Our Common Purpose

Appendix B: Description of Listening Sessions

In order to develop its recommendations, the Commission conducted nearly fifty listening sessions around the United States. The intent of this strategy was not to collect a statistically representative sample, but to cast a wide net and surface the personal experiences, frustrations, and acts of engagement of a diverse array of Americans. Through the listening sessions, the Commission generated valuable insights into what factors either discourage or promote democratic engagement.

Most of the listening sessions were held from January to June 2019. In organizing these listening sessions, the Commission relied on the generosity and support of many individuals and their organizations. We are grateful to the hundreds of Americans who participated in the listening sessions and to the local leaders who graciously helped the Commission organize these meetings. In particular, we wish to acknowledge the assistance of Habon Abdulle, Lisa Adkins, Omar H. Ali, Amanda Barker, Josh Blakeley, Caroline Brettell, David Carey, Brendan Doherty, Jackie Doherty, D. Berton Emerson, Victoria Fahlberg, Amber Genet, Sam Gill, Trey Grayson, Hala Harik Hayes, Antonia Hernández, Mark Hews, Serene Jones, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Christian Ko, Lauren Litton, Carolyn Lukensmeyer, David Martinez, Martha McCoy, Julio Medina, Felix Moran, Alberto Reyes-Olivas, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Pete Peterson, Souvanna Pouv, Jon Pritchett, Dawn Schluckebier, Jacob Simpson, Cade Smith, Tara Smith, Keanhuy Sour, Cathy Stewart, Kristi Tate, Kerry Thompson, Emma Tobin, Jai Winston, and Amy Wisehart.

Among the individuals who attended the listening sessions were: municipal staff and elected officials; conservative and liberal activists; independent voters; community leaders and organizers; scholars; teachers and administrators (K–12, college and university); college students; retirees; small business owners; underprivileged youth; nonvoters; rural, urban, and suburban residents; faith leaders and seminary students; African Americans, whites, Latinx, and Asian Americans; immigrants; refugees from Somalia, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan; philanthropists; formerly incarcerated citizens and justice reform activists; and members of the military.


Phoenix, Arizona
Calabasas, California
Los Angeles, California
Paoli, Indiana
Lexington, Kentucky
Bangor, Maine
Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Ellsworth, Maine
Annapolis, Maryland
Lowell, Massachusetts
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota
Jackson, Mississippi
Lincoln, Nebraska
New York, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Dallas, Texas
Farmville, Virginia
Spokane, Washington