Community Engagement for Local Democracy
Please join the City of Lancaster, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins, and Hourglass for a forum on innovative strategies for bringing more people into the democratic process.
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
42 N Prince St
Lancaster, PA 17603
RSVP at www.etix.com
Please join the City of Lancaster, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins, and Hourglass for a forum on innovative strategies for bringing more people into the democratic process. The evening will include a reception with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a program in Steinman Auditorium. The program will include a keynote address from Terrance Smith, Public Innovation Fellow at the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins, a presentation from the City of Lancaster highlighting the impact of the first year of the Department of Neighborhood Engagement, and a panel discussion with national and local leaders implementing community engagement strategies.
5-5:30 PM: Reception
5:30-7 PM: Program
- Opening Keynote from Terrance Smith, Public Innovation Fellow, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins
- Lancaster City Department of Neighborhood Engagement presentation on its first year in operation
- Panel discussion on Community Engagement for Local Democracy with national and local leaders including Terrance Smith; Lancaster City Mayor Danene Sorace; Laura Wood, Leadership in Government Fellow with the Open Society Foundations; and Miriam Ortega Brown, Community Organizer.
Meet the speakers
Innovation Fellow, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins
Terrance Smith brings over a decade of experience in the public sector to his role as one of the inaugural Bloomberg Public Innovation Fellows at Johns Hopkins University. Previously Terrance led an innovation team in the City of Mobile, Alabama that has drawn local praise and national attention for deploying innovative approaches to improving quality of life for residents. He is the founder of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, which houses the Innovation Team and Datacenter. Earlier in his career he was responsible for developing, operating and scaling the prototype for Alabama’s first charter school. Bloomberg’s CityLab named Terrace one of “Six Innovators to Watch” and he has appeared on the cover of the Mobile Bay Magazine’ Forty Under 40 issue. He is a Traegar award winner, which recognizes the nation’s top engaging local government leaders. He was appointed to the Leadership Alabama Commission on Race and Equity and serves as a member of the USA College of Education and Professional Studies Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a graduate of Leadership Mobile and the Alabama Leadership Initiative.
Leadership in Government Fellow with the Open Society Foundations
Laura Wood is currently a Leadership in Government Fellow with the Open Society Foundations. She most recently served as Chief Democracy Officer for New York City, leading DemocracyNYC, a mayoral initiative whose mission is to increase voter participation and civic engagement. In 2021, she led a citywide campaign to educate voters on a new voting system called Ranked Choice Voting, reaching an estimated 90 percent of New Yorkers.
Prior to her city service, Laura spent five years as a senior advisor and special counsel to the New York State Attorney General.
Previously, Laura worked as Chief Counsel to the New York State Senate and clerked for Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Julio M. Fuentes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her J.D. from Northwestern and her B.A. from Brown University.
Mayor, City of Lancaster
Danene Sorace was elected to serve as the City of Lancaster’s 43rd Mayor in 2018, the second woman to hold this post. Before serving as Mayor, Danene served on City Council, chairing the finance committee. Her first taste of local government came while serving as executive director for an environmental organization that was actively partnering with the City of Lancaster to launch the City’s first-ever green infrastructure plan.
Danene brings more than twenty years of non-profit and philanthropy experience to the role of Mayor. She has a proven record of developing and implementing strategies to advance shared goals among public/private partners. Now in her second term as Mayor, she has set forth a vision to build a stronger, more equitable Lancaster, block by block. The City of Lancaster, under her leadership, is laser-focused on four strategic priorities: strong neighborhoods, safe places, sustainable economy, and sound government.
Danene spent her early years in Lancaster County and later moved to Juniata County, where she graduated high school. She graduated from Albright College and received her Master’s in Public Policy from Rutgers University.
Director of Neighborhood Engagement
Milzy Carrasco serves as the Director of Neighborhood Engagement and was appointed by Mayor Sorace in 2018. Under her leadership, the Department of Neighborhood Engagement created the Neighborhood Leaders Academy, where residents receive training and tools to improve their community.
Milzy has been instrumental in several of the City’s community programs, such as community and police engagement and launching a cross-department working group focused on neighborhood concerns.
Prior to her appointment, Mrs. Carrasco served twelve years as the Director of Community & Business Development for San Juan Bautista Church, the largest and only Hispanic Catholic Church in the Diocese of Harrisburg. She successfully led neighborhood efforts focusing on community advocacy and developing sustainable social enterprises benefitting residents of the southeast neighborhood of Lancaster City. Mrs. Carrasco previously held positions at the Emerald Foundation, where she led community development programming and fundraising efforts.
Miriam Ortega Brown
Miriam was born and raised in the City of Lancaster, and has served as a long-time community organizer for the city. Miriam led efforts in establishing the West Lancaster Jewels Neighborhood Group in the southwest quadrant of the city where she resides. Miriam as a passion for teaching and is employed with the School District of Lancaster.