Launched in 2015, the Summit on Inequality and Opportunity is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute’s public and policy programs who are tackling the complex issues of inequality and poverty. The event showcases a series of conversations featuring the newest research, policies, and emerging innovations in the fight. This year’s summit, held on International Women’s Day, welcomed a diverse range of speakers including educators, youth activists, and a family court judge. Below, watch excerpts from some of our most thought-provoking conversations.
The intersectionality of the #metoo movement
In a year dominated by headlines about sexual harassment in and out of the workplace, Fatima Goss Graves is hopeful about the cultural change that has produced organizations like Time’s Up. The president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center said that we must ensure that the #metoo movement includes the voices of women who are often forgotten.
How to combat the opioid crisis
Patricia Keller is a judge in the Sixth Family Court Circuit in West Virginia. For more than a decade, Judge Keller has worked to establish drug courts in Cabell County. She said the most important thing to do while addressing the opioid crisis is to treat those affected with respect and dignity.
Rethinking our assumptions about poverty
Mia Birdsong, a senior fellow at the Economic Security Project, argued against the common assumption that poverty is the direct outcome of bad decisions made by the poor. She was joined by Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at the New School in New York, who described the roles of capital finance and resource disparity in creating and perpetuating income inequality.
Education is not the great equalizer
Ray Boshara, senior director and advisor at the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said that the country’s wealth gap has become worse than the income gap. While education is often touted as a solution, Boshara cautioned that this idea isn’t supported by the latest research.
Financial screening mechanisms are political
Author of the book Automating Inequality, Professor Virginia Eubanks is an expert on economic inequality and data-based discrimination. She said that our current financial screening mechanisms profile low-income families, confusing parenting while poor with poor parenting.
The importance of addressing historical inequalities
Laphonza Butler is the president of SEIU Local 2015, the largest union of long term care workers in the country. In order to address the issues facing home care workers, we must first acknowledge the historical inequalities that caused the field to be dominated by women of color.
It’s hard to break out of financial scarcity
Steve Grant is a founding member of The Innovation Lab for Prudential Workplace Solutions. As a behavioral economist, he studies how today’s bills affect a family’s future financial decisions.