HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.


Political scientist Hakeem Jefferson (Stanford University) facilitated a discussion about race, policing, and the state of American democracy with fellow political scientists Cathy J. Cohen (University of Chicago), Yanilda M. González (Harvard Kennedy School), Rebecca U. Thorpe (University of Washington), and Vesla M. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University) on May 26, 2021. The conversation occurred a year after George Perry Floyd Jr., a 46-year-old Black man, was murdered by a White police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Moving beyond common notions of democracy that focus primarily on voting and electoral participation, the panelists discussed how American policing and the criminal justice system, more broadly, redefine citizenship, redistribute power, and shape marginalized people's understanding of their place in society. Closing remarks addressed the potential for change in how criminal justice institutions treat marginalized people and how political scientists can more usefully contribute to efforts that strengthen democracy for all. This is an edited transcript of the conversation and includes a bibliography of the sources mentioned. Watch a video of this conversation online.


Jefferson, Hakeem, José Luis Gandara, Cathy J. Cohen, Yanilda M. González, Rebecca U. Thorpe, and Vesla M. Weaver. "Beyond the Ballot Box: A Conversation About Democracy and Policing in the United States." Annual Review of Political Science 26.1 (June 2023): 1-32.