Netroots Nation 2021 Opening Keynote

Netroots Nation 2021 Opening Keynote

Session Type(s): Plenary

Starts: Thursday, Oct. 7 5:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Oct. 7 6:30 PM (Eastern)

Pundits talk about COVID and getting “back to normal,” but we progressives have a message: Normal isn’t good enough. We want bold, progressive solutions on issues like economic policy, climate change, immigration and more. Hear progressive leaders discuss their vision for progressive change on key issues and discuss how we can build momentum for 2022 and beyond.

You’ll hear from DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison; Rep. Joe Neguse with immigration activists Tania Chairez and Marissa Molina; Aspiration co-founder Joe Sanberg, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Rep. Rashida Tlaib. We’ll end the session with a special conversation with Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, and Mustafa Santiago Ali.


Cheryl Contee


Cheryl Contee is The Impact Seat’s Chief Innovation Officer and award-winning Founder & Chair of the mission-driven digital agency Do Big Things. Cheryl is the Amazon bestselling author of Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success. Passionate about creating new tech and new narrative for a new era, Cheryl uses her vast experience in startup entrepreneurship and community engagement to lead our portfolio companies and fund investments to success. Previously, Cheryl was CEO of Fission Strategy, which brought Silicon Valley startup culture to the world’s leading causes and campaigns. She’s the co-founder of, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, the National Board Chair for Netroots Nation, a Senior Advisor for Astia and the first portfolio company board member of New Media Ventures.

Other sessions: Innovating with Influencers: How to Ally for Power

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Joe Sanberg


Joe Sanberg is a progressive champion, successful entrepreneur, and a national leader in the fight against poverty. He has been one of the nation’s leading advocates for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income families. In 2015, he successfully lobbied legislators in his home state of California to create the state’s first EITC. This led him to create CalEITC4Me, a community organizing program that has connected working California families with more than $4 billion of state and federal Earned Income Tax Credits.

In 2018, Joe founded Working Hero PAC, a national, people-powered political organization launched to support elected leaders and candidates who champion policies that will help #EndPoverty. He later created Working Hero Action to expand his successful model of EITC outreach beyond California, and advocate for policies that will help all Americans afford their basic needs.

Joe is Co-Founder of, an online financial institution that empowers people to bank, invest, and spend in accordance with their values. He also serves on the board of the Economic Innovation Group and the Jefferson Awards Foundation, and on the Board of Trustees of the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy.

Mustafa Santiago Ali

Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali is the Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate & Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Interim Chief of Programs at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Founder and CEO of Revitalization Strategies. Before joining the NWF, Mustafa was the Senior Vice President for the Hip Hop Caucus (HHC), a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process. Prior to joining the HHC, Mustafa worked 22 years at the EPA and 2 years on Capitol Hill working for Congressman John Conyers chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Mustafa began working on Social Justice issues at 16 and joined the EPA as a student, becoming a founding member of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ). He most recently served as Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization and Assistant Associate Administrator. He led the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG) which brought together 17 Federal Agencies & Departments and various White House offices to strategically leverage resources to uplift vulnerable communities across the country.

In 2019 Mustafa co-designed and co-moderated the first Presidential forum on Environmental Justice with Amy Goodman. He has interviewed some of America’s most influential leaders in Politics, Hip Hop, Civil Rights, Climate and Social Justice.