Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Friday, Jul. 15 1:00 PM (Central)
Ends: Friday, Jul. 15 2:15 PM (Central)
Our political system is out of touch with an electorate that is more diverse and demanding than ever before. This session explores bold strategies such as engaging new voters, providing alternative candidates, and revamping political structures that hold back nontraditional candidates. Through specific examples and data, the panelists show that it’s possible to reclaim our power even in the face of expensive campaigns, special interests and entrenched incumbents.
Aimee Allison is founder and president of She the People, a national network elevating the voice and power of women of color. She brings together voters, organizers, and elected leaders in a movement grounded in values of love, justice, belonging, and democracy. In 2018, Ms. Allison was one of the primary architects of the “year of women of color in politics.”
In April 2019, she convened the first presidential forum for women of color, reaching a quarter of the American population. A democratic innovator and visionary, Ms. Allison leads national efforts to build inclusive, multiracial coalitions led by women of color. She leverages media, research and analysis to increase voter engagement and advocate for racial, economic and gender justice.
Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Hill, Essence, Teen Vogue and Newsweek. In the early 1990’s, Ms. Allison earned a rare honorable discharge from the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector and works today to support courageous, moral leadership.
Aimee Allison holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University. Author of Army of None, she has appeared in hundreds of outlets including MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, Associated Press and NPR.
She is building a political home for a million women of color, nationally and in battleground states. She was featured in Politico’s 2019 Powerlist.
SAYU BHOJWANI is a political scientist, author and outspoken advocate for shaking up the status quo in our democracy. In 2019, CQ Roll Call named her one of three people outside of the Beltway to watch. Since 2010, she has served as the founder and president of New American Leaders. In that capacity, she has recruited, coached and supported over 100 first and second generation Americans who now serve in local, state or federal office. A proven expert on diversity and democracy, she gave a widely viewed TED talk on immigrants’ critical role in our democracy. In 2018, her first book, People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy’s Door, was published by The New Press. A proud immigrant New Yorker, she also served as New York City’s first Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs from 2002 to 2004.
Carol McDonald is a social justice activist with 20 years of experience in political organizing, issue campaign management, constituency engagement, and volunteer management, with a focus on engaging communities of color. She is currently the Senior Strategist at 76 Words, a political strategy and media firm. She is also the CEO of Meridian Solutions LLC, a consulting practice specializing in organizing for social justice and racial equity. For 11 years, Carol served in numerous capacities at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Most recently she was the Director of Strategic Partnerships, a department she created in 2011 that focuses on African American and Latino community engagement. She also led an organization-wide race equity initiative to improve work with marginalized communities and developing a plan for organizational change at PPFA. For eight years, she managed electoral and issue campaigns for Planned Parenthood, including the field campaign around passage of the Affordable Care Act, the independent expenditures for the 2008 and 2010 federal electoral campaigns, and a public education campaign in partnership with MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation called Get Yourself Tested (GYT). In 2012, she directed the documentary A Vital Service: African American Stories of Reproductive Health Care.
Steve Phillips is a national political leader, civil rights lawyer, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and author of the New York Times and Washington Post bestselling book Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of Democracy in Color, a multimedia publication on politics and race for the New American Majority. In 1992 he became the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco and went on to serve as president of the Board of Education. He is co-founder of PowerPAC+ a social justice organization dedicated to building a multiracial political coalition. PowerPAC+ conducted the largest independent voter mobilization efforts backing Barack Obama, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. In 2014, he co-authored the first-ever audit of Democratic Party spending and was named one of “America’s Top 50 Influencers” by Campaigns and Elections magazine. He has appeared on multiple national radio and television networks including NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN and TV One. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Hastings College of the Law.