June 14, 2019
“Just bearing witness is important.”
Jackie Zammuto leads the programmatic work in the United States of WITNESS, an organization that makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. We discuss how to use video more strategically and effectively for change, and how videos bring a human perspective to big complex challenges.
Alan Yarborough and Bill Steverson
June 7, 2019
“The practice of civil discourse really is about unlocking a way forward.”
Alan Yarborough is the communications coordinator in the Office of Government Relations of the Episcopal Church in Washington. Bill Steverson is a parishioner of the church in Tennessee. We discuss the power of civil discourse to engage despite disagreements, and finding common value with respect and humility to allow for a sacred space for debate.
May 31, 2019
“We have power to make the politically impossible possible.”
Marí Urbina is the National Political Director of Indivisible, an organization that cultivates a grassroots movement of thousands of local Indivisible groups to elect progressive leaders and realize bold progressive policies. We discuss the power of grassroots movements, speaking with one voice, and building an inclusive democracy.
May 24, 2019
“There's nothing more powerful than that in-person interaction.”
Brad Fitch is the President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, a non-partisan non-profit organization that educates constituents on how Congress works, giving them a stronger voice in policy outcomes. We discuss the power of in-person meetings, the necessary preparations for successful advocacy, and productive protest.
May 17, 2019
“Find a way to let your voice be heard.”
Julianne Hoffenberg is the Director of Operations of the Gathering For
Justice, a social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte in 2005.
We discuss the holistic, multi-pronged approach for effective advocacy, the
practice of Kingian non-violence, and the power of storytelling, art, and
culture for social change.
May 10, 2019
“Sometimes you protest because it’s the right thing to do.”
L.A. Kauffman is a movement journalist and a grassroots organizer for more than thirty-five years. We discuss her book, “How to Read a Protest, The Art of Organizing and Resistance”, the history of mass protests in America, the role of women organizing them, and the many effective forms that protest can take.
April 5, 2019
“We eviscerated the safety net for the truly, categorically needy.”
Kathryn Edin is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, who works in the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family, and life, through direct, in-depth observations of the lives of low-income populations. We discuss the evisceration of welfare, the rise of destitution, and the absolute necessity of cash in an advanced capitalist society.
March 22, 2019
“Parents can’t afford to pay and teachers can’t afford to stay.”
Gail Joseph is the Founding Executive Director of Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington and the Bezos Family Foundation Distinguished Professor in Early Learning. We discuss the critical importance of high-quality programs, the costs to society of not investing in this space, and the necessity of a well-educated early learning workforce.
March 8, 2019
“Without housing, nothing else is truly possible.”
Maria Foscarinis is the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and has advocated for solutions to homelessness at the national level since 1985. We discuss why housing is a human right, how criminalization of the homeless is both perverse and ineffective, and examine the leading reasons behind the affordable housing crisis.
March 2, 2019
“Education is not a process of checking a box along the course of someone's life but a deep investment in the future.”
Max Kenner is the founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative, a college that is spread across six interconnected prisons in New York State. We discuss the enduring value of the liberal arts, the immense power of an education on reducing recidivism, and the critical importance of deep investments in human beings.
February 22, 2019
"All the people on death row are poor."
Stephen Bright served as the director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, and is currently a lecturer at Yale Law School, as well as professor of practice at Georgia State College of Law. We discuss the death penalty in the United States and its relationship to poverty, race, and disadvantage.
Ross Morales Rocketto
February 15, 2019
“People are running because they have issues that they want to solve in their communities.”
Ross Morales Rocketto is co-founder of Run For Something, an organization that supports diverse, young progressives running for state and local office. We discuss which candidates win, why building a bench of local and state politicians is important, and how an increase of candidates leads to better voter turnout.
November 16, 2018
“Education should prepare kids for life.”
Ted Dintersmith is an avid education advocate and the author of “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America”. We discuss why developing a child’s human potential as a fulfilled and self-supporting citizen should be the top priority, and how equitable access to high quality education is imperative to achieve this goal.
November 9, 2018
“We as citizens aren't the fans. We’re the players.”
Ben Theodore is an avid community activist in Brooklyn, as well as a program associate at the NYC Department of Education. His passion for civic engagement shows how it can transform our society. We discuss the power of local politics and grassroots activism, our responsibility as citizens, and the importance of idealism in public policy and politics.
Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.
November 2, 2018
"The ballot box today acts like a time machine that takes us back about 10 years, demographically speaking.”
Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., is the CEO of PRRI, a leading scholar, and the author of “The End of White Christian America”. PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. We discuss how partisanship, demographic changes, and low voter turnout affect American society.
October 26, 2018
“I'm passionate about making sure that people who want to vote, can vote.”
Max Feldman serves as Counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, a nonpartisan institute that works to improve our democracy and judicial system. We discuss the powers of voting, the need to modernize election systems and enact pro-voter laws, as well as the rising trend of voter suppression since 2010.
Cristóbal J. Alex
October 19, 2018
“It's been pretty profound to see great Latino candidates exploding Latino turnout.”
Cristóbal Alex is the President of Latino Victory, an organization that is augmenting Latino political power by empowering the community’s voters, donors, and candidates. We discuss why it is essential to increase Latino representation in government and how a more inclusive politics benefits all Americans.
Phillip Polakoff, MD
October 12, 2018
"Is healthcare a right or a privilege? In my belief it's a basic right for all."
Phil Polakoff, MD, is a physician with a distinguished career in public health and clinical medicine, the CEO of A Healthier We, and a consulting professor at Stanford University of Medicine. We discuss how an emphasis on prevention coupled with innovations in healthcare access and delivery can help us share greater health and equity for all Americans.
October 5, 2018
“I would tell people to encourage them to participate in the census because when they are counted, they are seen, and resources can come to your community.”
Ashley Allison is the Executive Vice President of Campaigns and Programs at The Leadership Conference, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition. We discuss how the census is a cornerstone of our democracy. The data it provides is vital for delivering the resources and services that are necessary to sustain thriving communities.
Esther de Rothschild and Aicha Cherif
September 28, 2018
“Your vote does matter to someone you love, and that’s enough reason to just get up early on a Tuesday or mail in a ballot.”
Esther de Rothschild is the founder of The Love Vote, a platform where people who cannot vote, mobilize those who can. Together with Outreach Director Aicha Cherif, we discuss how love can be a strong motivator for voting. Eligible voters are moved to vote on behalf of their loved ones and give collective action a powerful boost.
September 21, 2018
“Our democracy simply works better when more citizens show up and participate.”
Brian Miller is the Executive Director of Nonprofit VOTE, an organization that partners with other nonprofits to integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities. We discuss the importance of promoting voter registration in excluded communities to achieve full representation, and the benefits of a non-partisan, in person approach to do so.
Pam Elam and Namita Luthra
August 24, 2018
“The more you understand history, the better agent of social change you can be.”
Pam Elam and Namita Luthra serve on the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Fund. Their Monumental Women campaign will bring the first statue commemorating real women to New York City’s Central Park in 2020. We discuss the importance of honoring women and their contributions to society in public spaces.
August 17, 2018
“There's a lot of money in the system that can move towards cash, and be used to end extreme poverty.”
Michael Faye is the president and co-founder of GiveDirectly, an organization that sends cash directly to people living in extreme poverty. We discuss why we should use cash as a new benchmark for international aid, unpack false assumptions about decision-making, and examine the benefits of universal basic income.
Rachel Leyland and Dr. Kendra Abel
August 3, 2018
“We have to stand up for what is right and it's not just about us. It's about the future of our children and their children.”
Rachel Leyland and Kendra Abel are public school teachers in Oklahoma City who participated in the walkout in April of 2018. We discuss how the walkout shed light on the problems caused by chronic underfunding of public education, the power of standing together to demand change, and the importance of supporting pro-education candidates for office.
July 27, 2018
“Our democracy can be something that's vibrant, something that's living and breathing.”
Scott Warren is the CEO and co-founder of Generation Citizen, an organization that works to ensure students in the United States receive an effective civics education. We talk about the unique power of political action to bring about change and the need to teach our youngest generations how to be active participants in our democracy.
July 20, 2018
“To win on the immigration front, we've got to have success on the civic engagement and voter turnout.”
Brent Wilkes is the former CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and a lifelong advocate for Latino rights. We discuss what fair and comprehensive immigration could be, the positive contribution by immigrant labor to the US economy, and how we can demand sound immigration policy at the ballot box.
July 13, 2018
“Our history shows that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees, and that we have benefited from that.”
Mark Hetfield is the President and CEO of HIAS, the oldest refugee assistance organization in operation. We discuss our humanitarian obligations to refugees, the tremendous benefits that they bring to American society, and bust the misconceptions about the current refugee situation in the US.
July 6, 2018
“Fighting corruption is not an end in and of itself, it's an effort toward improving society at large.”
Paul Lagunes is a Columbia University political scientist whose scholarship focuses on corruption in the Americas. His current book project is “Corruption and Oversight: Insights from Field Experiments”. We define corruption, discuss how it relates to democracy, and learn that voting is a tool to fight against it.
April 28, 2018
"The purpose of unions is to give workers a collective voice in relation to their employers."
Ruth Milkman is a sociologist of labor and labor movements, and Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. We examine the role of unions for workers, the main factors of de-unionization, and the potential leadership by millennials in this space.
April 21, 2018
"We need to keep reinventing our city."
Robert Hammond is the executive director and co-founder of Friends of the High Line, which was the driving force behind turning an abandoned elevated railroad in New York City into a public park. We discuss the essential role of a city’s public open spaces and how exhilarating it is to pursue your dreams.
April 14, 2018
"Being eligible for enrollment is so different than being ready to persist and complete degrees."
Nick Ehrmann is the founder and president of Blue Engine, which was borne from the discovery that the strongest predictor of college completion is sustained academic rigor in high school coursework. The organization re-imagines the classroom in order to teach students how to master core academic skills and be truly ready for college.
February 24, 2018
"The cheapest way to learn is from somebody else’s mistakes."
Joe Hartigan has cracked the code on how to effect change. He is a retired NYC Fire Department lieutenant and community activist since 1995. His passion, dedication, and consistency over many years brought about ferry service for the residents of Rockaway, Queens. Every community would benefit from a fervent advocate like Joe. We can become advocates for our communities by focusing on specific issues, joining forces, and staying persistent.