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Civic Practice Seminar

  • 161 North Mill Street Lexington, Kentucky (map)

Please join us for the First Annual CivicLex Civic Practice Seminar at ArtsPlace on North Mill!

The event will feature a panel conversation with Amber McReynolds (Vote at Home Institute & Coalition), Josh Douglas (University of Kentucky) and Jennifer Lai-Peterson (Advancement Project), followed by an interactive workshop focusing on building a more participatory democracy right here in Lexington.

Free and open to the public. Pre-ticketed.

Get your free tickets here!


The Panelists:

Amber McReynolds, Executive Director, Vote at Home Institute and Coalition. 

Amber McReynolds is a national leader in effective and innovative elections administration. The former director of elections for Denver, Amber is recognized across the country as a leading expert on election legislation and policy. Amber oversaw elections in Denver for 13 years. Under Amber's leadership, Denver became a national leader in election management and innovation. During Amber's tenure, Denver Elections earned awards from the Election Center, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and others for its innovative practices that increased the security, convenience and efficiency of elections. Amber is an advisory board member of the MIT Election and Data Science Lab. She also currently serves on the Circle of Advisers for the Democracy Fund's Election Validation Project and previously served on The Council of State Government’s Overseas Voting Initiative. Amber holds a Masters of Science degree in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications from the University of Illinois.

Josh Douglas, Thomas P. Lewis Professor of Law, University of Kentucky. 

Professor Joshua A. Douglas teaches and researches election law and voting rights, civil procedure, constitutional law, and judicial decision making. He is the author of Vote for US: How to Take Back our Elections and Change the Future of Voting, a popular press book that provides hope and inspiration for a positive path forward on voting rights. His most recent legal scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration. He has also written extensively on election law procedure. Professor Douglas has published in top journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, Penn Law Review Online, Vanderbilt Law Review, Washington University Law Review, George Washington Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and the Election Law Journal, among others. His article Procedural Fairness in Election Contests was a winner of the 2011-12 SEALS Call for Papers, and he has been cited extensively in major law review articles and case books in the field.

Jennifer Lai-Peterson, Senior Attorney, Advancement Project. 

Jennifer Lai-Peterson is a Senior Attorney supporting both the Power and Democracy Program and the Immigrant Justice Project. A litigator and former union and community organizer, she previously served as a Staff Attorney with Advancement Project and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) in New Orleans, where she worked extensively on racial justice issues in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Prior to rejoining Advancement Project in 2015, Ms. Lai-Peterson practiced in the litigation group of Morrison & Foerster and with Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd. While in private practice, she also served as an adjunct lecturer at the Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) at UC Berkeley. Ms. Lai-Peterson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UCLA School of Law.


The Facilitator:

Christian Motley, Senior Manager of Policy and Partnerships, StriveTogether.

Christian Motley is senior manager of policy and partnerships for StriveTogether. In this role, he provides leadership on collaborations, coalitions and advocacy strategy. Christian develops resources to align policy priorities, strengthen coalitions and mobilize stakeholders for policy solutions to accelerate partnership progress across the Cradle to Career Network. Christian previously oversaw public policy and advocacy for the Kentucky Education Association as its chief lobbyist in the Kentucky state legislature in Frankfort. Prior to joining KEA, Christian served as the deputy executive director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. There he worked with the legislature to advance former Gov. Steve Beshear’s 2015 top 5 priority legislation to improve access to high-quality care and early education and designed tools for school district leaders to bridge the gap between pre-K and K-12. While in Washington, D.C., Christian served as a presidential appointee in the Office of the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, which took a leadership role in building My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s initiative to expand opportunity for young men of color. Deeply involved in his community, Christian serves on the boards of On the Move Art Studio, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, Lexington Transit Authority (LexTran) and Commerce Lexington’s Leadership Lexington Youth Program, in Lexington, Kentucky, just up the road from his beloved alma mater, Berea College.


The Format:

  • Framing - Each of the panelists will make a brief 5-10 minute presentation about their work. Total time: ~30 minutes

  • Dialogue - The Panel will discuss and debate issues relating to civic practice, participatory democracy, and voting rights. ~30 minutes

  • Interaction - The audience and panelists will participate in a workshop in 4 groups. The workshop will focus on what specific measures we can take locally to build a more well-practiced democracy. ~45 minutes

  • Recap - Audience members will discuss with the larger group any outcomes from their workshop. Panelists will answer questsions and give closing thoughts. ~30 minutes

  • Reception - A public reception will follow.

Earlier Event: September 16
CivicLex Budget Workshop