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Democratize This!

How We Make The World We Want

A webinar, presentation, and book-in-progress on how to make social change on every scale and in every domain


How do small groups make big change?

What Time is it on the Clock of the World?

We are at a defining moment in history when pandemic is raging, fascism is rising, and the ecology is collapsing. Meanwhile, our ability to connect, collaborate, and participate in creating our societies has never been greater.
Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want is a webinar series, presentation, and book-in-progress.
It provides strategy and tools to empower people from all walks of life to create a more just and desirable future for everyone. It helps explain root causes of problems and how systems work, and provides examples of successful projects for change.
Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want draws from a number of inspirations:​ The School for Designing a Society, organizing mentors and ancestors, and movements for racial, gender, and economic justice.
The book is currently in progress and available in presentation format. Contact us for more information:

“Our responsibility, in this watershed in our history, is to face the past honestly and do the things necessary to heal ourselves and our planet. Healing our society will require the patient work not primarily of politicians, but of artists, ministers, gardeners, workers, families, women, and communities. It will require new forms of governance, work, and education that are much more participatory and democratic than those collapsing around us. It will require enlarging our vision and decolonizing our imaginations.”​​


- ​Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015)



Sundays 4-6pm EDT
July 5th to August 16th, 2020


The present moment calls for bold vision and strategic action. As the world is on fire, Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want is a webinar series that invites us to think and collaborate rather than panic and react.

Through presentation, performance and small group work together we will explore the question:

How can we instigate systems change
towards a more just and desirable future for everyone?

Democratize This! provides strategy and tools to empower people from all walks of life to create a more just and desirable future for everyone. We will explore root causes of problems, how systems work, and successful projects for change.


You will learn social change theory, try out strategies through assignments, and leave with design tools to use wherever you are -- in organizing, work, art, school, faith spaces, or community life.


By sharing our stories, we unearth the root problems we face to expose them as contradictions, which require systemic change. Contradictions provide points of leverage where our interventions can have big consequences. To make the world we want, we must imagine it first, drawing deeply from the well of our desires. When we intervene, reflect, and repeat this process, we participate in making and remaking democracy, so that those affected by systems become their creators. This is the dialectical approach of successful social movements we analyze in the webinar.

Join weekly webinars and office hours with guest artists and organizers Ricardo Levins Morales (movement artist), Alfredo Lopez (May First), Susan Parenti and Mark Enslin (School for Designing a Society), Elandria Williams (PeoplesHub, Beautiful Solutions), Professor Safiya Noble (UCLA, Algorithms of Oppression), Danielle Chynoweth (Indymedia), Almah LaVon Rice (poet), Carol Ammons (Illinois State Representative), Aaron Ammons (spoken word artist), Lucie Vítková, Andrew C. Smith (composer), Michael Hollingsworth (housing rights organizer).   

Co-sponsored by: MediaJustice, Highlander Research and Education CenterUrbana Champaign Independent Media Center, and School for Designing a Society, Free University NYC, Performers' Workshop Ensemble, Siebel Center for Design at Illinois, CU Showing Up for Racial Justice, and What a Neighborhood!

The first two webinars are open to the public. The last five are for participants who have committed to attending the series, as they build on one another. All events are pay-what-you-can thanks to support from the MediaJustice Action Fund. All proceeds go towards stipends for presenters, artists, and organizers.

Summer Workshop Series

Webinar Registration is Now Closed. You Can View Details:

  • Living in Contradiction: Public Webinar #2 with Safiya Noble and Andrew C. Smith
    Sun, Jul 12
    Online via Zoom
    Learn how to shift from: “It’s big, it’s scary, it’s hopeless!” to “It’s designed, it’s vulnerable, and we can change it.” Explore with Professor Safiya Noble and composer Andrew C. Smith.
  • Democratize This! What Time is It on the Clock of the World? Public Webinar #1 with Ricardo Levins Morales
    Sun, Jul 05
    Online via zoom
    Democratize This! Webinar - public launch! We will explore the nature of the crisis we are living in and the opportunity to design strategic social interventions in many domains. Registration for the entire webinar is not required.
  • Democratize This! 7 Week Webinar on How to Make Systems Change
    Sun, Jul 05
    Sundays 4-6pm EDT thru Aug 16 - On Zoom
    During Democratize This! we invite people to think and collaborate rather than panic and react. Through presentation, performance, and small group work we will explore the question: How do small groups instigate systems change towards a more just and desirable future for everyone?

Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want is an absolute necessity right now. Rather than a ‘here is the problem and here is the solution’ book, this is a ‘how we can generate many solutions’ book.

Associate Professor of Information Studies and
African American Studies at UCLA, Bestselling Author of Algorithms of Oppression

For the first time in human history, a connected, just, and equitable global society is possible. What we lack is mass participation in imaging and creating that world.


Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want helps us think beyond the reality of our current existence to forge a radically inclusive, global community.

Movement Leader and Founder of May First/People Link

Now is the time to put forward bold, people-centered solutions. To do so, we need to learn from past movements, not rehash them.

We need organizers who have been on the frontlines training a new crop of leaders that can see beyond their own time.

Democratize This! is a training manual for our future. 


Illinois State Representative, Co-chair of Illinois Progressive Caucus




Danielle Chynoweth

Danielle Ezra red hair 2016.jpg

Danielle Chynoweth is a recognized leader in the Media Justice and Housing Rights movements. She has coordinated winning campaigns with low-income communities for 30 years. She is currently a Field Instructor at the University of Illinois School of Social Work and Township Supervisor, modeling public aid centered on love and care. She has taught at the School for Designing a Society since 1996.

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Elizabeth Adams


Elizabeth Adams is a Brooklyn based composer, teacher, and organizer, who works at the intersection of art, education, and social change. She co-organizes Julie and Elizabeth’s Anti-Capitalist Concert Series, Free University NYC, and with the Crown Heights Tenant Union. She has taught at Columbia University, Baruch College, and at the School for Designing a Society since 2010.



Contact us:

Tel: 217-721-7223 |

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Art credits: Christopher Evans (whiteboard art), Mike Alewitz (mural of Grace Lee Boggs), Neta Collab (webinar poster), 
Ricardo Levins Morales (self-portrait), Danielle Chynoweth (jail protest).

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