocracy (watch recording here)

January 19, 2021 – Consider This with Emma Green on faith and politics (watch recording here)

February 2, 2021 – Consider This with David French senior editor for The Dispatch and author of Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation

February 9: Consider This with Nicholas Buccola, author of The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (presented by Forest Grove City Library)

February 16, 2021 – Consider This with Hahrie Han, director of the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University

Humanities North Dakota
GameChanger Ideas Festival

January 14, 2021 – Is Social Media Destroying Our Democracy? With YAËL EISENSTAT former a CIA Officer, U.S. Diplomat, and special advisor to Vice President Biden.

January 21, 2021 – Can Political Innovation Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy? with Katherine M. Gehl, founder of The Institute for Political Innovation

February 4, 2021 – What Is The Future Of The Republican Party And Conservative Movement? With Peter Wehner, Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center

February 18, 2021 – America Came Together a Century Ago. Can We Do It Again? With Shaylyn Romney Garrett coauthor of Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again with Robert Putnam

March 4, 2021 – Does Social Unrest Help Or Hurt Our Democracy? with Deva R. Woodly, author of The Politics of Common Sense: How Social Movements Use Public Discourse to Change Politics and Win Acceptance

March 25, 2021 – What Does the Declaration of Independence Mean Today? with Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Hawai’i Council for the Humanities
Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation

Visit the Hawai’i Council for the Humanities website for more on their four intertwining strands of programming and media projects in partnership with the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, the Civic Education Council, Kāhuli Leo Leʻa, and others.


The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, or the National Endowment for the Humanities.