Economic Violence and the Black Jobs Crisis

Economic Violence and the Black Jobs Crisis

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 14 2:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 14 3:15 PM (Eastern)

We have a Black jobs crisis on our hands—and the impact that race has played in our ability to obtain employment has devastated many of our communities. From Black unemployment rates in the double digits to the severe underemployment of Black transgender women, this panel will discuss the history of our economy built on slave labor, the current crisis the Black community faces as we strive for full employment, and actions our organizations and communities can take as we look forward to true employment equity.


Carmen Berkley


Carmen Berkley currently serves as the Managing Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Over 15 years of experience, Carmen has served as the President of the United States Student Association, Field Director at NAACP and Choice USA, Digital Strategist at AFSCME, Executive Director at the Generational Alliance, and most recently Director of Civil, Human and Women’s Rights at the AFL-CIO, where she led an effort to develop a racial justice and criminal justice platform for the labor movement, and la large scale effort to build the electoral capacity of people of color and women. Carmen is the a co-host and producer on WPFW FM, shes been seen as a political commentator on MTV and TVOne, and she is frequently quoted and writes for magazines and blogs. She is on the Board of Directors for Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Advocates for Youth and the League of Young Voters.

Other sessions: How to Have a Conversation About Race Without Everyone Running Out of the Room


Elle Hearns


Elle Hearns is a organizer,speaker,strategist,and writer. Elle’s voice as a community organizer and speaker were formed from her upbringing in Columbus, Ohio as a youth organizer. Ms. Elle is a co-founding member of the Black Lives Matter network an organization formed with multiple local chapters as a political project in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in order to explicitly combat implicit bias and anti-black racism and to protect and affirm the beauty and dignity of all Black lives. In her role before stepping down she was formerly a strategic partner
​to​ BLM co-founders Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi and to local chapters of the organization as the former interim Organizing Director advocating for Collaborative Solidarity across the network and Black Liberation movement. Elle has been honored with the Young Women’s Achievement Award for Advocacy and Organizing by the Women’s Information Network, the Black Feminist Human Rights Defender award by Black Women’s Blueprint,and ​was named a Woke 100 honoree by Essence Magazine.

Ms. Elle currently is the Executive Director of The Marsha P. Johnson Institute an organization founded in 2015 that works to create a crucial entry point for Black transgender women to advocate for an end to violence against all trans people through advocacy, transformative organizing, restoration, civil disobedience and direct action. The organization is credited for organizing the first ever National Day of Action for Black Trans Women in response to the murders of Amber Monroe, Kandis Capri, and Elisha Walker and held organized events in multiple cities including New York City,Chicago, and Washington DC.

As a speaker Elle has delivered keynotes and talks at Harvard University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture,The Public Theatre,and for The National Lawyer’s Guild,Columbia University, Stanford University and NYU.

Prior to founding The Marsha P. Johnson Institute Ms. Elle worked for LGBT organization GetEQUAL an organization that she shifted from an equality framework to one that was centered more on the liberation of LGBTQ people. During her time there she successfully led many campaigns including More Than Marriage a digital campaign detailing why LGBTQIA people needed more than marriage equality to be “free”, Year Without Tamir a campaign honoring the life of Tamir Rice a 12 year old who was murdered by the Cleveland Police Department in which the campaign demanded and advocated for a new prosecutor for the case and in Cuyahoga County, and the firing of the officers and all responsible for his murder. Elle operates politically from the perspectives of black nationalism,humanist theory, and black trans theory and practice. She credits Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and Marsha P. Johnson as her teachers. Their words along with her life experiences are what she credits for politicising her.

Elle’s writings have been published by The CUNY Law Review and Ebony magazine. Her
​ ​work has also been chronicled and featured by Time, CNN, MTV, The New York Times, Alternet, Democracy Now, The Daily Dot, Fusion, Essence Magazine,The Root, Alternet, Telesur TV and The Washington Post.

Other sessions: #AskaSista: Black Women Muse on Politics, Policy, Pop Culture and Scholarship

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Fareed Michelen

Fareed Michelen

Fareed Michelen is the Special Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer for the NYS AFL-CIO. He also serves as the Assistant to the President of the International Coalition of Black Trade Unionists as is one of two Co-Chairs for the National AFL-CIO Young Worker Advisory Council. He has worked for the NYS AFL-CIO for the past 8 years building and maintaining relationships between Labor unions, allied groups, constituency groups, and community organizations. Before joining the AFL he was an organizer with 1199SEIU first organizing non-union facilities and then representing union members. He is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton earning Bachelor Degrees in both English and History. He is married with two daughters living in the Capital District of New York State.

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