Center for Educators & Schools, LIVE from NYPL: Civic Education and Democracy in Crisis: A Conversation in Memory of Judge Robert A. Katzmann

Date and Time
May 23, 2022
Event Details

This event, previously scheduled to take place in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, is only taking place virtually.
Experts in policy, law, and education discuss how restoring widespread civic education and action can provide a lifeline to our imperiled democracy.

Accessibility Notes:
- Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media will be accompanied by alt text to reference before the program or by audio description.
- ASL interpretation is available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance: email or use this Gmail template.


  • Khin Mai Aung, New York Executive Director, Generation Citizen
  • Judge Victor Marrero, Senior District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and Co-Chair, Robert A. Katzmann Justice for All Courts and the Community Initiative
  • Jenna Ryall, Director, Civics for All, New York City Department of Education
  • Jesse Wegman, The New York Times editorial board

At the same time that public trust in government nears historic lows, misinformation spreads like wildfire, and partisan division grows ever more entrenched, American citizens are possibly as unprepared as ever to understand, appreciate, and engage with our democratic institutions and civic life. Returning civic education and action to a more central role in education and in daily life could restore health to democracy, but it takes work at multiple levels. The New York Public Library brings together leading figures at the center of that work in the City to discuss the change they’re seeing and the hopes they have for the road ahead.

This event is presented in honor of the late Hon. Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a trustee of The New York Public Library. In 2014, Judge Katzmann launched Justice for All, a circuit-wide civic education initiative aimed at increasing public understanding of the role and operations of the courts and bringing courts closer to the community.

Presented in partnership with The New York Public Library’s Center for Educators and Schools.



Khin Mai Aung is the New York Executive Director of Generation Citizen. She has practiced civil rights, immigrant rights, and education law for over 20 years. Before coming to Generation Citizen, she was Executive Director and Assistant Counsel at the Office of Bilingual Education & World Languages in the New York State Education Department, in which capacity she oversaw the Department’s civil rights enforcement and regulations regarding English Language Learners and immigrant students, as well as the New York State Integration Project, a program to incentivize integration though school improvement funds. Previously, Khin was Director of the Educational Equity Program at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. She launched the National Asian American Education Advocates Network, the first national network of Asian American public education advocates. Khin was born in Yangon, Myanmar, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children. Khin is also a writer and volunteer activist concerning civil rights in Myanmar.

Victor Marrero was appointed as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York by President Clinton in October 1999. He graduated from New York University and Yale Law School and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Sheffield (England). He worked in government service as: Special Counsel to the NYC Comptroller; First Assistant Counsel to the Governor; Chairman, NYCPlanning Commission; Commissioner, NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal; Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Ambassador, U.S. Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations; and Ambassador, U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States. Mr. Marrero practiced law as a partner of Tufo & Zuccotti and then of Brown & Wood. He has served on the Board of The New York Public Library; American Museum of Natural History; State University of New York; Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; and City Bar Association. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and Columbia Law School. He has received the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award, the NY State Bar Association’s Root/Stimson Public Service Award, and the Federal Bar Council’s Emory Buckner Public ServiceMedal.

Jenna Ryall is the Director of Civics for All at the New York City Department of Education. She co-designed the Civics for All initiative, a comprehensive K–12 civic education program available to all NYCDOE schools. Among Civics for All’s many components are a K–12 curriculum, a school-based participatory budgeting effort, and a student voter registration drive responsible for registering 60,000 new voters in the last four years. Jenna began her career in education as a middle school social studies teacher in the Bronx. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Fordham University and a Master’s degree and Post-Master’s Certificate from Stony Brook University.

Jesse Wegman is a member of The New York Times editorial board, where he writes about the Supreme Court and national legal issues with a focus on voting, elections, and democracy. He is the author of Let The People Pick The President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College, published in 2020 by St. Martin's Press. He is currently at work on a biography of James Wilson, the founding father and democratic visionary.



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LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.