Welcome to the nexus of awarding-winning art, activism, politics, and culture. Hosted by the Center for Popular Democracy, we are bringing together some of the world’s biggest artists, community organizers, and progressive leaders for a historic multi-hour, cross-platform livestream.
Anchored in our vision for a more just world, we will explore the existential question of what is required to support and foster a popular democracy—the imaginative, informed, sustained participation by all Americans, in our country’s economy, in our government, and in our communities.
A common saying in Hawaiian Culture is “Talk Story.” We invite and welcome you to tune in and tap into the timeless narratives of struggle, power, redemption, and cooperation. It is an invitation to truth-telling and democratic sharing. We will explore the role of narrative in shifting the balance of power and building a more equitable society. We will talk to artists, writers, organizers, and elected officials across the progressive movement about how the current moment has created an opening to challenge the dominant narrative and introduce transformative ways of seeing the world.
A common saying in Hawaiian Culture is “Talk Story.” We invite and welcome you to Transformation 2020: Popular Democracy Defined – an invitation to tune in and tap into timeless narratives of struggle, power, redemption, and cooperation. It is an invitation to truth-telling and democratic sharing. We will explore the role of narrative in shifting the balance of power and building a more equitable society. We will talk to artists, writers, organizers, and elected officials across the progressive movement about how the current moment has created an opening to challenge the dominant narrative and introduce transformative ways of seeing the world.
Surina is a proud Californian by way of Connecticut and Pakistan. A first generation immigrant, Surina came to the US with her parents and five older siblings in 1973, and has been dedicated to gender, racial, and economic justice issues ever since. As CEO of the Women’s Foundation California, Surina oversees the Foundation’s strategic direction which is focused on building community-based power through investing in effective community-based organizations, training community leaders in policy advocacy, connecting key partners, and mobilizing significant financial resources.
Claudette Colvin is a retired American nurse aide who was a pioneer of the 1950s civil rights movement. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested at the age of 15 in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus.
Alberto Retana is the President and CEO of Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization based in South Los Angeles that empowers residents to transform their communities, improve education, and reimagine public safety. As President and CEO, Alberto has developed initiatives to build Community Coalition into a mass based community organization that involves thousands of South Los Angeles residents in the practice of creating change.
Andy Shallal is an artist and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of Busboys and Poets, an environment where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted. Spaces to feed the mind, body and soul and where art, culture and politics take center stage and collide. Shallal has founded or co-founded several peace and justice organizations and holds leadership positions in numerous others. He is on the board of trustees for the Institute for Policy Studies and a founding member of Think Local First DC, a local business association. He also sits on the board of several arts and peace organizations and was appointed by the Mayor to head the Workforce Investment Council, an advisory board for the Mayor on how to spend workforce development dollars more effectively. Shallal continues to strive to make his hometown of Washington DC a more livable community.
Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He will become the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Kim Anderson has an accomplished career of service to NEA’s members and students that spans more than 15 years. Anderson’s lifelong commitment to breaking down barriers for others has never wavered as the first woman and first person of color to serve as NEA executive director.