Americo Santiago is program and policy director for DemocracyWorks, where he coordinates its election and voting reform efforts and works on its legislative agenda. A Vietnam veteran, Americo was the national vice president of ACORN and vice president of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights Inc. in the 1980s. In 1986, he served one term as a Connecticut city councilman before being elected to the Connecticut legislature in 1988; he represented Bridgeport for three terms. Between 1995 and 1999, Santiago was assistant secretary of state for Connecticut, leading voter registration efforts in that office.
On October 30, 2002 Open Society Institute New York, convened a forum "Mass Imprisonment and the Disappearing Voters".
- The OSI Forum "Mass Imprisonment and the Disappearing Voters" focused on the impact of felony disenfranchisement laws in the United States. Moderated by Marc Mauer—assistant director of The Sentencing Project and editor of the book, Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment—a panel of criminal and social justice experts debated the issue of mass imprisonment and whether people convicted of felonies who have served their time should have the right to vote.
CPUSA 85th anniversary
About 100 labor and progressive activists packed the New Haven People's Center Dec. 5, 2004, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Communist Party USA at a reception hosted by the Connecticut Bureau of the People’s Weekly World.
Several state leaders in the movement for social change were honored, including Sharon Palmer, president of the American Federation of Teachers in Connecticut, Americo Santiago, program and policy director of DemocracyWorks, and the Rev. Scott Marks, New Haven director of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy.
Palmer, who coordinated labor’s activity in the 2nd Congressional district, spoke of being depressed at first after election results came in, then becoming angry and finally determined to continue the fight against the anti-labor, anti-people policies of the right-wing. Santiago, who initiated a successful campaign to restore voting rights to ex-felons, said grassroots activism has never been more vital than it is today. Rev. Marks delivered a powerful call to continue organizing door-to-door and developing new leaders to bring about change.