WGBH's Forum Network records public lectures and discussions in Boston and publishes them online in their entirety for the public good. A review of the ideas that percolated up in Boston in 2018 mirror the issues of great concern nationally: a growing expression of racism, changes to government policy and concern for the survival of our American democracy. Here are five notable talks from the series this year, including speakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and school shooting survivor David Hogg.
1: Race And Power In Boston Spurred by more incidents of police shootings prompted by implicit bias and unchecked expressions of nationalism around the U.S., authors and journalists offered critical examinations of racial bias. In our selected talk, the Boston Globe Spotlight team talked to a packed Copley Hotel ballroom about why they chose to investigate what they found to be systemic racism affecting Boston every day.
2. Civic Activism With School Shooting Survivor David Hogg
Parkland shooting survivor-turned-activist David Hogg brought us his reasons for the public to demand more stringent gun control laws.
3. Being An Emergency Responder On The U.S.-Mexico Border
Regarding Trump's pursuit of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Harvard anthropologist Ieva Jusionyte, who used to work at the border as an EMT, explains why a border wall will cause more harm and bodily injury to people seeking to immigrate to America.
4: Chris Hedges On America: The Farewell Tour
Those with longer views on global and national politics shared reasons for Americans to consider protecting their civic processes with more urgency. Political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt share a grim view of our political future in their book How Democracies Die, an arugument Ziblatt defended in a recent Ford Hall Forum. In the same vein, our selected talk with journalist Chris Hedges focused on corrupted systems that are slowly destroying the principles of democracy in an extended conversation with Chris Lydon, host of Radio Open Source.
5. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez On Democracy
Hopeful talk for democratic reform came from politicians we met this year. Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis has formed a new pan-European political party based on Marxist principles, which he explains within a book about democracy and the economy written mostly for his daughter. In our selected talk, then-candidate for U.S. Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared similar visions of a new-and-improved democracy that would topple traditional ways of doing politics in favor of more socialist-leaning ideals.
There are many more ideas on science, design and art that we couldn't include here. Visit Forum Network's archive of videos for talks by more musicians, artists, authors, activists, policy makers, comic book writers, journalists and historians who spoke in Boston in 2018.