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Retaking The Commons In order to repair our current social contract, we must first repair our relationship to the Commons. Our economy currently prioritizes property protection, wealth protection, and disproportionate power, while often disregarding the realities of human life. Social movements can create a sense of mutuality, of what we hold in common, and amass power to retake the Commons. Turning to each other has never been more effective. The Solidarity Economy Solidarity economics is a system that focuses on mutuality in the form of co-ops, community land trusts, and other social movements. The key is to create experiences that widen the circle of belonging and everyone is valuable. For example, solidarity economics aims to increase workers' power in order to get better deals from their employers. It also creates alternative economic enterprises, government regulation to prevent abuses, and rewards high road businesses. The Benefit of Mutualism Operating in mutuality is the opposite of operating in self-interest. In many ways, our society has been built to reward those who are powered by self-interest, but the benefit of mutuality extends far beyond personal gain. Creating solidarity means building commonality between all types of communities. Social movements are at the heart of mutuality, since they foster a responsibility to one another. The more we practice mutuality, the more normal it becomes, and the greater the rewards that are delivered. FIND OUT MORE: Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. His latest books are South Central Dreams: Finding Home and Building Community in South L.A. (co-authored with Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo) and Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter (co-authored with Chris Benner). His previous works include State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future and Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas (co-authored with Chris Benner [UC Press 2015]). You can follow Manuel on Twitter @Prof_MPastor
Faith in the Social Contract As members of a society, we must have an understanding of “we” for the social contract to function. When citizens are put in a position of protecting the state or the economy instead of protecting its people, we all lose out. Faith can help us find a sense of togetherness. If we know who we’re fighting for, the sacrifice makes that much more sense. The pandemic has been a great example of both the wins and losses of living for the greater good. Beloved Community A beloved community is one that prioritizes having enough as opposed to having abundance. If everyone has enough to get by, then no one is left out. In this way, members of the community can shed the stress of the next meal or a roof over their heads, and instead are able to put resources and engagement into one another. A beloved community builds from the heart of our social contract through a faith in neighborliness and diplomacy. Mutual Aid The pillars of mutual aid are recognizing that there are no unworthy people and that everyone in the community is valued. In turn, people can get the help they need and ask for. For instance, in the vulnerability many experienced during the pandemic, mutual aid groups made it so if you needed food, you could rely on someone to help you with that need. Mutual aid does not depend on filling out applications to prove that you have a need, but instead a sense of trust in your community that asking for help will guarantee that help. FIND OUT MORE: The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the president of Auburn Seminary, a leadership development and research institute that equips bold and resilient leaders of faith and moral courage to build communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world. Founded more than 200 years ago by Presbyterians in upstate New York, Auburn is committed to right relationship with a truly multifaith, multiracial movement for justice. Rev. Jordan-Simpson preached her first sermon at the age of 17 at House of Prayer Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ, and was ordained by The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, a historic freedom faith congregation in Brooklyn, NY. Her ministry has been grounded in the call to community. She is a graduate of Fisk University (BA); Union Theological Seminary (M. Div), and Drew Theological Seminary (D. Min). She is the President of the Board of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York and serves on the Board of Directors of FPWA. You can follow Dr. Jordan-Simpson on Twitter at @RevEmmaJ
Technology in the Social Contract Increasingly, the design of new technology determines the way our society functions and the way we live. Simple design flaws like the lack of a mute button on Sony Camcorders ended up changing our laws on surveillance. We don’t elect the people that build our global technology landscape. In addition, once the technology is successful in the marketplace, its design is replicated without question. More Equitable Algorithms Algorithms have the power to harm us beyond individual privacy issues, in ways we don’t always see, such as their ability to discriminate based on race and even violate the integrity of an election. However, we’re not powerless in shaping how that landscape affects us. It’s important to prioritize our interests as citizens as opposed to the business interests of an online platform. Section 230 Section 230 is an old law that allows online platforms immunity from the impact of third-party content, meaning sites like Facebook are not liable for the posts created by anyone that uses it. It’s a blanket protection that recognizes the platforms as neutral. However, these online platforms are not neutral because they make decisions regarding what ads are shown or which posts are promoted. Essentially, Section 230 creates protections for online services that do, in fact, influence the public. FIND OUT MORE: Latanya Sweeney is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School. She has 3 patents, more than 100 academic publications, pioneered the field known as data privacy, launched the emerging area known as algorithmic fairness, and her work is explicitly cited in two U.S. regulations, including the U.S. federal medical privacy regulation (known as HIPAA). Dr. Sweeney is a recipient of the prestigious Louis D. Brandeis Privacy Award, the American Psychiatric Association's Privacy Advocacy Award, an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and has testified before government bodies worldwide. She earned her PhD in computer science from MIT in 2001, being the first black woman to do so, and her undergraduate degree in computer science from Harvard University. Dr. Sweeney creates and uses technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and teaches others how to do the same. You can follow Dr Sweeney on Twitter at @LatanyaSweeney
Tax Policy is Where It Starts What do our tax dollars really go towards? The truth is, so much of it is invisible. Tax dollars go towards helping homeowners through mortgage deductions or keeping prices low on your water bill. The money we spend on taxes has the power to shape our social contract, but it’s not always spent correctly. By focusing on tax policy first, we can control which programs and policies are funded and which are not. In this way, taxes are at the root of social change. Tax Fairness The topic of tax fairness is shrouded in the myth that America’s tax system is progressive. We tend to only talk about federal income taxes, which do in fact increase as you make more income. But we fail to recognize the unfairness of other taxes, like property and sales tax. For example, middle class families pay the same sales tax as the ultra-wealthy, and even renters end up paying property taxes at a rate equivalent to billionaires. When you look at the full scope of the tax burden, it really falls most heavily on middle- and lower-income families. Taxing Billionaires Billionaires don't have to pay taxes on their capital investments. They pay taxes when they sell their assets. However, billionaires are rarely in a position where they need to sell, thanks to loopholes in the system. For example, Jeff Bezos, who owns billions in Amazon stock, can take out huge loans at low interest rates, using his stock as collateral, avoiding any taxable event like selling stock. To effectively tax the ultra-wealthy, these loopholes can be closed by taxing annual gains of public stock whether they’ve been sold or not, much like a property tax assessment. FIND OUT MORE: Sarah Christopherson is the Legislative and Policy Director of Americans for Tax Fairness. She leads ATF’s advocacy efforts with Congress and coordinates the coalition’s policy work. Prior to joining ATF, she served as the Policy Advocacy Director for the National Women’s Health Network for five years, responsible for directing their advocacy efforts on federal health reform, among other issues. Christopherson also worked for Congress from 2005 to 2015, including serving as the Washington Director/Legislative Director to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA). There she directed the Member’s legislative agenda and led her tax, financial services, consumer protection, and federal budget portfolio. Christopherson has bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in foreign policy from George Washington University. You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @sarahcgchris.
Racism Bites Everybody Creating racist policies and ideologies is short-sighted. In the long run, these practices affect everyone, including white people. In 1978, older white voters in California decided they didn’t want their tax dollars going towards the funding of education for children who were increasingly non-white. To reflect this, Prop 13 capped property taxes and essentially led to a defunding of public education in the state, which families of every race and ethnicity rely on. Intersectionality History has shown that when the American social safety net becomes beneficial for people of color, support for the policies and programs diminish. For example, criminal justice started to be used more and more as a tool for social management after poverty programs in the 1960s allowed Black Americans to access it. Today these relationships between race and a social safety affect our entire society, across the landscape of labor, education outcomes, and incarceration. Abstract Fears Abstract fears are based on something people believe to be true, even though it is not part of their lived experience. For example, if someone believes that immigrants abuse Medicaid, they will fight against Medicaid as a whole, even if the program would be beneficial for them. Abstract fears and prejudices that are not rooted in reason erode the social contract because they block citizens from making decisions that benefit both their own lives and society at large. FIND OUT MORE: Eduardo Porter is an economics reporter for The New York Times, where he was a member of the editorial board from 2007 to 2012 and the Economic Scene columnist from 2012 to 2018. He began his career in journalism as a financial reporter for Notimex, a Mexican news agency, in Mexico City. He was a correspondent in Tokyo and London, and in 1996 moved to São Paulo, Brazil, as editor of América Economía, a business magazine. In 2000, he went to work at The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles to cover the growing Hispanic population. Porter is the author of The Price of Everything (2011), an exploration of the cost-benefit analyses that underpin human behaviors and institutions. His latest book is American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise (2020). You can follow Eduardo Porter on Twitter at @PorterEduardo
The Legacy of the Subminimum Wage The devaluation of Black lives and women's work is at the heart of the subminimum wage. Until the 1850s, restaurant workers were white men who were unionized and were tipped on top of a living wage. But business owners started hiring women and black people for free, making them rely on tips to make their living. This means that the customer—instead of the employer—is responsible for paying the worker. A century and a half later, the subminimum wage has increased to only $2.13. Tipped Work in the Pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how precarious tipped work is. Full time tipped workers, such as in bars or restaurants, often did not qualify for unemployment benefits because their tips were never reported, and it made them look ineligible for not having worked enough hours or earned enough pay. We have an opportunity to get rid of the subminimum wage by advocating for the Raise the Wage Act, supporting restaurants that pay their workers a livable wage, and demanding the same from businesses that don’t. Who Gets Paid Subminimum Wages? The restaurant industry makes up a big piece of the work force, but it’s not alone. Nail salon workers, car wash workers, parking attendants, sky caps at airports all work for tips. Subminimum wage laws also take advantage of a subset of people who are deemed ineligible for a proper minimum wage. Incarcerated workers are often paid even below the subminimum wage per hour; teenage workers produce the same work as adults but get paid less; and people with disabilities also perform the same as other workers but do not get paid the same amount. FIND OUT MORE: Saru Jayaraman is the President of One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. Saru has spent the last 20 years organizing and advocating for raising wages and working conditions for restaurant and other service workers. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was listed in CNN’s “Top 10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015, and the San Francisco Chronicle ‘Visionary of the Year’ in 2019. Saru has written several books, including Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning (UC Press, 2020), and most recently One Fair Wage: Ending Sub Minimum Pay in America (The New Press, 2021). You can learn more at onefairwage.com. You can follow Saru on Twitter at @SaruJayaraman
Our Responsibility to Defend the Truth Science denialism has existed as long as science has existed. As a part of our social contract, we’re responsible for challenging the spread of misinformation and understanding, especially when it comes to science. If we open ourselves up to these difficult conversations, we can offer up a path into more logical reasoning and avoid a culture where science and truth are rejected. Science Denialism is Dangerous All science denialism relies on a flawed blueprint of cherry-picking evidence, trusting conspiracy theories, trusting fake experts, and relying on illogical reasoning. The internet has given denialism a chance to be amplified, which is especially dangerous because it confuses people and muddies the line between fact and falsehood. Science denialism hurts us in so many ways, from killing our planet by ignoring climate change to taking lives because people don’t trust vaccines and masks. Technique Rebuttal Content rebuttal is using facts to combat false claims. Technique rebuttal is challenging the logic of the argument. It may seem logical to defend the truth with the facts, but you can make more progress by talking about the core of people’s beliefs. If someone has already made the choice to deny the facts, presenting them with even more facts will not be effective. Instead, build trust by making them feel heard, then point out inconsistencies in their reasoning and use facts judiciously. FIND OUT MORE: Lee McIntyre is a philosopher of science and the author of the 2018 book Post Truth. His new book How to Talk to a Science Denier, tries to figure out how we can have constructive dialogue with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason. Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and an Instructor in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. Formerly Executive Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, he has also served as a policy advisor to the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard and as Associate Editor in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. McIntyre is the author of several books, including Post-Truth, Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age, and How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason. Other work has appeared in such popular venues as the The New York Times, Newsweek, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Statesman, the Times Higher Education Supplement, and The Humanist. You can follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeCMcIntyre
The Social Contract and Our Bodies The pandemic has given us a glimpse into the ways our health is woven into the social contract. The high number of deaths from COVID are the result of the government’s failure to collaborate with international organizations and with our own state lawmakers. We leaned on essential care workers, many of whom are people of color. And yet, they often lacked PPE, challenging what it really means to be “essential.” The Inequality of Health Racism is a preexisting health condition in the United States. COVID unveiled the institutional and infrastructural inequalities that have existed in our healthcare system for decades, which we see with the alarming rates of death among Black and Latino children. These inequalities and social stereotypes affect every corner of healthcare. For example, Black adults are 2 to 6 times more likely to suffer an amputation than a white adult, especially for common conditions like diabetes. Women’s Health Increasingly, aspects of women’s health, such as reproduction, pregnancy, abortion, birth, and motherhood have been criminalized in the United States. Criminalization especially affects Black and brown women so that medical care has become a weapon to turn health issues like a stillbirth into a criminal offense. However, in creating these sorts of precedents, all women—regardless of race—are then subject to suffering under this weaponization of healthcare, which we see happening across the country right now. FIND OUT MORE: Michele Goodwin is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California Irvine and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy. She is the recipient of the 2020-21 Distinguished Senior Faculty Award for Research, the highest honor bestowed by the University of California. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, as well as an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Hastings Center (the organization central to the founding of bioethics). She is an American Law Institute Adviser for the Restatement Third of Torts: Remedies. Goodwin has won national awards for excellence in scholarship, outstanding teaching, and committed community service. Gov. Paul Patton of Kentucky commissioned her a Colonel, the state’s highest title of honor for her outstanding contributions to K-12 education. She’s the recipient of the Be The Change Award, the Sandra Day O’Connor Legacy Award by the Women’s Journey Foundation, and was named Teacher of the Year by the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association in 2018. Goodwin received a commendation from the United States House of Representatives for Outstanding Teaching.  You can follow Michele Goodwin on Twitter at @michelebgoodwin
Racial Injustice in the Climate Crisis Economic and racial injustices are at the center of the climate crisis. White communities have largely avoided things like polluting power plants and detrimental pipelines in their neighborhoods. Instead, communities of color have faced that burden. The willingness to sacrifice communities of color has made it easier for governments to tolerate climate chaos. Aiding Youth Activism Successful social movements often start with activism by young people, and in fact cannot be successful without them. However, it’s up to the adults in our democracy to make sure their voices are heard since they are the ones who can vote and have the financial resources. It’s been proven that just 3.5% of a population can topple a dictatorship. What can it do for climate justice? Disruptive Humanitarianism Disruptive humanitarianism challenges the status quo and forces the system to change immediately for the better. It counters the idea that it’s everyone for themselves. It can be as simple as planting a garden where a pipeline is being placed. Taking action together in a democracy is imperative because it’s hard to create change as an individual. FIND OUT MORE: Keya Chatterjee is Executive Director of US Climate Action Network and author of The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. Her work focuses on building an inclusive movement in support of climate action. Prior to joining USCAN, Keya served as Senior Director for Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she worked for eight years. Before that, she was a Climate Change Specialist at USAID. Keya also worked at NASA headquarters for four years, communicating research results on climate change. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco from 1998 to 2000. She served on the board of the Washington Area Bicycling Association from 2013 to 2021. Keya received her Master's degree in Environmental Science, and her Bachelor's in Environmental Science and Spanish from the University of Virginia. You can follow Keya on Twitter @keya_chatterjee.
Architecture of Opportunity We lose talent in our society when we overlook those from poor backgrounds or minority families. For example, Lost Einsteins are children who harness above-average skills, but don’t have a chance to invent and create later in their lives because they lack access to opportunity. John Rawls' Veil of Ignorance provides the template for a just society where the luck of your birth need not be a factor in your life’s outcomes. The Importance of Childcare Our social contract has widely depended on women to provide free labor to care for children and the household. Because of the imbalance in structures like maternity leave, the gender pay gap can largely be attributed to children. By investing in affordable and accessible quality childcare, our society will benefit from the productivity and talents of all the women who are now subject to this child penalty. The New Social Contract with Business Global corporate taxes have been lowering for decades as countries fight to attract major corporations. Using taxes to invest in our society is part of the social contract, and a minimum global corporate tax will ensure that large companies can no longer shirk this responsibility. In addition, the current economic model lacks any measurement of how we degrade our environment. If these costs were measured, a carbon tax can be designed to reflect them and incentivize sound choices about our environment. FIND OUT MORE: Baroness Minouche Shafik is the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is a leading economist whose career has straddled public policy and academia. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she received her MSc at the London School of Economics and her DPhil at the University of Oxford. By the age of 36, she had become the youngest ever Vice President of the World Bank. She’s taught at Georgetown University and the Wharton Business School. She later served as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development from 2008 to 2011, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from 2011-2014, and as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England from 2014-2017. Baroness Shafik has served on and chaired numerous boards and currently serves as a Trustee of the British Museum, the Supervisory Board of Siemens, the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the Economy Honours Committee. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2015. In July 2020, she was made a crossbench peer in the House of Lords. Her new book is What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract.
The Social Contract The state of nature is a human condition that exists in any space that lacks a civil authority. With the social contract, we're prepared to make a deal with each other in order to live together as best we can and exit the state of nature. Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau expressed versions of the social contract that influence governments around the world today. Co-Creating Reality We are all co-creators of our community politics and social outcomes. The ancient Greeks embraced civic thought as a pervasive and abiding concern for the matters belonging to the community in common. Classical ideas can provide a lens for choosing to embrace or to abandon the obligation to sustain and participate in a mutually beneficial reality. Mutual Aid Where is the social contract working today? In response to the pandemic, mutual aid sprung up to meet people’s needs in many communities. Members participate as much as they're able to and ask for what they need. In doing so, the group can work together to sustain and provide for its members.  FIND OUT MORE: Melissa Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics and the Director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. Her research and teaching are focused in the area of the history of political thought, with a special expertise in ancient Greek thought, and in normative political philosophy, including especially environmental ethics and politics. She is an associated faculty member in the Princeton Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy. Her books include The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter (PUP, 2015); Plato’s Progeny (Duckworth, 2001); and Method and Politics in Plato’s Statesman (CUP, 1998). At Princeton, she was the first director of the Program in Values and Public Life, and is co-chair of the Steering Committee for Service and Civic Engagement and of the Climate Futures Initiative. She received a Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize in 2015. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2009, she taught in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge and was a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. She is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Royal Historical Society, and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA).
Our all-new season is all about something that we most often hear about in terms of its brokenness: the social contract. We will be asking big questions about how we live together, what we owe each other, what we can ask of governments, and how we can repair what’s broken, renegotiate what never worked, or what’s not working anymore. 
Subscribe to Some of My Best Friends Are at http://podcasts.pushkin.fm/futurehindsight This week, we're sharing an episode of Some of My Best Friends Are...  The show is hosted by Khalil Muhammad and Ben Austen, two best friends who grew up together on the South Side of Chicago in the '80s. Khalil is Black; Ben is white. They invite listeners into their conversations about the absurdities and intricacies of race in America. Mixing anecdotes, entertaining storytelling, and thoughtful debate, Some of My Best Friends Are... helps listeners make sense of our deeply divided country. In this episode, Khalil and Ben tell each other for the first time about trips they each took to prisons abroad. Ben traveled to Finland and Norway. Khalil traveled to Germany. They ask: How did the Nazi occupation influence Germany’s modern day prison industrial complex? How is the prison guard and inmate dynamic in Norwegian facilities different from America? They dish on what made these trips so monumental and talk about whether America could ever replicate the models they observed.
Intersectionality As an Assemblymember, González-Rojas works to address a variety of intersectional issues facing her community, ranging from housing to healthcare. Her prior experience as a reproductive justice advocate has trained her well for intersectional lawmaking, which is often siloed by the political process. This approach serves the people most marginalized and helps create dynamic bills that tackle multiple areas of injustice to help constituents. Excluded Workers’ Rights Excluded workers are not protected by many of the labor laws that govern most sectors, which include undocumented, part-time, and contract workers. They perform critical duties in our economy and have little recourse against various forms of exploitation and discrimination. During the COVID pandemic, excluded workers were labeled ‘essential’, and should be protected because they protect us and our economic system. Reimagining Public Financing New York City has publicly subsidized elections, but New York State and most of the rest of the country do not. An easy way to help democracy is to pass sweeping campaign finance reform to level the playing field and remove wealth from the equation. This allows a new crop of diverse voices and perspectives to succeed in elections, creating stronger, broader, legislation to help all Americans, not just rich ones. FIND OUT MORE: Jessica González-Rojas serves in the New York State Assembly representing the 34th Assembly District, which includes the diverse Queens communities of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Woodside and Corona. She is an unapologetic social justice leader fighting for the values of dignity, justice, and equity. Jessica has dedicated her life – on both the local and national level – to fight for immigrant rights, racial justice, and gender equity. For 13 years, Jessica served in leadership at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, the only national reproductive justice organization that is dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 29 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over two decades. Jessica successfully forges connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latinx civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence. Jessica is a long-time leader in community and electoral politics. Prior to running for State Assembly in 2020, she was elected to the New York State Committee from 2002-2006. She has received proclamations from the New York State Senate, New York State Assembly, New York City Comptroller and New York City Council for her local and national advocacy. You can follow her on Twitter @votejgr.
Youth Vote Power Young people wield a lot of power when they vote. A whopping 73% of youth who were registered to vote by NextGen turned out to vote. This type of turnout can change the outcome of an election. Because voting is a habit, investing in youth leads to long-lasting change in the electorate. Letting young people know the power they have can make a tremendous difference. Voting Rights and Immigrants The current battle over immigrants is not just about immigration. It is also about race, power, and voting. Purging naturalized citizens, preventing DACA recipients from becoming citizens, and undercounting in the US census are all efforts to enact racist policies and to suppress votes. Keep the Door Open When Cristina first organized undocumented workers in Texas, she was met with hostility from pro-labor unions. Over time, they realized the work she was doing benefited everyone, and are now her allies. Leaving the door open for others to change their mind and work with you is a valuable tool that can yield positive results. FIND OUT MORE: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is a civil rights leader and former 2020 U.S. Senate candidate. She has spent the last twenty years taking on some of the most powerful special interests in her home state of Texas, organizing construction workers, immigrant mothers and young voters to build a government and economy that works for all of us. Today, Cristina is the Executive Director of NextGen America, the nation’s largest youth voting rights organization. NextGen has registered and mobilized millions of young people to the polls, with the goal of harnessing the power of young people to reshape the political outcomes of our country – not for an election cycle but a generation. Previously, Cristina founded two of Texas’ largest voting and civil rights organizations. She founded Jolt, a statewide organization focused on mobilizing the Latino vote, when she was six-months pregnant and in the wake of the 2016 election. Under her leadership, Jolt mobilized tens of thousands of young Latinos and developed some of the nation’s most creative strategies to engage young Latinos, like #Poderquince that supports young quinceañeras to use their sweet 15 birthdays as a platform to register and mobilize Latino voters. You can follow her on Twitter @cristinafortx.
The Power of State Legislatures State legislatures pass the laws that affect our daily lives. When Democrats won the ‘trifecta’ in Virginia in 2019, they controlled both chambers of the House and the governor’s office. Immediately, they passed voting rights legislation, abolished the death penalty, improved the criminal justice system, abolished no-knock warrants, and more. Purple District Network Sister District identified a gap in resources for legislators from purple districts. The Purple District Network focuses on providing support by sharing best practices, governance techniques, and strategies for being effective. They also give lawmakers access to alumni of their program, allowing for mentorship, networking, and strategizing across state lines. Redistricting Flipping and holding districts is key to progressive strategies in 2021-22, especially because of the redistricting process after the 2020 census. Democrats were unable to take any state legislatures back from Republican control last year. However, several states do have bipartisan redistricting commissions, which will make redistricting fairer for Democrats; and there are several competitive upcoming state races. FIND OUT MORE: Lala Wu is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of Sister District. Since its founding in 2016, Sister District has raised millions in small dollar donations directly for candidates and reached out to voters through doors, calls, texts, and postcards on behalf of over 100 state legislative candidates in key swing districts. Lala has successfully led the expansion of the organization's volunteer infrastructure to over 50,000 and has also led the development of strategic partnerships with local and national organizations such as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, Human Rights Campaign, Vote Save America, and more. Prior to Sister District, Lala clerked for federal judges in the Northern District of California and the District of Massachusetts. She was also an attorney at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco and Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in Denver where she counseled renewable energy and real estate clients on land use, regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters. Lala graduated from U.C. Berkeley, School of Law and Barnard College of Columbia University. While at Berkeley, she served as Co-President of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative and successfully represented a Chinese asylum-seeker through the California Asylum Representation Clinic. You can follow her on Twitter @_lala_wu.
Helping Diverse First Time Candidates Run Since its founding, Run for Something has helped elect 515 young, local officials across 46 states. A third of those elected officials are between 25 and 30, 10% are between the ages of 18 and 24, a third are women of color, and 11% are LGBTQ. Electing young diverse candidates compounds on itself. After transwoman Danica Roem was elected in 2017, many other trans people decided to run for office. Local and State Races Run for Something focuses on local and state elections because of their impact on people’s daily lives. Members of state legislatures have control over election administration, school boards have real power over what children learn, city and municipal officials have real control over police reform, and more. Winning local office is often easier to achieve than state or national leadership and has more direct impact on constituents. Better Governance Electing younger, more diverse candidates has resulted in better governance. Jessica Ramos of New York State has introduced groundbreaking legislation to combat wage theft; Florida State Rep Ana Eskamani helped more than 30,000 Floridians access unemployment insurance; and Texas State Rep James Talarico helped lower the price on insulin in his state. FIND OUT MORE: Amanda Litman is the co-founder and executive director of Run for Something, which recruits and supports young, diverse progressives running for down-ballot office. Since launching in 2017, RFS has identified more than 75,000 young people who want to run, endorsed nearly 1,500 and elected nearly 500 across 46 states, mostly women and people of color. Politico named Run for Something (and Amanda) one of the 50 ideas driving politics in 2018. Bloomberg called her one of the people to watch in 2019. Fortune named her to their annual 40 under 40 list in 2020. Before launching Run for Something, Amanda worked as a digital strategist — she served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the digital director for Charlie Crist's 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign, the deputy email director for Organizing for Action, and an email writer for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @amandalitman.
Pro-Choice Democratic Women Eleanor’s Legacy specifically helps pro-choice Democratic candidates for several reasons. First, due to a long-standing Republican majority in the state legislature, New York State had not codified Roe v. Wade protections until 2019. Second, not all Democrats are pro-choice, and Eleanor’s Legacy only supports candidates who are pro-choice. Lastly, clearly stating your values and building your brand always helps in politics. Importance of State and Local Office Controlling state and local office can mean huge differences for everyday voters. When Democrats took control of the New York State legislature in 2019, they significantly expanded access to voting, immediately protected abortion rights, began to address climate change, and protected survivors of childhood sexual abuse. None of these laws would have been passed if Democrats hadn’t won in local elections. Healthy Political Landscape Although things are improving politically in New York, there is still work to be done to create a truly healthy political landscape. For instance, voter turnout needs to climb beyond the usual 20%. Just as important, more women need to be elected to executive roles. The gains made by women in local and state offices are promising. However, electing a woman mayor of NYC would go a long way in creating a healthier political landscape. FIND OUT MORE: Brette McSweeney is the president of Eleanor’s Legacy, the only statewide organization in New York focused on recruiting, training, and funding pro-choice Democratic women candidates at the state and local level. She was a member of the New York Leadership Council for Hillary for America in 2016 and the deputy New York State director for women’s outreach in 2008. Brette is a graduate of Georgetown and Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @blmcsweeney.
Normalize Black Women’s Leadership Normalizing Black women’s leadership means that it is as plausible to have a Black woman represent a majority-white district as it is to have a white man represent a majority-Black district. Supporting Black women candidates in all districts will allow more qualified, more diverse candidates everywhere. Political Power of Black women Black women are the building blocks of successful political coalitions on any level of government. They were instrumental in Obama’s election, the “Blue Wave” in 2018, and in 2020. They are the best return on our voting investment because they also organize their families, neighborhoods, churches, unions, and other social groups. Black women have immense political power. Participating in Democracy Voting is only a starting point for participating in our democracy. Organizing for a cause, proposing legislation, and holding power accountable are all ways to be governing partners for our elected officials all year long. By being active participants, we create an environment to innovate our democracy and shape public policy. FIND OUT MORE: Glynda C. Carr is at the center of the national movement to grow Black women’s political power from the voting booth to elected office. In 2011, she and Kimberly Peeler-Allen co-founded Higher Heights to address the dearth of organizing resources for politically active Black women and the lack of support for prospective candidates seeking elected office. Through her leadership, the organization has developed several innovative programs and efforts that have quickly solidified its reputation as the political home and go-to resource for progressive Black women. Carr is the co-creator of #BlackWomenLead—a powerful coalition movement that is creating an environment for Black women to run, win, and lead—and the Higher Heights-powered #BlackWomenVote, a nonpartisan voter-activism campaign that serves as an independent and trusted voice for Black women’s political concerns. Her work to date has helped to elect 11 Black women to the U.S. Congress, including one to the Senate, and increase the number of Black women holding statewide executive office, including helping to elect the first Black woman to serve as New York State attorney general. You can follow her on Twitter @GlyndaCarr.
Qualifications Women need to highlight their credentials early and often, particularly in economics. Voters do recognize that women understand kitchen table issues and that they mostly shoulder the emotional labor of a family. Effective campaigns use action-oriented language that illustrates how women are effective leaders in a crisis, will be accountable team leaders, and listen to experts and constituents. Finally, women who appear likable are more electable. Addressing Sexism Voters expect women candidates to call out sexism. It’s a chance for a woman to show how she can stand up for herself and, in turn, for her constituents. Gender bias against women is common among both men and women. Confronting these biases—such as ending the double standard in what we perceive as required qualifications—will make it possible for more women to run for office. Building a Pipeline of Women Candidates Electing a woman to the White House requires building a pipeline of strong women candidates in public office nationwide. Writing grants and working with groups that promote women make it possible for more women to win elections. When we see more and more powerful women in politics, gender stereotypes are less likely to be reinforced. FIND OUT MORE: Amanda Hunter leads the Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s nonpartisan efforts to advance women’s political equality and increase women’s representation. With extensive communications experience, Amanda brings her strategic insight to the Foundation’s work. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Amanda was the Foundation’s Research and Communications Director. In this role, she was responsible for promoting the Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s mission to advance women’s representation in American politics by leading all research and communications efforts. Previously, Amanda served as Director of Marketing and Communications at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, America’s first museum of modern art, and as Senior Press Representative at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, leading media relations efforts on events like The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and Kennedy Center Honors. She also served as Deputy Communications Director at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade association for record companies. You can follow her on Twitter @ahuntah.
Comments (18)

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Mar 8th
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Jan 6th
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Uncle Boozley

(in the USA at least) the Federal minimum wage in general is tricky, especially when dealing with localized economies. When $15 can purchase more or less than in one place as compared to another. Is it fair to business's small to large whom are required pay a minimal amount as a flat rate? A livable wage is an amount realitive to the local economy is it not?

Dec 7th
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Emanual Jennings

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Nov 3rd
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Ali

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Oct 25th
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scissorqueen08

this is a very narrow perspective.

Dec 13th
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Ginger Bomb

Family care giver's not just for elders, but the special needs children that doesn't allow a parent to return back to the workforce. We live to take care of our families, we have no self value anymore bc we can't contribute to our family's finical needs, we struggle living on one income, no longer able to have a savings, to be able to be self sufficient, we're barely surviving, & I don't want pity, I want help to have a life that's fulfilled for everyone! Things must change, we.owe it to the one's who can't do it for themselves!

Dec 10th
Reply

Trey Kirkpatrick

some of your comments and rhetoric about gavin mcginnis, and jordan Peterson are very negative opinions. though some of the views are radical,non of them have ever been homophobic,racist, or bigoted. Jordan Peterson is an asshole, but he doesn't hate anyone,nor has expressed hatred for anyone else. I personally used to be extremely liberal.until I actually started researching the actual events,persons,and stipulations of there speeches. many times the actual speech and message has been hijacked, edited and spun in a completely false narrative. both of the people that were discussed on your program refused to use gender pronouns, but they do not refuse the human rights of thses people or groups. in my opinion, there are far less people In this country that are actually racist,bigoted, or homophobic. most people I know just want to be safe,happy, and loved. the media on both sides,just wants to divide us as a country. knowledge is power, think for yourself,do research, find the real truth. then, and only then draw a conclusion. Question everything you are told and see. it's the only way we can rise up. love is the answer, and there is alot more of it ,that the media wants to hide from you. politics, and politicians are not your friends,hold them responsible. they do not have and fiduciary duty towards us. they work for their best interests. not ours. thanks for reading this , spread love every chance you get. "you could always be nicer "( Dalai Lama)

Sep 19th
Reply (1)

Mahan

A powerful episode. thankyou all

May 18th
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Sharon Reimer

Let's do it!!!!

Apr 10th
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Arielle Niss

🤩♥️ love this show

Mar 13th
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so good

Mar 10th
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Okamifan1 Productions

Never subscribed to this trash. Dont need notification #garbage

Mar 9th
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Donald Moyer III

who are you?

Mar 9th
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