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After the Protests are HeardEnacting Civic Engagement and Social Transformation$
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Sharon Welch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479883646

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479883646.001.0001

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The Soul of Democracy

(p.1) Introduction
After the Protests are Heard

Sharon D. Welch

NYU Press

There are moments in history when there are major breakthroughs in the power of social movements. Large numbers of people recognize the depth of injustice, see possibilities of beauty and integrity heretofore unknown, and find new forms of coming together to bring about change. We are living in such a time. We also live in a time of genuine threat – rising authoritarianism, racism, and xenophobia, increasing environmental degradation, morally unconscionable income and wealth disparities, a dangerously militarized police force, and a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets people who are African American, Native American and Latinx. Moreover, we are confronting ongoing threats of war and terrorism, escalating Islamophobia, and a national political system that is largely ineffective, paralyzed by increasingly high levels of division and polarization. We are in a struggle for the very soul of democracy, and all that we hold dear - interdependence, reason, compassion, respect for all human beings, and stewardship of the natural world that sustains us,– is under direct, unabashed assault. This book is meant for those who are concerned about dangers to our democracy, and to our social health as a nation. It is for those who desire to work for social justice, and to respond to essential protests by enacting progressive change.

Keywords:   democracy, social justice, interdependence, authoritarianism, racism, Michael Eric Dyson, Carol Lee Sanchez, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Windigos

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