Dominion of New York


May 6, 2012

3 Questions for Obama & Romney: What Should We Ask?

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Written by: Kelly Virella


resident Obama, you’ve said that your administration is shifting the War on Drugs. What is your plan to address racial disparities in drug-related incarceration? 

Our readers have the opportunity to submit a question like this or whatever they choose. Dominion of New York is one of three U.S. news organizations chosen to collaborate with the Guardian on a project to identify the three questions that our community of readers would like the candidates to answer. The project is part of the Guardian US and NYU’s Studio 20Citizen Agenda’ project, which is a joint effort to learn what voters want the presidential candidates to be discussing as the 2012 election approaches. The Guardian US is the US edition of the global news brand, the Guardian. Big ups to reader, contributor and NYU graduate school student Patrice Peck for orchestrating this opportunity for our community.

For the next 6 days, we’ll be collecting questions from you, our readers, and inviting you to participate in community conversations.

For the next 6 days, we’ll be collecting questions from you, our readers, and inviting you to participate in community conversations. You can leave your questions for the candidates in the comment section below right now. But you can also spearhead some community conversations to help us collect the questions.

Here’s how it will work: Every day at 12 pm wherever you are, share this article with your social media audience and ask them to leave you their questions. After the conversation, collect the ones you believe are the most insightful and post them in the comment section below.

When the collection period ends, Friday, May 11 at 7 pm, we’ll narrow the questions down. To select the top 3 questions, we’ll conduct a poll on our website and on our Facebook page Saturday, May 12.

To help us track participation, please let us know whether you will do it too. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your concerns.

Yes, I will lead a community conversation.

The following journalists, bloggers, business people, and social media influencers have already signed up to participate. I hope you will too.
Cynthia Liu is CEO/Founder of, an education news and advocacy social venture providing a local news platform and social action community in support of America’s public schools. The project is supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation. @K12NN on Twitter,

Renea Henry is a multimedia journalist and editor, originally from New Orleans, currently covering hyperlocal news in the suburbs of New York City. She has a keen interest in pop culture and politics, especially related to African American culture and national issues, and loves to get people thinking and talking.

Barrington Edwards is an educator and writer who resides in South Orange, NJ. A former professor and college dean, Barrington came to the NYC area to write and teach, his first loves. For the past decade or so, he has worked and traveled all over the country, including a brief stint abroad in South Korea. He writes about race, science, education, sexuality and contemporary politics. He currently teaches history at an independent school in New Jersey.

James Braxton Peterson James Braxton Peterson (Duke ’93, UPENN 2003) is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, CBS News, MSNBC, ABC News, ESPN, HLN, and various local television networks as an expert on popular culture, urban youth and politics.

Josh Kellar received a PhD in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University where he studied nanotechnology.  Prior to graduate school, he worked for the Federation of American Scientists where he worked on strategic security issues, primarily related to nuclear security.  He currently works as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, providing strategic advice to clients in industry and government. In addition to scientific and policy publications, he is also a published poet.

Shawn Taylor lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He writes, speaks, and teaches on media, culture, and propaganda at various colleges.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


Official portrait from his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.