Democracy Local

In Midnight Interview, Dracula Sees Bright Future for Democracy

‘Democracy and Vampires Have a Lot in Common,’ Says 600-Year-Old Romanian Count

by Joe Mathews

I emailed Dracula’s people because I was heading to Romania, for a global democracy forum that I help lead.
  While I’m in Bucharest, I asked, could I take the train up to Transylvania and spend a day chopping it up with the Count? After all, he’s been around for 600 years and has seen many, many dark times for governance and democracy.
  In reply, I got a cryptic text telling me to arrive by midnight at an address in Beachwood Canyon, high in the Hollywood Hills above L.A. The place was invisible from the street, and so dark I had to turn on my iPhone flashlight to find the door.
  But then, at my knock, the world’s most famous vampire opened the door. He ushered me to a chair in a room lit only by fireplace …


Héctor Tobar Wins the 2024 Zócalo Book Prize

Our Migrant Souls Is an Essential Exploration of ‘Latino’ Identity

Interview by Sarah Rothbard

Héctor Tobar is the winner of the 2024 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize for Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino.”
  Zócalo has awarded the $10,000 prize yearly since 2011 to the nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion. The 13 previous Zócalo Public Square Book Prize recipients include Heather McGhee, Michael Ignatieff, Danielle Allen, Jonathan Haidt, and most recently, Michelle Wilde Anderson.
  Tobar is the author of six books, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and a professor at UC Irvine; he was born and raised in Los Angeles and is the son of Guatemalan immigrants …

  • Why Shouldn't Phillis Wheatley's Poems Show Up at an NFL Game?

    At Last Night’s Event—”Can a Football Stadium Be a Black History Museum?”—Panelists Argued to Democratize Culture

    by Jackie Mansky

    On the rarified second level of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, amid premium owner suites and premium beer sales, there’s an Angela Davis quote plastered on a wall.
    “Our histories never unfold in isolation,” reads the excerpt from the scholar and activist’s 2015 book, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle. “We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories …