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Recordings of our 2021 sessions are now available! Registered attendees can access the videos in our virtual event platform (go to the Agenda item on the home screen, find the session you want to watch, and click Watch Recording). If you did not register to attend Netroots Nation 2021 but want to access our recordings, click here to purchase a Recordings Access pass.

To view our panels, trainings and other content, you can browse our searchable agenda below. Note that the sessions and speakers are subject to change as we continue to confirm sessions. To view our overview schedule conference, click here.

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The Trap of Domestic Terrorism: How Not to Fight White Supremacy

As progressives, we know that racial profiling, warrantless surveillance, predictive policing, biased algorithms, and censorship are all ineffective and unjust. DHS’s “Countering Violent Extremism” programs institutionalize all of those practices under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Why then, are so many progressive groups willing to embrace CVE to fight white supremacy? This session will cover how CVE and its twin, Black Identity Extremism, function; the historical roots of surveillance in the US, language tools for shifting away from the War on Terror narrative, organizing strategies for CVE and similar programs (like gang prevention), and opportunity for collaboration with the National StopCVE Coalition.

Led by: Amira Al-Subaey

Panelists: Fatema Ahmad, Myaisha Hayes, Celine Qussiny

Center the Criminalized: The Importance of Intersectional Case Campaigns

The summer of 2020 brought the country’s focus to the fact that, by design, policing and incarceration criminalize Black people and communities of color. When people are deemed eligible for release from prisons or jails, ICE funnels them directly into its system of detention and deportation, utterly frustrating criminal justice reform efforts. Attorneys, advocates, communicators, and impacted individuals share what immigrant rights advocates need to know about the entanglement of the criminal and immigration systems; the specific challenges encountered when working on a “crim-imm” case campaigns; and the messaging strategies we should employ to ensure that no one is left behind — through language or policies.

Led by: Sirine Shebaya

Panelists: Erika Andiola, Karim Golding , Nana Gyamfi, Arianna Rosales

Manager Confessions: This Meeting Could Have been an Email

Is “progressive manager” an oxymoron? Many of us have seen people in that role oppress and take advantage of others. And most of the resources out there are written by white, corporate-centric people. How do we challenge these olds patterns and systems? How do we live our values as progressives in management roles? This panel will explore our struggles and shortcomings, our aspirations, and how we can continue to push for the progressive movement to treat management as a hard skill, not an afterthought.

Led by: Lola Elfman

Panelists: Malinda Frevert, Justin Jenkins, Ruby Sarron

A Democratic Vision and Policy Agenda for the Next Generation of State Leaders

We’re living amid accelerating and intersecting crises – racial injustice and the police state, public health and COVID-19, economic domination and insecurity, and climate change. These crises compel us to examine our society. What policies should progressives fight for in the states to avoid a return to “normal?” What vision should we champion to inspire others to join our movement? Learn about a concrete democratic vision and state policy agenda from the next generation of leaders changing the narrative and pushing the envelope with their ideas: worker-owned cooperatives, restorative justice, tenant unions, and democracy vouchers.

Led by: Pete Davis

Panelists: Gina Clayton-Johnson, Estevan Munoz-Howard, Solana Rice

The Amazon Crisis in our Communities

Over the next few years, Amazon is set to massively expand its already sprawling network of warehouses, and ultimately become the nation’s largest employer. The company’s quest for consumer market dominance will soon lead to an Amazon delivery station in just about every neighborhood, and the potential to disrupt other industries like grocery and brick and mortar retail. In the face of increased exposure to the company’s low road employment practices of high turnover, high injury rates, and low wages, workers and their neighbors are already fighting back. The Teamsters union is proud to host this panel with labor, environmental, and social justice partners who are helping build the power that working people will need to end the Amazon crisis in our communities.

This session is sponsored by International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Led by: Mario Vasquez

Panelists: Donell Jefferson, Arlene Martinez, Ben Reynoso, Andrea Vidaurre

Communicating during COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and the recurring cancellation of in-person events scrambled communications strategies for candidates, advocacy organizations and government agencies. More than one year into the pandemic, how have our digital programs evolved Facebook’s Khalid Pagan will moderate a panel with digital practitioners in government, advocacy and campaigns to discuss the changes they’re made to their digital programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear from the panel on the unexpected skills they’ve had to master and the habits they’ll continue when the pandemic finally ends.

This session is sponsored by Facebook.

Led by: Khalid Pagan

Panelists: Adam Abadir, Cara Bernard, Ryan Bizzarro, Roger Lis, Allison Rhone

January 6th: Tracing the Traitors

Public Wise is building a publicly accessible online database of individuals and organizations involved in the deadly riot and insurrection at our nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021. The violent attacks on that day not only targeted members of Congress, but were a vile attempt to silence the voices of all American voters. Public Wise will bring together key partner organizations who are investigating involvement in the insurrection of elected and public officials, police and military personnel, and those who receive their salaries from taxpayer dollars to ensure long term accountability for their actions. The findings by these organizations will be publicly available on our database, which will be discussed during the panel.

Led by: Stephanie Miliano

Panelists: Christina Baal-Owens, Marc Elias, Austin Evers, Julie Millican

The Influence Game: How Big Business Affects Biden’s National-Security Policy

Corporate influence affects foreign policy and national security in all sorts of insidious ways. Most of the people who work closely with President Biden are entangled in the opaque world of strategic consultancies and by extension a network of the world’s biggest businesses. Does the potential for future earnings mean that appointees have incentives to not upset corporations? Does it matter that Secretary of State Tony Blinken advised Facebook, Boeing, and big banks—or that 15-plus members of his consulting firm have gone into the administration?

This panel will bring journalists, a watchdog, and a scholar together to consider the under-explored trends in how Big Tech, weapons contractors, and finance interests affect Biden’s policymaking.

Led by: Jonathan Guyer

Panelists: Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Kathleen Clark, Mandy Smithberger

Racializing Control: Why We Need to End Racist Workplace Surveillance

Amazon uses surveillance to monitor, control, and exploit its low-wage workforce. It also plays a role in rapidly expanding police/ICE surveillance in Black and brown communities. In this panel, we will hear from anti-surveillance organizers and activists in the warehouse who are working to end Amazon’s policing of workers and communities. We’ll also explore the long and racist history that connects these fights.

Led by: April Glaser

Panelists: Mona Abhari, Allegra Brown, Ayele B. Hunt

When Millions are Spent and No Infrastructure is Left Behind

Why is the cost of running for public office outpacing development of progressive civic infrastructure? Why do national Democrats routinely spend millions of dollars every four years in some states, but leave little (if any) long-term progressive infrastructure behind? These panelist will share lessons learned from their campaigns and opportunities they see to build in-state infrastructure that is inclusive and representative of the community.

Led by: Joe Sudbay

Panelists: Anna Eskamani, Ricky Hurtado, J.D. Scholten

The Threat of Big Tech and Disinformation to Social Movements

We all saw the corrosive influence of disinformation in 2020. And it was just as activists had warned: tech platforms are poisoning society and have far too much power to control our communications.They have supported an agenda that is white supremacist, anti-women, anti-immigrant, and anti-environment. We must recognize the threat this poses to all of us and organize to combat their power. Panelists will discuss how platform power and disinformation affected their communities in 2020, and how they plan to fight it in 2021.

Led by: Melissa Ryan

Panelists: Michael Khoo, Erin Shields, Brennan Suen, Bridget Todd

Making Progress on Marijuana Policy Reform in Congress

Join Representatives Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, along with key advocates, to discuss pending efforts in Congress to repeal the prohibition and criminalization of cannabis at the federal level. We’ll discuss the MORE Act which passed in December of 2020 and similar legislation.

Led by: Justin Strekal

Panelists: Queen Adesuyi, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Barbara Lee, Jason Ortiz

Pressure Cooker: Responsive Digital Strategy in a Charged World

Digital practitioners are on the front lines — responding to the news of the day as well as managing existing projects, all in a complicated and rapidly evolving political environment. Experts from campaigns and organizations will answer tough questions about how to set priorities, manage expectations and maintain authenticity within a crowded digital landscape.

This session is sponsored by Emily’s List.

 

Led by: Danielle Henry

Panelists: Merone Hailemeskel, Mikka Kei Macdonald, Caitlin Mitchell, Tessa Simonds

Build Broadband Better

The COVID-19 pandemic has made affordable, reliable broadband service more important than ever. It has also exposed the gaps in coverage. Billions in federal, state and local funds have been allocated to address the problem, but decades of telecom deregulation have shown us that without proper oversight, rural and low income communities may continue to be left without next generation communications services. During this panel, frontline telecommunications workers and policy experts will discuss what we can do to strengthen regulation at the state level and ensure that investment in broadband provides service to those most in need and creates good, sustainable jobs in our communities.

This session is sponsored by the Communications Workers of America.

Led by: Linda Hinton

Panelists: Robin Johnson, Chris Lewis, Fernando M Roman Jr, Matt Wood

Elections Q&A with Daily Kos Elections!

Progressives need to be well-informed about the elections that matter most, so we can deploy our limited resources effectively. If you want to know more about what’s happening in races around the country and what it will mean for Democrats, join the editors of Daily Kos Elections and some of our smartest colleagues in the business for an in-depth Q&A about all things election-related. Will Democrats hold the House next year? Can they keep the Senate? And the big one: What’s going to happen with redistricting? Ask us anything that’s on your mind: We skip all the PowerPoints and presentations and go straight to YOUR questions on any race in the nation you care about.

 

Led by: Jeff Singer

Panelists: Matthew Booker, Carolyn Fiddler, Gaby Goldstein, Stephen Wolf

IYKYK: The Power of the Native Vote

Leaders from Indian Country will discuss the unique political landscape in Native communities. They’re deeply involved in the fight for climate justice and against the extractive industry’s socio-economic impacts. They will share what they’ve seen since the 2020 election, discuss how Native people are exerting influence at the local, federal, and congressional levels and how voters are preparing for midterm elections.

Led by: Lycia Maddocks

Panelists: Jade Begay, Chrissie Castro, Michael Johnson, Judith LeBlanc

The Criminalization of Abortion

A Supreme Court loss on abortion rights would be devastating, but how would it affect access? Centering people who have had abortions helps prepare us for the continued erosion of abortion access no matter the outcome of the next SCOTUS case. We’ll discuss the current state of access, including the higher barriers for people who are living on low incomes, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people, & people with disabilities. We’ll talk about self-managed abortion (SMA); why and how SMA is criminalized; and what we can do to stop the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. And we’ll hear from an abortion storyteller, an attorney, an abortion provider, and a community organizer on their visions for the future of abortion access.

Led by: Lauren Paulk

Panelists: Tessa Benson, Renee Bracey Sherman, Dr. Jamila Perritt, Alice Wang

DC Statehood is Racial Justice

Long tied to voting rights and representation, the issue of DC Statehood is rooted in racism. Throughout the history of the District, white politicians have worked to reduce and eliminate black power in the District of Columbia. For activists and allies interested in dismantling systemic racism, Statehood for DC is an achievable solution with immediate impact. Our panel of national and local leaders will lead a conversation on the issues throughout history and present in proposed alternative solutions to Statehood.

Led by: Dr. Ravi Perry

Panelists: Cliff Albright, Barbara Arnwine, Janeese Lewis-George

Elections Reimagined: The Fair Representation Act

Our country must achieve true fairness and equal representation. Yet gerrymandering and our winner-take-all elections bring us politics and a government that is more conservative, more white and significantly less diverse than our country. The Fair Representation Act will fix this by markedly improving our elections. It’s a bold, comprehensive solution that solves our problems with partisan gerrymandering and uncompetitive elections. Progressives can fight to make systemic changes on the local, state and national level to build a government and politics that truly represents all of us — join us to learn how!

Led by: David Daley

Panelists: Anthony Pizzimenti, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Waleed Shahid, Heather Villanueva

Survival of the Squad: Violence against Women of Color in Politics

Women of color have made significant electoral gains across the United States in the last decade, but what do we know about their experience on the campaign trail — from candidate to office holder? While assault, intimidation and abuse against women candidates has gained attention, do we know how this harassment and marginalization especially affect women of color? We’ll examine these questions, consider why and when women of color decide to run, and various tactics to retain and promote women of color in politics.

Led by: Sameena Mustafa

Panelists: Kim Foxx, Sema Hernandez, Paru Shah, Aisha Wahab

Pass the PRO Act: Lift up ALL Workers

Research from Gallup shows that 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, including 77% of young people, the highest mark in 56 years. MIT estimates that 60 million workers would vote to join a union today, but labor laws written nearly a century ago are failing to protect our right to organize. The PRO Act would give workers in today’s economy the right to form a union in every industry and region, free from employer interference. This legislation has passed the House and is waiting for action in the Senate. President Biden has called on Congress to send it to his desk. Hear directly from workers who are speaking out to make change on the job about why the PRO Act is the key to winning a better life.

Led by: Heidi Shierholz

Panelists: Yulisa Elenes, Joelle Hall, David Mertz, Regina Romero

Balancing Our Criminal Justice System: From Reform Prosecutors to Public Defender Judges

The movement to elect reform prosecutors is redefining prosecution and reshaping our criminal justice system, but these efforts will not be fully realized unless we also bring balance to our courtrooms. Our judiciary has a stark over-representation of judges who were former prosecutors and corporate lawyers. At the federal level, Trump made the imbalance even worse, picking ten times as many former prosecutors as former public defenders and criminal defense attorneys. But now, President Biden is committed to bringing greater balance and already has nominated a record number of public defenders to serve as judges. In this panel, you will hear from reform prosecutors, public defenders, criminal justice advocates, and court experts about how our imbalanced courts affect reform, why we need more judges with a public defender perspective, and how we can educate and activate around this issue.

This session is sponsored by Demand Justice.

Led by: Josie Duffy Rice

Panelists: Megan French-Marcelin, Angel Harris, Christopher Kang, Lawrence Krasner, Chiquisha Robinson

How and Why You Should Treat Your Email Community with Respect

Many political campaigns and nonprofits have relied on deceptive email fundraising tactics for years. Now, thanks to increased scrutiny from policymakers, regulators, credit card companies, donors and the press, the tide is turning toward ethical email programs that treat supporters with respect. In this session we’ll cover the importance of being honest and accurate in email communications, the potential deliverability consequences of mistreating your email community and the ethics of email program management. This panel will be relevant to anyone who works on email programs for organizations or campaigns and anyone else who has a stake in the success of organizational and campaign digital programs.

Led by: Josh Nelson

Panelists: Amy Chin-Lai, Gabby Greenberg, Murshed Zaheed

Trained for Deception: How Artificial Intelligence Fuels Online Disinformation

Social media platforms rely on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to moderate and curate content for maximum engagement – frequently amplifying disinformation, sensationalist and harmful content. The real-world effects can be disastrous, as we saw on Jan. 6. What can we do? Activists, organizers and technologists are holding big tech accountable and there are myriad legislative proposals seeking to address the problem. Come learn how algorithmic content moderation, targeted advertising, and ranking and recommendation systems are spurring the spread of disinformation online and what can be done to stop this.

Led by: Rishi Bharwani

Panelists: Dominique Harrison, Lauren Krpaf, Odanga Madung, Spandana Singh

Guaranteed Income from the Ground Up: Building Power and Policy in Community

Guaranteed Income is an idea that has historic roots in the Black Liberation movement and has gained considerable traction in recent years. While much of the focus has been on policymakers, communities are hard at work building solutions that work for them. In this panel we will hear from organizers and community leaders from across the country who are providing a guaranteed income to help remedy a range of problems, from economic insecurity in historically Black neighborhoods to improving health outcomes for new mothers and their infants.

Led by: Solana Rice

Panelists: Michelle Lockhart, Dr. Zea Malawa, Breezy Powell, Hope Wollensack

The South's Got Something to Say: Voter Enfranchisement in the Deep South

Obstacles for organizing in the Deep South predict problems activists will have across the US. So the progressive movement across the country has a stake in addressing the assault on voting rights happening now in the southern states. This is a movement with a history, as well as a modern experience, of Black leadership. Experienced Black leaders in the South are growing the movement, reaching youth to build a new generation of activists to work on civic engagement and rights restoration. Join the discussion about what’s happening on the battleground for democracy.

Led by: R.L. Nave

Panelists: Arekia S. Bennett, Hannah Burnell Williams, Gicola Lane, John Paul Taylor

Abolishing Deportation: Migration as a Human Right

Deportations soared under Obama; Trump intensified oppression of immigrant communities. Advocates and organizers look to the Biden Administration to reshape immigration policy, especially the immigration enforcement infrastructure. There are increased calls for the abolition of ICE and elimination of the practice of imprisoning immigrants — significant features of the prison industrial complex. We will examine how abolition of detention would functionally end deportation.

Led by: Adrianna Torres-García

Panelists: Jamila Hammami, Khury Petersen-Smith, Fabio Rojas, Samah Sisay

Fighting for the Green New Deal on the Hill

Fossil-fueled global warming is accelerating and we are all affected by the costs of our unequal, unjust, and toxic economic system. The US and the world need a Green New Deal to fight climate change and build prosperity and racial justice. Learn from progressive elected officials, activists, and Hill staffers about the fight against corporate interests and polluters to enact policies in line with the grand vision of the Green New Deal.

Led by: Brad Johnson

Panelists: Rep. Ro Khanna, Saul Levin, Lauren Maunus, Rajiv Sicora, Hannah Vogel

Deep Canvassing to Transform American Politics

Spiraling polarization and unfettered misinformation threaten the fabric of our democracy. But we can counter these threats by adapting the oldest tools in our movement: deep canvassing and conversation. Learn how grassroots organizations are integrating deep canvassing and movement politics to build a multiracial working class movement and elect progressive champions up and down the ballot. Learn how groups are pioneering ways to help win elections and advance a range of issues — and are scaling up this tactic in 2022.

Led by: Brooke Adams

Panelists: Mehrdad Azemun, Ella Barrett, David Broockman, Ken Whittaker

#UnionsforAll: Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us

Workers of all races, led by Black and Brown women, are coming together across industry and geography to write new rules for workers. We’re taking on the outdated, racist labor laws that excluded women and workers of color with a bold demand for Unions for All. We’ll talk about challenging structural racism and sexism in labor law. And we’ll learn from workers and organizers advancing breakthrough racial and economic justice strategies to win for workers so everyone can join together in unions, no matter where they work.

Led by: Nicole Berner

Panelists: Ruben Garcia, Luz Laguna, Bartolome Perez, LaNoral Thomas

Demystifying Mobile Messaging: Learn Best Practices from the Experts

As progressive changemakers, we need multi-channel engagement—through email and mobile messaging—in order to stand out, cut through the noise, and deliver meaningful actions to our supporters. That’s where mass mobile messaging comes in. But between the buzzwords (Multi-channel engagement! Campaign Verify! Deliverability! Throughput!) and the jargon (10DLC! P2P! MMS! TCPA! ), it can be hard to know how to get started. This panel of experts will talk through the best practices you need to know to get started with mobile messaging or to bring your program to the next level.

This session is sponsored by Action Network.

Led by: Marvin Steele

Panelists: Rachel Colyer, Seth Pinckney, Jess Porter , Mari Vangen

Stay Safe, Get Creative! Pandemic Organizing Strategies We Should Use All the Time

What do you do when a pandemic shuts down your whole field operation three months before an election? You get creative. Campaigns adapted in innovative ways during COVID, and we should keep using a lot of these strategies even if and when it’s safe to knock doors again. Join this session to hear from organizers from the campaign to elect Janeese Lewis George, a progressive Black woman who now represents Ward 4 on the DC Council, and to share your experiences: bring the ideas and strategies you developed during shutdown that other people can use through reopening and beyond.

Led by: Alex Dodds

Panelists: Makia Green, Janeese Lewis-George, Eileen Pollet, Michelle Whittaker

Organizing the Jewish Vote: Building a Left Jewish Electoral Flank

In recent years, Jewish grassroots organizations (Bend the Arc, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Jews United for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow) have created c4s and PACs to engage Jews in targeted electoral fights. We’ll explore lessons from using primaries in heavily Jewish districts to elect strong progressives, such as The Jewish Vote’s growth from a base of Jewish seniors active on long-term care to a key partner in Jamaal Bowman’s win over Eliot Engel. We’ll discuss the role this organizing can play in a broad progressive coalition; disrupting conventional assumptions around Jewish priorities and leadership; and how we build alongside campaigns to respond to anti-Semitism, its weaponization, and white nationalism.

Led by: Katie Unger

Panelists: Isi Baehr-Breen, Carlyn Cowen, Jaslin Kaur, Sochie Nnaemeka

What 2020's Digital Fundraising Innovation Means for the Future

2020 challenged campaigns, community organizers, and donors in many ways. The progressive movement responded by doubling down on the grassroots, and as a result, political giving and issue-based giving intersected like never before. A record number of new small-dollar donors donated to nonprofits confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, groups working for racial justice, Democrats up and down the ballot, and more. In this panel, digital organizing practitioners from campaigns and advocacy organizations will share how they expanded their communities, shared resources, and engaged voters, donors, and volunteers at home, and what this digital innovation means for future organizing.

This session is sponsored by ActBlue.

Led by: Michelle Ngwafon

Panelists: Jamarr Brown, Dany Sigwalt, Shannon Wurthman

Afghanistan: The Cost of War, the Future for Afghans, and How to End Our Endless Wars

Come join some of the leading anti-militarism leaders in the progressive movement to reflect on the end of two decades of U.S. war in Afghanistan, what’s next for people in Afghanistan and Afghan refugees and migrants to the U.S., and what we can all do to truly end our nation’s endless wars. Join a discussion about what just happened in Afghanistan, how we got there, and what it all means for the future of progressive foreign policy.

Led by: Stephen Miles

Panelists: Arash Azizzada, Pam Campos-Palma, Dr. Neta Crawford

#CareCantWait: A Rising Movement for Transformative Change

Our fragile care infrastructure is as critical to our economy as roads and bridges. And a powerful movement is growing to make the transformative structural changes that workers, families, and businesses need, including: expanding access to paid leave, affordable and quality child care, and caregiving options for people with disabilities and aging adults. These infrastructure improvements will create jobs for workers who have been disproportionately impacted by unemployment (women of color) and support economic recovery. Learn what we’re doing and how you can get involved!

Led by: Ai-jen Poo, Ai-jen Poo

Panelists: Fatima Graves, Dawn Huckelbridge, Nicole Jorwic, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

The Power of Public Banks to Accelerate Progressive Movements

Strong efforts are underway to establish public banking across the US. Organizers will describe how public banks can challenge Wall Street and serve as a powerful tool for local governments to invest in affordable housing, renewable energy, and to tackle racial inequity. We’ll discuss the successful campaign to pass California’s Public Banking Act and the 2021 proposal to provide free banking services to unbanked and underbanked Californians. We’ll learn about the plan for a public bank in the nation’s second-largest city — and how federal legislation can support cities and states as they establish public banks.

Led by: Mandla Deskins

Panelists: Naveen Agrawal, Jackie Fielder, Julian LaRosa, Trinity Tran

Organizing for Victory: Fighting for Healthcare for All in New York

New York is closer than any state to passing legislation for universal single-payer healthcare. This is largely due to coordinated, intentional and sustained statewide basebuilding paired with consistent gains for progressives winning elected office. We’ll examine the campaign for universal single-payer healthcare in New York and nationally, discuss what is working and what needs improvement — and propose a path forward for building power to win this core progressive political demand.

Led by: Ben Palmquist

Panelists: Jabari Brisport, YuLing Koh Hsu, Mariana Pineda, Ursula Rozum

#WeAreHome: The Theory to Win Immigrant Justice Now

The immigrant justice movement hasn’t had a big win in 30 years. But now we have a White House and Congress positioned to make bold immigration policy changes to transform millions of lives. We Are Home is a new collaboration of immigration, civil rights, faith, and labor organizations, representing millions of immigrants, union members and workers, faith leaders, Latino, AAPI, Black, Indigenous, and workers. Activists with We Are Home will discuss what they’ve learned from work in this policy area, where they see opportunities, and the theory to win legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants enduring the cruelty of our interior enforcement system.

Led by: Bridgette Gomez

Panelists: Giev Kashkooli, Patrice Lawrence, Silky Shah

Until Everyone is Safe: An Action Session with the People's Vaccine Alliance

The COVID pandemic is one of the most important inequality issues of our time. Activists from the People’s Vaccine Alliance are calling for world leaders to go beyond empty promises of charity and deliver bold action to increase manufacturing and access to COVID vaccines around the world. While rich countries have administered 80 per cent of global doses, poor countries have had only 0.5 percent, while Pharma companies reap shocking profits. This inequality is a public health, economic, gender justice, and moral disaster. This panel will help participants understand both the current state of play with global vaccine apartheid as well has how to get involved to push the White House and Pharma companies to deliver on a People’s Vaccine.

Led by: Ben Levenson

Panelists: Chioma Oruh, Ph.D., Emily Sanderson, Robbie Silverman, Shad Yasin

Ending Felony Disenfranchisement to Strengthen Our Democracy

Felony disenfranchisement is a horrible stain on this country — immoral and inherently racist. Although we have seen a positive trend in restoring voting rights to individuals who have finished their terms of incarceration, there are still millions of voters disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. We will discuss the recent trend of rights restoration on the state level and how that can and will lead to ending all felony disenfranchisement. Panelists will draw on their own experiences as justice-impacted individuals and explain why it’s important we all have a say in our democracy — and what you can do to end felony disenfranchisement.

Led by: Reginald Thedford Jr

Panelists: Avalon Betts-Gaston, Jen Dean, Nicole Porter, Zach Winston

Winning the Big Fights when Everything is on the Line

In 2021, the progressive movement faces an extraordinary governing challenge. Overlapping crises — COVID-19, climate change, systemic racism, rampant inequality — cut across individual organizations’ priorities and challenge us to build cross-movement solidarity. This restructuring has supported important wins in the American Rescue Plan and Build Back Better package. We’ll take a look at our successes and the lessons we learned. And we’ll look ahead at how we can work together across issue siloes and across the gulf between DC and the grassroots.

Led by: Alan Barber

Panelists: Melissa Garcia, Maurice Mitchell, Ilene Stein, State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri

The Datapocalypse: How Progressives Can Navigate the Changing Landscape of Data

The digital data space and user privacy standards are undergoing major changes. “Cookie-pocalypse” will shake up digital ads. There are changes coming to peer-to-peer mobile messaging and 10DLC, shifts in pixel tracking for email open rates. In short, the tools we use are changing rapidly. Some of the top digital campaigners in the country will discuss how to keep pace with and understand the consequences of these changes for digital acquisition. They’ll consider shifts to email targeting strategies and how generally to continue building progressive power in this changing environment.

Led by: Brian Young

Panelists: Amy Chin-Lai, Jose Nunez, Julia Rosen, Patrick Stevenson

Bridging Cultural Disconnects as a Progressive Candidate of Color

Candidates and newly elected officials will discuss challenges they face in advancing a progressive agenda in their respective communities. How do they handle name-calling (like Socialist) and other fear-mongering tactics moderates use to influence public opinion? Panelists will also cover strategies for building multiracial coalitions, educating the public, and organizing moderate colleagues and community stakeholders.

Led by: Brittny Baxter

Panelists: Kristerfer Burnett, Charly Carter, Jaslin Kaur

Disinformation Trends, Community by Community

The right is busy sowing divisions in communities of color. This takes the form of usually by manipulative deep listening and appealing to base fears — often in ways intended to encourage people to buy firearms. We bring together a group of experts tracking how and where this is happening, how we can counter it, and what we can do to reaffirm solidarity with affected communities.

Led by: Marvin Randolph

Panelists: Vanessa Cardenas, Shireen Mitchell, Gloria Pan

Leading While Whole: The Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health

To sustain our the strong leadership, we must prioritize mental health through the racial and social conflicts ahead. This panel will provide resources and focus on the importance of having reliable mental health resources as we fight for change in areas that can trigger emotional and traumatic responses. Leaders who have been in the trenches of progressive activism will offer insight on the impact of their work on their mental health, and lessons they’ve learned to prioritize their mental and emotional wellbeing from diverse perspectives across race, class, ability, sexuality, and age.

Led by: Tami Sawyer

Panelists: Rebecca Cokley, Juan Escalante, Vahisha Hasan, Allyson Smith

Game Changer: The Power of LGBTQ Civic Engagement

Remember when Black LGBTQ youth saved democracy? Organizers in Georgia created one of the largest voter turnout operations in the history of the state—and it started long before the January 2021 runoff election. We’ll look at how savvy, year-round organizing has delivered results, and why LGBTQ and pro-equality voters are a critical, if often-overlooked, part of progressive civic engagement strategies. As we face legislative attacks on transgender youth, voting rights, reproductive justice and more, working together to mobilize our communities is vital. By engaging LGBTQ people and our supporters in voting, advocacy, and organizing, we have the opportunity to shift the balance of power.

Led by: Vivian Topping

Panelists: Fran Hutchins, Eric Paulk, Malika Redmond

The New Normal: Taking Lessons from Pandemic Organizing into the Next Year

Student organizers from community colleges, private schools, and HBCUs had unique experiences working through the global pandemic. They’ll share what they learned and how they plan to integrate their new digital organizing assets with their ground plans in the upcoming school year. They’ll discuss the focus on returning to a new normal, recognizing that many students are either out of practice in face-to-face organizing or have no experience with it. These four panelists have diverse organizing experiences, bringing new perspectives to building student power.

Led by: Dan Xie

Panelists: Alex Flowers, Efiotu Jagun, Christyna Reagan, Christina B. Williams

From Standing Rock to Vieques, Puerto Rico: The Cost of U.S. Colonialism

Colonized peoples within the United States are standing up for environmental justice and self-determination. The nation of Puerto Rico, has been occupied by U.S. settlers for 123 years since the Spanish American War — and withstood 60 years of bombing and associated contamination by the US Navy in the island-municipality of Vieques. Native communities at Standing Rock have refused to be disregarded in opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. This session is a collaborative effort between Power 4 Puerto Rico, Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora, and Center for Popular Democracy, organizations working in solidarity to promote justice for colonized people.

Led by: Juan Gonzales, Amy Goodman

Panelists: Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, Jenni Monet, Myrna Pagán

Want to Win in Battleground States? Focus on Immigrant Uber Drivers Not Just Soccer Moms

On average, 860,000 new citizens are sworn in every year and many of them live in battleground states. In 2020, immigrant voters made up 10% of the electorate and voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Despite barriers, voter turnout grew exponentially among immigrant voters in 2020, outpacing native-born voters. We’ll discuss the strategic importance of immigrant voters, their voting patterns, and how to improve outreach with a focus on overcoming language barriers.

Led by: Lauren Windsor

Panelists: Annabel Park, Dalila Reynoso, Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood

Designs on Democracy: Visual Strategies to Re-Frame the Story

How can we use creative tools like video and graphic design to reframe a story and subvert dominant narratives in the post-Trump era? Where are our points of intervention and how can communication tools help us build power? Join us for a panel discussion on best practices with a special focus on design and media. We’ll consider case studies in the areas of immigrant rights, climate justice, and electoral politics. As people of color, women and immigrants, we will reflect on opportunities and challenges we face in doing this work.

Led by: Sabiha Basrai

Panelists: Candice Dayoan, Yash Mori, Anthony Rogers-Wright

Who Speaks for God? How the Religious Right Betrays Faithful Americans

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is attempting to weaponize Holy Communion to attack President Biden over his support for abortion access. A far-right faction of leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention is up in arms over Critical Race Theory. White evangelicals voted for Trump in higher numbers in 2020 than in 2016. Yet these high-profile examples betray the reality that most religious Americans are pro-choice, support LGBTQ equality, and racial justice. Panelists will expose the religious right’s corruption and correct the record about what religious Americans believe. The panel will equip activists on the religious left to more effectively exert influence on American politics.

Led by: Maggie Siddiqi

Panelists: Lisa Harper, Robert P. Jones, Simran Jeet Singh, Ashley Wilson

When Asian Americans Buy Guns to Feel Safe: Potential Harms and Electoral Risks

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a surge in anti-Asian hate incidents, including verbal harassment, physical assault, and even mass shootings in Atlanta and Indianapolis. Asian Americans are understandably living in fear, and increasingly many are turning to buying guns to feel safe. The pro-gun lobby and firearms industry are encouraging this emerging trend to access the Asian American market. What is the risk posed by guns flowing into the Asian American community? How could guns turn into a wedge issue for Asian American voters, the fastest growing voting group? How could Asian American and GVP advocates work together to counter pro-gun right-wing messaging and prevent gun violence?

Led by: Gloria Pan

Panelists: Hsing-Fang Hsieh, Po Murray, Josh Sugarmann, Andy Wong, Tsu-Yin Wu

Using Your Voice to Make Meaning of Your Health Care Experience

You can use your personal story to change the world. This is especially true of life-changing experiences with the US healthcare system. These panelists have learned from their medical journeys, and then advocated for legislation, mentored activists, 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: Anastasia Golovashkina, Elena Hung, Rafael Noboa y Rivera, Odunola Ojewumi

Healing Within: Confronting Racism in Communities of Color

2020 underscored the many ways white supremacy shapes our society. Despite the progressive movement’s commitment to stand against systems built on white supremacy and to work to create a more inclusive and equitable society, we unintentionally uphold systems of oppression and racism. If we want true change, then we must call out the internalized white supremacy and racism in our own communities and start the path to healing. Join leaders who have committed to forming multiracial movements for justice and to learn how we can identify patterns of white supremacy, hold ourselves and others accountable, and create the lasting change we want to see.

Led by: Kiana Abbady

Panelists: Zahra Billoo, Papa Dia, Alejandra Gomez, Linh Nguyen

The Power of the Latina Vote: How Latinas are Changing Politics

It’s no secret that Latinas are the CEOs of their households. In this session, you will learn how organizations directly targeted the Latina electorate, how Latinas impacted key states/races in the electoral college, and how the Latina electorate is likely to impact elections in years to come. Attendees will learn how today’s actions are reshaping the Latinx electorate and what will happen when Latinas become key organized voters within the Latinx electorate.

Led by: MAYRA MACIAS

Panelists: Michelle Mayorga, Yadira Sanchez

Registering More Young People to Vote is the Way to Save Democracy

The youth vote can save democracy. And organizations focused on reaching young voters are bringing creativity and resilience to the task of turning out those voters. Campus-focused programs were hugely successful in 2020 (including programs on all HBCU campuses). Organizers reached young voters with a first-of-its-kind TikTok influencer campaign. Leaders from VoteAmerica will discuss its partnership with the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University to activate young voters. Mississippi Votes will share its experience in reaching young voters of color in one of the most voter suppressed states in the country and plans for sustaining this work in the future.

Led by: Debra Cleaver

Panelists: Arekia S. Bennett, Abby Keisa, Aisha McClendon

Climate Change, Climate Risk and the Federal Reserve: Why the Fed Must Take Action

This panel will discuss why the Fed must use its existing powers to supervise banks and other financial institutions on climate risk, use regulation to ensure financial stability, and manage the climate impact of the Fed’s emergency lending and monetary operations. The Fed’s own portfolio decision contribute to financing the fossil fuel industry and unsustainable level of carbon emissions—a practice that must cease if we’re going to meet a carbon free future with zero emissions by 2050. Join us to discuss how the Fed has the tools in hand to combat climate risk, why they are dragging their feet, and how Congress must take the lead in pushing the Fed to address the climate crisis head on.

Led by: David Arkush

Panelists: Alexis Goldstein, Tracey Lewis

Deprogramming Conspiracy Theorists: Advice from Cult Therapists and Organizers

Nearly half of Americans think the election was stolen. One in four says they will not get a COVID vaccine. Tens of millions of voters enthusiastically support alternate versions of reality, akin to actual cult members. How do we talk to friends, family members, co-workers and the communities we are organizing in a world where facts do not matter? This panel includes a noted cult researcher, two well-known clinicians and an expert running COVID education programs in the Latinx community. We will discuss rhetoric, behavior, and practices that help us have respectful conversations — and perhaps move people to action — even when we cannot agree on the most basic facts.

Led by: Shireen Mitchell

Panelists: Rachel Bernstein, Dr. Janja Lalich, Katia Ramos

Join the Fight Against the Student Debt Crisis

We’re in a student debt crisis. Over 46 million borrowers owe a collective $1.8 trillion in loans. As we know, these loans disproportionately impact borrowers of color and other underserved communities. The government and servicers continue to provide poor and antiquated service, even with a new administration in office. Bad actors in the space take advantage and spread misinformation. As we await more policy progress, nonprofits and startup companies have built coalitions to tackle the problem. Panelists will share insights gained during the pandemic, solutions and resources to help borrowers, discuss ways to hold servicers accountable, and their visions of the future of this fight and debt cancellation.

Led by: Natalia Abrams

Panelists: Sabrina Calazans, Lindsay Clark, Samantha Seng

The Truth about the Attacks on Teaching Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Since April 2021, a well-funded and highly-organized national campaign, disguised as “grassroots parent groups,” has energized the right wing media machine and prompted twenty-six states to propose and/or pass legislation that bans public schools from addressing discriminatory practices and limits how teachers can discuss racism or sexism in public school classrooms. Republican lawmakers and right wing advocacy groups are intent on silencing educators from teaching lessons that address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion– lessons that are critical to the academic and life outcomes of all children, white and nonwhite. We will focus on who is behind this right wing campaign, what their tactics and goals are, and how educators and activists can fight back.

Led by: Jeff Bryant

Panelists: Katherine Dunn, Beth Glenn, Jesse Hagopian

Partnering Diverse Candidates and Orgs with Diverse Consultants and Tech Solutions

State and national candidates are more diverse, but is this a reliable trend? We will explore ways the tech community can support diverse candidates in using multichannel strategies and ways diverse consultants can reach voters and people in their communities. 

Led by: Ashley Wilson

Panelists: Akilah Ensley, Morgan Fletcher, Henri Makembe

Virtual Events in an IRL World

Last year, campaigns shifted in-person events like fundraisers, volunteer trainings, and rallies to virtual settings. As we move back to IRL, we can’t ignore the strengths of virtual events. Virtual and hybrid events can raise money live from a broader audience, can be more inclusive, allow for more participation, and create high-energy viral moments that deliver for campaigns. The video teams behind some of the biggest success stories in live streams and virtual events will discuss the features of virtual and hybrid events that make them keepers.

Led by: Jordan Newman

Panelists: Shasti Conrad, Chuck Engel, Albert Negrete

Early Investments, Coalition Building, and Protecting the Right to Vote: How the Democratic Party is Paving the Road to 2022 and Beyond

In 2020, record numbers of key Democratic coalition voters turned out for President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Democrats up and down the ballot. The DNC and state parties are making historic investments in communities of color, protecting the right to vote, and robust organizing programs across the country. Join us to discuss our plans to mobilize voters around the Democratic agenda in 2021, 2022, and beyond.

This session is sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.

Led by: Bhavana Kodira

Panelists: Brencia Berry, Jose Nunez, Danai Pointer, Reyna Walters-Morgan

Relational Organizing Works—for Elections AND Governing

The People You Know Challenge was an experiment in relational organizing, led in the fall of 2020 by Community Change Action, together with Impactive, the Analyst Institute and 8 CCA partner organizations. The experiment found that recipients of a text message from someone they personally know were 8X more likely to opt-in to future communications from the organization. In addition, these relational organizing efforts led to a 40% increase in volunteers for participating organizations. CCA and partners have continued to build on these lessons in 2021 to lead base building and issue organizing work around infrastructure, childcare, voting rights, and immigration reform. Thanks to the best practices acquired from the election season our base has remained active and continues to participate in weekly organizing calls and actions.

Led by: Mike Griffin

Panelists: Alison Arne, John Keller, Bartosz Kumor, Jake Peña