2020 Events

“Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free men.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Virtual Forum: Racial Inequality Today - Part I: Why We're Still in the Aftermath of The Civil War


Please join us this Wednesday at 5pm for a VIRTUAL Let’s Talk Democracy Forum featuring Columbia University professor, Dr. Eric Foner, the leading historian and author of more than 10 books on the subject of Reconstruction, including the definitive work Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution.

Reconstruction, the turbulent era following the Civil War, was the effort to reintegrate Southern states from the Confederacy and 4 million newly freed slaves into the U.S. mainstream community.  It was “a massive experiment in interracial democracy” and it lasted for 12 years. Then the white backlash succeeded in ending it with the terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan, sharecropping, and Jim Crow. The promises of Reconstruction went largely unfulfilled, and we are here today challenged to deal with the legacy that has been perpetuated since then.

Dr. Foner will explain what we can learn from this period, as it applies to our situation today, and answer our questions about where we go from here.


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Meeting ID: 935 6420 7023
Passcode:  CLICK HERE

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For technical problems please call Donna at 917-373-8108

Basic Zoom Instructions

To join our Zoom Meeting, you have to have the Zoom App. Click on the link provided above to go to the Zoom website page. You will be prompted to download the app (very quick process) and then prompted to enter the meeting ID and the password (also provided above).  You can join with video/audio or audio only.  Once the hosts admits you, you will be able to see the speaker and participants.  Make sure you click the video camera icon so initate your video.  

If you have a question or comment we ask that you use the "raise hand" feature to indicate when they would like to speak.  To accomodate everyone, please keep to a 2 minute limit.

See you at the meeting!

Virtual Forum: National Conventions and the Road to Voting

Zoom MEETING Online  |  Thursday, JUNE 4,  5:00pm-6:30pm

Let's Talk Democracy resumes its usual programming this Thursday 6/4 on ZOOM!  Over the next few months we will be focusing on the issues around the upcoming elections.

Join us as BEN YEE tackles the role of DELEGATES at our national conventions and issues around VOTING in New York State (coming up in a few weeks) as well as nationally.  Tell friends, family and neighbors to join us on ZOOM at 5pm on Thursday.  All invited! 
Ben Yee, Committeeman AD66 for Democratic State Committee, is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker who has a passion for opening the political system to empower communities, through transparency in government.  He was involved in “Reinvent Albany”, a good-government nonprofit invested in reforming New York State.  More recently “You Matter Nation” has trained over 2,000 people since the 2016 Election on civics and politics.

Virtual Forum: Understanding the Life Cycle of a Crisis

Zoom MEETING Online  |  Thursdays, April TO MAY,  5:00pm-6:30pm

Join us as Patricia K. Kuusisto, LCSW-R, a graduate of Columbia University and a Life Cycle Therapist, moderates our discussion on how we are coping with COVID 19 -- the isolation, work from home (or lack thereof), the kids, the shortages, the risks, the losses.  At each of the three sessions, Ms. Kuusisto will provide scientific insight and moderate an open discussion on how you are coping with the current health pandemic.

NOTE: If you’ve never used ZOOM, be sure to join the call a few minutes early when we will give a short tutorial before we start.  FREE, everyone invited.


Link to Join Online Zoom Meeting on Thurs, May 28, 2020:

This week's session will be hosted by Donna Mirabella

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 303 313 9890

Password: Click Here

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+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
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+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
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Meeting ID: 303 313 9890
Find your local number: https://stonybrook.zoom.us/u/abgzvNyymH







Forum: Census 2020 - A Deep Dive

Queens Library, Forest Hills  |  Thursday, March 12, 2020 6:00pm to 7:30pm  

Join Let’s Talk Democracy for a deep dive into the U.S. Census, which is conducted once every decade and aims to count each person in the country. Advances in technology, changes to the political landscape, and increasing concerns about data security and privacy are issues that have created uncertainty, confusion and fear within many communities across the nation.   Our speaker will address these concerns and explain how the results of the 2020 Census can impact our communities, the benefits and risks of responding, the extraordinary breadth of the Census, and what happens to the data collected by the Census Bureau.



Andrew A. Beveridge, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. He has published extensively regarding Census data, has served as a consultant to the New York Times for over 25 years and has testified as a Census data subject matter expert in numerous civil rights cases involving housing, jury systems, redistricting and criminal justice.  He and his team developed www.socialexplorer.com which allows users to visualize and make reports on change in the US from 1790 to the present using Census data.


Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Media Literacy Flyer.jpg

Resources Page

Get valuable links to websites, books and articles will help you sort through it all. >>


Forum: Improving our News and Media Information Literacy

Queens Library, Forest Hills  

2-Part Series: Thursday, Feb 13 and Thursday Feb 27, 2020 6:00pm to 7:30pm  

Beneath the spread of all “fake news,” misinformation, disinformation, digital falsehoods and foreign influence lies society’s failure to teach its citizenry information literacy: how to think critically about the deluge of information that confronts us in our modern digital age.  Join us as Let’s Talk Democracy explores this issue in an engaging 2-session, interactive workshop.   Our speakers include Prof. Mara Einstein (PhD Professor and Chair, Media Studies at Queens College), Annafi Wahed (Founder and Editor of The Flip Side, a one-stop shop for balanced news analysis from across the political spectrum), and Professors Eldar Sarajlic and Ewa Barnes (from the Academic Literacy and Linguistics Department of BMCC) who will unpack the complex and sometimes overwhelming topics related to media literacy.

Learn how to:

·     Develop an awareness of our own biases
·     Understand the Economics of news media and regulatory environment – who actually pays for so-called free content
·      Choose the best sources, given our limited bandwidth and time
·      Improve the news we consume and share
·      Understand the roots and sources of influence behind the scenes
·      Filter the content we consume, and get to the truth
·     Test our bias in an interactive exercise, and use our own critical thinking to best consume news 



Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Community Read: The Curse of Bigness, by Tim Wu

Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:30pm

We live in an age of extreme corporate concentration, in which global industries are controlled by just a few giant firms – big banks, big pharma, and big tech, to name a few. To understand how this undermines our democracy, join us for a community read of Tim Wu’s latest, The Curse of Bigness:  Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.   We will discuss the diagnosis offered by the author in his short, concise book and review how changes to the interpretation of antitrust laws in the U.S. have resulted in growing inequality, a shrinking middle class, and ultimately a tendency toward nationalism and extremist views.  As he states, "The road to fascism and dictatorship is paved with failures of economic policy to serve the needs of the general public."  Remembering the lessons of the past, the author suggests we bring back the lost tenets of the trustbusting age as part of a broader revival of American progressive ideas to confront the fallout of persistent and extreme economic inequality.
It's not necessary to have read the book in order to attend, but it is helpful (available at the Library, local bookstore or online).
Tim Wu is the Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology at Columbia Law School.  He teaches antitrust, copyright, the media industries, and communications law. Other works include: "Network Neutrality Broadband Discrimination" (2003), Who Controls the Internet (2006), The Master Switch (2010), and The Attention Merchants (2016).


Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Past Events - 2019

Civics Series:  Can Democracy Survive?  A 5-Week Series Presented by Prof. Michael Krasner/Taft Institute for Government

Queens Library, Forest Hills  A 5-Week Series:  

Wednesdays, Oct 23 & 30, Nov 6 & 13; Thurs, Nov 21, 2019  6:00 to 7:30pm

Join us as Michael Krasner, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, returns by popular demand to present Can Democracy Survive? – a 5-week civics series that focuses on the threats to our current democracy and what we can do to defend it. He will cover the benefits and vulnerabilities of democracies in the modern world, highlight those that are under attack today, discuss issues and causes that are weakening our democracy and possible responses to these worrisome trends.  Don’t miss this free, informative journey to empowerment through better understanding of our times. 

Oct 23 - What is Democracy –  Forms of democracy in the Modern World
Oct 30 - The Threat to Democracy –  How is democracy threatened in the United States and other countries?
Nov 6 - Causes of the Threats to Democracy – What is producing the threats to Democracy?
Nov 13 - Defending Democracy – How can democracy be protected and strengthened?
Nov 21 - Advocacy Groups Fair – Options for action



An expert in American government and politics, Michael Krasner is co-director of Queen's College’s Taft Institute for Government, which promotes better understanding of the political process. Since 1970 he has taught courses on politics and the media; presidential, gubernatorial and mayoral elections; American foreign policy; public policy; and arms control and disarmament.

More information on Prof. Krasner :  Queens Collge    |    Taft Institute

Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum: Protecting Our Democracy

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thurs, September 12, 2019, 6-7:30pm

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Join us as CUNY Professor Benjamin Carter Hett gives us a look back at the mistakes made in Europe in the 1930s that led to the rise of dictatorships, fascism, and the Nazi movement under Adolph Hitler in Germany. By understanding why that democracy collapsed so quickly and completely, we can find resonance today as democracy is again under attack here and around the world. This forum introduces the Let’s Talk Democracy fall civics series, Can Democracy Survive?, taught by Queens College Professor Michael Krasner.



Benjamin Carter Hett is an award-winning author and professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a gifted storyteller and leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and his latest book, The Death of Democracy offers portraits of misguided and egotistical politicians in partisan rivalry to show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it.

Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum:  Understanding the Real Situation at Our Southern Border

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, June 20, 2019, 6-7:30pm

With so much contradictory information about immigration issues, it’s hard to know what’s really going on. Please join us as Nara Milanich, History Professor at Barnard College/Columbia University, breaks it down and separates truth from hype.  Bringing first-hand knowledge from a recent visit to a border detention center with her undergraduate students, she will address the following topics and answer your questions:

  • The current immigration situation at the U.S./Mexican border.

  • The reasons people are so desperate to leave their countries. 

  • The role the U.S. has played in these countries and what the U.S. can do to stabilize the situation in their home countries. 

  • Our obligations to these asylum seekers, according to U.S. and international law.



Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum: New Climate Change Solutions - How We Can All Help 

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, May 23, 2019, 6-7:30pm

However polarizing, the issue of climate change is a real concern that has an impact on everyone around the world.  The good news is that there are things we can do in our daily lives that will help make a difference.


Join us to learn more from our panel of speakers -- Monica Weiss of 350NYC and the Climate Reality Project (directed by Al Gore); Kim Fraczek, a Sane Energy leader in NYC; Dan Miner of the Forest Hills Green Team; and a representative of the Sierra Club in Queens – as they help us understand:

  • What clean energy is, how it is produced, and the implications of local implementation.

  • Why clean energy is the foundation of a strategy for slowing down and eventually halting the trend toward global warming.

  • How legislation at the city, state and federal level can impact this promising trend.

  • How you can get involved through changes in your energy consumption, volunteerism and voting.


Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum:  Understanding How NYC Charter Controls City Spending

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, April 11, 2019, 6-7:30pm

If you’re confused about the power struggle between New York State and New York City budgeting, then you won’t want to miss this forum! Join us to find out to what extent The New York City Charter Revision controls how the city spends our tax dollars, how decisions are made about changes to our neighborhoods, and the powers of our elected officials. This November, the NYC Charter Revision will be on the ballot, so it’s important to understand what’s at stake. Don't miss this informative evening as Ben Yee and representatives of the commission are on hand to highlight these issues and answer your questions.  

VIEW:  NYC Charter Schedule       NYC Charter Website


Ben Yee, a Democratic state committeeman and recent candidate for the citywide office of Public Advocate, is inspired by his passion for civics education..  


Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Community Book Read:  On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6-7:30pm

Join us for an important discussion as we review the lessons presented in On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder, history professor at Yale University. The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy.  It is important for everyone to understand the new threats we face and how they impact our political systems today.  It's not necessary to read the book in order to attend, but it is helpful (available at the Library, Kew & Willow Books--the local Kew Garden bookstore, or online.


Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals, and enjoys perhaps greater prominence in Europe, the subject of most of his work. He is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.  WEBSITE
Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum:  Amazon - Lessons to be Learned

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, February 28, 2019, 6-7:30pm

Join us for an important and timely exploration into the situation surrounding Amazon's decision to move its 2nd Headquarters to Long Island City, and then its decision to not.  Topics and questions we'll discuss:

  • What went wrong?
  • Is NYC missing out on a great deal or did we dodge a bullet?
  • What does this mean for other companies that want to come to NY?
  • Nestor Davidson, Fordham University  
  • Lynn Ellsworth, Alliance for a Human Scale City
  • Juliette Michaelson, Regional Plan Association 
  • Jeremy Rosenberg, Community Board 2
Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Forum:  A Recap of the 2018 Elections, with Susan Lerner

Queens Library, Forest Hills - Thursday, January 24, 2019, 6-7:30pm

Start the new year by learning where things were left off with the results of last year's MidTerm Elections.  Join us for an in-depth analysis of the elections, and what it means for us and the state of politics since the new politicians have taken office.



Susan Lerner is the executive director of Common Cause/New York.  She writes and speaks extensively on voting rights, election reform, campaign finance, redistriicting, ethics, transparency and other good government issues. 

Queens Library Forest Hills, 108-19 71st Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375  |  718.268.7934

Blue Bubble.jpg Many Thanks to Our Supporters

  • We are deeply grateful to Michael Krasner for his scholastic contributions to our first workshop series. His willingness to show up to our first session in spite of a personal injury that day is a testiment to his unfailing commitment to our cause.
  • We greatly appreciate the extraordinary support of The Taft Institute at Queens College and the help that allowed us to realize our dream.
  • We are very grateful to Queens Library for their ongoing support of our organization and to the Forest Hills branch in particular for providing a welcoming venue for our events and activities.
  • Special thanks to the NY Public Library and the Seward Park Brnach for their help in our expansion to Manhattan.