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“When the Stars Begin to Fall” with Theodore R. Johnson
4:00pm - 5:00pm ET

Recent years have seen the American public grapple with the individual and societal impacts of racism and what to do about them. In his new book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America, Theodore R. Johnson explores the relationship between the promise of equality and the reality of racism in America, and the impact these dynamics have on the country’s present and future. By weaving personal and family experiences with insights from history, political science, sociology, and international relations, Johnson champions national solidarity as a pathway to mitigate racism. He posits that a blueprint for this solidarity can be found in the sociopolitical strategies practiced in Black America. 

In a conversation about his new book, Johnson and the University of Pennsylvania’s Daniel Hopkins will explore how we build a color-conscious society rather than a color-blind one, how to mobilize national solidarity, and what a failure to address racism would mean for the promise of America.

In-person access to our hybrid events is now open to the public as well as the Penn community. All in-person attendees will be REQUIRED to wear a mask and MUST either show their Green PennOpen Pass (University of Pennsylvania faculty, students, postdocs, and staff or badged contractors) OR Green PennOpen Campus (all other visitors including event attendees) in order to take part in-person. You must complete your PennOpen Campus screening on your cell phone BEFORE arriving at Perry World House. Click here for more information about PennOpen Campus and how it works:

We will continue to provide virtual access to all of our hybrid programming. Zoom details will be found in your order confirmation email.


Theodore R. Johnson headshotTheodore “Ted” R. Johnson is a senior fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, where he explores the intersection of race, politics, and American pluralism. He is also a retired U.S. Navy Commander, and his service included time as a speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as a White House Fellow. His writing has appeared in all the major national newspapers and magazines.


Daniel Hopkins headshotDaniel Hopkins is a Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School of Communication. He also helps to coordinate the Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative, which helps Philadelphia harness the best ideas and methods across various academic and other fields to address the needs of Philadelphia's residents and businesses in creative and effective ways. Hopkins’s research centers on American politics, with a special emphasis on racial and ethnic politics, state and local politics, political behavior, and research methods. He is the author of the 2018 book The Increasingly United States: How and Why American Political Behavior Nationalized and is an occasional writer for