The University of California, Berkeley is setting forth a bold new vision for the future of the university through its Light the Way campaign. At the heart of this vision is the same driving force that established UC Berkeley over 150 years ago: the conviction that in any free and democratic society, all people deserve equal access to an excellent education, irrespective of origin or gender; creed, color, class, or condition of birth.

At its very core, UC Berkeley is animated by its commitment to the democratic enterprise and the intrinsic equality of all people. To that end, we are gathering UC Berkeley's best to launch a university-wide effort to help society reimagine democracy.

Through one part of this effort, our Reimagining Democracy Town Hall series, we are making Berkeley’s extraordinary talents and expertise directly accessible to the public, intervening in critical policy questions, informing timely public debates, and promoting participation in the democratic process.

We invite you to join the conversation and hear from some of the world’s best faculty members at UC Berkeley’s Reimagining Democracy Town Halls.

Past Events

Democracy Town Hall: Writing and Righting the Wrongs of Journalism

Recorded on March 8, 2021

In this panel, moderated by Berkeley Journalism’s Dean Geeta Anand, journalists who have redressed the wrongs of journalism discussed what goes into the struggle to get it right. With an introduction by Raka Ray, Dean of the UC Berkeley Division of Social Sciences.


  • Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones, whose nonprofit, advocacy journalism has changed the way we think about prisons, Facebook, and more.
  • Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who changed our understanding of police brutality against Black civilians through his Washington Post stories and data analysis. 
  • Michael Pollan, Berkeley Journalism professor and pioneering journalist who changed how we think and write about food, making the linkages between farm policy, industrial agriculture, and nutrition.


Democracy Town Hall: Reimagining Policing

Recorded February 23, 2021

Co-sponsored by Social Science Matrix and the Goldman School of Public Policy, this panel will bring together experienced police, elected officials and faculty experts at UC Berkeley to address these critical, and timely, issues. This panel featured: 

  • Nikki Fortunato Bas, President of the Oakland City Council and co-chair of Oakland’s Reimagining Police task force
  • Jack Glaser, Professor at the Goldman School for Public Policy and a leading national expert on police bias and police reform
  • Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, currently the Chief of Police in Philadelphia (formerly Chief in Portland and Deputy Chief in Oakland)
  • Dan Lindheim (Moderator), Goldman School of Public Policy Professor (formerly Oakland’s city manager who supervised the Oakland Police Department and its reform efforts)


November 16, 2020 - Democracy Town Hall: Lessons of the 2020 Election

In this panel, recorded on November 16, 2020, some of the nation’s top election law experts — from Berkeley Law and beyond — weighed in on what we’ve learned from the 2020 election. The panel was moderated by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Panelists included Professor Rick Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law; Professor Jessica Levinson, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School; Professor Bertrall Ross, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law; Professor Franita Tolson, Professor of Law, University of Southern California.


The 2020 Election and the Politics of Racial Justice

Wednesday, October 21, 5:00-6:00pm (Pacific)

Recorded on October 21, this panel examined the implications of the 2020 election for the prospects of building a genuine multi-racial democracy in the United States. What are the dangers posed by increasing partisan polarization on questions of race? Does this polarization also present any opportunities for progress?

The panel brought together UC Berkeley scholars and nationally recognized political strategists to share reflections on what the 2020 election holds for the future of democracy and efforts to achieve racial justice in the United States. Speakers included: Reed Galen, Co-founder, The Lincoln Project; Maya Rupert ‘06, Political strategist, writer and campaign manager for Julián Casto’s presidential campaign; Eric Schickler, Jeffrey & Ashley McDermott Professor of Political Science, and Co-Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley; and G. Cristina Mora, Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley.