Democracy Centers reimagine voter mobilization.

We know that real change can only come from within. Democracy Centers harness community power to achieve meaningful change on issues of local importance. 

Democracy Centers are in communities of color that have been historically marginalized and voter disenfranchised. In some cases, these are communities where politicians show up a month out of the year to urge for their vote without actually listening to voters' needs. This has created a deep sense of voter apathy where the phrase “my vote doesn’t matter” reflects people's frustration with our elected officials and the electoral process.

Democracy Centers are year-round, place-based community centers. Democracy Center leaders are from the communities in which they work. They understand their communities' needs and actively work to create real solutions. Democracy Center leaders show up daily, meeting people where they are, listening to their needs, and working hard to meet them. 

They understand that this work is about showing people that their voice matters, not just their vote. They work every day to meet their community's needs by running food banks, providing warm clothing, giving people free tablets, providing people with critical medical resources, and more. They lift people's voices and, in turn, show them the power of their vote to solve those real problems. 

Democracy Centers turn infrequent voters into voting rights advocates as people learn how to vote their power!

“The goal is to get people in our community thinking 'I feel empowered and that I matter. I can’t wait to make my voice heard and vote.' ”  - BJ Lark, Roanoke Virginia Democracy Center

Meet the Democracy Centers

Norfolk and Virginia Beach Democracy Center

The Virginia Beach/Norfolk Democracy Center strives to build community advocacy by reaching voters ages 18-30 and providing HOPE for change by listening to their needs. Change only comes when we use the power of the pen at the polls, and it's what we strive to achieve. One of the main ways we achieve this goal is to educate high school seniors, college students, and youth in these communities about the importance of civic engagement while providing the necessary tools to build and restore from within. This happens through collaboration with Faith-based Organizations through Community Outreach,  Youth Lead Events, Town Hall Meetings, and Community Forums.

Roanoke Democracy Center, Virginia

The Roanoke Democracy Center cares about WHO'S MISSING. We want new voices to rise and help make our communities the safe, livable, accessible 21st-century communities we deserve. We have a community food pantry,  and we meet regularly in the community through pop-up block parties and regular family-friendly events. We strive to educate that civic engagement/voting must be our non-violent resolution towards progressive needed change.

There is a lot of apathy in our community, thousands feel disconnected and don't know what's happening. Our goals are to disseminate election information and reduce voter participation gaps by motivating communities with a history of poor turnout to vote. We meet people where they are to listen to them, answer their specific questions, and help them make a personal plan to be active.

Southside Democracy Center, Virginia

The Southside VA Democracy Center comprises multiple counties in our rural geographic area— Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, and Brunswick. Our mission is to provide outreach and opportunities for the civic engagement of historically suppressed populations in our region. Our vision is to ensure that every voice has the opportunity to be heard. We want to meet people where they are and let them reclaim their rightful place in the governing process to be recognized, considered, and addressed. We want our community to engage in our governing process for empowerment.  We focus on increasing voter registration and participation in all parts of the election cycle, resulting in voter TURNOUT through strengthening our partnerships and service in the community.  Our collaborative partnerships help increase our community presence and be the go-to source for information on voting and election cycles.  We also advocate for our area and look for every opportunity to voice support for disenfranchised community members to find ways to increase their civic engagement. 

Monroe Democracy Center, North Carolina

The Monroe Democracy Center was formed to work in underserved communities, where it has been proven many residents feel their vote, their voice, and their needs do not matter. The intent and goal of the Democracy Center is to form an organized united front, and work with other organizations and other individuals who realize this is a major concern and are willing to commit to becoming community activists. Activists will interact with community residents to listen, learn, and address community needs when and however possible.

"It doesn't matter how strong your opinions are. If you don't use your power for positive change, you are indeed part of the problem." - Coretta Scott King

New York Democracy Center

The New York City Democracy Center serves three public housing campuses near Lincoln Center in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. We discovered that only about 23% of registered voters participated in the 2022 General Election in the largest of these campuses. In stark contrast, voter turnout among neighbors just across the street ranged from 50% to 70% in the same election. Our mission is to foster civic engagement, boost voter participation, and ensure that the community's concerns receive an equal hearing within the public forum. Our team engages with residents in the public housing community both individually and in groups to build relationships, understand their priorities, and identify issues of common concern. We encourage residents to attend advocacy events with our partner organizations and meet with local elected officials. Our goal is to support both individual residents and teams that can strengthen the sense of community and promote ongoing engagement in the democratic process, both before and after elections.

Florence Democracy Center, South Carolina  

The Florence Democracy Center's mission is to be a leading advocate for voter empowerment. Our aim is to turn infrequent voters into voting rights advocates. We also champion environmental justice, helping to educate the community on the devastating effects of climate change. We advocate for voting rights and climate justice on the local, state, and federal levels.

Plow & Pew Democracy Center, Hawkinsville Georgia

Located in the Newberry Institute, the Plow & Pew Democracy Center promotes democratic engagement and preserves rural history. The Mission of The Newberry Institute is to strengthen democracy in rural communities through preserving history, building community, providing education and promoting interfaith dialogue.

Our key programs include:
  • Rosa's Food Pantry: Provides essential resources to support community members.
  • Annie Lee's Porch: Builds community connections through social events and discussions.
  • Ameenah's Interfaith Center: Encourages dialogue and understanding among diverse groups.

Democracy Center Locations


Richmond          Roanoke          Lynchburg

Northern Virginia   Virginia Beach  

North Carolina

South Carolina


    Hawkinsville      Cobb County

Huntsville            Selma            Mobile

Get Involved

Community Organizers

Are you currently working in your community and wish to partner with Center for Common Ground and take advantage of our resources and training to establish a Democracy Center?

Learn more about our Democracy Center program, and get in touch with us to start the conversation by emailing us at


We will have a lot of opportunities for local volunteers to help with our Democracy Centers. Please sign up with us at Center for Common Ground so that we may contact you when opportunities become available!

And of course... your donation to our Democracy Centers is deeply appreciated!