The 2020 edition of Her Dream Deferred was meant to occur at the end of March but as COVID-19 began to wreak havoc across the US, those were disrupted. While this meant that live events were now off the cards, there emerged the urgent need to begin to interrupt the narratives, political decisions, and histories that serve as the conditions of possibility for COVID-19’s destructiveness. COVID-19’s collision arrival laid bare the profoundly hierarchical, racist, and patriarchal organization of our society. In a year where flux was the only constant, Under The Blacklight brought together essential thinkers to navigate the historical contours of the pandemic, and the pre-existing inequalities that shape its impact.
UNDER THE BLACKLIGHT:
The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that COVID Lays Bare
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
The past several weeks have prompted unprecedented levels of turmoil and unpredictability due to rising alarm over COVID-19. While American society has taken precautionary measures to counter the spread of the virus, those most vulnerable to societal neglect remain most impacted. Coronavirus did not create the stark social, financial, and political inequalities that define life for so many Americans, but it has made them more strikingly visible than any moment in recent history. Unfortunately, some of the intersectional dimensions of these structural disparities remain undetected and unreported.
As we witness this unprecedented moment, some of us from home and some of us from the front lines, we want to take the opportunity to gather together and share a piece of what we’re each seeing and experiencing. Together, as thought leaders around the country discuss the current crisis, explore how we can move forward together to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us, and imagine the world we hope to see emerge on the other side.
Eve Ensler is a Tony Award-winning playwright, performer, feminist, and activist. She is the author of 7 books and over a dozen plays, including The Vagina Monologues, and has been dubbed “the most important piece of political theater of the last decade” by the New York Times. Her experiences writing and performing the Vagina Monologues inspired her to create V-Day, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. In 2012, Eve initiated ONE BILLION RISING which has run now for seven years and is the largest mass action campaign against violence against women and girls.
Laura Flanders is a New York Times best-selling author of BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians and hosts the weekly broadcast show The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward-thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements about the key questions of our day. She is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine and a regular guest on MSNBC.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the chair of the Department of African American Studies and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University. Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the recipient of the 2002 Modern Language Association William Sanders Scarborough Prize for his book Exodus! Professor Glaude’s work also includes African American Religious Thought: An Anthology, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America. He is also a columnist for Time Magazine and regularly provides commentary on radio and television news programs like Democracy Now!, Morning Joe, and the 11th Hour.
Ai-jen Poo is a labor activist, plus the co-founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, a national coalition of 200 advocacy organizations working to transform the long-term care system in the US, with a focus on the needs of aging Americans, people with disabilities, and their caregivers. She is a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award. In February 2015, The New Press released her book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.
Dorothy Roberts is a leading scholar on race, gender, bioethics, and the law. She holds appointments in the Africana Studies, Law & Sociology departments at the University of Pennsylvania, and is the founding director of the UPenn Program on Race, Science, and Society. Her work has been central to the development of Black feminist thought, and she is the author of award-winning books such as Killing the Black Body, Shattered Bonds, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century.
Alvin Starks is a progressive racial justice thinker, writer, and strategist that works in the fields of philanthropy and racial justice advocacy to address issues of systemic inequality. Alvin’s visionary leadership and innovative philanthropic research supports a new generation of ideas and organizations to explore the intersections of human rights, racial justice, cross-movement building and gender equity. For over 8 years, Alvin worked at the Open Society Institute and in 2004 created and directed the Open Society Institute’s Racial Justice Initiative that focuses on dismantling the structural and systemic barriers that perpetuate racial and class exclusion in our nation.
UNDER THE BLACKLIGHT:
COVID and Disaster Capitalism
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
In the second episode of Under the Blacklight, we dug deeper into what it means to be both an essential worker and expendable at the same time, and how for the sake of saving our economy, how many marginalized communities are being put at risk.
Dara Baldwin is the Director of National Policy for the Center for Disability Rights, Inc. where she has led multiple national and international advocacy campaigns. Dara assisted with writing the disability provisions and was a leader in the advocacy campaign to get the Violence Against Women Act 2013 passed. Baldwin worked on 12 bills that passed in Congress and signed by President Barack Obama during his term in office. Plus, she is the Campaign Manager for the passage of the Disability Integration Act and works on Housing, Criminal Justice, Violence and Abuse and other issue areas.
Janine Jackson is the program director and producer/host of FAIR’s syndicated weekly radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR’s newsletter Extra!, and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s (Westview Press). She has appeared on ABC‘s Nightline and CNN Headline News, among other outlets, and has testified to the Senate Communications Subcommittee on budget reauthorization for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 18,000 worker members, 200 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in a dozen states nationwide. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door, a national bestseller.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics, Winning the World We Need, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and No Logo. In 2018, she published The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists. She is Senior Correspondent for The Intercept, a Puffin Writing Fellow at Type Media Center, and is the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University.
Mily Treviño-Sauceda is the Executive Director & Co-Founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Inc. She is also known as the founder of the farmworker women’s movement in the U.S. since late 80s. Mily co-founded “Mujeres Mexicanas” (Mexican Women), Coachella Valley. With the support of the CRLA Foundation, she co-founded Líderes Campesinas, in 1992, the first state-based farmworker women's unique grassroots organization that became a movement of campesina leaders advocating on behalf of campesinas. In 2011, co-founded Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, the first national grassroots-based farmworker women's organization.