"Good trouble”: advancing voter rights protections, rule-of-law, and police reform in the United States

kutsutilaisuus · Webinar · 13.04.2022 16:30 - 00:00


Nearly 15 months into the Biden administration, the President’s broad commitment, in his inaugural speech, to “deliver racial justice” has met resistance on several fronts.  Narrow Democratic majorities in Congress—made worse by the lack of Democratic unity in the Senate—have failed to enact federal legislation to protect voting rights. Meanwhile, since the November 2020 elections, at least 18 Republican-controlled states have moved to restrict voter access and eligibility, and/or redrawn congressional district lines, in ways that effectively discriminate against African-American voters.  Similarly, proposed legislation to address chronic disparities in police treatment of African-Americans—a persistent nationwide problem that spawned the “Black Lives Matter” movement—has stalled in Washington.  The administration has scored some victories, and the President made good on his pledge to nominate a highly qualified African-American woman to the Supreme Court.  Still, the evidence of systemic racism persists in various parts of American society.  Hence, many civil rights advocates and organizations continue to draw inspiration from the civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia), who wrote shortly before his death in 2020: “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”

This episode of Transatlantic Currents will discuss efforts to combat systemic racism, especially as it affects voting rights, the rule of law, and policing, with Nicole Austin-Hillery, the President and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. CBCF is anon-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research, and educational institute committed to advancing the global Black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public through the “power of relationships and networks across the private, public, and corporate sectors.”


Opening remarks:

Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Leading researcher, FIIA

Charly Salonius-Pasternak is a Leading Researcher at FIIA and leads the work of the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP). His work at FIIA focuses on international security issues, especially Nordic and transatlantic security (including NATO), as well as U.S. foreign and defence policy. Recently he has focused on Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation and the evolution of US and NATO alliance reassurance approaches in light of the changed regional security situation. In 2017, he was a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War programme at Pembroke College (Oxford University), where he studied the hybridization of warfare and the impact of the Information Age on the character of war.

Nicole Austin-Hillery

President & CEO, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF)

Nicole Austin-Hillery is the President & CEO at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). In this role, Ms. Austin-Hillery will lead and inspire a team of high-performing leaders and staff as they create and implement plans to carry out the organization's mission and achieve strategic goals. In addition, Ms. Austin-Hillery is a steward of the brand and mission of the organization, acting to build, enhance and leverage the power of relationships and networks across the private, public and corporate sectors to procure support and needed resources for the organization to further its mission.


Leo Michel

Non-Resident Fellow, FIIA

Leo Michel is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. His previous government positions included: Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies; Director for NATO Policy and Director for Non-Nuclear Arms Control in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Deputy U.S. Representative to the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Consultative Commission as well as other goverment positions. Michel holds a M.A. from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Princeton University.