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To view individual panels, trainings and other sessions and to see who’s speaking, check out our searchable agenda below.

Wondering what a typical day at Netroots Nation is like? Check out our overview schedule.

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Paying from the Grave: 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: Briahnna Brown

Panelists: Wisdom Cole, Jaylon Herbin, Satra D. Taylor

Truth and Reconciliation: How Canada Is Operationalizing Decolonization

Years of advocacy for redress by First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities regarding ongoing legacy of colonialism in North America, namely the tortuous cultural cleansing and mass genocide carried out through the residential school system, resulted in Canada founding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission was created to hear from survivors and interrogate how Canada’s political/legal systems, educational and religious institutions, corporations, and civil society can function in ways consistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2015 the Commission’s report was published: 10 principles of reconciliation and 94 calls to action. Panelists will discuss the implementation of the Calls to Action and lessons for a U.S. audience.

Led by: Carleen Pickard

Panelists: Brandi Morin, Clayto Thomas-Müller, Edgar Villanueva

The Courts Are Not Lost: A Roadmap to Fighting Back

Dobbs decimated abortion access. Bruen devasted gun safety protections. And more cases on the Supreme Court docket this term threaten LGBTQ rights, affirmative action, student debt relief, and more. The ultraconservative 6-3 majority on the Court is poised to attack our rights at every turn. But there are real solutions to fight back to protect our rights: reform SCOTUS, fill federal and state courts with fair-minded judges, fight for policies that hold the line at state houses and ballot boxes across the country, and win elections in 2024 that will determine the future of our courts. This session will discuss how we advance these critical solutions, and lessons learned from the reproductive rights movement’s response to overturning Roe.

Led by: Keith Thirion

Panelists: Shwetika Baijal, Cedric Lawson, Meg Simons

Even-Year Elections For All: How U.S. Localities are Raising Voter Turnout

In many places across the U.S., we have a big turnout problem in odd year local elections. Fatigued voters simply aren’t showing up to cast ballots, resulting in important local positions like mayor getting chosen by a smaller, older, whiter, and wealthier electorate. We know elections are fairer and more meaningful when they include as many of us as possible. That’s why a growing movement has been working to switch America’s localities to even year elections. With a simple timing change, we can both dramatically raise and diversify voter turnout in local elections. Join us for a discussion highlighting the 13 of 13 successful even-year ballot measures that passed in 2022 and strategies for bringing even-year elections to more localities.

Led by: Andrew Villeneuve

Panelists: Chelsea Castellano, Kathay Feng, Zoltan Hajnal, G. Agustin Markarian

From the Field to Powering the Polls: Turning Out Young Voters With Athlete Influencers

In 2022, NextGen America, in partnership with Social Currant, launched their inaugural athlete influencer program, collaborating with college athletes to leverage their impactful social media platforms to promote civic engagement to young voters. This ground-breaking program is the second ever use of NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) rules, allowing college athletes to profit on their name, image and likeness to support civic engagement. In this panel, we’ll dig deep into the program, what worked and explore how college athletes can help turn out and engage young voters in key states ahead of the 2024 election.

Led by: Shripal Shah

Panelists: Ellie Artone, Ashwath Narayanan, Erin Swauger

Broadband Funding is on the Way. Is Your State Prepared?

Did you know that in order for your state to receive funding to ensure every household has access to broadband, they have to include community groups when creating the plan to do so? The Biden Administration has guaranteed that stakeholders around equity for all have a seat at the table. During this panel, we will explore what states should be doing to guarantee good, sustainable jobs for their residents, as well as talking through some real opportunities for community groups to receive funding, and why it is so important for all of us to be involved. We all want to see broadband built better and CWA is working with state broadband offices to be sure it happens. You should too.

This session is sponsored by the Communication Workers of America.

Led by: Misty Robertson

Panelists: Kwami Barnes, Jeremiah Clever, Jill Gottfred-Sohoni, Chip Spann

#WinWithWisDems: What it Takes to Win in the Most Purple Swing State in the Country

Join leaders from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (aka WisDems), along with key partners, to talk about their state party operation, how they approach electoral power-building and the learnings and best practices they’ve picked up along the way. They’ll discuss the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the 2022 midterm elections and other important races up and down the ballot.

Led by: Bhavik Lathia

Panelists: Rania Batrice, Chuck Engel, Michelle Lim, Shaniqua McClendon

What’s Behind the Politics of ‘School Choice’?

Nearly 90% of school-aged children and youth in America attend public schools, and polls have long found that parents are mostly or highly satisfied with the education their children receive in the public system. Yet politicians and pundits across the political spectrum want you to believe there’s something wrong with public schools and parents should get incentives to opt-out and choose education options that are privately operated. In this panel, we’ll dive into how choice policies affect schools and communities and how charter schools and voucher programs undermine the civil rights of students, parents and teachers. We’ll also discuss what’s driving the culture wars waged against public schools.

Led by: Jeff Bryant

Panelists: Dountonia Batts, Jitu Brown, Moira Kaleida

No Budget? No Problem! Using Free Data & Tools to Shape the Bills You Care About

Government relations, nonprofit and advocacy teams are chronically underfunded and overworked. A shortage of both funding and bandwidth requires creative, low-cost solutions to keep track of the things that matter. Thankfully, free and/or low-cost tools exist that can streamline your day-to-day, improve your collaboration, help you keep track of the things you care about, and ultimately amplify your impact.

Led by: Damola Ogundipe

Panelists: Sophia Anwar, Orlando Jones, Jr., Gregory Jones, Ashley Robinson

How Scaled Organizing in BIPOC Communities Can Combat the Climate Crisis

Organizing the climate crisis’ most disproportionately impacted communities is the missing ingredient to build the power required to address the climate crisis. In order to meet the climate crisis and transform our society, we must scale up grassroots organizing in BIPOC communities. In this panel, organizers will describe initial results of various tests of online and offline organizing tactics designed to dramatically scale the base of BIPOC and working class grassroots community members taking action to fight for climate justice.

Led by: DaMareo Cooper

Panelists: Betamia Coronel, Nicole Ektnitphong, Maria Harmon, Dana Schultz

Fan Activism: Building Joyful Organizing Movements Through Pop Culture

The digital age has given rise to a form of organizing called fan activism, when civic engagement and political participation emerge from fandoms of popular books, television shows, films and video games. Often lumped in with general media and entertainment consumers, millions of fan creators are primed to be mobilized for activist causes and civic life. This panel is a practical how-to session featuring insights from leading fan activist organizations. We’ll talk about how to distinguish between consumers and fans primed to become activists; how to build an effective fan activist campaign and how to develop authentic fan activist campaigns with celebrity support. We’ll also dig into working across various fandoms (or knowing when to stick to just one) and how to navigate fan toxicity and problematic content. Novice attendees will get a crash course in this movement, while advanced fan activists will have their most pressing questions answered ahead of the 2024 election.

Led by: Sabrina Cartan

Panelists: Rachel Gita Karp, Porshea Patterson, Eliyannah Yisrael

Taking Back Our Power, Our Freedoms: Organizing in a Post-Roe World

The reproductive rights movement—and the progressive movement as a whole—is facing an onslaught of attacks, including harmful state legislation, stigma, eroding federal protections and lawsuits. Despite these challenges, organizers are developing creative solutions to revamp their public narrative campaigns, mobilization techniques and deep organizing strategies to reinspire people to keep building toward liberation. Panelists will reflect on organizing tactics that worked well before and after the SCOTUS decision to gut Roe in 2022, and share practical strategies that organizations can use to continue to build a strong base, ready to win reproductive rights in the short and long term.

Led by: Christian LoBue

Panelists: Sharmin Hossain, Tatiana Perkins, Yamilin Rivera, Alicia Stallworth

A Working People's Narrative: Building a Winning Coalition Across Race and Place

Between 2012 and 2020, support for Democrats dropped by approximately 20 points with non-college voters across race and geography. This group makes up 63% of voters nationwide and a whopping 70% in rural areas. Trump won in 2016 by accelerating this trend and was only narrowly defeated in 2020. In order to more consistently win governing majorities at the state and federal levels, we must invest in connecting deeply with working people across race and place. This session will explore voter trends, delve deeper into the economic mindsets of working people across the country, share examples of proven-effective messaging strategies (particularly around the economy and culture wars) and share impactful approaches to engaging these voters.

Led by: Melissa Morales

Panelists: Kristin Wheeler, Terrance Woodbury

How We Restored Voting Rights for 55,000 Minnesotans

In Minnesota, the 20-year fight to restore voting rights to those on felony probation was finally won in early 2023 after winning a pro-democracy majority. Join us to hear how we won the largest voting rights expansion since the Voting Rights Act in Minnesota—and how other states can do the same.

Led by: Wintana Melekin

Panelists: JaNaé Bates, Keith Ellison, Rep. Cedrick Frazier, Kevin Reece, Antonio Williams

What's Next for Student Debt: National and State Partners Keep the Drum Beating

Millions of people across the country are eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the cancellation of student debt. This begs the question: what happens next? How do we organize to win bigger and better in the face of the court decision from SCOTUS? How do we continue to organize to ensure that the changes made to the student loan system in the past year work the way they were intended to work? This panel will highlight the incredible organizing happening at the national and state levels to keep student debt at the forefront of economic issues and push for lasting change that protects borrowers simply working to make ends meet.

Led by: Amy Czulada

Panelists: Cristher Estrada-Perez, Aurora Harris, Davante Lewis, Samantha Seng

Transforming Public Saftey: The Story You've Not Heard about Minnesota

In Minnesota, the Brooklyn Center City Council passed the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Resolution, a groundbreaking public safety resolution aimed at reducing the role of armed police in the enforcement of traffic infractions, mental health crises, and in other low-level offenses, and completely eliminating the types of situations that can escalate into police violence. The vote came just weeks after the killing of Daunte Wright, whose life was cut short by Brooklyn Center Police after being pulled over due to an expired registration. The resolution creates an entirely new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, and draws upon the best practices and alternative-to-policing models from across the country. Join us to hear how this groundbreaking policy was passed and how cities across the nation can engage in developing similar resolutions.

Led by: Jaylani Hussein

Panelists: Mike Elliot, Michelle Gross, Katie Wright

Revealing the Digitally Invisibilized: Discussing Bias and Offering Solutions

Join us as four experienced Black data practitioners discuss their experiences, address data problems rooted in racial bias and introduce solutions found in the field. We’ll pull back the veil on topics such as racial bias in data systems and the reality of missing or “invisible” voters. We’ll discuss recommendations for how to invest to correct for some of these systemic biases. Funders who want to support expanding the electorate may be surprised to find that racial bias in data technology and systems will make that work harder unless we take it on directly. Attending this session is one step forward in understanding how to do that.

Led by: JaNaé Bates

Panelists: Mahelet Fekade, Michael Ingram, Miriam McKinney, Derrick Smith

The Power of Young Gun Safety Activists: Creating Pathways to Elected Office

Gun violence in the U.S. is one of the top concerns at the voting booth, and recent elections have seen candidates up and down the ballot embrace even more extreme gun policies while pushing dangerous conspiracy theories that undermine our democracy and endanger our communities. Young gun violence prevention activists have proven to be powerful political influencers during and in between election cycles. In this panel, attendees will hear from young survivors and advocates across lived experiences on how they’ve taken their advocacy one step further by working with elected officials, supporting campaigns, or running for office themselves – and why it’s critical that young people demand a seat at the political table.

Led by: Auon’tai Anderson

Panelists: Madeleine Ahmadi, Arad Boxenbaum, Chloe Gayer, Makayla Jordan

U.S. Foreign Policy, The Pentagon Budget, and Militarized Police in America

We are sadly too aware of violent interactions with the police, especially in communities of color, yet rarely acknowledge the role the Pentagon Budget plays in domestic police violence. As law enforcement agencies ramp up purchases of military weapons and equipment and local police adopt aggressive military tactics, the lethality of confrontations with police has intensified. The bloated Pentagon Budget drives excessive militarism abroad and on the US border, which exacerbates racism in U.S. foreign policy driven by special interests seeking to profit from war. Our panel will convene Chicago activists and national budget and policy experts to draw a clear line from the Pentagon Budget to militarized policing at home and racism worldwide.

Led by: Mariam Malik

Panelists: Tobita Chow, Keyanna Jones, Illinois State Senator Robert Peters, Josue Sican

Coalitions and Cultural Competency in Campaigns: How We Include Our Communities in the Work

Developing cultural competency when connecting with voters from diverse backgrounds is essential to Democrats winning up and down the ballot. In this panel, we will hear from DNC staff on the importance of working directly with our partners to build coalitions, how this work helped us win up and down the ballot in the 2022 midterms, and what more can be done to ensure that we are meeting communities where they are.

This session is sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.

Led by: Brencia Berry

Panelists: Atoyia Deans, Meg DiMartino, Tracy Falon King, Michelle Villegas Tapia

Get Politics Out of Pensions: How Republicans are Weaponizing ESG Investing

From Washington D.C. to state legislatures across the nation, there is a national campaign aimed at politicizing workers’ retirement accounts to protect fossil fuel profits. ALEC-affiliated bills that would ban business with firms following Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment principles are now circulating the U.S. Republicans have branded this effort a fight against ‘woke capitalism’—when in reality, it is putting pensions at risk for the sake of protecting fossil fuel interests. Join us to learn more about this new threat—and how to stop it.

Led by: Frances Sawyer

Panelists: Sharon Hendricks, Renaye Manley, Caroline Spears

All of U.S.: Organizing to Confront White Christian Nationalism and Build a Pro-Democracy Society

White Christian nationalists and a broader authoritarian movement are mounting a visionary, well-resourced and strategically coordinated effort to ensure white Christians maintain their ongoing dominance in all sectors of U.S. society. Our social movements are lagging behind as this anti-democratic movement continues to expand its influence and consolidate power. We have a critical window of time to close the gap between the high level of threat and our collective response to it.

The MoveOn Education Fund and the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice recently commissioned a new report, “All of U.S. – Organizing to Confront White Christian Nationalism and Build a Pro-Democracy Society.” This report is part of a growing pro-democracy effort seeking to sound the alarm and support collective action. Based on dozens of interviews with organizers across secular and faith spaces, it offers strategic recommendations to strengthen our collective capacity to defend and expand democracy. In this panel, the report’s commissioners and author will present key recommendations and organizing strategies to stigmatize, weaken, and uproot white Christian nationalism and offer concrete examples of effective pro-democracy organizing in the field.

This session is sponsored by MoveOn.

Led by: Maurice Mitchell

Panelists: Stosh Colter, Rahna Epting, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

Artificial Intelligence and the Future Of Digital Organizing

Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, OpenAI, ChatGPT, chatbots—it all sounds like science fiction. But AI tools already allow computers to understand and communicate with people well enough to allow us to organize digitally at a growing scale, with message language and framing that is better matched to how our audience is already talking about our issues or candidates. Being able to do that, especially at scale, is the key to successful campaign organizing. Is AI the answer to all (or even some) of our questions? Is it the answer to questions we don’t even think to ask? Come and join our conversation.

Led by: Cheryl Contee, Alan Rosenblatt

Panelists: Andrea Haverdink, Craig Johnson, Tim Lim

A Side of Fries for the Table: Building Consensus and Bringing Communities Together

In our work, it can feel like hope of compromise or finding common ground to move the needle on the issues we care about is a lost cause. But much like we all agree we should get a side of fries for the table, the work of these leaders and organizations prove that not only is it possible, it’s also worthwhile to find existing common ground, build bridges in our communities and reach across the political aisle. Learn from panelists about their experience talking to a diverse range of constituencies and a range of audiences across ideological lines on issues like mental health, immigration reform, criminal legal reform, foreign policy and LGBTQAI+ rights.

Led by: Rebecca Wall

Panelists: Brandon Graham, Olivia Jaramillo, Shannon Kellman, Britton Smith, Troy Williams

Black Rural Organizing; How Rural Community Turnout Made (and Kept) Georgia Blue

Focusing on the importance of mobilizing Black people in rural areas is essential to preserving the American democratic process. Empowering those living in remote areas of the country, along with year round holistic organizing, has kept states like Georgia blue. As the population in many areas continues to shift from urban to rural migration, come hear from organizers on the frontlines of building rural power.

Led by: Shakya Cherry-Donaldson

Panelists: James Baker, Delinda Bryant, Jamiya Smiley, Jennifer Smiley

How Data Engineering Can Make Organizers' Dreams Come True

Imagine if people who signed up to volunteer via Hustle automatically got added to your CRM and assigned an organizer. Data Engineers, especially those with open-source tools like Parsons in their hands, can build these custom workflows catering to the specific needs of organizers. Great data engineering can diminish the need for repetitive data entry tasks organizers previously completed, creating more space for them to organize. A strong partnership between data engineering and organizing can unlock a world of creativity in organizing that we are excited to showcase.

Led by: Elyse Weiss

Panelists: Yotam Amit, Amity Foster, JP Peralta, Nate White

Worker Power: Online to Offline Organizing & Emerging Unions

The most exciting labor organizing stories this year have come out of emerging organizing efforts like Trader Joe’s United and Advocates for Minor Leaguers. Worker organizers are taking on some of the largest corporations in the country and winning historic victories for working people. What strategies have led to success in these emerging organizing campaigns? What do these efforts have in common, and how have they taken advantage of new and existing technologies to build worker power?

This session is sponsored by Action Network.

Led by: Maximillian Alvarez

Panelists: Jamie Edwards, Harry Marino

Tech and Policing: Organizing to Stop ShotSpotter

Police partnerships with tech companies offering faulty solutions to gun violence are expanding across the country. ShotSpotter tech aims to reduce gun violence while surveilling overwhelmingly Black and brown communities with microphones. With over 120 contracts in the U.S., ShotSpotter suffered a huge blow when Chicago coalition members successfully placed ending the ShotSpotter contract onto the platform of mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, leading to a 22% drop in the company’s stock and a sudden rebranding as “SoundThinking.” The Stop ShotSpotter coalition was formed to bring together local and national groups to support organizing efforts through FOIAs, communications tools, research, and digital organizing. Over 20,000 people have signed a petition demanding that ShotSpotter be removed from our communities. Join us for a conversation about what’s next for eliminating this threat.

Led by: Granate Kim

Panelists: Je Amaechi, Alyxandra Goodwin, Jonathan Manes, Alejandro Ruizesparza

Street Art Power: How Creative Activists Transform Culture and Public Narrative

From the movement for Black liberation in Chicago, to music in the streets of Bushwick and The Bronx, to gender justice in Miami and building Latinė political power in Staten Island, meet the creators whose murals, poster art, music and creative happenings challenge the status quo and center oppressed people’s voices and stories. The creative activists on this panel will discuss the importance of engaging both experienced and emerging artists in community organizing, and how their work creates a narrative shift in public discourse often ignored by mainstream media to spread awareness about issues such as racism, economic injustice, women’s rights and climate change.

Led by: Brittany Ramos-DeBarros

Panelists: Jesus Gonzalez, Magda Love, Rodrigo "RodStarz" Venegas

Building Latino Communities: Say Goodbye to the One-Size-Fits-All Approach

More and more organizations and causes are realizing that they need to build strong Latino communities to make progress on shared goals—but they aren’t sure what a successful partnership looks like or how to go about building it. In this panel you’ll hear directly from leaders in the Latino movement about their work to build Latino communities online. Whether it’s starting with on-the-ground partnerships, working with specific diasporas at launch or fighting misinformation, you’ll gain concrete insights about how you can build authentic partnerships within Latino communities.

Led by: Catherine Algeri

Panelists: Eric Borja, Raul Garcia, Kristian Ramos

Women Candidates: Navigating the Threat of Dis/misinformation Campaigns

Misinformation and disinformation is rampant online, and this has a disproportionate impact on the experience of women, particularly women of color, who run for elected office. At a minimum, disinformation campaigns impact voters’ opinions. They can also have a chilling effect on women even considering running and lead to physical threats at times. Consider the experiences of Vice President Kamala Harris and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in dealing with intentional disinformation campaigns. This panel will include former candidates, activists and experts to discuss their experiences with misinformation and disinformation and provide tools and resources to help combat it.

Led by: Cayana Mackey-Nance

Panelists: Jiore Craig, Kim Foxx, Debbie MucarselPowell

State Courts Are Political: How to Protect and Transform our State Judiciaries

Conservative control of state courts threatens the remaining foundations of our rights and democracy. State court decisions on voting could swing critical elections. Conservatives are hellbent on capturing these courts, recognizing that they helped stop the “big steal” and are often the only check on far-right state legislatures. If they succeed, a path will be cleared to enact anti-democratic agendas, including abortion bans, anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and more. But there’s hope–Wisconsin elected Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court, which flipped the court’s ideological majority. This panel features leaders on the front lines of appointing and electing progressive state court judges and how we can fight for more progressive state courts.

Led by: Zachery Morris

Panelists: Michael Ambler, Shwetika Baijal, Jennifer "jknox" Knox, Blair Sapp

The Voting Rights Fight: How National Groups Can Help (and Hurt) State Advocacy

The voting rights fight is pivoting to the states, with legislation to protect our freedom to vote stalled in Congress. Together, state and national organizations have won critical voting rights victories in recent years—and they are again coordinating to meet this moment. This panel of state and national leaders will discuss the importance of state/national strategic partnerships, aligned tactics and visibility campaigns to achieving state legislative wins, and how we can translate state-level victories into national progress. Attendees will understand how national organizations can amplify and fill gaps to help lower-resourced state organizations fighting to expand ballot access, restore voting rights and more.

Led by: Izzy Bronstein

Panelists: Alex Alvarez, YT Bell, Brett Edkins, Shauntay Nelson

Covering Crime and Safety in 2024: The New Narrative

Many elected officials, journalists, and even advocates are stuck in a vicious circle when it comes to talking about crime and safety: Politicians equate voters’ concerns about crime with a desire for more “tough-on-crime” policies and the media often adopts a similar refrain.

New research from Vera Action makes clear that voters know the status quo is failing to keep our communities safe, and they want a solutions-oriented approach to safety over the same old “tough on crime” rhetoric. When candidates own safety as a kitchen table issue, and deliver  a comprehensive set of solutions head-on, they win. The media plays a central role in telling the full, nuanced story of what voters want their elected officials to do when it comes to safety. Vera Action’s messaging research and polling provides a data-informed foundation for this winning narrative.

This panel will feature a discussion with media figures, advocates, and pollsters talking about why the media falls into the “tough-on-crime” tropes, what the data is telling us, and how advocates can drive a more united and effective message.

This session is sponsored by Vera Action.

Led by: Insha Rahman

Panelists: Julie Millican, Terrance Woodbury

Fighting the Campus Right: How to Organize Against Racist, Homophobic Activists

The right-wing youth ecosystem has long excelled at organizing collectively; messaging uniformly and training, training, training young activists—particularly on college campuses. Yes, their ideas are dangerous, radical and anti-democratic. But their ability to empower young activists and their deep-pocketed donors’ willingness to fund so-called ‘grassroots’ youth groups have put left-wing organizers at a disadvantage when it comes to engaging students in the business of democracy building. How did this right-wing ecosystem come to be, and how can progressives combat it? What tricks, tools and strategies can we use to fight their well-funded astro-turfing with real student activism?

Led by: Julian Epp

Panelists: Jakob Buckley, Mary Pat Hector, Kyle Spencer

Designs on Democracy: The Roles and Responsibilities of Graphic Designers

As graphic designers and media makers, how can we best develop strategic visual communication to win campaigns and stay accountable to the leadership of community organizers? Join us for a panel discussion on best practices and case studies, and hear BIPOC media makers reflect on opportunities and challenges we face in doing this work.

Led by: Sabiha Basrai

Panelists: Yash Mori, Anthony Rogers-Wright

From Storytelling to Tech Policy Reform: Activism for Social Change

Right now in the digital civil rights space, there is an unnecessary divide between activists and policy experts. Join us for a facilitated dialogue about how Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI and other people of color in activist and policy spaces can come together to enact social change through tech policy reform. Hear from policy experts and advocates of digital civil rights, privacy and grassroots voices who have experienced how communities grapple with disinformation, hate, conspiracy and other dangerous online forces. This discussion will outline how the burgeoning digital civil rights sphere is organizing our field to urgently shape policy debate, with a focus on the storytelling to policy pipeline. Together, we’ll explore the narrative power of storytelling as a tool for reform.

Led by: Rose Lang-Maso

Panelists: Jaya Savita Aiyer, Willmary Escoto, Ranada Robinson, Sumayyah Waheed

Gun Violence is a Civil Rights Issue

Gun violence is a civil rights issue. Not only does gun violence disproportionately harm communities of color and other marginalized communities, we need the framework of civil rights to dismantle the immovable white supremacist resistance to gun policy reform. This panel will look at bias and hate, and how hate with guns elevates it into terrorism. From race-motivated mass shootings, police shootings and immigration, to faith, mental health and more, we will also look at how gun violence’s intersections impact different communities. Perhaps most importantly, this panel will take a hard look at the structural racism, bias and hate behind the extreme opposition to gun policy reform and explore how to begin dismantling it, opening up the way for sweeping change so we can finally curb our raging gun violence epidemic and begin building a future with safety from gun violence for everyone.

Led by: Gloria Pan

Panelists: Manjusha Kulkarni, Po Murray, Bethzaida Olivera Vazquez, Jamal Watkins

Inseparable Fights: Winning Economic Justice and Reproductive Justice for All

Women are most often the caretakers of their loved ones when needed—whether it’s for their children, parents, or spouses. With women being at the frontlines of reproductive status being increasingly threatened, it is more important than ever to organize and fight for laws and policies that protect our bodily autonomy and economic opportunity. Dive into economic justice solutions and discover how the fight for reproductive justice is inseparable from the fight for economic justice. Join our panel to hear from women with diverse experiences discuss the intersection of economic and reproductive justice.

Led by: Maheen Kaleem

Panelists: Yvonne Gutierrez, Carol Joyner, Yadira Sanchez

Atlanta Case Study: How Carceral Foundations and Corporations Enable Cop City

Since 2021, organizers in Atlanta have been fighting to stop the construction of a $90M police militarization facility on a former slave plantation and current watershed forest. Community members and organizations alike have expressed fears of escalating police violence and increased climate impacts as a result of the environmental degradation. But with the support of the police foundation and corporations, the city government ignored the 70% of community members who disavowed the project and instead voted to move forward with building Cop City. A diverse panel of leaders will share lessons, history and strategies for building and wielding the power of frontline communities of color in the face of philanthropic neglect, corporate whitewashing and political repression.

Led by: Jill Cartwright

Panelists: Kyle Bibby, Mariah Parker, Tiffany Roberts

Why Are Asian American Voters Swinging Right—and What Can We Do About It?

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing population in both New York and the United States, and have been steadily increasing voter turnout over the last decade, including being a key voter demographic in the 2020 election win for Biden. But in the 2022 midterm elections in New York, Asian American voters took a turn right, representing a major part of Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin’s close race against Democratic Nominee Kathy Hochul, and several key State legislature seats going Republican. This panel will examine the factors contributing toward this disturbing trend, and well as discuss best practices for engaging and educating Asian American voters.

Led by: Zara Nasir

Panelists: Sandra Choi, Carlyn Cowen, Jagpreet Singh

How Service Workers are Building Power—and Winning—in the Windy City

Since the pandemic, restaurant workers have been leaving the industry in droves. Research by One Fair Wage reveals that 53% of restaurant workers surveyed are considering leaving the industry, and 70% cite low wages and tips as their primary reason for leaving. In response to this staffing crisis, thousands of restaurants nationwide have raised their wages to get workers to attract and retain staff, but this measure is not enough. In Chicago, a worker-led movement is fighting for better pay and improved working conditions—and they’re winning. Join us to hear from the organizations and workers on the frontlines of this fight talk about how they’re winning wage increases in the Windy City.

Led by: Nakia Browner

Panelists: Saru Jayaraman, Antonio Lightfoot, RICHARD RODRIGUEZ, Nataki Rhodes

Building Narrative Power for a Guaranteed Income

Narrative change is a buzzword that has garnered much media and funder attention in the last year; but what does it mean to be doing this work on the ground with and in communities? Organizers are building guaranteed income programs that directly challenge narratives of deservedness, transforming communities into advocates and inviting artists to tell these stories. Join us for a discussion about centering impacted people and stories, providing personal autonomy through direct cash, and why we need artists and culture makers in order to build narrative power.

Led by: Dorian Warren

Panelists: Marcela Diaz, Aisha Nyandoro, Richard Wallace

Building Multi-Racial Power (and Winning!) in Rural Communities

When many progressive leaders hear the phrase “rural organizing,” they imagine conservative white farmers. That is, at best, an incomplete picture that limits our ability to see the kind of progress we can make if we invest and organize. In reality, rural America is only slightly less diverse than urban America. And that gap continues to close as new immigration transforms many rural communities. In every region of the country, rural organizing includes working in communities that have a majority of Black, Indigenous, Latino or Asian residents. And in every region of the country, rural voters can play an important role in building the multi-racial majorities we need to build power, win elections and create change.

Led by: Michael Chameides

Panelists: Celina Culver, Danny Diaz, W. Mondale Robinson

When We Fight, We Win: Abolish ICE at the State and Local Level

For more than a decade, organizers have been pushing back against ICE detention—and winning! Learn more about the state legislative campaigns, national coordination and local fights that have shut down multiple facilities and freed hundreds of people from cruel, degrading, often life-threatening incarceration. The legislative successes from our states, including Illinois, provide inspiration and instructions for anyone fighting for freedom and dignity for all. This panel will present on how, using an abolitionist framework, state advocates shifted strategies between the Trump and Biden administrations to end abuse and the local proliferation of ICE detention beds.

Led by: Luis Suarez

Panelists: Tania Mattos, Amy Torres, Fred Tsao

How Influencers Can Help Win Elections and Make Issues Catch Fire

Influencers have a proven record of moving people up the ladder of engagement. But too often, progressive groups under-utilize this effective and low-cost strategy—or they do it wrong, with messaging that misses the mark. This panel will give attendees a clear understanding of how to sidestep social media’s traps and work with influencers to reach a campaign’s objectives. We’ll look at the role progressive social media influencers played in capturing the narrative in 2022 and in Spring’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race. We’ll also dive into best practices for harnessing the power of influencers to move minds and drive meaningful action, how to avoid mistakes, and how to quantify the metrics for success.

Led by: Stuart Perelmuter

Panelists: Schuyler Bailar, Charles Booker, Sabrina Collins-Childers, Michelle Lim

Letters, Digital Ads and Ballot Guides: Things That Worked (And Didn’t) to Protect Democracy Downballot in 2022

After a decade of watching conservatives dominate downballot races, 2022 was a turning point. We flipped state legislatures, won governorships and won key ballot initiatives. We even defeated every single election denier running for secretary of state in a swing state. In many cases, the candidates and issues lower down outperformed the top of the ticket. How did we get there? First, there were some horrible candidates on the other side and great ones on ours. But across the movement, there was also an explosion of experimentation at the state and national level. And we learned a lot about how to ensure voters know and understand the stakes of every race.

Led by: Joe Hines

Panelists: Alex Alvarez, Bhavik Lathia, Emily Wasserman

End Prison Funding and #StopCopCity: Financial Activism Strategies = Decarceration

After generations of community organizing, investors and national allies locked arms with the local Communities Not Prisons Coalition in Alabama to block a $630M deal to build three new mega prisons. Our win sent seismic waves through the financial industry and exposed a grave weakness in the prison industrial complex. And we’re taking these strategies to #StopCopCity in Atlanta. This is our story of how a directly impacted-led, multi-racial, multi-class campaign informed by those fighting on the inside, supported by investors and also Tea Party Republicans, won against all odds. We’ll walk through our playbook, get real about what worked and didn’t and share how our victory exposes a clear opportunity for us to win all across the country.

Led by: Matt Nelson

Panelists: Kamau Franklin, Christina Hollenback, Veronica R. Johnson, Nancy Treviño

Our Rights, Our Court? A Review of the Supreme Court's 2022 Term

After a tumultuous 2021 term which saw the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and take away a fundamental right for the first time in history, the 2022 term will again have the high court deciding cases at the heart of our democracy and rights. From voting rights and environmental justice to affirmative action and student loan debt forgiveness, our rights, opportunities and way of life continue to be significantly impacted by the only branch of government we cannot directly elect. Join us for a review of the Supreme Court’s 2022 term, its implications for the current state and future of civil rights and gender justice and what we can do to reform and take back Our Court.

Led by: Erinn D. Martin

Panelists: Bayliss Fiddiman, Brielle Green, Jennifer Nwachukwu, Pilar Whitaker

Organizing for Disability Justice Across Social Movements

We cannot achieve progressive change and liberation without including disabled people. The progressive movement often perpetuates ableism through workplace culture, communications/language or even in policy advocacy. Join us for a panel featuring organizers in the disability rights and disability justice spaces to focus on why all progressive organizations, campaigns and movement organizers must include disability in their work. We’ll talk about collective liberation, how and why disability justice intersects with every other social movement, and will give concrete suggestions for how progressive organizations can make sure to do every bit of their work through a disability justice framework. Often times, disability is an afterthought, but in order for progressives to win more elections, get more policy change and grow our movement, we must do a better job of including disabled people.

Led by: Dom Kelly

Panelists: Shafeka Hashash, Mia Ives-Rublee, Kehsi Iman Wilson, e.k. hoffman

How to End the Legacy of Economic Slavery: Close the Gender, Race and LGBTQ+ Pay Gap

The nation is at a tipping point when it comes to wage justice. Pay equity can be a powerful lever in the fight to rid today’s workplace of the remaining vestiges of wage slavery. Pay has always been a barometer of how we value workers. The longstanding gender, race and LGBTQ+ pay gap steals from families billions each year, harms communities’ ability to care for families, robs their wealth-building and artificially stifles their innovation in political and other spheres. Activists nationwide are meeting this moment. Hear from advocates promoting radical pay transparency through legal reforms, abolishing the subminimum wage and demanding the inclusion of migrant and part-time workers in efforts to end the pay exploitation of workers.

Led by: Noreen Farrell

Panelists: Cherita Ellens, Catherine Hinshaw, Saru Jayaraman

Mobilizing the Midwest Ahead of 2024

The 2024 presidential election is rapidly approaching, and mobilizing Black and Brown voters, including poor, immigrant and working-class communities, is critical to ensure their voices are heard. The Midwest significantly impacts the election, and efforts must be made to ensure high voter turnout. Using case studies from the Midwest (Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee and rural Ohio), organizers who accomplished wins during the midterms speak about the importance of organizing young people and organizing in the Midwest, as well as thoughts/plans to solidify wins for 2024. This panel brings together experts and activists from four organizations to discuss mobilizing Black and Brown voters in the Midwest.

Led by: Anthony Baber

Panelists: Prentiss Haney, Cendi Trujillo Tena, Stevie Valles, Joanna Velazquez

Gimme More Data: A Conversation about Data Equity

Join us for a lively discussion answering questions about what data can do for you and what it can’t and what it takes to build good race and ethnicity models. We’ll cover how to get the most out of your data and where we need to go as a community to fill the gaps and build better, more equitable data sets. We’ll have a quick presentation, then a moderated Q&A with experts from the Catalist Analytics and Data teams.

This session is sponsored by Catalist.

Panelists: Hillary Anderson, Russ Rampersad

Democracy in Jeopardy: Reining in Big Tech to Protect Election Integrity

In recent years, we have seen unprecedented attacks on the integrity of our democracy and the information ecosystem that supports it. Social media has been weaponized to manipulate countless voters and exploited by extremists to incite political violence. But there are straightforward design principles that tech companies can and must implement to restore voters’ confidence in the democratic system. With the Presidential election next year—along with dozens of major global elections in 2024—it is critical that social media companies take action now. Learn from advocates and activists who have been leading the fight to demand critical democracy-saving change from Big Tech.

Led by: Nashiha Alam

Panelists: Jelani Drew, Paul Gowder, Kaili Lambe, Zamaan Qureshi

Don't F**k Up Your Campaign Launch: Building Your Online Infrastructure Early

Building a successful online fundraising effort for your campaign starts long before day 1. In this session, you’ll hear from the folks behind some of the biggest digital campaign launches in the 2022 cycle—John Fetterman, Beto O’Rourke and Charles Booker—as well as early 2024 candidates like Katie Porter and Lucas Kunce. What should progressive candidates do before launch to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running? How can we build a comprehensive launch plan that spans email, ads, texting, web, social and other channels? This panel will focus on how to capture attention, drive the narrative, generate huge fundraising returns and make the most of your campaign launch online.

Led by: Kasey O'Brien

Panelists: Marissa Fretes, Emily Harrison, Crystal Stanford, Eric Stern

Combating Political Cynicism in Black Communities

Young people and BIPOC communities are now the majority in the U.S. They are the political powerbrokers of the future, but cynicism with a system that has ignored their interests threatens their full participation. In 2020, 73% of Black voters felt their vote was ‘very powerful’. Today that number has dropped to 43%. This session brings together a diverse panel of experts at the forefront of polling, advocacy and media to discuss new messaging and power frames that civic leaders must employ to effectively mobilize BIPOC communities in politically divisive times. In an actual field test, their messaging was 49.53% more effective than conventional tactics.

Led by: Katrina Gamble

Panelists: Ranada Robinson, Terrance Woodbury

Enough for All of Us: Supporting New Arrivals and Long-term Residents with Solidarity, Justice and Abundance

The arrival of tens of thousands of asylum-seekers in major northern cities over the past year has sharpened the national debate on immigration and the federal resources that would be required to humanely address the domestic crises caused by years of harmful and extractive foreign policy.

Nearly ten thousand asylum-seekers have arrived in Chicago since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first started sending buses in the fall of 2022; the majority have arrived by bus but thousands have also come of their own free will, in the hopes of finding a safer and more welcoming community.

Their arrival has strained the city’s shamefully under-resourced homelessness, public health, and public education systems. The hundreds of millions of dollars required simply to patch these systems rapidly has provoked painful outcry from long-term residents, many of them Black, who have suffered the brunt of these under-resourced and broken systems themselves for years prior.

In this panel, local officials at the city, county, and state level, together with frontline Black and immigrant organizers, will share the challenges they’ve encountered, their plans for modeling solidarity and abundance, and the lessons that other cities and regions can learn from these efforts.

Led by: Xanat Sobrevilla

Panelists: Claudia Guzman, Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Dixon Romeo, Byron Sigcho-Lopez

Seeing Sexwork Within and Connected to Our Movements for Justice and Equity

Many movements rely on the experience, energy and leadership of individuals with past and present sex trade experience. Yet, sex worker voices are often maligned or silenced in these same movements, such as exclusion from Pride festival events, reduced presence in marches for reproductive rights or consideration in demands for racial justice. This panel brings together Chicago-based sex worker activists and leaders along with movement experts to share the impact of silence on the past, a snapshot of what is being done in collaboration today and how justice-oriented leaders can take action to welcome sexworker voices and join to address key sex workers’ rights initiatives, including decriminalization.

Led by: Shane Lukas

Panelists: Betty Devoe, Melodie Garcia, Kiah Morris, KoCo the advocate

When You're Called a Terrorist: How Domestic Terrorism Laws Target Protestors and Activists

In January 2023, 19 climate justice activists in Atlanta were charged with domestic terrorism and other crimes for their protests against Cop City. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has designated human rights organizations as “terrorists,” and justifies its crackdown on Palestinian protestors as combatting terrorism. These trends threaten our movement work to build a better and more equitable world. Today, the “domestic terrorism” label is wielded against communities of color, even though the laws were pushed through to ostensibly quell white supremacist violence. This panel explore how domestic terrorism laws target anyone challenging police violence, environmental degradation and militarism.

Led by: Sandra Tamari

Panelists: Jehad Abusalim, Kamau Franklin, Diala Shamas, Nick Tilsen

App Workers Organizing—Online and Off—for Pay, Security, Safety and Power

App corporations like Uber and Lyft force their costs and risk onto drivers, mostly people of color and immigrants, while paying low rates and controlling working conditions through faceless algorithms. In this panel discussion, drivers and organizers will share how they are fighting for fair pay, safety and security in Chicago—and coordinating with drivers around the country to build long-term power. Panelists will explore new strategies and models for building worker power in the gig economy, share how workers are coordinating and forming relationships online (since drivers are always on the move and often don’t know their coworkers) and discuss how people who use these platforms can stand in solidarity with drivers.

Led by: Catherine Foley

Panelists: Lisa Lei, JC Muhammad, Ted Parks, Lori Simmons

We Got NOW! The Black Women Bench

Black women are a powerful electorate with the proven ability to decide elections. We now have the first Black woman Vice President, 26 Black women serving in the House and Black women mayors in seven of the nation’s largest cities. Despite those accomplishments, Black women still lack representation in important chambers of power. Only 4.9% of the U.S. House are Black women and zero serve in the U.S. Senate. Our panel of dynamic Black women including current and former elected officials, operatives and pundits will talk about the cadre of Black women doing amazing things in every sector of American politics and how we can uplift them and support their growth. The Black women bench doesn’t need to be built—it needs to be believed and bolstered.

Led by: Angela Angel

Panelists: D'Shawna Bernard, Tamia Booker, Stacy Davis Gates, Rep. Sonya Harper

Progress at the Ballot Box: Why Progressives Should Back Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked Choice Voting has exploded in popularity over the last few years, with over 62 U.S. jurisdictions currently using it and likely many more in coming years. This panel brings together local, national and international political and advocacy voices to explore why it’s time for the progressive movement to throw themselves firmly behind this reform. We’ll explore how Ranked Choice Voting helps women and minorities get elected, increases the power of advocacy organizations, encourages forward thinking policy, depolarizes politics and encourages coalition building, breaks the power of corporate lobbyists and authoritarian candidates, and encourages voter turnout by giving voters a real choice at the ballot box.

Led by: Rep. Maurice West

Panelists: Mike Griffin, Rachel Hutchinson, Alisa Kaplan, Matt Martin

How Minnesota Prepared for a Democratic Trifecta and Won Our Progressive Agenda

In 2022, Minnesota unexpectedly won a narrow Democratic trifecta with momentum from voters who were demanding action on reproductive rights, climate change, paid leave and strengthening democracy. While this trifecta was a surprise to many of us, we’d been preparing for this moment for 5 years. In 2017 a group of legislators and people-powered organizations started the Minnesota Values Project. We toured the state to listen to Minnesotans and build a shared agenda. In the only divided legislature in the country at the time, that agenda seemed impossible. But we built a robust inside/outside table committed to making that agenda a reality. Join us to hear more about how we made history in Minnesota in 2022.

Led by: Alexa Howart, Bethany Winkels

Panelists: State Sen. Liz Boldon, Rep. Cedrick Frazier, MN House Majority Leader Jamie Long, State Sen. Erin Murphy

Fighting Digital Suppression of Abortion Information

Digital suppression and disinformation are posing an overt threat to the pro-abortion movement, which is increasingly relying on the Internet and digital tools to deliver services and disseminate information. With the overturn of Roe v Wade, a surging number of people are searching for abortion-related resources online. Concurrently, Big Tech companies and governments are suppressing accurate abortion information and preventing access to critical healthcare. In this panel, we’ll identify common patterns of content suppression and dissect the tools and strategies of those working to challenge the often biased and misinformed policies technology providers have adopted around SRH-related content. We’ll also discuss how we can hold Big Tech accountable for allowing the dissemination of accurate abortion information.

Led by: Imani Wilson-Shabazz

Panelists: Claire Crossett, Martha Dimitratou, Jessica Ensley

HUD vs. Chicago: How a Fight for Civil Rights Resulted in a Landmark Land-Use Settlement between HUD and the City

On October 2, 2020, People for Community Recovery, Chicago South East Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, and Southeast Environmental Task Force filed a groundbreaking civil rights complaint. It exposed a pattern of three companies being relocated from the predominantly white North Branch of the Chicago River to the working-class and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods on the Southeast Side of Chicago. Join us to learn more about this historic agreement with HUD and the yearslong fight that paved the way for this outcome and a different way of doing industrial zoning in neighborhoods.

Led by: Ivan Moreno

Panelists: Trinity Colón, Robert Weinstock, olga bautista

Ace in the Hole: How a Coordinated Campaign Mobilized Local Organizing and Top-of-the-Ticket Momentum to Win Big in Chicago

In the fall of 2022, Black labor leader and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson was polling at just 3%, while Rahm Emanuel’s former campaign manager had just launched a super PAC to defeat the most progressive incumbents in City Council. Six months later, Brandon Johnson is now Mayor of Chicago, the progressive incumbents defeated their challengers, and the Progressive and Socialist Caucuses are larger than ever.

How did we do it? This panel will tell the story of what the Chicago Sun-Times called Brandon Johnson’s “ace in the hole”: a coordinated field program, made up of a slate of down-ballot candidates campaigning for Johnson, powered by volunteers from labor, community, and political organizations, and animated by a bold vision for Chicago.

Come hear from the organizers, campaigners, and candidates behind the strategy of running as a slate behind an unapologetically progressive platform–the political risk involved, the grassroots organizing required, the lessons learned, and the powerful potential for Chicago and around the country.

Led by: Matthew Luskin

Panelists: Candis Castillo, Graciela Guzman, Sandra Puebla, Willa Voss, Desmon Yancy

Why Care Infrastructure Wins (and the Fight Ahead) Impact Everyone

Over a dozen organizations have come together to push our nation to finally build the care infrastructure we all need; and while we’ve so far fallen short of the transformational change our country needs, the fact that we’re building momentum is undeniable. The end-of-year 2022 Congressional package included unprecedented victories: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the PUMP Act for Nursing Mothers, $8 billion in childcare funding and more. Looking forward to 2024, we are doubling down on our victories to aggressively push for transformational policy change—and against Moms For Liberty. We’ll discuss how we can make policies like paid family/medical leave, childcare and fair pay key priorities in the 2024 elections.


The panel will have mimosas & glazed donuts to share!

Led by: Hillary Holley

Panelists: Melissa Boteach, Jocelyn Frye, Dawn Huckelbridge, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

Immigration is a Black Issue, a Gender Issue and a Social Justice Issue

This panel brings together diverse, Black leadership working in the field of immigration to call on the progressive movement to see immigration as a Black issue, a gender issue and a social justice issue. The progressive world reacted in horror to the images in Del Rio, Texas in September 2021 as U.S. agents on horseback threatened and menaced people from Haiti seeking refuge at the U.S. Southern border. This panel will connect that moment to the history of anti-Black racism within the US immigration systems, highlight the contributions of Black immigrants and their families in the U.S., and demonstrate how seeing justice in immigration alongside other progressive-justice priorities will strengthen the progressive movement.

Led by: Guerline Jozef

Panelists: Patrice Lawrence, Ola Osaze, Seydi Sarr

We Just Passed the Biggest Climate Bill Ever. Now What?

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was touted by Democrats as “the biggest climate bill since ever.” And it’s got huge amounts of money in it. However, many environmental justice advocates believe that the IRA is a betrayal of deeply help principles of intersectionality. This panel will examine the IRA through the lens of the progressive movement: what went right and what went wrong? What can be done to fix it? What can be done to make it work for all Americans, from factory workers to kids on school buses? Will this signature achievement turn out to be a hollow victory?

Led by: RL Miller

Panelists: Daniel Blackman, Representative Sean Casten, Juan Jhong-Chung, Hebah Kassem

Creating Joy and Setting Boundaries in Times of Resistance

During times of unrest and progress, oftentimes those most impacted by the issues find themselves working tirelessly personally and professionally to create, advocate and implement necessary change. However, this can not only lead to burnout about also barriers to progress. In order to create lasting change and truly build transformative power for a reflective democracy, organizers must be able to sustain themselves through setting boundaries and being intentional with creating communal moments of joy in order to withstand the onslaught of attacks attached to making a difference. In creating strategies for success, the mental health and wellbeing of the organizers is paramount, especially in such unprecedented times.

Led by: Miracle Jones she/her

Panelists: Farooq Al-Said, Andres Garduno, Dena Stanley (She/her)

#UnionsforAll: No Contract, No Coffee. No Justice, No Fries. No Standards, No Peace.

We’re in the midst of a historic uprising by workers. From Starbucks baristas and fast-food workers to gig workers and airline cleaners, workers are tired of corporations wielding all the power and they’re standing up to demand a voice on the job through a union with a force and clarity like never before. They are leading the charge on game-changing legislative approaches, rejecting a status quo that has never worked for working people, and in the process, inspiring other workers to unite together and demand a better future for their families and communities with unions for all. Come hear from workers who are leading the way on some of the most innovative and game-changing organizing and progressive legislative approaches with victories both nationally and in the states.

Led by: Kim Kelly

Panelists: Aryssa Burton, Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García, Mysheka Ronquillo, Joy Vaughn

US-China Policy: How Not to Repeat the Mistakes of the War on Terror

This panel examines how the U.S. approach to China has reproduced the patterns of racism and violence against vulnerable communities here and abroad that we saw in the post-9/11 era, and offers an alternative vision for the U.S.-China relationship. At a time when progressives are facing a growing Washington consensus in favor of a militarized, zero-sum approach to U.S.-China relations, this panel discusses how to describe the costs of that approach in human terms and make a powerful case for prioritizing diplomacy over escalation and xenophobia.

Led by: Stephen Miles

Panelists: Tobita Chow, Nancy Okail, Rep. Ilhan Omar

Passing the Assault Weapons Ban in America

Since an AR15 was used by a gunman to kill 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School a decade ago, assault weapons have been the weapons of choice for mass shooters. Assault weapons were used to kill AAPI dancers in a ballroom in Monterey Park, black shoppers in a grocery store in Buffalo, Latino children in Uvalde and Jewish parishioners in Pittsburgh. Weapons of war are being used to target all our communities. This January, Illinois passed the ban and lawmakers and advocates from other states are working to do the same. Join us for a discussion of how we can build momentum around banning assault weapons and mobilize voters around this issue in 2024.

Led by: Po Murray

Panelists: Robert Emmons, Jr., Rachel Jacoby, Felix Rubio, Kimberly Rubio, Angela Weber

The Anti-Abortion Playbook is Coming for Us All

The anti-abortion playbook is being used as a tool to erase other rights and freedoms, including threats against the transgender community. Look no farther than Missouri —the first state to ban abortion just minutes after the Dobbs decision. We’ve long said what happens in Missouri never stays in Missouri. Now, the Missouri legislature is using the same tools—sham investigations, character assassination hit pieces and inflammatory disinformation—to eliminate transgender health care and rights. Abortion and LGBTQ+ advocates will talk about the interconnectedness between the fight for reproductive freedom and all intersections of justice, liberation and human rights.

Led by: Bonyen Lee-Gilmore

Panelists: Shira Berkowitz, Pamela Merritt, Yamelsie Rodríguez

How Labor Can Help Build a Progressive Media for the 21st Century

In the past three years, interest in labor organizing has exploded, along with public attention. High profile organizing campaigns and strikes are constantly in the news. Yet the once-robust labor media has declined for decades alongside unions themselves, leaving the movement today dependent largely on mainstream reporters unfamiliar with the labor movement. In our panel, four veteran labor journalists—who are themselves rooted in the values of the movement—will talk about how to build, grow and maintain a new and thriving progressive media for the 21st Century. The panel will discuss how the newly energized labor movement can work together with progressive journalists to build a strong independent media that can scale.

Led by: Hamilton Nolan

Panelists: Maximillian Alvarez, Miles Kampf-Lassin, Kim Kelly

Hide and Seek with Gen-Z: Identifying Platforms to Effectively Engage the Youth

To bring the next generation of organizers into the progressive movement, we need to speak their language, engage on their platforms and elevate their ideas. Four young leaders coming out of the YouTube and Twitch streaming space will speak about their experience forming new action-focused political communities that reached hundreds of thousands of voters in the midterm elections. These groups built upon the existing excitement among political streamer audiences and offered them the tools and knowledge to organize. They’ll share their thoughts about how individuals and organizations across the progressive movement can tap into Gen-Z’s energy and passion, utilizing this generation-native model.

Led by: Jack Gardner

Panelists: Cameron Jones, Sam Laude, Kristian Park, Alberto Pena

Care Over Cost: Organizing People Hurt by Insurers to Win Medicare for All

To win Medicare for All, we need a long-term strategy to defeat our corporate opponents in the healthcare industry. We need to win victories for people harmed by the healthcare industry now, but we must do so in a way that decreases the power and profits of the private health insurance industry while strengthening public programs. In this panel, we’ll discuss a strategy to build power and set the conditions to win Medicare for All, as well as how we can organize people directly impacted by corporate profiteering and grow our movement.

Led by: Aija Nemer-Aanerud

Panelists: Eva Bell, Matthew Covington, Callie Gibson, Ken Whittaker, mark hall

Protecting the Right to Protest and Voice Dissent

Over recent years, we have seen an escalation of the effort to criminalize and silence protest, dissent and critical advocacy. This shrinking of civil society space, driven by right wing extremists and extractive corporations, poses serious threats to our democracy and efforts to address the climate crisis, as well as advancing a progressive agenda overall. While the effects are being felt more and more across the movement, many in Congress and in state legislatures are not yet aware of the growing threat or the potential legislative remedies. There are two different streams of the attacks: state-level policy criminalizing various types of protest and corporate legal bullying in the form of SLAPP suits. We’ll talk about these attacks and how we can protect our right to protest and voice dissent.

Led by: Ebony Twilley Martin

Panelists: David McKean, Deepa Padmanabha, Bruce Shoemaker, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Housing Advocacy for All: Coordinating Local, State and Federal Efforts

Housing is an issue that affects everyone. In New York, the housing crisis impacts upstate and downstate residents differently; but legislation to protect tenants, increase assistance programs and create/retain affordable housing happens on the state, local and federal level. This panel will delve into the many challenges of tackling such a broad and complicated issue, including how to build a unified coalition, how to coordinate priorities and messaging, how to expand outreach and advocacy to all communities and how to keep the focus on the issues that matter most. We’ll also explore ideas that are gaining more momentum, like Land Banks and Community Land Trusts, and how they can shape the future of housing for all.

Led by: Danielle Mowery

Panelists: Gabby Ross, Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Ritti Singh

How Illinois Ended Money Bail

The Pretrial Fairness Act was signed into law to end wealth-based jailing and reduce pretrial incarceration in Illinois. The implementation of the law will make Illinois the first state in the U.S. to completely eliminate money bail. Since the law’s passage in January 2021, it has been subjected to numerous attempts to undermine its success and preserve policies of mass incarceration. Organizers, policy experts, and elected officials will share how Illinois built a statewide movement to secure this historic reform and the lessons learned from successfully beating back a multi-million dollar right-wing misinformation campaign.

Led by: Aditi Singh

Panelists: Sharlyn Grace, Illinois State Senator Robert Peters, Tanya Watkins

Winning on Public Safety: How Progressives Can Combat GOP Narratives on Crime

Republicans attempted to make crime the centerpiece of the midterms, spending millions on ads that smeared Democratic candidates with race-baiting attacks. While the GOP underperformed, they will likely return with similar messaging in 2024—and these midterms showed us which strategies work and which ones don’t. In this session, political and policy experts will describe how to construct a winning coalition for progressive public safety reform. We’ll outline actionable policy proposals and communications tactics to help voters understand the need to reimagine public safety. We’ll also provide strategies on actualizing policies to improve racial and economic justice in every aspect of our criminal justice system.

Led by: Roshni Nedungadi

Panelists: Stephen Clermont, Stacy Davis Gates, Alicia Garza, Insha Rahman

A Chance to Come Home: Remedying Injustices of the U.S. Immigration System

For decades, the U.S. immigration system has deported hundreds of thousands of people, permanently separating them from family and community. In some cases, the deported had strong legal grounds for remaining in the U.S. In others, the government abused its discretion, imposing detention and deportation in grossly unfair ways. The unjustly deported, who now seek to return and reunite with loved ones, include U.S. military veterans, civil rights activists, former DACA recipients and a disproportionate number of Black and Brown immigrants. Across the world, journalists, filmmakers, politicians and activists are calling on the U.S. to redress the injustices of its immigration system—to give the unjustly deported a chance to come home.

Led by: Nayna Gupta

Panelists: Hector Barajas, Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García, Alex Rivera, Xanat Sobrevilla

Making the Impossible Mainstream: Learning From Progressive Economic Policy Wins

Over the past few years, with perseverance and resilience, the progressive movement has shifted economic policies, making ideas once dismissed as radical now embraced as common sense. This work has led to policy victories at all levels of government that tackle corporate power, expand workers’ rights, directly meet peoples’ needs and address our housing crisis. How did organizers, policy experts and advocates change entrenched narratives around progressive economic issues and achieve massive policy wins? How can we build on these successes and ensure the reign of outdated neoliberal ideas favoring the so-called free market at the expense of our communities finally ends for good? Come find out!

Led by: Claire Guzdar

Panelists: Ben Beachy, Brandon McKoy, Tara Raghuveer

Taking Back Our School Boards from Right-Wing Extremism

Book bans. Attacks on LGBTQ+ youth. Our public schools are under a coordinated, well-funded attack from right-wing extremists who have taken over local school boards and are working to dismantle our education system. Dark-money groups have spent big in local races where every dollar counts, and pro-equality, pro-education forces need to fight back. Learn how we can support school board candidates and refute extremist talking points. Grassroots donors and volunteers are rising up to take back our school boards, and fight for justice and equality. Our democracy depends on it.

Led by: Kenton Ngo

Panelists: Sean Frame, Liz Ratcliff

Shifting the Narrative Around Philanthropy: Escaping the Scarcity Mentality

Our panel will illustrate that we as a progressive movement have long been mired in a scarcity mentality that pits organizations against one another for resources—and reinforce the need to shift the narrative across the philanthropic and advocacy sectors. In this session, we will have a robust discussion with panelists underscoring the importance of progressive collaborative funding. Panelists will explore trust-based impact framework models that have worked in the past. This expedition will help us better understand progressive collaborative fundraising and power-building while promoting cross-sector collaboration. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge and motivation needed to abandon the scarcity mentality.

Led by: Sadé Dozan

Panelists: Cherita Ellens, Stacy Kono, Krista Scott, Choua Vue

You Cannot Win Without The Youth Vote

Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, many national news sources suggested that the youth would not turn out. In reality, the election saw the second-highest youth turnout in the last 30 years. Gen Z voted overwhelmingly for pro-democracy candidates. Without the youth vote, the “red wave” may have become a reality. Hear from youth organizers on how they helped turn out the vote in November and what they are doing now to prepare to turn out the youth in record numbers in 2024. We’ll discuss approaches youth mobilization and engagement, what galvanized Gen Z, as well as what strategies organizations and campaigns can employ to boost youth engagement.

Led by: Marianna Pecora

Panelists: Santiago Mayer, Ashwath Narayanan, Victor Shi

Utility Justice: The Next Frontier in Environmental Justice Campaigns

Groups around the country are taking on investor-owned electric utilities, which are responsible for 25% of America’s climate emissions yet shut off power for millions of Americans each year. Through state-level work and campaigns pressuring corporations, they are winning justice from these giant corporations. Join us to hear from the campaign manager for a ballot initiative in Maine to create a consumer-owned utility, a renewable energy worker pushing utilities to raise standards in her industry and a national alliance of groups fighting for energy democracy in the utility sector.

Led by: Jean Su

Panelists: Felicia Allen, Al Cleveland, Dieynabou Diallo

Relational Organizing at Scale: When to Run an Incentivized vs Volunteer Program

In 2022, we saw the first-ever experiments demonstrating the persuasive impact of relational. This new research shows relational organizing can be more impactful and efficient than other modes of campaign communication such as TV, mail and door, and latest advancements have finally unlocked the ability of relational to scale. This panel will examine the new research around RO’s persuasive impact and the innovations in the space that have allowed groups to scale—from paid relational programs to volunteer ones that leverage growth over time. In this panel, experienced relational organizers will discuss their paid vs volunteer campaign strategies, outcomes and the lessons learned from the largest relational campaigns this last cycle.

Led by: Nick Chedli Carter

Panelists: Amanda Brink, Quinn Dunlea, Amity Foster, Sri Kulkarni

The Parallels of Anti-Abortion and Anti-Trans Laws and What We Can Learn

For the last 50 years, right-wing policy makers have put increasingly complex laws on the books to impact how and where abortion is accessible. They are now—almost to a T—replicating those laws to limit access to gender affirming care for trans and gender non-conforming people. The result of these restrictive policies around abortion access has created a vast network of organizations that help people travel for their care (called practical support) which is now also starting to be replicated in trans health. We talk about the local, national and legal systems that exist within abortion access and how they can be understood and leveraged to support trans people who will need to travel.

Led by: Marisa Falcon

Panelists: Walker Fitz, Em Lawler, Mariah Moore, Erin Smith

Building a Feminist, Anti-Racist Peace Movement

It’s past time for the progressive movement to hold the U.S. accountable for its militarized foreign policy. The U.S. militarized approach to security has not made people safe, either at home or abroad. Instead, it has worsened systemic exploitation, harmed targeted communities worldwide and accelerated the climate crisis. As the Feminist Peace Initiative, we are building the antidote to militarized policies: a peace movement that centers the leadership of women and gender-nonconforming people of color, who have organized in solidarity with communities of color in the U.S. and in the Global South. Join us to answer the question: how do we build this peace movement?

Led by: Kate Alexander

Panelists: Cathi Choi, Diana Duarte, Kitzia Esteva, Brittany Ramos-DeBarros