Editor’s note: Leading up to the May 3 grand opening of Harris’ new home at the Keller Center, our #PolicyForward series spotlights how the Harris School of Public Policy is driving impact for the next generation. In addition to stories from faculty, students, and alumni, we reached out to other experts in the field to share their perspective on strengthening democracy and our institutions.

Cindy Trinh is an activist whose photographic work is currently on exhibition in the Museum of the City of New York.

Why are challenges to democracy so important to effectively address?

It is important to address the challenges in our democracy because that is the only way our democracy can improve and become better for everyone who lives in this country. We were given the right to free speech so that we can freely criticize the government without persecution. This allows for more honest conversation and robust dialogue of the issues that face America. We must always question and challenge our government and the people who run this country.

What advice would you give the “next generation” of young people eager to strengthen democracy? 

My advice to younger generations is to continue the great work they are doing, because from what I have seen recently, young people are more powerful than ever. They are the future of America. They have the skills and the knowledge to be better than older generations of people. I am seriously in awe of young people right now!

What policies would make the most impact to strengthen democracy?

I think policies around voting would make a huge impact to strengthen our democracy. Right now, Republicans are trying to make it difficult for communities of color to vote because they know that it’s these communities that would vote them out. We need more voter participation, and we need campaigns to get people involved.

About Cindy Trinh

Cindy Trinh, the creator of Activist NYC, depicts the status of advocates and immigrants through photographic depiction of individual emotions. Selections from her documentary photo project “Activist NYC” are currently on exhibition in the Museum of the City of New York, and her photo series entitled “The Model Minority Reality” has been featured in Mic, The New York Daily News, Angry Asian Man, Epoch Times (China), and The Indypendent.