Blueprint for a Great Democracy

Common Cause Rhode Island to hold two sessions on Reimagining Civic Participation

Many things changed during 2020, including how ‘We, the People’ participate in our government. 

Common Cause Rhode Island is sponsoring two free, online events to gather Rhode Islanders’ perspectives on changes to: how government bodies hold public meetings; and how the state holds its elections.

Members of the public and the media are welcome to join these sessions:

  • Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 7:00pm: Reimagining Public Meetings

    Meetings of public bodies, ranging from school boards to state commissions, have mostly moved online this year. You will be invited to submit observations about whether remote participation in public meetings has been effective — and your suggestions about how it could be enhanced.

    Featuring community members Stephanie Gonzalez (Chair of the Central Falls School District Board of Trustees), Stephanie Machado (Reporter for WPRI 12 News), David Petrarca (attorney and Town Solicitor), Brent Runyon (Executive Director of the Providence Preservation Society), and Ramona Santos (Executive Director, Parents Leading for Educational Equity).

    Following the event, Common Cause will share commentary from Christina Bevilacqua (Programs & Exhibitions Director at Providence Public Library), Liza Burkin (Lead Organizer, Providence Streets Coalition) and Shawn Selleck (Providence City Clerk).
  • Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm: Reimagining Elections   

    This year, Rhode Island’s elections processes included mailing mail ballot applications to all active voters, waiving witness/notary requirements for returning ballots, and increased access to early voting, among other changes. You will be invited to submit your thoughts about these changes in elections procedures — and your suggestions about other potential improvements.

    Featuring community members Cherie Cruz (Executive Board member, ACLU of Rhode Island), Cristin Langworthy (Community Organizer, Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless), Nick Lima (Director of Elections, Cranston),  Angela McCalla (Newport City Councilor) and Alex Taylor (Principal Designer, Ad Hoc LLC and first-time poll worker).Following the event, Common Cause will share commentary from John Caserta (Professor, Rhode Island School of Design), Nellie Gorbea (Rhode Island Secretary of State) and Gretchen Macht (Professor, University of Rhode Island).

“COVID-19 has forced significant changes to our democracy, from elections to public meetings,” said Common Cause Rhode Island Executive Director John Marion. “It has also given us an opportunity to reimagine civic participation in our state, and we would like as many people as possible to be part of the discussion about what changes should be made in the future.” 

Spanish-language translation will be provided for both sessions. The events will be about 75 minutes long.

Early registration is requested. When you register, you will be invited to participate in a pre-event survey to record your observations and suggestions. Survey results will be shared during each session.

Register for Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 7:00pm: Reimagining Public Meetings at or

Register for Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm: Reimagining Elections at or