American Democracy, American Racism to be Discussed at March 18 Lecture

The Mount Madonna School (MMS) public lecture series based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continues on March 18 at 7:00pm with “American Democracy, American Racism,” featuring Laxmi Wordham, a 1993 MMS graduate.


“The fight for democracy and the fight for equality have long been intertwined in the United States,” commented Wordham. “In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ongoing racial injustices impacting communities of color, Leadership Now put together an analysis that lays out the critical linkages between systemic racism and the flaws in our democratic system. The analysis demonstrates the ways in which voter participation, electoral systems, campaign finance, and representation in politics are both products of, and contributors to, structural racism.”


Wordham’s lecture corresponds to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. The SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.


All of the events in the monthly series are offered via Zoom. Tickets are available by donation, and can be ordered via the seminar series website, sdgspeakerseries.org.


Some of the lectures will be moderated by MMS students. Students and the audience will participate in meaningful conversations with guests – most of whom are Mount Madonna alumni – as well as friends who are working on critical societal issues.


“Alongside the speaker series, we are excited to launch the Mount Madonna School Sustainable Development initiative to measure our school’s progress and contributions to the global U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” commented Head of School Ann Goewert, Ph.D. “The school has a rich tradition of developing its students’ capacity to think critically, creatively and empathically to solve pressing global issues.”


School leadership envisions creating an interactive database to measure and visualize its students’ contributions to the global sustainable development goals.


“The speaker series coupled with our initiative to measure our school’s progress and contributions helps develop the agency of our preschool to twelfth grade students to meet these ambitious goals to improve the world,” said Goewert. “This work will deepen students’ vision of the world and the impact of their actions by thinking globally and acting locally.”


Wordham, a 1993 graduate of Mount Madonna School, has over 20 years of digital and technology expertise, working to bring digital transformations and innovation to traditional businesses. She has been a consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, business leader at LexisNexis and Chief Digital Officer at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Most recently Wordham co-founded Hylofit, a health and wellness technology startup in the equestrian industry. Wordham holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Wordham is a founding member of the Leadership Now Project. Incubated in 2017 by a group of Harvard Business School alumni, Leadership Now activates the resources, networks, and skills of its members. Leadership Now powers reforms to our system through sophisticated analytics; engage in thought leadership; mobilize new investments in a portfolio of reform organizations like OpenSecrets and recognize political leaders who change the game and share our principles. Leadership Now is encouraging the business community to stand up and take action for the continuity of the 2020 election and highlighting the role that business can play in solving the critical issues facing our nation as we transition to a new administration. We are also committed to moving from words to action to advance racial equity. Today, Leadership Now has members in six cities and continues to grow.


“The work that Laxmi is doing with Leadership Now is essential,” observed Mount Madonna’s Director of Upper School Shannon Kelly. “Understanding the many ways that racial injustice impairs democracy enables us to work toward solutions that help create strong and equitable institutions. I am excited that MMS students get the opportunity to be part of such an important conversation, and am sure that it will have a lasting impact.”