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To see what sessions are on tap for Netroots Nation 2022, browse our searchable agenda below. We’re adding sessions every week, so check back often!

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Dying to Breathe: The Need for a Green New Deal for the Steel Industry

Steel and concrete manufacturing constitute the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions accounting for 30% of U.S. climate pollution. Beyond greenhouse gases, these industries produce highly toxic pollution that causes diseases like cancer and respiratory illnesses in communities near the fencelines of industrial plants. In this panel, we will explore the challenges for the climate justice movement in the context of the production of steel. Experts will walk through campaign strategies including grassroots organizing, media tactics, and lobbying to advocate for U.S. steel producers to become among the cleanest in the world while supporting working class families and communities of color.

Led by: Hebah Kassem

Panelists: Ben Beachy, Anna Fendley, Maralyn O'Brien

Defenders of Democracy: The Battle for Choice at the State and Local Level

Join us for a discussion about the role state and local leaders can play in defending abortion at the state level. We’ll talk about the intersections of abortion rights and voting rights and how we can protect the rights that are slowly being chipped away on the federal level.

Led by: Monique Alcala

Panelists: Emily Cain, Julie Gonzales, Jennifer McClellan

Collective Liberation Starts with United Power Building

This panel will explore collective liberation and what putting this concept into motion means for power building in our communities. We will hear from Black, Indigenous, and Asian American and Pacific Islander grassroots organizations and community leaders who are linking arms on some of the most pressing issues of our time. We will learn how incorporating all communities into your power building strategy can lead to a new vision of our future.

Led by: Michael Johnson

Panelists: Tiffany Chang, Lycia Maddocks, Colette Pichon Battle, Tammi Tiger

A Threat to Racial Justice: Criminalizing Protest and State Interference

The right to dissent, protest, and engage in participatory local democracy is fundamentally American. These freedoms have been particularly important over the last few years, as more Americans than ever before began taking to the streets to protest racism in America. In response, many conservative state legislatures began a new wave of attacks on democracy and democratic institutions in 2021, resulting in 10 states criminalizing protest and four states banning localities from cutting police budgets. This session will examine this trend through a case study of Florida’s HB1 which passed in 2021 and is currently facing a community-centered legal challenge on behalf of multiple Florida municipalities.

Led by: Katie Belanger

Panelists: Beth Foster, Gail Johnson, Francesca Menes, Melissa Roy

Turns Out TV Ads Do Matter: Inspiring Stronger Democratic Messaging

Ever get the sense that Democratic ads aren’t as persuasive as they could be? You’re not wrong, and this panel has the receipts. This will be an overview discussion of the origins, results, and future of a multi-year research and creative project that’s encouraging Democrats make and run paid media that’s more inspiring and effective, and close the five decade advantage in ideas marketing that Republicans have opened up.

Led by: Kristian Ramos

Panelists: Gretchen Barton, Cheryl Contee, Jehmu Greene

The Time for Digital Accessibility is NOW

The time for digital accessibility is now. More than 500 lawsuits were filed in 2021 against companies whose digital accessibility wasn’t in compliance with the law—and nonprofits are not exempt from these lawsuits. Folks with disabilities have $3B in disposable income, and they are inadvertently being turning away by companies not in compliance. It’s time for all organizations to adopt a policy of full digital accessibility. Disability justice is often the last frontier and most often forgotten aspect of DEI work. Let’s change that and create digital spaces that are welcoming to all.

Led by: Jen Frazier

Panelists: Tie Hardy, Kelly Russell, Steve Spohn, Pam Trozp

Big Tech's Threat to Democracy: The Double-Edged Sword of Social Media

While many activists rely on Big Tech tools to organize, social media poses an existential threat to democracy. From January 6 to anti-mask protests, the impact of growing radicalization and extremism driven by Big Tech is evident in the U.S. and beyond. As disinformation on social media has spread around the world, we face a growing global crisis of confidence in democratic values spurred by algorithmic pursuit of endless corporate profit. This panel will discuss possible solutions to preserve election integrity beyond just the U.S. elections in 2022, including how we can embrace digital organizing more safely with or without Big Tech’s tools. We must hold Big Tech to account—and to do so, we must recognize realistic alternatives to the current toxic business model.

Led by: Kaili Lambe

Panelists: Rose Lang-Maso, Sofia Ongele, Rafael Shimunov, Brittany Williams

TikTok, Influencers, and Breaking the Hiring Model

In 2022, it’s not enough to just hire diverse staff: campaigns need to decentralize campaign power so that political movements can exist beyond the bounds of what (oftentimes white, male and wealthy) leaders find relatable. In early 2021, Community Change and Social Currant teamed up to find a way to crack a new model on creator-first social media platforms. Instead of giving more money to established consultants and platforms run by billionaires, we decided to hire our target demographic to actually lead the work. In this panel, TikTok influencers and digital strategists will discuss what went right, what we messed up, and how campaigns can test our model in the midterms and beyond.

Led by: Mikka Kei Macdonald

Panelists: Ellie Artone, Eve Levenson, Ashwath Narayanan

Pennsylvania’s Plan to Take on the Corporations Harming Our Democracy

In 2020, Pennsylvania movement organizations took to the streets to defend democracy. These threats are no longer unique, and the suppression of BIPOC votes are increasingly funded by billionaires and corporations. In 2021, Jeff Yass—bolstered by the state’s lack of campaign finance laws—flooded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court race and local school board races with white supremacist, anti-union agendas. Join us to hear about the next frontier to defend democracy–taking on those directly bankrolling disenfranchisement.

Led by: Arielle Klagsbrun

Panelists: Veronica Coptis, Khari Mosley, Eric Rosso, Bishop Dwayne Royster

Putting Human Rights at the Center of U.S. Foreign Policy

Rising authoritarianism demands a credible progressive response that goes beyond slogans. How do we respond to the Uyghur Genocide and the crisis in Ukraine? How do we address the root causes of the global migration crisis and international terrorism? The world looks to the United States for leadership at a time when we no longer believe we should lead or even care. At a moment of national disunity, progressives have an opportunity to articulate a clear answer. Join us to hear from authentic voices regarding the dangers facing indigenous communities abroad and re-envision what a principled U.S. foreign policy looks like and can do for the world.

Led by: Iman Awad

Panelists: Rushan Abbas, Wa'el Alzayat, Natasha Hall

The Power of Personal Storytelling: Using Your Story to Change Hearts, Minds and the World

You can use your personal story to change hearts and minds. This is especially true of life-changing experiences. These activists have learned from their personal journeys and then advocated for legislation, mentored other activists, and written and created programs and organizations. They’ve also held elected officials accountable and raised money. They will share what they have learned about using personal stories to change the world—and how you can too, no matter what issue you want to work on.

Led by: Laura Packard

Panelists: Melissa Byrne, Mat Cusick, Elena Hung, Alicia Johnson

Dollars and Despots: Insecurity, Automation and Authoritarianism vs. UBI

The erosion of democracy and rise of support for authoritarianism cannot be disconnected from the rise of economic insecurity and inequality, alongside the increasing adoption of automating technologies and the subsequent decades of stagnant wages. What are the interactions between income and authoritarian support? How can economic security both inoculate democracies against autocracy and empower citizens to engage more in the process of self-government? Is universal basic income a kind of vaccine for a healthy democracy? This session will explore such questions and more through the perspectives of entrepreneurship, academia, government, and grassroots organizing.

Led by: Scott Santens

Panelists: Oliver Beasley, Megan Caska, Michael Goodhart, Conrad Shaw

Dobbs and Roe: Queer, Gender-Expansive Visions for Abortion Care

Join us for an all-LGBTQIA+ panel to discuss the impact of the Dobbs decision on the LGBTQIA+ community through an intersectional lens.

Led by: Jessica Semler

Panelists: Cori Fraser, Malcolm Kenyatta, La'Tasha D. Mayes

Lessons Learned Working in Coalitions Since Everything’s Gone Digital

How can we build the kind of partnerships we need to advance justice together, when so much of what we do is suddenly almost entirely online? In this session we’ll look at how organizations are re-evaluating how they allocate their time and resources so they can build effective coalitions and relationships in a hybrid world. Can policy work be done together asynchronously? What can go right–or wrong–when there’s less true face time? And what can we do about it?

Led by: Wintana Melekin

Panelists: Orlando Jones, Jr., Ashley Robinson, Adam Sweat

Examining Consolidation in Progressive Tech

After a wave of consolidation in recent years, many of the most utilized tech and data tools in progressive organizing are now owned by a limited number of corporate and private equity entities. Many have criticized these moves, but an informed public debate has been absent. This diverse panel will examine consolidation in progressive tech and data, understanding why it has come to pass and discussing what the impact on our organizing work is—and might be. This will be a nuanced debate, featuring panelists with deep understandings of these issues from their respective roles across the organizing and tech spaces.

Led by: Ron Knox

Panelists: Kate Gage, Morgan Harper, Hillary Lehr

Solving the Climate Crisis Starts With Combatting Disinformation

Climate disinformation reduces our ability to pass climate policy, and we aren’t doing nearly enough to stop climate disinformation from spreading. It is no exaggeration to say we have recently witnessed both the worst climate disinformation and the greatest opportunities to stop it. Using research and case studies from 2021 (Texas power outage, Biden’s April climate plan, and the COP26 conference), this panel will present the challenges disinformation poses the climate movement. We’ll build an evidence base for stronger corporate policies, broader regulation, and transparency. Finally, panelists will discuss the regulatory and legislative paths available to fight climate disinformation head-on.

Led by: Melissa Ryan

Panelists: Allison Fisher, Michael Khoo, Phil Newell, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Inflation and Corporate Profiteers: Protecting Workers, Families, and Small Businesses

Inflation is high and people nationwide are feeling the squeeze from the grocery aisles to the gas pump. But the costs of rent, food, and necessities are rising far beyond what’s needed to cover an increased cost of doing business—and greedy corporate profiteers are laughing all the way to the bank with record high profit margins. What’s going on with inflation? What can we do right now to protect workers, families, and small businesses squeezed by high prices? How did a few earnings calls help turn the tide on one of the biggest economic stories of the year? Come find out.

Led by: Rakeen Mabud

Panelists: Genny Castillo, Katy Milani, Noreen Nielsen

Can Democrats Speak to Black-specific Racial Issues and Win?

This panel will directly test the assumption that leading with and speaking explicitly and directly to black-only issues is a political liability for the Democratic establishment. Join us as we present research and recommendations for engaging Black voters authentically on economic, education, rights, and justice issues during the midterms.

Led by: Kwesi Chappin

Panelists: Risa Brown, Janay Cody, Sian Lewis, W. Mondale Robinson

Avoiding Past Mistakes: Lessons Learned in Virginia in 2021

What really happened in Virginia in 2021? What will progressives in other states learn from this panel that they can use in 2022 elections–especially down ballot? Hot takes abounded in the days and months following GOP victories in Virginia last fall, but this unique panel has the antidote: real facts and hard data. This panel will tear down existing narratives to expose what progressives need to learn for this fall–and beyond.

Led by: Brian Devine

Panelists: Jamaa Bickley-King, Carolyn Fiddler, Jennifer McClellan, Tram Nguyen, Alexsis Rodgers

Building the Bench: Racial Equity and Diversity Downballot

While it’s no secret this will be a challenging midterm year, we must not lose sight of the tremendous opportunities this year offers as well. In many states and districts—some of them surprising—we have the opportunity to not only hold the line but also expand our gains, particularly downballot. It is critical we commit to and strive for true diversity in this work because state and local candidates are the pipeline for national leaders. This panel brings together organizations that recruit, train, and support candidates, including those in Pennsylvania, for a look at how our movement can and must incorporate racial equity and diversity into our work, what gaps remain unfilled, and challenges and opportunities as we look to the future.

Led by: Lala Wu

Panelists: Monique Alcala, Carrie Santoro, Quentin Savwoir, Oliver Truong

Public Safety vs. Policing: They are Not One and the Same!

In 2020, after the tragic murder of George Floyd, there was a national demand to defund the police. We heard this reemerge after police officers sat outside of a school in Texas while children were being murdered. But what does it really mean to defund the police and why make such a demand? When we hear “Defund the Police,” one of the things we hear is “They are not the answer.” Join us as we explore alternative responses to public health issues such as homelessness, mental health, drug use/abuse, and violence—and why it is necessary to remove police from these situations.

Led by: Brandi Fisher

Panelists: Ronna Davis-Moore, Robert Saleem Holbrook, Isaiah Thomas, Jasiri X

Our State Courts: The Sleeper Seats of Power

Our state courts hold tremendous power in our system of government. They can help ensure fair district maps, protect our freedom to vote, and even safeguard reproductive freedom. As state courts have taken center stage in these debates over our essential freedoms, extremist politicians are ramping up their attacks on fair and independent courts, and conservative dark money groups are preparing to dump tens of millions of dollars into state supreme court races this year. Join us to learn what’s at stake in your state and across the country, as state courts and constitutions play an increasingly central role in protecting voting rights and reproductive rights.

Led by: Kirstin Alvanitakis

Panelists: Douglas Keith, Kadida Kenner, Renee Parker Sekander, Melissa Price Kromm

Building a Movement for Gun Violence Prevention

The gun violence epidemic took the lives of 1,752 Pennsylvanians and injured roughly 3,000 more in 2020. Nationally, 45,222 Americans died from firearms in 2020. This public health crisis is destroying families and communities. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Data show that sensible gun safety laws and investment in community-based violence prevention programs are effective at reducing shootings. Join a Pittsburgh-based panel of community leaders and gun violence prevention policy advocates at the state and local levels to discuss the roots of the crisis, the policy solutions, the political landscape, and the path forward for the gun violence prevention movement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and across the country.

Led by: Josh Fleitman

Panelists: Carolyn Ban, Eileen Smith, Tim Smith

Building the Best Case for a Progressive Economic Message

In the last four years, Navigator Research has sought to understand how to craft an economic argument that resonates with a Americans while also dismantling the false conservative economic narrative centered around lower taxes, smaller government, and less regulation. What lessons can progressives learn from public opinion research to guide them towards a winning economic message? What language resonates most with Americans on the economy, and what falls flat? Pollsters, experts, and strategists will provide practical examples of how data can determine progressive economic messaging.

Led by: Rachael Russell

Panelists: Isaiah Bailey, Sarah Baron, Margie Omero

Disinformation and the Vote: Defending the Ballot Box in a Post-Truth World

Activists who work to close the racial turnout gap fight disinformation on two fronts: they divert resources to counter false and misleading narratives that target their communities, and they seek greater accountability from the tech platforms where bad actors spread disinformation. This panel brings together a group of experts on the frontlines in the battle against election-related disinformation campaigns that can suppress voter turnout and support for progressive candidates. They will discuss the challenges they face, including the proliferation of non-English disinformation, the research- and policy-based solutions their organizations use to fight back, and share tactics your organization can use to counter disinformation.

Led by: Kyle Van Fleet

Panelists: Rose Lang-Maso, Liz Lebron, Ranada Robinson

Dismantling the Deception: How to Stop Anti-Abortion Centers

States are limiting access to abortion, but anti-abortion centers (also known as crisis pregnancy centers) are proliferating. Under the guise of support for pregnant people, they serve as little more than propaganda centers for the anti-abortion movement, providing minuscule support and diverting millions away from programs that provide actual health care and support. Public funding for these kinds of programs originated in Pennsylvania. Hear from local and national advocates who are dismantling the lies and how to apply the same tactics in your home state.

Led by: Mary Alice Carter

Panelists: Moji Alawode-El, Tara Murtha, Ashley Underwood

Virtual Events in an IRL World

Last cycle, campaigns had to shift in-person events like fundraisers, volunteer trainings, and rallies to virtual settings. As we move back to IRL, the benefits of virtual events are too powerful to ignore, but audiences are Zoomed out. This panel will explore how virtual and hybrid events can raise money live from a national audience, increase inclusivity, boost participation, and create viral moments that deliver the high-energy experience we know campaigns can do in person. We’ll gather the events teams behind Bernie Sanders, the WisDems, and some of the biggest success stories in live streams and virtual events to discuss what has proven to be irreplaceable for virtual and hybrid events moving forward.

Led by: Jordan Newman

Panelists: Chuck Engel, Michelle Lim, Jocelyn Macurdy Keatts

Digital Innovations and the Future of Small-Dollar Fundraising and Organizing

For over two years, we’ve navigated the transition from in-person to a fully virtual environment. We have adopted new ways to organize and fundraise by employing things like virtual events or peer-to-peer communications that could lead to new voter, supporters, or donors. Nonprofits have had to activate their communities through crises and critical moments by balancing the want to have people on the streets with the need for actions online. And now we face a midterm election where the landscape is shifting yet again. Join us to discuss innovations in technology, organizing, and small-dollar fundraising—and the question on all of our minds: Where do we go from here?

Led by: Michelle Ngwafon

Panelists: Elizabeth Fernandez, CeCe Grant, La'Tasha D. Mayes, Mary Grace Wolf

A Case Study In Energy Democracy: How a California Rooftop Solar Movement Woke Up

Most distributed energy generation in the United States is via rooftop solar and a program called net energy metering. Utility companies have been using an ALEC playbook to roll it back in many states in the false name of equity. In California, when the Public Utility Commission proposed a solar tax, rooftop solar folks banded together with solar workers and renters to save solar from the PUC (and the corporate utilities). We’ve woken up, found that we are strong, and we are fashioning alternatives to corporate power. The energy democracy movement in California stands in sharp contrast to the battles in other states where rooftop solar is being restricted to only the privileged few. Listen to what’s worked and try this in your state!

Led by: RL Miller

Panelists: Crystal Huang, Alissa Schafer, Igor Tregub, Liz Veazey

Democrats Desperately Need a Winning Strategy for Public Education

Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe likely lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia race for governor in part because of his failure to respond to Youngkin’s attacks on public schools for enforcing safety measures during a pandemic and for teaching essential truths about American history, racial injustice, and evolving attitudes toward gender identity. Since McAuliffe’s bungled campaign, Republican strategists have ratcheted up their attacks on schools, and new polling data show Americans’ trust in Democrats to handle education has eroded. This panel will explain what Democrats need to understand to turn that situation around and muster an effective counterattack.

Led by: Jeff Bryant

Panelists: Jennifer Berkshire, Diallo Brooks, Susan Nogan

Progressive Hope: Winning Back the Factory Towns That Made Trumpism Possible

Ever wonder why Wapello County, Iowa made a 20-point swing from Democratic to Republican in a single Presidental cycle? Or why traditional, blue collar or union communities that have been strong Democratic bastions since the 80s went solidly for Trump in 2016 and 2020? Most importantly, do you want to know how to win these voters back? This panel seeks to combine data and research into some tangible solutions for winning back working-class voters in small and mid-sized working-class towns.

Led by: Mike Lux

Panelists: Celinda Lake, Kim Miller, Art Reyes

How to Fight Back Against Intentional Discrimination of Voting Rights

“In Florida, since the end of the Civil War, politicians have attacked the political rights of Black citizens. In Florida, though we have come far, the realistic fact is that we still have a long, long way to go.” Those were the words of Chief Federal Judge Mark E. Walker when he issued his ruling invalidating Senate Bill 90—a suppressive law approved by the conservative-led Florida legislature in 2021. This panel will highlight the victory of the SB90 trial, the history of intentional discrimination of voting rights in Florida and across the country—and how you can use this victory to fight against voter suppression laws in your state.

Led by: Kadida Kenner

Panelists: Jasmine Burney-Clark, Roni Druks, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Kira Romero Craft

Redistricting: What Happened? What Did We Learn? What’s Next?

The redistricting cycle this year was unlike any other. From Trump’s political meddling in the census to an adjusted timeline of redistricting data to unprecedented attacks on the Voting Rights Act and high levels of engagement from communities of color, this cycle has been a whirlwind. Hear from leading state and national civil rights experts and advocates, including a plaintiff in the Alabama VRA case currently before the Supreme Court. Attendees can expect to hear current updates and an assessment of redistricting in 2022, an overview of threats to the VRA and voting rights in America, and learn lessons from the organizers who are fighting for voting rights and better civic engagement every day.

Led by: Josh Cohen

Panelists: Victoria Grijalva Ochoa, Michael Li, A. Salewa Ogunmefun, Khadidah Stone

The Intersections of the Supreme Court's Decision on Abortion Rights

The Supreme Court’s approaching decision in a challenge to Mississippi’s unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban will predictively be unfavorable. Abortion restrictions have a massive impact on people’s lives in more ways than pregnancy outcomes. The focus will be on issues that intersect with abortion typically not considered by lawmakers. Western Pennsylvania is a region about to become a key point for abortion access, with this conference located blocks away from one of only two abortion clinics in the region. Join us as we discuss the intersections of race, gender, economic status, policy, and navigating the right to choose, while uplifting local organizations’ work for those most affected but often left out of the discussion.

Led by: Morgan Overton

Panelists: Amy Collins, Kelly Davis, Kathi Elliott, Sydney Etheredge, Susan Frietsche

More Than a Bomb: The Past and Present Impacts of Nuclear Weapons

The crisis in Ukraine has thrust the threat of nuclear war into the spotlight, but the reality is we have been at risk since the creation of nuclear weapons. From the materials used to create them to the lands where they were tested, nuclear weapons have left a legacy of harm. While this existential threat can feel impossible to grapple with, activists are taking action on an issue that has been kept under wraps for decades. Join experts and impacted community members to discuss the intersections of nuclear war, climate change, and more.

Led by: Mari Faines

Panelists: Iman Awad, Samantha Miller, Mary Olson, Rep. Katie Porter

Starbucks Workers United, Young Workers, and the Future of the Labor Movement

Starbucks Workers United, the campaign by Starbucks baristas to organize across country, is one of the most exciting labor campaigns in recent U.S. history. Mostly young, often queer, Starbucks workers are helping to re-invigorate the labor movement with a truly-worker driven organizing campaign that has, as of this writing, filed for union elections at more than 200 of the global coffee giant’s locations. The campaign continues to grow despite an intense effort to quash it from the company and its union-busting law firm, Littler Mendelson. Hear from Starbucks workers about how they’re organizing at a company that many had once considered impossible to unionize and how their campaign is part of a wave of new organizing by young workers.

Led by: Daisy Pitkin

Panelists: Joey Nelson, Tori Tambellini, Jacob Welsh

Building Your Tech Stack 101: Getting Started with Digital Campaign Tools

Choosing to run for office or work on a campaign is a massive decision, but confronting which tech tools to help run your program is arguably even more overwhelming. In this panel, we’ll break down the landscape of campaign tech tools, offer pro-tips for assessing which tech stack is right for you, and help campaigns and organizations better understand what makes for winning strategic digital partnerships.

Led by: Emily DaSilva

Panelists: Hillary Lehr, Annie Rimmon, Ashley Wilson

Election Subversion: The Role of State Legislatures in the Fight for Democracy

In key states, Republicans are building toward a future where they can engineer election outcomes by modifying the laws and rules governing election administration and limiting the ability of state courts to curb partisan redistricting and subversion. On top of that, an arch-conservative Supreme Court could thwart a constitutional challenge to this state power grab, through the Independent State Legislature theory. This panel will explore how state legislatures play an outsized role in the future of our democracy.

Led by: Gaby Goldstein

Panelists: Cecilia Aguilera, David Daley, Malcolm Kenyatta, Carmen Lopez

Messaging Strategies for Restoring Voting Rights to Citizens with Felony Convictions

In a true democracy, everyone deserves to have a voice. However, more than 5 million Americans are disenfranchised due to a prior felony conviction. Recently, we’ve seen many jurisdictions re-enfranchise those with felony convictions, but there are millions still excluded from casting their votes at the ballot box. Advocates in Illinois, Oregon, New York, and other states have introduced legislation to re-enfranchise American citizens who are currently incarcerated. This panel will discuss best practices to message these efforts to the public and legislators.

Led by: Nicole Porter

Panelists: Daniel Gotoff, Christina Harvey, Keshia Morris Desir, Ronald Pierce

Off Campus: Winning Progressives’ Most Important Generation

Young people between the ages of 18 and 35 are powerful political players—a fact that they demonstrated forcefully in the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election. In 2020, despite the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and decades of systemic voter suppression, young people turned out to vote in historic numbers, ultimately shaping the outcome of the election and delivering a strong message about their progressive vision for the country. This panel will discuss the importance of engaging communities of color and young people who do not attend college to galvanize the youth vote.

Led by: Amit Mistry

Panelists: Delilah Agho-Otoghile, Antonio Arellano, Stasha Rhodes, Jasiri X

Fighting for Care, For Us, and For Our Future!

Care. Can’t. Wait. Economic frameworks that leave out women and families don’t work for anyone. Policies that make invisible the unpaid and paid labor of women and caregivers who make our country run still urgently need updating. We know building bridges and trains alone doesn’t fully get America fully to work when we don’t build the care infrastructure that enables bridge builders—and all people—to go to work, including childcare, home- and community-based services, paid family and medical leave, and living wages for all care workers. So the fight is still very much “on” to build that care infrastructure for us all now and into the future. On this panel you’ll hear from leaders and parents, including parent activists from the Pittsburgh-area, about what’s happening and how you can get involved!

Led by: Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Jenn Stowe

Panelists: Ashley Comans, Heather Hopson, Dawn Huckelbridge, April Verrett

How to Avoid Being So Data-Driven That You Miss Underrepresented Audiences

Some of the most powerful technologies for progressive organizing of the past decade—digital fundraising optimization, 1:1 matching ads, voter file enrichment, and more—systematically miss underrepresented audiences like young people, people of color, and lower income people. In other words, the relentless pursuit of efficiency can cause us to miss the reason we organize in the first place. This panel will help attendees identify why and when these blind spots come up and how to make our metrics serve our values—instead of letting our values slip into serving our metrics.

Led by: Will Bunnett

Panelists: Janay Cody, Jess Moore Matthews, Dan McSwain, MaryEllen Veliz

How You Can Help Save Email from Spammers and Scammers

Email remains the primary channel most political campaigns and advocacy organizations use to reach supporters. But thanks to unscrupulous consultants and campaigns who are willing to do anything to scam supporters for donations, email’s long-term viability is now under threat. In this session we’ll forcefully push back on the lie that sending spam and deceiving your email community is the best way to raise money, and use anecdotes and case studies to discuss how you can build and run ethical email programs that treat your supporters with respect.

Led by: Josh Nelson

Panelists: Amy Chin-Lai, Lauren Miller, Murshed Zaheed

Should Campaigns Lean into NFTs? Everything You Need to Know this Cycle

NFTs generated more than $17 billion dollars in 2021, yet less than $1 million of that was raised by political campaigns. The letters “NFT” stir up a wide range of emotions. But is there a constructive role for digital ownership of assets in political campaigns? Are NFTs just a speculative asset, or are they the breakout technology that can reinvigorate grassroots supporters and volunteers? Is it possible to reconcile the environmental impact of certain blockchain technologies with progressive values? Do progressives risk ceding an entire category of supporter engagement to the right by ignoring Web3? This panel will discuss all of these questions and more as we explore the opportunities and challenges NFTs present to campaigns.

Led by: Brian Forde

Panelists: Hayley Drapkin, Macon Phillips

Engaging Voters, Fighting Disinformation and Winning the Latinx Vote

From Arizona to Nevada, Wisconsin to Georgia, Latinx organizers were critical to driving the needed votes to deliver a decisive win for progressives in 2020. Pundits and many in the media wanted to paint a different story, however, one without a genuine understanding of the intricacies of the Latinx electorate. Who are Latinx voters and how can we authentically engage with them? Join a panel of experts working to engage with voters on the ground, moving critical research about Latinx young people, driving cutting edge engagement on Whatsapp, and fighting the rampant radicalized disinformation targeting Latinx folks in an attempt to dissuade them from voting for progress.

Led by: Deyanira Deya Aldana

Panelists: Roberta Braga, José Muñoz, Faith Ramon

Hope in the Dark: Out-Organizing Voter Suppression in 2022

In response to the massive turnout in 2020, Republicans in state legislatures have passed aggressive voter suppression legislation that closes polling locations, shortens the window for early voting, and eliminates drop box locations. In states like Texas, these bills target Black and brown communities so that their votes won’t be counted in the upcoming midterm elections. Without national voting rights legislation, we’re left to out-organize voter suppression in red and purple states. Join our panel of voting rights experts and organizers for a conversation about Republicans’ most recent voter suppression tactics and how we can think creatively to organize around them.

Led by: Sarah Jackel

Panelists: Jena Griswold, Stephanie Gómez, Charley Olena

The Power of Us: Centering Real People in the Fight for Democracy

The work to protect our democracy is happening on every front, and impacts each of our lives in a multitude of ways. As organizers who do this work every day, it’s easy for us to see how every new voting rights bill, Supreme Court nominee, or anti-democracy state law directly affects our lives—but to build the movement, we need to make the stakes clear to people outside the movement too. In this panel, we’ll hear lessons and tactics from movement leaders who have centered real people in their work to build our movement and protect our democracy.

Led by: Megan Simons

Panelists: Carlos Childs, Cedric Lawson, Erinn Martin, Leslie Watson Wilson

Our Values In Action: Union Organizing in the Progressive Movement

In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in union organizing in the Progressive Movement—from Emily’s List to Color of Change to ActBlue. Workers in the progressive movement have joined together to advocate for the same ideals in their workplaces as they do in society. But why now? What does this tell us about the future of work in the progressive movement? What type of world do these workers hope to shape? And how is this connected more broadly to organized labor asserting itself across the country?

Led by: Hamilton Nolan

Panelists: Amy Chin-Lai, April Siese, Akshai Singh

Inside the Ten-Year, Multiracial Base-Building Plan in Predominantly White Kentucky

We all saw and benefitted from the long-term vision and drive of organizing groups in Georgia in 2020. To further break up the GOP stronghold on federal power, we have to apply the Georgia treatment to other states in the South. Organizers will describe and dissect the “Path to Power,” a ten-year vision and plan to win in Kentucky by shifting the focus of the left from an inside game strategy to a grassroots base-building approach. Kentucky might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about multiracial organizing, but this panel will demonstrate how a multi-racial grassroots movement for progressive candidates in Kentucky, balancing long-term organizing in working class communities, can win.

Led by: Beth Howard

Panelists: Erin Heaney, Alicia Hurle, Celine Mutuyemariya

Data-Driven Organizing: The Progressive Antidote to Dark Money

In the 2022 midterms cycle, the progressive movement has seen an influx of dark money in addition to IE spending to buy elections against progressive candidates. While in the immediate future there’s no way to regulate such spending, an antidote has been shown in offsetting spending by already being organized. The progressive movement was birthed out of grassroots organizing, and that must remain our recipe to success no matter the money spent. This panel will focus on how campaigns can offset spending or overcome other financial challenges by building a robust organizing program, using case study examples of some of the greatest campaigns of recent that have accomplished this feat.

Led by: Chris Scott

Panelists: Nathán Goldberg Crenier, Rosetta Okohson-Reb, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Yvette Simpson

We Keep Us Safe: Oppositional Data Collection As Community Care

For communities who are at best marginalized by law enforcement, and at worst, targeted by them, data collection and sharing of oppositional research can be a powerful tool for building relationships with other activists and organizations, predicting and documenting security risks and incidents, and increasing awareness of and preparedness for existing threats. Using the abortion community as an example, our panelists discuss how collecting, using, and sharing information about threats, yet being cognizant of the necessity to use that information responsibly, has helped clinics plan for known threats, document violent incidents for their legal teams, and connect bad actors to other known extremist groups.

Led by: Kat Green

Panelists: Lara Chelian, Kristin Hady, Marie Khan

In-house Development, For-profit Vendors, or Something Else? How Progressives Are Embracing Alternative Models to Build Sustainable Tools

The progressive digital space looks very different from when we last got together in-person at NN19. At that time, the digital tools landscape was in flux, with new private equity investment and new acquisitions announced seemingly every month. Now, we’re left with just a handful of tools representing vastly different approaches to building technology. On one hand, we have for-profit, private equity-backed models. On the other, we have nonprofit, cooperative models. In this panel, we’ll compare these approaches and discuss the way forward for the progressive movement, with input from leading figures in our movement.

Led by: Brian Young

Panelists: Nicole Aro, Jacky Chang, Rachel Colyer

Stranded in a Maternity Care Desert: Improving Access and Equity for Moms and Babies

The U.S. is one of the most dangerous places to give birth in the developed world. More than 7 million Americans live in maternity care deserts without adequate access to care, and the issue is most acute for communities of color. Join us for a conversation about how we can advocate for closing the health care gaps contributing to preventable deaths of moms and babies nationwide.

Led by: Stacey Brayboy

Panelists: Gerria Coffee CLC, CD, CBE ,CHW, MA, Dr. Zsakeba Henderson, Jada Shirriel, Danielle Smith

How Democrats Can Run on Climate—and Win—in 2022 and Beyond

The 2020 election demonstrated clearly that the climate and environmental justice crises are crucial to voters’ choices at the ballot box and to voter turnout. The climate crisis’ harms to American communities have escalated rapidly since then, and an increasing number of voters—50% of all voters, 75% of Democrats—identify climate change as a “critical threat.” It is apparent that climate and environmental justice will be crucial, intersectional issues in 2022 and beyond. Less apparent but still true is that they are win-win issues for Democrats in every part of the country. Join us as we discuss how Democrats can run on climate and win in 2022 and beyond.

Led by: Michelle Deatrick

Panelists: Danielle Deiseroth, Summer Lee, John Paul Mejia

Dreams in Debt: How the Racial Wealth Gap Drives Student Lending

Students of color, and in particular Black students, tend to borrow student loans in higher amounts than their peers and borrow more frequently. This is the legacy of the historic and ongoing systemic racism that has created a persistent racial wealth gap, leaving Black and Latino students with less family wealth to draw upon as they pursue their degrees. And after graduation, the disparate impact persists. Almost half of Black graduates owe more on their undergraduate student loans four years after graduation than they did when they received their degree. During this panel, experts on student lending will discuss the student loan crisis—how we got here, the effects on Black wealth in particular, and how to fix it.

Led by: Jaylon Herbin

Panelists: Fenaba Addo, Wisdom Cole

Defending the 2024 Election Today: How Down-Ballot 2022 Wins Can Protect 2024

From election defense ballot initiatives in Arizona and Michigan to down-ballot races for pivotal election administration and judicial positions, the 2022 elections will be crucial to protecting our freedom to vote and to choose who represents us in government. This panel will focus on how we can build the firewall now to protect democracy in 2024 and beyond.


Led by: Christina Harvey, Joi Rae

Panelists: Cisco Aguilar, Michael Ambler, Sharon Dolente, Joel Edman

Amplifying Abolition: How Storytelling Can Advance Transformative Justice

Abolitionist filmmaking requires abolitionist approaches. This panel will explore how narrative and storytelling can advance prison industrial complex abolition organizing and transformative justice. This panel will include a preview of the upcoming film “What These Walls Won’t Hold,” which tracks the origins of COVID-19 inside the California state prison system and a newly formed coalition, led by currently and formerly incarcerated people, that brought an abolitionist framework to a life or death situation.We will also preview the film “I’m Free Now, You Are Free” about the reunion and repair between Mike Africa Jr and his mother Debbie—a formerly incarcerated political prisoner of the MOVE9. We’ll discuss how relationships, built on trust, shared struggle, and connections across broader abolitionist organizing work, can unfold into spaces of resistance and radical change.


Led by: Gerry Leonard

Panelists: Ash Goh Hua, adamu chan

Cross Culture Collaboration in Times of Crisis

Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from diverse community leaders who worked together during the Covid-19 pandemic to help marginalized communities. Volunteers from different sectors worked together in creative ways to ensure the basic needs of our communities were being met. Speakers will also share resources and reflect on the strong sense of leadership, resilience and courage shown within these communities and how they continue to work together.

Led by: Monica Ruiz

Panelists: Sabrina Liu, Veronica Lozada, Larry Meadows, Jr., Noah Theriault

Kansas Victory and the Future of Abortion

Kansas is the first state in the country since the fall of Roe to put the question of abortion directly to voters. The result was not even close. Ballot measures about abortion continue to proliferate around the country. Hear directly from the winning coalition in Kansas that delivered this huge victory. How did Kansans defeat an anti-abortion ballot measure? What resources, research, messaging, polling, and organizing went into building this coalition?

Panelists: Helena Buchmann, Emma Dillon, Kimberly Inez McGuire, Rebecca Tong

Beat the Boss: Lessons from Worker Organizing in Tech and Games

Over the past few years, workplace organizing has surged in the tech and game industries as workers have raised concerns about gender discrimination, racial justice, pay equity, workplace ethics and health and safety. This panel will explore the effectiveness of different approaches workers have taken to advocate for change and build power including forming unions, organizing walkouts, and taking political action.

Led by: Edward Ongweso

Panelists: Kara Fannon, Emma Kinema, Parul Koul

How to Protect Indigenous Sacred Places so the World Can Go Green Honestly

Indigenous people and the special places they hold sacred have come under threat and destruction from global resource extraction industries in a “Green New Deal” response to climate change. With the conflict at the Apaches’ sacred Chi’chil Bildagoteel (“Oak Flat”) caused by mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP’s proposed copper mine there, the panelists will explain how universal moral and ethical tenets and traditional Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge should guide people, governments, and corporation boards in developing honest socially responsible solutions to the challenges of the climate change problem.

Led by: John Welch

Panelists: Vernelda Grant, John Mendez, Michael Nixon, Vanessa Nosie, Wendsler Nosie

Clean Slate: Leveraging Technology for Equity and Justice

Too often, access to data and technology is reserved for those with power, access, and privilege. However, grassroots campaigns can leverage recent advancements in technology and data analysis to advance powerful systemic change. Doing so can benefit individuals suffering from the lasting collateral consequences of an arrest or conviction record and prioritize justice for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income people. Automatic clearance relieves individuals from the arduous, costly, and inaccessible petition-based process. Panelists will discuss the growing national Clean Slate movement and how technology is helping millions of people clear their records and gain access to meaningful employment, education, and housing opportunities.

Led by: Jesse Kelley

Panelists: Morgan Kelly, Meilani Santillán, Sam Sinyangwe

Transforming America's Immigration Narrative: How to Counter the GOP's Xenophobic Attacks

The GOP has made nativism a cornerstone of their midterm message, and silence is a losing strategy. Join us to hear from some of the leading voices tracking right-wing, anti-immigrant messaging with tips on how to effectively counter them. We’ll discuss the latest research and data to understand these attacks and how to help disrupt misinformation to transform America’s immigration narrative.

Led by: Zachary Mueller

Panelists: Mario Carrillo, Thomas Kennedy, Taslim Tavarez, John-Michael Torres

Parenting in the Progressive Movement

It’s no secret that the pandemic has been especially hard for parents and caregivers and that parents across all sectors and of all genders are experiencing burnout at alarming rates. How do we as a sector and movement support parents and caregivers and help them prevent burnout? This session will feature an honest discussion from parents across the progressive movement about what it’s really like as a parent working for progressive organizations. We will hear from speakers about what policies and culture at their current workplaces allow them to be happy, healthy, whole people in and outside of work. Also, what additional changes need to be implemented across the sector so that we can support parents and retain them within our movement.

Led by: Alesa Mackool

Panelists: Faizan Faruq, Jamie McGonnigal, Sabrina Joy Stevens, Nicole Varma

Equitable Development is Possible!: The Lower Hill Story

In the 1950s, the City of Pittsburgh was chosen to be the recipient of federal funds to address post-World War II urban renewal. Hence, the first Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the nation was created and, in 1957, they cut the ribbon for what was to be a brand new cultural district. Urban planning began but was not finished. Promises were made but were not kept. Protests and resistance ensued and in the end, at least 8,000 African Americans, in particular, were displaced. Today, the second chance at development of the Lower Hill site is afoot. With an organized community, government accountability and corporate citizenship resulting in a “CCIP,” The Buccini/Pollin Group will discuss how they have the best reinvestment plan of at least $50 million in America, for the Historic Hill. You will hear from Historic Hill residents who are longtime organizers and activists, who are now working in development and education to realize the full potential of their communities.

Led by: Kimberly 'Dr. Goddess' Ellis

Panelists: Bomani M. Howze, Councilman Daniel Lavelle, Tracey McCants-Lewis, Diamonte Walker

On (and Off) the Media: How the Press Can Save or Sink Democracy

The media has an essential role to play in preserving–or destroying–democracy. This panel will discuss the press’s successes and failures in this area, explain the dangerously direct path of misinformation from the fringes of the internet to mainstream news outlets, and what progressives can do to both hold the media accountable for their failures and support factual, pro-democracy reporting that actually reaches voters.

Led by: Carolyn Fiddler

Panelists: Ellie Konfrst , Liz Lebron, Melissa Ryan, Brennan Suen

Exposing & Surviving Domestic Terrorism and the Crisis of Racism: The Threat to Cities like Buffalo Across America

Join us for a discussion on domestic terrorism, gun reform, the need for diversity in education, and the crisis of racism in America. The racially motivated attack at a grocery store in Buffalo which took the lives of ten Black people and seriously injured one other has shown that America has a long way to go in the fight against white nationalism.

Led by: Zeneta Everhart

Panelists: Mariah Cooley, Erica Ford, Greg Jackson

TransYOUniting: Housing is Healthcare

TransYOUniting, Proud Haven and True T acollaborate to run some of Pittsburgh’s first short-term emergency shelters centered on Trans ad non-binary youth and young adults aged 18 to 30 years old. Come hear from local leaders about these partnerships and how local organizations in Pittsburgh are working to meet the critical needs of those who need them in their communities.

Led by: Aria Copeland (She/her)

Panelists: Nicholas Anglin (They/them), Rashod Brown (He/him), ALEXANDER SMITHSON, Dena Stanley (She/her)