The Virtual American Dream Reconsidered Conference 2020
What was the American dream for Eleanor Roosevelt? On the 75th anniversary of the founding of Roosevelt University—and the centennial of the 19th Amendment—this is an opportune moment for us to consider this question at the virtual 2020 American Dream Reconsidered Conference.
This year’s conference keynote will feature Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and a discussion on governing in an age of COVID-19, economic inequality and racial injustice. Other panels will explore progressive politics, black women and the right to vote, LBGTQ+ rights and more.
The conference is free and open to the public.
For a sneak preview of the conference, listen to the Roosevelt University podcast And Justice For All. Conference co-chairs Margaret Rung and Andrew Trees will guest-host a series of episodes on this year’s thought-provoking panels.
This conference is made possible by the following sponsors:
Monday, September 14
THE FRANKLIN & ELEANOR ROOSEVELT DISTINGUISHED LECTURE: 21ST CENTURY NEW DEAL POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
12:30-1:45 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
Sponsored by the Center for New Deal Studies
As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the lives and leadership of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt remain more relevant than ever. Americans are reconnecting with the ideals and legacy that drove Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. Most notably, today’s New Deal leaders embrace the notion that government and an enlarged public sector can promote liberty and justice for all. Even in the South, a region perceived to be hostile to progressive politics, candidates have taken office under the banner of expanding the role of local government in creating a vibrant civic life.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi will discuss the role that grass-roots mobilization and a progressive vision can have in fortifying democracy and building a more equitable and just world in the United States of America.
David Faris, Associate Professor of Political Science, Roosevelt University
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
Learn more about today’s New Deal leaders on Roosevelt’s And Justice For All podcast with community organizer Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. Listen to Episode 15: New Deal for a New Day.
Tuesday, September 15
CHAMPIONS FOR DEMOCRACY: BLACK WOMEN AND THE RIGHT TO VOTE
12:30-1:45 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
In celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed the right of women to vote, we will reflect on the struggles of Black women to fight for the right to cast a ballot. Black women were avid supporters and participants in the movement to obtain the vote for women at the state and federal level, yet even as they struggled to win the right to vote for their sex, they faced exclusion from the ballot box because of the color of their skin.
Professor Martha Jones, author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All, and Lisa Materson, author of For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 will explore the past and present of our most precious democratic right: the right to vote.
Virtual Book Signing with Martha Jones, author of Vanguard and Lisa Materson, author of For the Freedom of Her Race
Sandra Frink, Associate Professor of History, Roosevelt University
Martha Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor & Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University
Lisa Materson, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Davis
Post-Panel Discussion (2:30 – 3:30 p.m.):
The Women’s Leadership Council will host a 60 minute virtual discussion forum directly after the Champions of Democracy: Black Women and the Right to Vote panel. In small groups, attendees will discuss concrete ways to address topics from the panel. Moderators will facilitate the breakout sessions and share key discussion points from each with the larger group.
Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 973 2626 4786
75 YEARS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE HISTORY OF ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY
6 - 7 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
This lecture will explore how the idea of social justice has shaped Roosevelt University for the past 75 years. The story begins with the founding of the college in 1945 as a principled stand against racial and religious discrimination. Advocacy for democracy and social justice continued through the years, reflected in the diverse faculty, staff and student body; broad liberal arts and professional studies curriculum; and support of student activism and leadership.
As chair of the advisory board, Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged it all in the early years, stating in 1953 that “Somehow we must be able to show people that democracy is not about words, but action.”
Learn more about Roosevelt University's rich history on a previous episode of Roosevelt’s And Justice For All podcast with Lynn Weiner. Listen to Episode 1: Roosevelt University's Origin Story
Lynn Weiner, Roosevelt University Historian
Wednesday, September 16
MANSFIELD LECTURE: LUIS ALBERTO URREA, AUTHOR OF INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH
12:30–1:45 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
Sponsored by the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation
Q&A will follow the lecture.
Luis Alberto Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North is Roosevelt’s One Book/One University First-Year Read. The novel follows Nayeli, a 19-year-old restaurant worker, as she goes on a journey “into the north” to repopulate and protect her Mexican village after many of the townsmen — including her father — have migrated to the United States.
A best-selling author of 17 books, Luis Alberto Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. In 2019, he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction award. In 2016, Urrea became a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist; and in 2005, he was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame.
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES: THE FIGHT FOR LGBTQ+ RIGHTS
6:00-7:15 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
This session is made possible by the generous support of Dr. Charles R. Middleton & Dr. John S. Geary.
Even as great strides have been made, there are still many challenges facing the LGBTQ+ movement. This panel will explore how LGBTQ+ individuals struggle to find their place not only within a predominantly heterosexual world but also within the LGBTQ+ community itself. Additionally, it will ask how the history of rights and freedom movements might inform the next chapter of LGBTQ+ rights activism on the local and national levels.
The panel will include Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal, LaSaia Wade of Brave Space Alliance, and Modesto Tico Valle of Center on Halsted and will be moderated by Professor C. Riley Snorton of the University of Chicago, whose scholarship has focused on LGBTQ+ issues. His book, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (2017) won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction.
C. Riley Snorton, Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Chicago
Camilla Taylor, Esq., Director of Constitutional Litigation, Lambda Legal
Modesto Tico Valle, Chief Executive Officer, Center on Halsted
LaSaia Wade, Founder & Executive Director, Brave Space Alliance
Learn more about the trans rights movement with faculty experts on Roosevelt’s And Justice For All podcast. Listen to Episode 16: Transgender Through Time.
Thursday, September 17
GOVERNING FOR THE PEOPLE: LEADERSHIP IN AN AGE OF INEQUALITY
2:00 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot will discuss governing in an age of COVID-19, economic inequality and racial injustice. How do we make government functional, responsive, accountable and transparent when facing multiple interlocking crises?
Lori E. Lightfoot, 56th Mayor of Chicago
Ann Claire Williams, Retired Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
6:00 p.m. | Online | View Panel Recording
The protests sparked by George Floyd’s death have served as a potent reminder of how much progress still needs to be made in the struggle for racial justice. A number of Roosevelt University students have been active in that struggle. This panel will feature several of them discussing their experiences fighting for racial justice. In addition, the panel will explore possible future directions for the movement, including tactics and strategies that might help bring about continued progress. The panel will be moderated by Ms. Ameshia Cross, who is an alumna of Roosevelt University and a political commentator for Sinclair Broadcasting Group.
Ameshia Cross, political commentator for Sinclair Broadcasting Group
Julia Doh, Roosevelt University student
Troy Gaston, Roosevelt University student
Khaliya Jackson, Roosevelt University student