American Dream Reconsidered Conference
November 1-4, 2021
Hope and Opportunity:
The Future and Possibility of the American Dream
We believe that this conference provides an occasion to refocus our attention on the future — on how social justice can be promoted in the areas of health care, education and culture, and how the idea of the American Dream can sustain us with a new vision of hope and opportunity.
Day 1 – Monday, Nov. 1
Introduced by: Heather Dalmage, Professor of Sociology, Roosevelt University, Director of the Mansfield Institute.
Bethany Morrow, author of several novels, including Mem and A Song Below Water, and editor of the anthology Take the Mic.
Panel: The American Dream During a Time of Division
Introduced by: President Ali Malekzadeh
David Axelrod, political consultant and analyst; former senior advisor to President Obama
Bill Kristol, political commentator and editor-at-large of The Bulwark; former chief of staff to Vice President Quayle
David Faris, Associate Professor of Political Science, Roosevelt University
Day 2 – Tuesday, Nov. 2
Ida B. Wells Lounge
The Herb H. Franks Endowed Seminar in Political Science
The Prospects, Hopes and Failures of Educational Achievement at K-12
Introduced by: Ralph Martire, Arthur Rubloff Endowed Professor of Public Policy, Roosevelt University, and Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
The data make one thing abundantly clear: educational attainment directly correlates to economic viability in the modern world. Which means that, to realize the American Dream, every student must receive a high-quality K-12 education that equips them with the literacy, numeracy and critical thinking skills needed to succeed at the postsecondary level. Unfortunately, the nation generally and Illinois specifically have historically failed to provide a high-quality public education to most low-income and minority students. That, however, is beginning to change.
Our panel will discuss recent reforms in education finance and policy that have passed in Illinois, which specifically redress inequitable educational practices of the past that run the gamut from resource allocation to structural racism, as well as how federal educational policy could be reformed to help ensure every student receives a quality public education, irrespective of race, ethnicity, income, or social status.
Kimberly A. Lightford, Illinois State Senator
Mike Honda, Former U.S. Representative from California
Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Illinois State Senator
Ameshia Cross, Political analyst; political contributor for BNC news; and national education policy consultant
Panel: Personal Choice and the American Dream
Introduced by: Kyle Beachy, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing
Every choice we make in life opens some doors and closes others. In the end, our lives are defined by the choices we make. Moving from the macro level of the earlier panels to the micro level, this panel will consider personal choice in the context of the American Dream.
Agnes Callard, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago, and author of Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming (Oxford University Press)
Élis Miller Larsen, graduate student in philosophy, Harvard University, writing on “Ignorance”
Marjorie Jolles, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Director of the Honors Program, Roosevelt University
Day 3 – Wednesday, Nov. 3
11:30 am-1:30 pm
Panel 1: Call Jane!
What’s in a name? Members of this year’s Honors Exchange, a collaboration between RU’s Honors Program and UIC’s Honors College, ask this question in our year-long study of Chicago “Janes:” women who worked as activists and politicians and transformed our city. Student panelists discuss what it means to assess gender, identity, social change, and scholarship through the lens of “a given life and a chosen life,” a concept borrowed from historian and Jane Addams biographer Louise Knight. Fundamentally, this project uses the act of looking at the lives of these Janes as an invitation to investigate our own.
Sunyata Courie, Roosevelt University
Mohammed Hadi, UIC
Angelina Hernandez, Roosevelt University
Farzeen Qadri, UIC
Azalia Resendiz, Roosevelt University
Onteya Zachary, Roosevelt University
Lynn Weiner, formerly Dean of College of Arts & Sciences and University Historian
Panel 2: Students Dealing with COVID
Coping during the year of COVID.
Charles Hill, Roosevelt University
Jaida Porcha, Roosevelt University
Guillermo Ulloa, Roosevelt University
Kayla Nelson, Roosevelt University
Lily Pribish, Roosevelt University, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees
Panel: Public Health & Health Care in a “Post”-Pandemic World
Introduced by: Clarita Santos, Executive Director of Corporate and Civic Partnerships, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of IL
COVID-19 has exposed a variety of shortcomings in our public health system. Testing was hit and miss. Contact tracing was virtually non-existent; plans about how to proceed were not to be found. National governance was missing in action. Some of the principal institutions for dealing with health care crises were gravely compromised and politicized. Trust in our health care system has been eroded. The anti-vaccination movement has gained traction—and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what has unfolded in the last year and a half. What went wrong? What went right? What can be done to correct the wrongs? What crises lie ahead?
Dr. Carlos del Rio, Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and
Co-Director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the State of Illinois Department of Public Health
Dr. Kelly Wentz-Hunter, Co-Dean College of Science, Health and Pharmacy, Roosevelt University
Day 4 – Thursday, Nov. 4
Ida B. Wells Lounge
Panel: Women’s Leadership and Gender Equity in Law and Medicine sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Council
Introduced by: Sariah Bolden, Roosevelt University undergraduate, Herczeg Scholar
Even after all the strides made in sex and gender equity, the journey remains unfinished. This panel will feature two women in leadership positions in the fields of law and medicine to talk about where we have been and where we should go from here.
Andie Kramer, author and partner at McDermott Will & Emery, LLP
Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, Associate Professor of Neurological Science at Rush Medical Center
Cami McBride, Professor of Psychology and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Roosevelt University
Conversation: “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”: Emma Lazarus, the Statue of Liberty, and the Problem of Immigration
Introduced by: Kim Ruffin, Associate Professor of English, Roosevelt University
This panel will be a conversation about Emma Lazarus, perhaps the preeminent Jewish intellectual in late nineteenth-century America and — famously — the author of the sonnet, “The New Colossus,” inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The statue itself is a monument to hope and opportunity, but Lazarus’s poem gets at the nerve of what makes hope and opportunity in America possible.
Esther Schor, Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor of American Jewish Studies and Professor of English, Princeton University, the author of Emma Lazarus (Schocken Press), the definitive biography of Lazarus’ life.
Anne-Marie Cusac, Associate Dean and Professor of Journalism, Roosevelt University
Immigrant Mass – Live in Concert
Join composer Carlos Jaquez Gonzalez ’21, conductor Cheryl Frazes-Hill and performers from the Chicago College of Performing Arts for the live world premiere of Immigrant Mass — presented in partnership with Roosevelt University’s American Dream Reconsidered Conference.Gonzalez was inspired by his immigrant parents and documentary photographer Greg Constantine’s exhibit American Gulag at Roosevelt’s Gage Gallery. He partnered with Constantine, the Chicago Composers Orchestra and Roosevelt’s Conservatory Chorus to produce the score, the audio and visuals for a multimedia performance that lives on in a 31-minute film.In May 2021, Immigrant Mass was featured in a Chicago Tribune article by Hannah Edgar.
Day 5 – Wednesday, Nov. 17
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. CT
28th Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Lecture.
Living History: Documenting 2020-2021
Sponsored by the Center for New Deal Studies, Roosevelt University
Americans understand that they are living through unprecedented times. From the Covid-19 pandemic, to the racial justice movement, to #metoo, and the 2020 election, the last two years have unleashed tremendous forces upon ordinary people. How will this history be written? How should this history be preserved? How do we make certain that we collect everyone’s history, not just the histories of the wealthy and powerful? In a lively, panel-based discussion, a group of internationally-recognized historians, archivists and librarians will discuss how we preserve and collect the history we are living through today.
Lonnie Bunch, III, Secretary of the Smithsonian
Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress
Patricia Hswe, Program Officer, Public Knowledge, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Trudy Huskamp Peterson, Professional Archivist, Former Archivist of the United States
James Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association
Guests visiting the Roosevelt University facilities must show their proof of vaccination, a valid state ID and fill out the daily self-assessment survey at the campus safety kiosks upon arrival. For more information about COVID-19 protocols, please visit the COVID-19 response website.
Our Title Sponsor
When: November 1–5, 2021 | 430 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605Join the conversation about what it means to be an American in these challenging times. All events are free and open to the public, but registration is requested.