Voting Rights Author Ari Berman to Speak at Lehigh

Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones and Fellow at The Nation Institute, will deliver a lecture titled “Reclaim Your Voting Rights” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in Packard Auditorium (Room 101). Berman’s talk is the third lecture sponsored by the university’s MLK Committee, which is organizing programming on the intersectionality between race and other socio-political issues. The talk is free and open to the public.

Earlier this semester, the MLK Committee welcomed Lawrence Ross, who discussed the politics of race on America’s college campuses, and Donald Byrd, who presented “A Rap on Race” with the Spectrum Dance Theater. Last week, the MLK Committee announced that attorney, author and academic Anita Hill will deliver the MLK keynote address on Feb. 7.

Berman, a former senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine wrote the book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, which was published in August 2015. In it, Berman charts both the transformation of American democracy under the Voting Rights Act and the counterrevolution that has sought to limit voting rights from 1965 to the present day. The act enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. Yet, 50 years later, the nation still fights heated battles over race, representation and political power with lawmakers devising new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth and the Supreme Court declaring a key part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional through a controversial 2013 ruling.

Berman is credited with being the first national reporter to write about voter suppression efforts in the 2012 presidential election, drawing attention to this critical issue.

He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and commentator on MSNBC and NPR. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Berman is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, with dual degrees in journalism and political science.

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