Center for Social Solutions founder and director Earl Lewis sits down with Andrew Keen to speak about the future of American democracy. The Bertelsmann Foundation and Humanity in Action have recently partnered with Keen to launch a video and podcast series that addresses the shortcomings of democracy and the need to restore it. In this addition to the series, Lewis and Keen discuss the history of the United States, the power of youth, and what this means for the democracy of our nation.

Lewis acknowledges that he encourages his students to become involved in American politics; “I want my students to get angry in a protest … I want you to believe in something so passionately that you’re willing to put your life on the line for it.” Lewis confidently asserts that young people have the power to change the world, referring to this particular demographic as “our hope.”

Reminding us of the strong young people who ignited change in Little Rock and Selma, Lewis transitions to a conversation about segregation and racial inequality. He reflects upon his upbringing in the segregated South, recognizing the current issue of a still-divided American system. “We have not, in my view, dealt with one of the original sins of this nation and this democracy, which was slavery.”

Slavery and Its Aftermath is one of the four primary issues that the Center for Social Solutions seeks to approach. By acknowledging slavery’s connection with democracy, Lewis starts a long-overdue conversation about a topic which has controlled 60 percent of American history.

“We can invest in communities and individuals,” Lewis remarks when asked how to begin solving this problem. He emphasizes the significance of individuals in getting involved in their communities. “What can you change in your neighborhood and your block?”

How to Fix Democracy is a series which brings together renowned leaders and scholars with the goal of improving global democracy. The series’ content can be found here, or on Apple Podcasts.