Search Sessions

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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Organic Social: How to Build an Engaged Online Community for Your Campaign

Changes in online users’ search patterns, privacy updates, and the evolving social media landscape are making current marketing solutions like ads, search engine optimization, and influencer marketing increasingly expensive and inefficient. This workshop is focused on providing orgs with a cost-efficient alternative: organic social, or the practice of building an engaged online community whose members use their social media voices to help spread your organization’s message organically with their networks. We’ll discuss how to create a community of social sharers; build social copy using AI; use social share toolkits to generate impressions, donations, and sign-ups; and generate authentic engagement on different social networks.

Led by: Lori Coleman, Tudor Mihailescu

Email Masterclass: It's Still the Killer App

Whether your community of supporters is five thousand or five million strong, email remains by far the most cost-effective and powerful digital channel at your disposal to inform and engage your base. The basics of how to run a good email program haven’t changed a lot over the years, but new developments—such as Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, malware screening software, and the rise of unethical actors in the fundraising and activism space—are forcing us to develop new strategies. I’ll share lessons learned—about list growth, deliverability, messaging, testing, fundraising and more—from more than 18 years experience managing email programs for CREDO Mobile, Bernie 2016, NextGen,, Mozilla Foundation and People for the American Way.

Led by: Will Easton

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

Burnt: Avoiding and Recovering From Burnout in Yourself and Among Your Team

Burnout is epidemic in activists, organizers and change-agents after the last seven years of battling rising fascism in America and the pandemic. Many of us do not know how to create lives of balance, or lead teams with policies and culture that prioritizes mental health. This session will offer strategies for avoiding and coping with burnout in individuals and organizations. We’ll take a people centered approach, discussing policies like sabbaticals, mental health days and other benefits, as well as building healthy culture and personal development strategies in the day in/day out to sustain us and build resilience in trying times. We’ll also touch on boundaries, finding balance, and the importance of joy. This training is ideal for those leading teams or organizations, but will offer something for everyone who has faced the challenge of giving so much that they felt they had nothing left to give.

Led by: Elizabeth McLaughlin

What the Right Does Right—and How We Can Do it Better

January 6th was a terrifying display of effective digital organizing by the Right. Members of different white supremacist groups built their collective capacity online, traveled to Washington D.C. from all over the country, and stormed the capital of the United States of America. Numerous outlets began asking, “How did this happen?” But the more important question for organizers is, “Why can’t we pull off a huge display of people power like that?” This training will analyze the digital organizing efforts of the January 6th coordinators, highlighting key strategies that should be integrated into our own organizing, as well as where we can be even better than our adversaries.

Led by: Grace Guber

Using Pop Culture Authentically in Your Campaigns

From Superheroes to Soccer to K-Pop, people build community around pop culture they love. With or without movement organizations, fandoms are taking action for social change. Nonprofits and campaigns need to engage people where they are, with the stories they already love and share. But not every campaign experiences success and buy-in with fans. In this session, we’ll explore how to find and engage key fan partners, build pop culture campaigns, and turn fans into engaged and impactful activists!

Led by: Elana Levin

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

Inclusive & Accessible Campaigns

This workshop will help you and your team bring disability justice best practices into the nuts and bolts of your campaign work. From ensuring your campaign’s culture is welcoming and safe for disabled staff & volunteers, to ensuring your voter outreach is accessible and resonant with disabled voters, we’ll discuss common missteps, as well as recommendations for designing an inclusive campaign from start to finish. More accessible campaigns mean higher voter turnout and a better chance of winning! Learn more about our Inclusive Campaign Guide at

Led by: Dessa Cosma

Vote Run Lead's 90 Days of Action

If you’re seeking an accessible way to prepare to run for office (and win!), 90 Days of Action offers a proven curriculum that has empowered thousands of women to earn seats in their state legislatures or other roles in government. Vote Run Lead’s signature training outlines 30 specific political actions you can accomplish within just 90 days to: improve your general knowledge of the political ecosystem; reach a better understanding of your specific political community; accelerate growing your political networks; and gain the confidence you need to commit to campaigning (and winning!). This course is a perfect starting point for women just beginning their political journey or already taking their first steps toward a seat in the statehouse.

Led by: Erin Vilardi, Lea Webb

Pause for the Cause: Simple Tips to Make Peace In a Fast Pace

How often have you heard (or said), I just don’t have time to take care of myself?  In the fast pace of campaign or movement work, perhaps it’s not that we don’t have the time…. It’s that we haven’t been taught how to make the time or what to do when we make the time…..
Come through for a light practice to relieve stress in the body and bring calm to the mind – and simple ways to make peace in a fast pace.

Led by: Reggie Hubbard

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

Taming Trolls on Social Media

These days, every campaign needs an online presence. However, the more time and energy candidates invest in social media, the more likely it is that they will have to contend with trolls. The conventional wisdom is that the best response is no response (AKA “Don’t Feed the Trolls”). This training provides a more sophisticated and effective alternative—Troll Taming—that will turn your interactions with those pesky trolls into a campaign asset.

Led by: Karin Tamerius

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

#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

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

Public Safety Messaging: Lessons from the Chicago Mayor’s Race

Wondering how progressive Mayor Brandon Johnson pulled off an upset win in the Chicago Mayor’s race, despite being badly outspent facing a barrage of racially-loaded attacks on his public safety and policing policy positions? Join us as top strategists and stakeholders from the Johnson campaign discuss key decisions and important moments from the race, and lay out what progressives and all Democrats can learn with respect to how whole communicate about public safety issues in other races moving forward.

Led by: Bill Neidhardt

Panelists: Stacy Davis Gates, Brandon Davis, Karthik Ganapathy

Big Democracy Energy: Defeating Election Deniers and the Fight Ahead

When democracy was at stake in 2022, Secretaries of State and pro-democracy candidates answered the call. Across the country, election deniers were running for the role of chief election officer. Their platforms ranged from overturning the 2020 election to ensuring victory for their chosen candidates in 2024. Creating the contrast between this chaos and the competence of Democratic candidates led to resounding victories in key battleground state—Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and beyond, stopping insurrectionists on their path to oversee our elections. Hear from a young, diverse group of Democratic Secretaries of State as they discuss how they won and outperformed expectations this past cycle, why the fight for democracy is far from over, how we can work to stop the spread of election disinformation and the proactive measures they are taking in their states to ensure free and fair elections for every eligible American.

Led by: Kim Rogers

Panelists: Cisco Aguilar, Jocelyn Benson, Adrian Fontes, Stephanie Thomas

Rise and Organize: Building Democratic Party Power in the States

Over the last few years, more and more progressive leaders have stepped forward to run for state party chair—and won. The result? A fresh vision to build power and win elections that’s rooted in year-round organizing. Come hear from rising star party chairs in Michigan, Nebraska, Washington and North Carolina about how they are building power and building a bench in their states. Whether their state is red or blue, what challenges and opportunities do they face when it comes to recruiting candidates and mobilizing volunteers? What are ways for progressives to move into the party to create structural and transformational change?

Led by: Arshad Hasan

Panelists: Lavora Barnes, Anderson Clayton, Shasti Conrad, Jane Fleming Kleeb

First They Came for CRT ... Why Saving Democracy Means Defending Racial Justice

Martin Niemoller’s famous quote reminds us why we cannot afford to stay silent in the face of a society’s slide into authoritarianism. History also reminds us that demagogues will first target minoritized groups to identify a threat to the nation and then test the limits of whether society will allow that group, and ultimately others, to be targeted for elimination. The far right-wing attack on Critical Race Theory was the opening assault in the fall of 2020 that few took seriously. We are now seeing that initial assault metastasize into attacks on LGBTQ and gender justice, public education and multiracial democracy. This panel will analyze how and why we must wage a robust fight for racial justice in order to save our democracy.

Led by: Kimberlé Crenshaw

Panelists: Keith Ellison, Nina Turner, Tim Wise, Terrance Woodbury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opening Keynote featuring Mayor Brandon Johnson

Join us as we kick off Netroots Nation 2023 with our opening keynote highlighting progressive leaders and organizing efforts in Chicago. You’ll hear from progressive voices including Mayor Brandon Johnson; Illinois State Sen. Robert Peters; AFT President Randi Weingarten; Cook County Public Defender Sharone Mitchell, Jr.; Chicago organizer Emma Tai; Working Families Party’s Maurice Mitchell; and more.

During the first half of the session, Netroots Nation and Motus Theater present a special performance as part of Motus Theater’s JustUs DA Tour. In this performance, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx co-reads the autobiographical monologue of Motus’ JustUs monologist & Director at Women’s Justice Institute Reclamation Project, Colette Payne about the impact of the criminal legal system on her and her family. The nationally-acclaimed musical duo, The ReMINDers will offer a musical response to the co-reading and the keynote.

Motus Theater, in collaboration with Fair & Just Prosecution, is touring autobiographical monologues of people who were formerly incarcerated with the offices of district attorneys across the country to inspire thoughtful dialogue on the impact the criminal legal system has on our country. The JustUs project was developed by Motus Theater in 2019 and premiered as a keynote at the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice Conference in front of 1,600 stakeholders. Since then, JustUs monologues have served as keynotes for 11 national and international conferences and have been read by law enforcement, district attorneys, DOC staff, and legislators. Motus Theater’s mission is to create original theater to facilitate dialogue on critical issues of our time. Motus aims to use the power of art to build alliances across diverse segments of our community and country. The JustUs monologues were developed in collaboration with Motus Theater’s artistic director, Kirsten Wilson, as part of an 18-24 week Motus monologue workshop. Learn more about JustUs tour HERE.

Then, you’ll hear about the powerful organizing effort behind Brandon Johnson’s mayoral campaign. How did Johnson, a progressive county commissioner who was unknown to many Chicagoans when the campaign started, build momentum to defeat Paul Vallas and become the most progressive mayor elected in the city’s history?

Panelists: Kim Foxx, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, Sharone Mitchell, Jr., Maurice Mitchell, Colette Payne, Illinois State Senator Robert Peters, The ReMINDers, Emma Tai, Randi Weingarten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Nash Alam

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

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

Friday Keynote featuring TN State Rep. Justin Jones

At every turn, the GOP is taking steps to silence those they don’t agree with and squash progress on critical issues like reducing gun violence, ensuring abortion access and protecting our democracy. Right wing extremists’ continued assault on our rights and democracy helped Democrats mobilize—and win—in the midterms, but the work isn’t over.
To counter their efforts, we must continue to organize, build power and develop a bench of progressive leaders up and down the ballot. In even the reddest of states, courageous, bold leaders and community organizers are stepping up to raise their voices, inspire change and mobilize their communities. In this keynote, Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones, in conversation with Alicia Garza, will discuss his experience standing up for democracy, disrupting the status quo and demanding action. We’ll also hear from Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Center for Popular Democracy’s DaMareo Cooper and Analilia Mejia and Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson.

Panelists: DaMareo Cooper, Alicia Garza, Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson, Rep. Justin Jones, Analilia Mejia, Markos Moulitsas

#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

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

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

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

Saturday keynote featuring Reps. Summer Lee, Delia Ramirez, Greg Casar, Maxwell Frost, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal, Jan Schakowsky and Jesús “Chuy” García

The 2022 midterms ushered another wave of young, diverse voices into the halls of Congress—with some of them making history on a number of fronts. Hear from four of the newest progressive members of Congress—Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12), Rep. Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35) and Rep. Maxwell Frost (FL-10)—about what work and life has been like for them in their first few months. In a conversation moderated by Rep. Ilhan Omar, they’ll talk about what their priorities are and how the progressive movement can support them as they continue pushing forward progressive policies in the coming months.

Then, you’ll hear from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) and Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) as they discuss the current state of Congress, their plan for moving progressive policies forward and the Congressional landscape looking toward 2024. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos will moderate.

Panelists: Rep. Greg Casar, Rep. Maxwell Frost, Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Summer Lee, Markos Moulitsas, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Delia Ramirez, Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Check the Roots: The Root Causes of Gun Violence & How AGs are Responding

Attorneys General wield considerable power and influence throughout the country and within their respective states. As the nation continues to grapple with gun violence, including mass shootings and other senseless acts of violence, AGs nationwide are leading efforts to address this crisis. AGs are focused on utilizing every tool at their disposal to reduce violence, including interventions at all levels. This panel will discuss the work and impact of AGs in addressing gun violence, as well as strategies and approaches for gun violence reduction and prevention.

Led by: Kyle George

Panelists: Rob Bonta, Keith Ellison, Rev. Brenda Mitchell, Kwame Raoul

Expanding Justice: Organizing to Reform the Supreme Court

While Supreme Court justices are not elected, voters and activists have the power to organize and change the direction of the Court. As the Court’s conservative supermajority attacks our fundamental rights, expanding the Court has quickly entered the political mainstream as the surest way to restore ideological balance and save us from a generation of right-wing, minoritarian rule. Over 60 members of Congress and 130 organizations have endorsed historic legislation to add 4 justices to the Court. Featuring progressive champions inside and outside Congress, this panel will underscore how the progressive community can strategically organize to rebalance the court to save democracy and our rights.

Led by: Tristin Brown

Panelists: Rep. Greg Casar, Brett Edkins, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Murshed Zaheed

An Overdue Reckoning of Structural and Systemic Racism in Policing

Black lives matter. I Can’t Breathe. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. No Justice, No Peace. These powerful phrases are rallying cries for fair-minded Americans seeking to live up to one of this country’s core principles: equal justice under the law. Since this nation’s founding, Black Americans have struggled, fought and died for the right to be free and equal citizens. At a powder keg moment in American policing history, Black fathers from the frontlines will share a fly-on-the-wall look deep inside their intimate personal state as they struggle to confront structural and systemic racism in abusive policing that led to the murder of their children. Nowhere else will you have the opportunity to hear and witness the power of their experiences.

Led by: Rashad Timmons

Panelists: Michael Brown, Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson, Andrew Joseph, Kevin Tarver

Running on Climate: 2022 Lessons that Can Help Democrats Win in 2024

In 2022, the power of climate and other issue-based voting was on clear display, vital to winning up and down the ballot and to flipping swing seats and states. Democrats had the best midterm elections in the first term since the Kennedy administration because both the base and less-frequent voters turned out to vote on the issues. The climate and environmental justice crises are escalating—as are their importance to voters. What do the midterms teach about how and why to run on climate in 2024? How can Democrats best communicate climate achievements as well as urgency? Join us to discuss takeaways from 2022—and why leaning into climate issues is a winning strategy for 2024 and beyond.

Led by: Michelle Deatrick

Panelists: Garlin Gilchrist II, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Ebony Twilley Martin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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