Author Biography

Katherine Cramer is Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service and Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


This article analyzes practitioners’ attempt to achieve equity in a public input process on a local racial justice issue: whether or not the police department should implement body-worn video cameras. The insights of the two practitioners who led the public input process reveal 4 main lessons. First, equity in public deliberation is achieved sometimes by intentionally excluding some voices. Second, members of marginalized groups are motivated at times by the potential to be heard. Third, the case suggests that for some people public talk is not about achieving democracy; it is instead about life and survival. Finally, the case suggests that in order for deliberation to contribute to greater equity in democracy, people in power need to learn to listen to previously marginalized voices.