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The People's Virginia leaders, Cindi Copeland (left) and Kim Collins (right), join Katie Fahey at the First National Assembly of The People.

The Fahey Q&A: How Cindi Copeland is searching for political humanity in Virginia

Having organized last year's grassroots movement ending Michigan's politicized gerrymandering, Fahey is now executive director of The People, which is forming statewide networks to promote government accountability. She interviews a colleague in the world of democracy reform each month for our Opinion section.

Cindi Z.S. Copeland has gone from someone who never voted to someone who spends her free time meeting in libraries, coffee shops and at dinner tables to unite Virginians of all political stripes around improving civic life.

Her life is inspiring and resonates with me on many levels. Neither of us share the same beliefs as some family members, both of us have lost relationships because of such differences and each have stayed involved in politics because we think all people have the right to make their voices heard. We find inspiration from connecting with people from different backgrounds, because you never know if your next conversation is going to transform your life.

Our recent phone conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Katie Fahey

Katie Fahey and Michigan volunteers in 2018.

Making government more responsive is a task for Americans of all stripes

Fahey, who organized the grassroots movement that ended Michigan's politicized gerrymandering, is now executive director of The People, which is forming statewide citizen networks to promote government accountability. She will be interviewing another democracy reformer each month for our Opinion section.

Everyday people are the backbone of the democracy reform movement. As executive director of The People, a new national effort to find common ground and make non-partisan changes to fix our broken democracy, I am most inspired by those who volunteer their time and energy to make sure their government hears not just their voices, but their neighbors' voices, too.

In the coming months, I have the opportunity to introduce you to some of the men and women from across the country whose powerful stories of civic engagement are bettering their communities and repairing America's torn social fabric. Before we kick off this series, I wanted to take a moment to share with you my own journey working toward democracy reform.

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