News & Ideas  -  Inclusive Democracy: A Conversation with Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole

Defending Inclusive Democracy News Senior Fellows

The Charles F. Kettering Foundation is proud to announce the first in a series of videos featuring Kettering senior fellow Johnnetta Betsch Cole. Our president and CEO, Sharon L. Davies, sat down with Cole to document and celebrate her extensive and multifaceted journey over more than eight decades. Cole is a noted anthropologist, educator, author, speaker, and consultant on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in workplaces. She is also the former president of both Spelman College and Bennett College and the former director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

In this engaging video, Davies and Cole discuss the essence of inclusive democracy, emphasizing the importance of recognizing diverse ideas and values while finding common ground. They reflect on the journey of the United States toward becoming a more inclusive democracy, highlighting the historical contributions of abolitionists and civil rights allies. Cole stresses the ongoing nature of democracy as an unfinished, powerful, yet fragile process, underscoring the collective responsibility to preserve and enhance it for everyone’s benefit. Their conversation illuminates the critical role of collaboration and engagement in achieving a fully inclusive democracy. As Cole explains, “We are now at a point when we actually have the amazing possibility to have a democracy that is just bursting with the power and the preciousness, not only of everyone being acknowledged, but everyone being lifted up.”

Watch the video to learn more.