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Resist, Refocus, Rebuild: Show Me What Democracy Looks Like

March 2, 2018 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Resist, Refocus, Rebuild

Show Me What Democracy Looks Like
Local Actions, Long-term Models, in an Era of Trumped-Up Politics


“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
—Louis D. Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1916-1939

Staggering income inequality, hostility to immigrants, racial bigotry, and reductions in public services in the midst of economic growth . . . these trends threaten our very democracy, and not for the first time in our history.

As the federal government fans the flames of these fires, how can local actors temper the impact of federal actions while building sustainable alternatives at the city and state level?

Some state and local campaigns have made significant headway in recent years. $15 and a union. A “millionaire’s tax” in New York. Preventing “wage theft.” Improving work standards in nail salons. Expanding health care coverage in New York that goes beyond the federal improvements.

The challenge is to expand on these local actions in ways that create sustainable models so when there are openings for national action, there are clearly worked out policies and programs which can be put into place.

In this discussion, some of New York’s most prominent voices on economic and racial inequality will delve into what can be done. Where are the front lines of conflict? What shows real potential for success?


Hector J. Figueroa, President, 32BJ Service Employees International Union
Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO/Executive Director, Federation for Protestant Welfare Agencies
Steve Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
David Dyssegaard Kallick, Deputy Director, Fiscal Policy Institute and Visiting Assistant Professor, Urban Economics, Pratt Institute

Lecture Series organized by Ron Shiffman, Professor Emeritus, GCPE

This event is free and open to the public.

Hold These Dates for Upcoming Lectures
April 6 | April 27 | May 4