The University of Michigan has long been a leader in social science research on the many dimensions of social inequality. This bicentennial symposium will highlight these contributions by focusing on the work of distinguished social scientists who were trained at the University of Michigan.
0:00:00: Well, I'm delighted to welcome people back. As our panelists are getting ready, this is our last session of the afternoon. Although, of course, we will reconvene tomorrow, and we're really excited about a very special panel. Let's just give folks a moment to get seated.
0:00:28: And so to start us off this afternoon, I am delighted to introduce Michael Barr who is the Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy. This panel is a little different as you'll hear from the others, because it is less focused on research and really focused on the wide range of ways that through careers, you can have an impact on public policy. And Michael has had an impact on public policy through academia, but also through his role in community engagement and in public service. And so it's really an honor to invite him just to say a few words to the group before we launch the panel. Michael.
0:01:18: Thank you so much Susan and good afternoon and welcome. As Susan said, I'm the Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy. Susan was my predecessor as Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy. I will be thanking Susan in lots of ways in just a moment, but I'll just start by thanking Susan for leaving me an institution so strong and vibrant as the Ford School, I feel just really blessed. Sometimes Deans come into institutions, and they have lots of hard work to do inside the institution to strengthen it, and I just feel I have been given a blessed gift from Susan, so I'm very thankful for that.
0:02:06: The Ford School is very honored to be among the co-sponsors for this symposium. We're grateful to the university's Bicentennial Committee, which provided generous funding for the event and for the wonderful partnership that we've had with the Institute for Social Research. David and Susan worked intimately together on this, as well as the Alumni Association and other campus units. You've been hearing about the amazing contributions of Michigan graduates all over the world in providing and deepening our understanding of and addressing and working on problems of inequality across a broad range of domains; health, education, poverty, economic mobility, gender, race. It turns out if you look around the world at the top think tanks of the top universities, the top government agencies, the top non-profits really all over, there are University of Michigan scholars and professionals front and center working on these issues, and that proud tradition extends back for decades. I was at a conference in September, we organized here at the University of Michigan on behavioral finance, and our keynote speaker was Bob Shiller, the Nobel Laureate Yale Economist, and Bob was one of the founders of the field of behavioral finance, and he gave a really quite wonderful lecture about narratives in economic history.
0:03:41: But before he started his formal remarks, he gave what I can only describe as a love song to the University of Michigan. The rich and deep tradition here at the university of the strongest, most interesting interdisciplinary research. People working across departments and fields to generate a deeper understanding of problems in the real world, and then to act on them. And that tradition is very much alive and well today.
0:04:17: As Susan mentioned, the next panel, which Susan really conceived and developed is different from the other panels you've heard today. The panel is composed of people who are our graduates at the University of Michigan, who are in the world, in a wide variety of fields and with a wide variety of skills using their training here at the University of Michigan to make a difference. I am very much looking forward to the panel. I'm deeply grateful to Susan for organizing this panel and to Susan and David for their partnership in organizing this symposium. It really is just an extraordinary event. It could not have happened without their great and strong work and partnership together, which is again, a hallmark of the way in which University of Michigan units and departments operate. So with that, I am pleased to introduce the moderator for this panel. A Michigan radio's Program Director and host of the show 'It's Just Politics,' please join me in thanking Susan and David and welcoming Zoe, who will introduce the whole panel.
0:05:43: Hi everyone. Make sure it's actually so you can hear me, I only work in radio, so I should know how to use these things.
0:05:48: Hi everyone. It's wonderful to see faces out here and it's really, really wonderful to see the five people here who are on my right. I have spent the past few days getting to know each of them, don't worry. It sounds a little creepy, but I feel like I know each of you very closely now, and I really believe if I was stuck in a room or had a really big problem, these five folks are folks that I would want as my brain trust. No kidding. It feels like remember that show Planet America or Captain America and each person had a super power and they would go together to save the world. I kid you not, each person here has I think their own super power. With that said, I am not going to read bios out loud today. That is one of my least favorite things to do. I think it's so much richer to hear from folks directly, how they wanna be represented. So I'm gonna go down the line, and I'm totally stealing this from New York Public Library. I'm a journalist so I say when I've stolen something else, and I'm gonna have folks describe themselves in three words rather than what it necessarily means in their profile or their bios, but how they see themselves. So I'm gonna start to my right with Carmen Harlan.
0:07:04: Hi Zoe.
0:07:06: Hi Carmen. I'm putting you on the spot, you're usually the one asking the tough questions.
0:07:09: Usually, but I will take tough questions today. I'm talkative, in fact I was nicknamed motormouth when I was young and loud sometimes, [chuckle], and I think I'm funny. I really do, I think [chuckle] I have a wonderful sense of humor. And it served me well throughout my years in television and radio first.
0:07:31: That is true, I will say having been born and raised in Ann Arbor, Carmen was like everything to me. And I will tell you, people at WDIV call her the queen, and I know for a fact that she treats them with such amazing dignity. Young journalists who grew up and just watching you wanting to be you and I've heard just the best, best things about what it was like at...
0:07:55: And they're all true.
0:07:57: And they're all true. [laughter] And that she was incredibly funny too was the other thing that they said. La June Montgomery Tabron welcome.
0:08:06: Thank you.
0:08:07: How are you today?
0:08:08: I'm doing very well.
0:08:09: Okay, your three words.
0:08:10: So my three words would be passionate, committed, steward. And that really is the story of my life.
0:08:22: I know, really Hardy. Do you wanna pass and just we'll come back to you, or are you ready?
0:08:25: How many life lines do I get?
0:08:30: Okay. I've got conspiratorial, [laughter] dogged, hustler.
0:08:36: Oh, wow.
0:08:38: My mother's watching and goes "I paid for that?" but that what I...
0:08:41: I like it. So Hardy Vieux, I didn't get to get the full, before he was ready to go. Cecilia. Hello. How are you? Okay, three words.
0:08:53: I am [0:08:54] ____.
0:08:55: Oh. And it works. Like it's a title too. Cecilia Munoz, we are so excited to have you after eight years in DC. I can't wait to dig in a little bit about what you're doing. How the world feels to you right now in 2017, so we'll get there. And Max Berman. Hello. How are you? Good... [laughter]
0:09:20: [0:09:22] ____.
0:09:28: [0:09:28] ____.
0:09:41: I love it. Do you see why I want these five people in that room, or solving the world's problems right here. Literally from the state house, to the White house, from the middle America to the middle East. These folks have really seen it all and done it all. One of the things that Susan Collins and I had talked about putting this panel together, is talking a little bit about impact on equality. But as a journalist, one of the things that I find really important is to define what it is we're actually talking about when we talk about specific issues. And I would love to get into a quick conversation. I don't need to again, do definitions and things like that, but I will go down the line and wanna ask, what does inequality look like to you when we're talking about inequality, what do you think we're talking about?
0:10:28: Well, you know a lot of times people will say, well the playing field is leveled. What does that really mean? These are concepts that are thrown out, and so when you talk about inequality, you can see it. You can certainly go through the City of Detroit where I'm from and you know the areas that are thriving and the ones that are not. You know the business districts that need some help, or maybe don't even exist. That's inequality. Neighborhood should have certain resources. They should have business districts, they should have a bakery, they should have a place where you can buy real food. They should have a place if you need your shoes repaired. Just basic necessities for living to make a neighborhood vibrant and healthy. And to say that can you see it? Absolutely, you can. And that's just one aspect of...
0:11:25: You can measure it too, right? You can measure it in terms of different treatment to go back to some of the earlier panels today of kids in schools. Differential application of school discipline policies. We learned from the data that we were suspending four-year-olds, and they typically tended to be boys of color. So you can measure inequality through data. You can see it in the treatment of different communities at the hands of police. You can see it in the way that we're responding to the storm in Puerto Rico as opposed to storms in other parts of the United States. Like there are things that you can measure that you can see that people can feel.
0:12:04: La June, I see you nodding a bunch?
0:12:05: Yes. I would just add that it is both structural and then there's a piece that's a mindset. I think when we talk about how you deal with it, you have to deal with both those issues, the structural is very measurable, sometimes the mindset is not so measurable, but it is very unconsciously present. We should talk about that as well.
0:12:29: Anytime the President of the United States decides to weigh in on a quarterback who decided he was going to protest police brutality in urban America and not only does he not consider all of the issues that that brings about, but in his, to make them "un-American", to make this a discussion of whether or not they're patriotic, and then to add SOB to the conversation, is just one of, you talk about a mindset. I mean it was a slap in the face and in a way I was kind of glad I wasn't working because I don't know what I might have said on the air that day. Mind you, journalism is different today than it was when I started and so you were asked to be objective and in fact you worked very hard at it. Today that's no longer the case. I mean, you can weigh in, you can give your opinion, but there are consequences to that.
0:13:34: I want to get into that a little bit. Hardy, I want to hear from you, inequality, when we're gonna have this conversation now, what are we talking about in your mind?
0:13:43: For me, it's inequality of opportunity. The ability to choose one life over, rather than another type of life, and not withstanding the circumstance you're born into. So having been born and... Excuse me, having been raised in Haiti, that for me is a very real issue that when I go back there I think it is much of what I am fortunate to have probably has everything to do with where I was born and then there was some opportunities, particularly education that allowed me to have one life over another. So when I think of inequality, I tend to think of it as access to opportunity.
0:14:17: I had a chance to visit Haiti right after the earthquake, and I was, I can't tell you heartbroken that we would allow a country to exist in that condition, 90 miles off the coast of Florida and how, I mean it certainly wasn't in great shape before the earthquake, but it was even in worse shape afterwards. But the fact that we didn't feel a sense of obligation to raise what standard of living, to make sure that the country was productive and moving in the right direction. Regardless of political views, certainly, but there's no reason for Haiti to continue to be the poorest country on this side of the world. Not in this day and age, I don't know, maybe...
0:15:08: 'Cause you don't want to see it. People don't wanna see Puerto Rico either. President doesn't want to see it, but there are others who don't want to and it's so easy to forget about it, just let it go for a day, a month, a year, whatever, doesn't have to be a year, a month is more than enough time for people to say "Well, I gotta go on with my life here and so I will". So that whether it's Haiti or Puerto Rico or whether it's various forms of inequality that are affecting men and women and people of color, it's just people may be grabbed for a moment, but then they go onto their lives. Maybe they send a check, which is okay, which is a good thing. Because it's hard to keep caring everyday. That sounds terrible in a way, but it's true.
0:16:19: I think also it's the narrative that, it's interesting that after Puerto Rico, I had a conversation with two different women, very accomplished women, and they both started the conversation with "Wow, I'm so sorry for that country." And I said "Pardon me?" Puerto Rico is part of the United States, it's a US Territory, how do you understand it as a separate country, but that's what people have to do to reconcile why it is so different from anything the United States would ever call the United States. In the case of Haiti, I would just say, for my foundation, it was a wake-up call because we've been in existence for over 80 years and we would always say that our funding was in Latin America and the Caribbean, and yet our work in Haiti was insignificant in the grand scheme, and we corrected that by committing ourselves to Haiti for the next generation and that is now one of our priority places, and we work there everyday. It's because of the horrific inequality that exists there.
0:17:40: So you five were taking about inequality, we're talking about how other folks see inequality, but one of the things reading about what each of you have done in your careers after graduating from the University of Michigan, each of you seems to have this drive in you though that when you see inequality... That you've been advocating for those on the margins to steal something that Hardy said. And I wonder what is that drive in each of you and where did you get it from? Where did that come?
0:18:13: It's instilled in every student who walks on campus and walks into a classroom or a lecture hall. You're given this education so that you can go and do something with it. Meaning: Make the world better. The way that you can do it in your own way. I know I felt like that. I felt like I have been given the letter of introduction to go ahead and make my mark to be the journalist that I had admired during my youth and certainly, I don't know if I ever actually attained it, but I certainly gave it everything that I had to achieve that. And that spark just was re-energized by being here for the four years that I was here. So I couldn't wait to leave.
0:19:01: I couldn't wait to get out there and really see and apply the...
0:19:06: And I love that after 38 years...
0:19:07: Yeah, and apply that knowledge.
0:19:08: Of just an amazing career, she's still not sure that she made it. Let's let you know, you made it. You made it. [laughter] La June, where does that drive come from for your 30 years at the Kellogg Foundation? What does that take to stay at a foundation and then see it grow and grow with it?
0:19:29: When I talk about [0:19:30] ____, part of my journey has been that I believe I could have ended up on in either side of this inequality balance. And I got into the side that I'm on because of my perseverance and my ability to be a fighter and to also speak the truth. I have a story about the University of Michigan, and this is not to be derogatory about how I learned to survive, but when I arrived here, I knew that I wanted to be an accountant, and I knew that I wanted to go to the business school and I had a plan and I was on the plan. And I met with someone who's very dear to my heart, Dr. Edwards, Alfred Edwards, who was a faculty member here at the University of Michigan. He told me, "These are the courses you have to take in your first two years in order to then apply to the business school to get accepted." I did exactly what he said for what that meant was in one year I had to take econ, statistics and calculus. So I went to go to my registration counselor to take those courses, and this woman told me I couldn't register for those classes. I said, "Why not?" She said, "You'll never pass all those classes. You can't register for those classes. I'm not gonna allow you to do that." And I said, "Oh, yes I am because if I don't, I won't get into the business school. And if I don't get into the business school, my life is over. I have a plan."
0:21:07: And I didn't know that the plan was even bigger than my own plan, but at that time that was my goal. And we fought, she said she wouldn't sign up on the registration. I registered anyway. I passed all the classes with a B or better. I was accepted into the business school. I became a CPA. And then that's when the plan changed and now I'm the president of the Kellogg Foundation.
0:21:31: Not on the plan, but... So what that taught me was how low expectation and that goes back to that issue of the mindset. She didn't believe in me. And when I fight for children every day in public school systems and all the work that I do. I know that part of it is getting people to believe in those who had been disadvantaged and not make them victims, but make them champions of a system that hasn't served them well. And that's what drives me. And it's not that... I have another positive story about the University of Michigan as well, because when I took my first accounting class, I was in a lecture hall like this and because I had this plan, I have been studying accounting for a while. I actually scored the highest in all the class on my first accounting exam.
0:22:22: And the graduate student came into a room like this and said, "Who is La June Montgomery?" I was just sitting there and I was like, "Me." And he said, "She scored the highest on this exam." You have to know that this was a white audience other than a few spots and that was affirmation. So on the one hand, there was someone that really just had low expectations, someone else who decided to affirm my being and that's what I fight for people that do with all people.
0:23:02: I'll bring it back to Michigan as well. Prior to coming here, I think to the extent I had success in my life, it was somewhat sort of luckily, it wasn't a plan. Unlike La June, mine was just sort of... Some of it was happenstance, some of it was just high school was easy as the catholic brothers, Holy Cross high school probably moan, be moan that point.
0:23:24: So when I got to law school, I had a class, it was actually my last semester at law school. I had a Professor Robert Harris was then also the mayor of Ann Arbor, and I took his class. The class was sort of a poverty class and my final paper, I took this position about how the federal government should be in the business of funding abortion clinics. And so I wrote the paper, and I thought it was just... It should have been stapled to someone's church door. It was that good, in my opinion.
0:23:57: We've all written those papers.
0:24:00: I was just like, "This...
0:24:00: Not everyone knows that it was that good. But we've all had those moments.
0:24:02: I dropped the mic over and I was like, there you go. [laughter] So I got the paper back and he put A+ and he put two asterisks, and it was like two sheets of paper, and then the asterisks were there and he explained. It was all in comments, right? And it started off. He said, "I gave you an A+ because you believed you deserved it." [laughter] And then it went downhill from there. [laughter] And it's essentially how "dear Hardy, you are a progressive Haitian-American democrat from a labor family in New York City, and you gave me just that." And it just went on to say, "You did nothing here that pushed yourself. You did nothing here that was extraordinary. You did what I thought you would do, and therefore, you really, really didn't get the point of this class. But here is your A+." And that infuriated me. [laughter] Yet it still sits with me to this day. And for me, it was sort of Professor Harris called me out, right? He was just like, "you could do more, and you chose not to do it, and that's a pity." I think I still ask myself "what would Professor Robert Harris do?"
0:25:10: Oh, I love that.
0:25:11: That's the gift that keeps [0:25:12] ____.
0:25:13: I love that. Cecilia?
0:25:16: This university is my family's pathway to this country. My...
0:25:21: Your father went to U of M.
0:25:23: My father and my uncles. All as foreign...
0:25:25: You were not gonna go anywhere else even if you wanted to.
0:25:28: But all as foreign students. So the reason that I was born in Detroit is because my dad is a University of Michigan grad as is my granddad. And my parents came from Bolivia. A couple of years before the law changed, which would've kept them out. So I grew up aware of that. The whole... Everything about my existence as a Michigan girl was completely different from my family that was still in Bolivia. And it was a little bit by accident, and I think that I know that drove me while I was here and it's driven me ever since.
0:26:04: How was it that your grandfather came to University of Michigan?
0:26:07: [0:26:08] ____...
0:26:12: My grandfather had studied engineering actually in Switzerland and he went back to Bolivia.
0:26:18: And was visiting in the 1920s a friend in New York and bumped into someone walking down Broadway and said, "You know, I think I'm gonna go for a graduate degree. I'm not really sure where to go." And the friend said, "Oh I know just the place. It's called Ann Arbor, Michigan. You're gonna love it." [laughter] And he and my grandmother were on the next train. And that set the trajectory of my family, which now affects all kinds of people. I've spoken at bicentennial event earlier this year. I told the story that we've counted. There's been somebody... There's been a Munoz at the University of Michigan every decade for a 100 years.
0:26:56: So someone today? Is there?
0:26:58: Oh, that's amazing.
0:26:58: That's awesome.
0:27:00: I love that. I love that. So, Max, what about you? Where does that drive come from?
0:27:05: Well, you know... Where the drive comes from, I mean, I think it comes from a lot of parts of my life. Certainly being at the University of Michigan, I think there's a certain call for excellence that you hear while you're here. You hear them calling about excellence. I went on to do what most graduates, college women college graduates, did when I was here, which was to become a teacher or nurse, and those are essentially your options, right? That was 1968 I graduated. And it wasn't just the University of Michigan. It was pretty much every single university in this country that just didn't view women as having a value beyond being a teacher or a nurse. And if you didn't like blood like I didn't, then you're kind of... You're pretty much scheduled into teaching. And that certainly changed over course of years. But I taught high school for years. But there was always little itch in me to do something else, and I think by the time I was in my sixth or seventh year of teaching, I was really getting that seven-year itch to do something else.
0:28:28: And I like politics. But I used to be pretty much on this... Just kind of watching it. An onlooker, seeing it, and at one point, there was... I suppose it was 1975. I could tell you exactly this. I was looking for something else do with my... I need something to do with my time. And there's a presidential election next year so I did what any good academic would do 'cause I was a good academic. And there was no Internet, believe it or not. If you're under a certain age, there was no Internet.
0:29:08: And we made it. Yeah. We made it.
0:29:13: Someone tweet that.
0:29:14: But I went to the library.
0:29:14: Someone tweet that.
0:29:16: I went to the library to look up the candidates who were running for president. And I read up on all of them, and believe it or not, on November of 1975 I decided, knowing not anything that I was taught about, that Jimmy Carter was gonna be the next president of the United States. And everybody laughed at me and told me what a stupid fool I was. And look. Without the Internet, I figured that out. [laughter] But the bug at that point was completely planted. But it was I think at that point though in my life, too, because I became very involved, I became far more aware, acutely aware of how much sexism there was. When you're teaching high school, sort of lot of other women. And when you're teaching high school, at that time anyway, maybe not so much before me, you're getting the same salary. There used to be discrepancies in salary, but there were not when I was teaching. And there were even a few women principals. But when you wander into other fields, like politics, the sexism is clear, whether it's who's chairing a congressional district meeting or... It's quite clear.
0:30:43: And I was really, I don't wanna say pushed, but [chuckle] pushed hard by a lot of people to run for the legislature. They desperately wanted women, there just were so few women in the legislature. And so I did, and lo and behold, I won. But I was one of, at that time then, 11 or 12 women out of 110 members. And you wanna talk about being a tiny little minority that nobody cares about and nobody remembers your name, and everybody calls you by everybody else's name 'cause you all look alike. Seriously, they would call me by black women's names because I was a woman. But at that point too I think was also when I became really pretty adamant about getting more women in the legislature. I chaired the Michigan Women's Campaign Fund and was very active in it for a number of years, which was a bipartisan organization to get women help women be elected, get them money to be elected to the Michigan legislature or to the judiciary. And we used to really... We had mentoring. They weren't formal mentoring programs, but we helped new women legislators out. My rule was if you were leaving, then you must find a woman to take your place or you can't go.
0:32:26: Max, I'm gonna just say, I will tell you that we've done a lot of interviews with state lawmakers on Michigan Radio, where I'm based, who I think I could close my eyes and some of these stories would sound a little familiar to me. Maybe not about the names and things like that, but I think by last session in the state legislature in Michigan, it was 22% of lawmakers were women.
0:32:49: Term limits really killed women off. When I left, I think there were 31 women, or 32, again out of 110, but that was a hell of a lot better that 11 or 12. But term limits within five, six years, it was right back down to like maybe 20, 21 people again. But Jennifer Granholm always used to say, "If you can't see it, you cannot be it." So if you don't see women, or if you don't see people of color doing things that you normally would not think they would be doing, or even things that maybe you should think they would be doing, but they're not.
0:33:51: When you were so frustrated, you wrote a book.
0:33:53: I did.
0:33:53: You wanna tell folks the name of that book?
0:33:55: Yes, it was "The Only Boobs in the House are Men."
0:34:01: [0:34:02] ____ title, and how did that book go over?
0:34:03: They're available on Amazon.com and through our media, I think that carries it.
0:34:10: You can get it on Amazon. You can, I've ordered it recently.
0:34:12: You have?
0:34:13: Oh yeah, yeah. Ships in three days, you can get it.
0:34:16: Well, that started out as just a kind of a weekly pouring out my frustrations, and then ultimately got to be a little bit more formal and formalized. I still keep in touch now and then with Bill Haney, who was the publisher then of Momentum Books. That was actually the publisher of it at the time. But yeah, it was very difficult. There was nothing in the book that wasn't true. I did not use names, 'cause I didn't wanna hurt anybody. I wasn't out to hurt anybody. Well, there was a couple of people I could...
0:34:54: There was a couple of people who were dead, so I figured it was okay, or that everybody already knew of the stories so it was okay. And there was men and women both. But you have to... This past week, which was an amazing week in politics for so many different reasons, but there is an organization called Emerge, which is a national organization, but there's also an Emerge Michigan and an Emerge in many other states, which was organized and put together in order to help women get elected to office. But any office, it doesn't have to be the United States Senate. It could be the sidewalk supervisor in Redford Township. Just get yourself in that pipeline. Just get in there. And they help. And they teach people how to do this and they help them raise money. And in Tuesday's elections, 85 Emerge graduates were elected to something across the country. 85. So that's what you need to do. You have to put that handout, and you have to keep it out, and also getting mad doesn't hurt. Getting mad is a good thing. I don't wanna get too political here, but who cares?
0:36:32: Of the 16 men in Virginia who lost their House seats, their State House seats. And 11 of those people who beat them were women. Yeah. When you see that anger, from my perspective, something good's gonna happen, alright? [laughter] For some people something bad's gonna happen. From my perspective, something good's gonna happen.
0:37:03: And let me pick up, though, on that word, the anger, and the frustration. Because I think so many times when you do see inequality, one of the easiest things to do is just get angry about it, and seethe about it, and let that build into resentment against systems. Maybe that's even a little bit of what we saw in 2016, one could argue, whether it was fair to people that felt was unequal or not can be a different conversation for another time. But how do you move from anger and frustration into action? For folks who are so angry, but each of you now, doing amazing things, have done amazing things, how did you turn anger and frustration into something powerful, which looks like results? Cecilia?
0:37:48: It's funny I wrote about this actually. My anger has been, I think, an animating force for me into becoming a civil rights advocate, actually...
0:37:57: Wrote about it in, this I believe essay for NPR, yeah, yeah.
0:38:01: Yeah. It was about, is called "Getting angry can be a good thing." And that stems from someone that I really cared about in high school, when I was still in high school in the late '70s and there were conflicts in Central America going on that my family would talk about at the dinner table, being Latin Americans. And this dear friend who knew my family well said, "You know, if we were ever to get in a war with them, your family should probably end up in an internment camp." And that was my moment of recognizing, "Oh wow, wait. I'm an other." I hadn't quite grasped it until then.
0:38:34: A family friend. People you were close with, right?
0:38:36: Yeah. And that was when I understood at any point anybody could be an other. And at any point we are capable of these things, of these terrible things, which I thought of as historical things which didn't happen anymore? And which of course still do, and we're getting a lesson in that nearly everyday. But I'm also... I think I'm wired to be a pragmatist. In the eight years that I was in government, I feel like I learned a lot about the difference between being righteous, which is important, and being strategic, which is more important. Right? That it is not enough. I sat across the table from a lot of advocates, and I was an advocate for more than 20 years. I sat across the table from a lot of my old friends who, in some cases, were really helpful in giving me the tools within government to move things forward. And in other cases they were not very helpful because it was more important for them to be right and be righteous and to kind of speak their truth, which I respect, but they also weren't giving me any tools to help us get anywhere.
0:39:44: I ran into that. I ran into that in the legislature, too, of groups who wanted help from me. And I wanted to help them, except they didn't really want the help. I mean, they just wanted to come in and scream. And rant. And I kept saying, "Well, let's... I want $10,000 for something." "Well I have $10,000, I can open a drawer and [0:40:02] ____ could find I can $10,000, that is not a problem." But you can't always get $10,000 and I said, "well, let's do $5,000, and maybe... " "No. It's gotta be $10,000." "I can't get $10,000. You see those faces up there in that committee, they ain't giving you $10,000. I can get you $5,000." And they wouldn't take it.
0:40:19: And you can kind of...
0:40:20: And they wouldn't take it. And I was so angry. I said, "Go find another advocate, I'm not helping. That's it. I'm just not helping you." And I knew they'd find somebody else, and they did. People who would rather be angry and rant than actually produce something...
0:40:40: Yeah, and they progress.
0:40:41: Carmen, you were nodding heartily to that.
0:40:45: Well, I was thinking, how did I process anger? Certainly in trying to navigate my way from radio to television I ran into people that said, "Well, you need more experience, you need to do this and... " I remember going out as a cub reporter, young reporter with a camera crew for the very first time, and I could feel that there was an issue with my gender. I'm not sure if it was a combination of both... And the camera man said, "I wanted to go out with a real reporter."
0:41:20: So after I pulled myself together, I didn't hit him.
0:41:27: But I got angry. I really did. And we did the story and he became eventually one of my biggest fans. But just that initial reaction to, "Well, I wanted to go out... " which meant a guy. He wanted to go out with a male reporter because they could talk male things and here I was, this young female sitting in the back of the car. [laughter] And so you confront it individually, certainly, as you said. Politically, as well, but I didn't get stuck. I had to choose how I was going to process it. And so, I did get angry, but I couldn't stay there. Because if I had stayed there, then I wouldn't have been able to move forward. And that is something that every individual has to decide for themselves, how they're going to do that. But yeah, anger is good. Anger can be motivating. Don't stay there. Don't let it become your existence. It cannot. It's harmful. It's ineffective and it will blind you from the things that you can really do and the opportunities that you can really have. You won't see them if you stay angry.
0:42:45: [0:42:45] ____ out there.
0:42:49: And at that point [0:42:49] ____.
0:42:53: And I had to realize, I said, "I'm just getting started. This guy's been around the block or whatever and they're getting ready to take film out of the newsroom." The video tape was gonna be the new way of doing things so he was adjusting. I watch it when general managers became... When women became general managers. And you could see the reaction among some of the men in the building that they never worked for a woman before. What was that gonna be like? The fear was the other part and that was what I wasn't going to allow.
0:43:27: He became a big fan of yours.
0:43:28: Became a very big fan.
0:43:29: Would you remind him of, that he would say that to you?
0:43:33: I'm sure I did. I'm sure I did. But he never forgot it and neither did I. As I said...
0:43:38: Let me ask you. Let me ask, or at least, the women on this panel. How many of you in the last month, I guess, is when this started maybe a month ago, said, "Yeah, me too."?
0:43:50: Oh, yeah.
0:43:50: My goodness. Absolutely.
0:43:53: Any of us knows someone who didn't have the ability to say it like for whom it wasn't true?
0:44:01: I'm so proud of younger women for being willing to say, "Me, too," because I was afraid too. I was afraid too, [0:44:12] ____, put it in the other way. And I was working in the corporate world at that time, by the way, for a brief stretch. That's why. See, I learned something. Don't work there. Yeah. That, "Me too," for a whole lot of women, thousands, millions in this country who said, "Me too."
0:44:39: Would you, working through anger making sure it doesn't keep you down, I can think about you, trying to register for those three classes and being able to just sit in that anger, but you moved forward.
0:44:53: I think I'm actually energized by anger. Two things, I think it taught me how to dialogue and how to negotiate and it provides me a level of energy to just overcome that is really, really probable. So, whenever I'm angry, that means [0:45:17] ____.
0:45:22: It is not in a violent space, but it is, "We're going to deal with this." And it's very strategic, but it's very purposeful. It's just been constantly the way I've operated, I think, in my work now. When I encountered the work we do for children and how much of it is systemic because of a structural, racist society, our anger has been to, one, tell the truth about it. We have an initiative called The True Racial Healing and Transformation Effort. We are funding this work all over the country.
0:46:10: It's based from a deep-seated anger, but an understanding that, in order to address these structures, you first have to address it with the truth. Part of that is going back in and understanding the history and the narrative that was created versus the factual narrative and giving people a place and a space to rediscover the true history from there to actually heal because our history has been one that has polarized us as people and to provide space for people to build solid relationships. And that's the dialogue piece. If you turn that anger into communication and dialogue, you can learn a lot. There's a level of understanding. And then, you take that space of understanding and now, a shared history and you change things together. So, that's a strategic platform that we built for cities all over the Unites States and Dallas and Los Angeles and Chicago and Battle Creek, Michigan. What we're finding is it's making a difference.
0:47:24: No, no, please go.
0:47:25: I was gonna say, as reporters, especially when you're covering a city like Detroit that certainly have a very strong political base, mostly Democrat, but there are Republicans there, too. You don't see many of them but they're there. And, to hear the activists and they were the same faces, the same names that would show up at every rally, it almost started to take on a professional look. It looked like a profession because they were always there. And I remember being asked by Mayor Kilpatrick at the time to host a town hall meeting. And of course in the front row because his rhetoric thrived on that kind of banter that kind of controversy I mean he had to have that...
0:48:17: It certainly did.
0:48:18: And asking me to moderate his town hall was probably not a good idea.
0:48:24: Because, I diffused it immediately. I mean, once I saw them because I knew what they were coming there for, but he wanted that. And you know in the front row, they were sprinkled around and you could feel the momentum trying to get started and I would turn it around. And at the end of the town hall meeting, which I thought was still productive, maybe not in the way that he was hoping that it would be. It still worked and he never asked me to moderate another...
0:48:54: But you know when you wanna hear ideas exchange, the last thing you need are people who are willing to disrupt and be disruptive.
0:49:01: Sure, sure.
0:49:02: It just gets old after a while, but it makes for good TV I suppose.
0:49:07: Hardy, I wanna turn to you and certainly last, but not least and I really wanna direct this question at you because, you've seen inequality and, you've seen it in really tough circumstances. You've worked with Syrian refugees, legal rights, you've been to Guantanamo Bay, I mean we're talking about serious inequality, that I could see could not just make you angry, but just sort of depressed about the world around you. How do you fight through that on a daily basis when you probably see things that very few of us in this room have ever seen?
0:49:46: I work with Asylum seekers, I work with refugees who have stories, have life journeys that are remarkable. And these women and men have endured things, and we have a client who was sexually assaulted by her grandfather, her father and her husband over the course of several decades. And when you meet with her this is a person you say, if you, if there's anyone who has a right to be angry that person... And she speaks in tones of huge words like "I forgive that," and I'm not sure I could have the capacity to pull that word out. And she means it, and she's not an outlier. That so many of our clients have been through so much and they have the right to be angry and somehow, they channel something else, and I think that for me is inspiring like that I go "how dare I be angry when he, she, they're not there." And so I think that sort of checks me regularly. And also I'm reminded of sort of what Cecilia said, that anger is a useful starting point. When I've allowed it to take me through, I really looked back and said that was an exercise that had some productivity to it. Right, being angry at first is helpful to me, but when I carry it through, I usually end up in a dark place. And I remember in law school, we had an incident where someone wrote outside of a clinical law professor's door, it just says like "go home N word."
0:51:17: And so we the students of color at that time, I think we had a lot of pent-up anger, a lot of sexism, racism at the school at that time. This was in the late, mid '90s, and so we formed this civil disobedience movement. And one of the things that we did and I was one of the people who pushed this was we had this vote where we cast this issue of, to the faculty of "Are you with us or are you against us?" And we worded this in a way that said either you support students of color and women at this law school or you don't. And then we took a piece of parchment paper put it up in the first floor of Hutchins Hall, listed the professors name and said yay or nay? And we said if you abstain you are a no, you're not with us. And one of my professors pulled me aside in the hallway and said "You know I'm with you but I'm not with every single point of that vote. The wave cast of the ballot, but I'm with you". And I said "Well you've gotta got to make a decision, right? Yay or nay"?
0:52:11: And I lost him as a supporter. And more ways than one I lost him as a supporter. And I realized that what was driving me throughout the whole time was anger and ultimately I lost an ally, and I'm not sure what we really accomplished because of the way I was driving it. And so I look back at that and go this is a useful starting point, but at some point I gotta check myself, and like I said being surrounded by women and men who have done and gone through things I can only begin to fathom is a useful device to cause me to pause.
0:52:48: Carmen, one of the things you were talking about again as a journalist is this idea of figuring out how you can be impactful, without advocating, right? And then you said this past year maybe it's a good thing you haven't been live on air...
0:53:03: But what is that like and what was that line like about how far you could go, about telling a story before it became advocacy, or before you've said you know what, enough is enough?
0:53:17: You know, I never watched my shows. Only because I treated it as a live performance and most live performers don't go back and watch their shows. But I am sure if I had I would have recognized something that's been very constant throughout my career, probably throughout my life. I'm an open book. You now what I think about something, I don't have to say it, I can look at you or you can see my reaction and you know. You know whether it's upsetting, whether I'm hurting, if I'm joyful. So, I didn't have to make a stance. I mean, you know the commentary that I did asking the Mayor of Detroit to resign was... Did I really feel that he needed to? Absolutely, I had done my work. I've talked to people about it because I couldn't understand why in the world were we going through this, when he needed to step aside, right? And why wasn't he getting that message? Who was it around him that told him, "Oh, don't worry about that. You don't have to do that. You're the mayor." Well, that's not king. And that's actually a commentary I did watch and you could see my... The feelings about it. And did he resign as a result of it, of that commentary? Probably not, but the pressure was on. And all I did was put it out there.
0:54:54: And when people heard it, they were like, "Thanks goodness. Somebody said it." Because whoever he was depending on, they were telling him just the opposite and that's what he was choosing to believe. And then he shortly did resign after that. So I... Am I proud of that? Probably not because no reporter, no journalist should have to be in a position to call a political leader out like that when they should know better. When they're intelligent and they're surrounded by people who are advising them, they should know better. But the newsroom was energized beyond belief when the [chuckle] when those text messages came in to the newsroom and we... They couldn't... They couldn't think about anything else. They were reading very descriptive...
0:55:46: These were messages between the former mayor and his chief of staff.
0:55:48: Former mayor and his chief of staff. And then they were other women involved. It's just... So there was just this energy in the newsroom that we couldn't get anything accomplished. It's like if he doesn't step... The city was in a standstill. There was a presidential election on the horizon. The candidate for the Democratic Party couldn't come in to the City of Detroit because he couldn't take pictures with...
0:56:14: Barack Obama.
0:56:16: We were hurting on all levels and being indecisive at that time I felt was more harmful than it was. And all I did was ask him to make a good decision at that point.
0:56:27: So how do you speak truth to power then when you see inequality? And Cecilia maybe I'm looking at you because I did just say President Barack Obama. Were there moments where you had to say, "Mr. President, this is not okay. This is not right about issues that you felt passionate about."
0:56:44: [0:56:44] ____ something not right?
0:56:48: So it's not like I had to...
0:56:49: [0:56:50] ____.
0:56:50: In his face to tell him something that he knew. But part of what he expected his team to do was give him bad news and and... Or, tell him when we thought that there was a direction... An issue going in the wrong direction. And it was very clear. He expected that from his team that your job includes especially being able to be in his face and deliver, and deliver bad news. If you're not doing that then you're not being effective.
0:57:17: For me, I was very frequently the only Hispanic person in the room. At the senior table I was... I was the only Hispanic woman for sure. And for a while I had a... There was a Latino male who ran the [0:57:29] ____ Affairs Department. But otherwise, I was it. And granted this was really full of amazing people who all worked for the same president and all share the same values. But it's still I didn't know everything that they knew. But they also didn't know everything that I knew.
0:57:44: And the struggles that stick with me the most are the times and I'm seeing La June nodding her head because I know you've been there too. When there is a truth that you understand that it's important for other people to understand. And you're not always finding the words or finding a way to... For people to hear it in a way that they will absorb. I never had that problem with the president. He was very empathetic and amazing human being. But I did sometimes with my colleagues and... The thing that I drew strength from was that I was very sure that that was why he had asked me to serve in the first place like that. He understood who I was and what I was bringing to the table. And the clear message I had for him was, "I know they don't always understand. And that's why I need you there. So keep at it."
0:58:39: But for me, the most painful moments were when I would say the words and I could tell people didn't get it. And I really... I would practice. I really would. I would practice on my walks and in my car. And I would try out some of my arguments on Valerie Jarrett who is another person who regularly sort of understood and created kind of a safe space to go in where you could go in and say, "I just failed in this meeting. How do I... Help me succeed." But it's important to have faith in the notion that that thing that you know, that thing that you bring to the table is enough. And your job is to articulate it in a way that will get through the people. And that's hard when you don't have a principle or someone that you're looking up to that gives you that respect or gives you the room to do that. I can't imagine doing it for somebody that wasn't gonna have my back. Right?
0:59:35: The whole reason I went in to government I did it reluctantly. I hadn't... It wasn't part of my plan. But the reason that I did it, I knew that it would be among the most challenging experiences in my life, which was true. I also knew that a lot of my friends would be angry with me because I would have to make decisions that they weren't happy about. I knew that going in, but it was okay because I knew I was working for somebody. It's not just that he would have my back, but working for somebody whose judgment I respected, and I felt he isn't gonna ask me to explain a decision in my own community that I don't feel good about. And that's what made it possible. I have been very fortunate in choosing great bosses, and that's when I give career advice to people who are younger than me, that is a regular feature of what I say. Pick your bosses well, because you'll learn from them, but also when it's time to stand up for something difficult, it will give you more capacity to do that.
1:00:36: And that's part of a job description that is never really clear. It's something that's inherited after you've been around the block long enough and you've been there and you've got that kind of respect and I'm gonna say integrity and so, and it's an honor. It really is an honor. And so in the newsroom, I just enjoyed being in the newsroom and talking to the... Whether they were interns, reporters, or whatever, my door was always open, and they could always come in. If they were curious about how a story played and what my thoughts were about something. But when retirement is good too, though.
1:01:27: It is.
1:01:28: I will tell you that. As much as I enjoyed it.
1:01:31: I want to make sure that we get to some audience questions 'cause I don't wanna just keep all of these folks to myself, although I could continue to do this. But I think one of the questions that I have still is are things getting better? When we talk about inequality. Are folks learning more about how to make an impact when it comes to inequality?
1:01:58: I hope so. I know that you will hear about the tale of the two Detroits. It's something that's been talked about for years, probably existed long before. They called it the tale of two Detroits and now that we've got, we just re-elected the current mayor back, and I believe that he is determined to make sure that that dividing line starts to blur by making sure that the neighborhoods who may feel as if they're not being considered or not included in the progress that the city is making that somehow they're made to understand that no, no, our progress won't succeed unless we include those neighborhoods as well. And how do you do that? Well that's why we have elected officials and certainly but we know what happens when you leave communities out of that mission. Certainly, looking back at the riots 50 years later, you ask yourself well why did Detroit erupt that way, and it was because people didn't feel as if they were included, and they've got to feel that way.
1:03:22: And I will say, interestingly enough though, it's been 50 years and we've done some reporting that actually there were a lot of the systematic issues that were happening in the city 50 years ago that led to the rebellion or the riots, however you want to talk about it, are actually in place maybe have shifted a little bit, but a lot of those similar things have not changed.
1:03:45: The only thing I would say though is the dialogue is different now. It's interesting, and even in the last year or so, I think the dialogue has, while it's been more explicit, it's also called many people to the table to say this isn't what we want moving forward. And I've found more partners in the last year, I think about Mayor Duggan's speech on Mackinac. Where he just laid out this is what we did to this city. These were the bad policies that created segregation, segregation leads to racism. He laid it out. The same conversation is happening now in Mississippi. I'm speaking with the governor of Mississippi recently, a Republican governor, and he finally said you know, we're not doing that by our children. So there's a moment now, I do think we have to take advantage of this moment and leverage it, but it's been so out there.
1:04:54: And we hope that it never goes back underneath.
1:04:56: No one wants it now and that's why...
1:04:57: I don't care whether, yes.
1:04:57: And that's what they're talking about it.
1:05:00: Exactly. People are now saying you know what, I may have been complicit, I'm no longer going to be complicit because this is just crazy.
1:05:08: For those of you, what La June is talking about is there's something called the Mackinac Policy Conference, some of you folks may know about it. And Mayor Mike Duggan, a Democrat, spoke to a room that I think it's probably fair to say is at least 50/50 Republics-Democrats at this conference if not a little more conservative than that, business folks and he had that room quiet on the edge of their seats and he did it, mind you, too, on scribbled out notes. You can still find it actually on YouTube I think on the conference's schedule I was in the room and folks were just silent listening, and this is a group of people that doesn't like to listen to other people talk, they like to hear themselves talk. Watch this video if you want afterwards 'cause it's A] Just incredibly moving.
1:05:51: They gave him a standing ovation.
1:05:53: They certainly did, they certainly did.
1:05:54: So he told the truth, back to my point and right now the truth is [1:06:00] ____...
1:06:02: Hardy, are things moving in a better direction?
1:06:08: Working with refugees, it's been a difficult year to say the very least. Starting on January 27th with the travel ban and most of our clients are living in fear of stepped up deportation efforts. It seems like every day you read something where the other is being targeted once more. So it is... If I'm not careful, I probably wouldn't get out of bed in the morning because I would say, "What's the point?" But in the midst of all this, I also saw at Human Rights First, we were getting phone calls from all over this country of people saying, "We've got your back. What do you need from me?" I mean the weekend of the travel ban, as many of you know, lawyers from all over the country were at airports. And so a group of us were at Dallas Airport late into the night, and then we had to go back to the office to get press releases done. And a local synagogue called and said, "We're gonna feed you tomorrow. What do you wanna eat?" I was like, "Who are you?" [laughter] They brought lunch for us. And it was something small, but for me it was affirming.
1:07:12: It was like all is not lost, right? That it's easy for me to think that this is a moment of darkness and light will never come again. And then I looked at all of these wonderful people from this synagogue feeding us, and that was just one instance. And I thought, "You know, this is still our, my America." Right? I mean there are things about it I'm not liking right now, but actually there's always been things I don't like about it, but all is not lost. And I have to think that way because if I don't, what's the point? I'm gonna phone it in. I'm just not gonna get out of bed in the morning. I'm gonna say...
1:07:44: You can't give up.
1:07:45: I can't give up. So I have to believe the narrative of 'This too shall pass.' But like I said, it's allowed some really good forces of justice to step forward and shine a light on those women and men and those movements. I was at the US Court of Appeals for the fourth circuit in Richmond, Virginia in May for a travel ban oral argument, and I watched sort of a spontaneous protest break out, and I was like, "That's my America." [laughter]
1:08:13: Right. I mean these forces that you're pushing against, this isn't new. Right? We are capable of extraordinary things for good and for bad. That's always been true. I found myself saying to my colleagues at the White House, you can imagine how we were all feeling after this, the election of a year ago. "Look, it's the same country that elected Barack Obama twice. Like we didn't stop being that place. But we're also the same place that enslaved people and interned people and did a lot of terribles." Like we're all of those things. All of that is who we are. It's what we do with it that's important. And that our behavior, our response, our pushback, in moments like this one is the most important thing. It's what determines where we will get when we get to the next place. But as the President liked to say was especially in the last couple months we were there like the arc of history still bends towards justice, but it's not a straight line, like what made you think it would be a straight line? It's never been a straight line. But it's the hands on that arc bending that mattered, and that's up to us.
1:09:25: Well, I don't know, and maybe I'm watching too much MSNBC.
1:09:30: You're not the only one, Max.
1:09:32: Yeah, like 2:00 in the morning and I wake up and it's still on. [laughter] So I mean a part of me says when you ask that kind of question, you know of course we're not better. And then there are those good things. And I know that the arc of justice keeps bending the right way. It's just so damned hard sometimes, and it's so damned hard to keep fighting sometimes, you know? And then of course I realize that they just wanna wear me out and that just kicks me, gets me going all over again. But that is part of the, that is part of the philosophy. It's just wear 'em down. And I think one of the great things from this year, again going back to women, the anger of women and the waking up of women, starting with the day after the inauguration, and that enormous and amazing all over the world for heaven sakes, of women out protesting, all over the world. And who would have thought it, you know? I mean they got to Lansing I thought that'd be far enough.
1:10:58: But all over the world and that they keep going and that they ran this time and they were there. And I just have a suspicion that for a while anyway they're gonna be there. But it is hard because you know that good things are happening, but on the other hand you also know that you got three more years that you gotta wait and hope that you'll end up with that I don't have to keep watching MSNBC. And that's difficult. I mean we are a... I mean I love my country. I just know that there's a lot of warts. And it would be ever so nice, and the problem is that sometimes we see warts differently. I don't.
1:12:00: I find that people who are burning the flag to be pretty obnoxious. But I think they have the right to burn the flag. I think the flag is there because it gives you a right to burn it. And, now don't throw anything at me. But you have to see those dualities, and understand that it's okay to understand the dualities. And that in fact, it's better to understand the dualities than not, because it's been a very, very difficult year for people who care about government. And I do mean now, I'm talking now about the very structure of government. I mean, I care deeply about the physical structure of government. The three branches of government. I care deeply about those things. I care deeply about the department of this, the department... I care deeply about those things. There's a reason for them, and they do good jobs. And when I see people undoing those departments, when I see them undoing a structure of government, a piece of government, when I see people dumping on judges because they don't like the way the judge ruled. Well, that's how it's supposed to be. You know? Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. And it's the same with political elections, too. But it has been for, you know, many of us here, [chuckle] a difficult year, and you hope that things just get better, that's all.
1:13:46: And now if you had friends that called you or family members that called you, and said "What are we going to do?" [chuckle] "I don't know if I wanna live here anymore." I mean, you heard the extreme reaction. "How are we gonna get through this?" We're strong. We're Americans. This is America. This is the land for all of us, not just some of us. And we have to make sure that we continue to make that work, so that it's for everyone, not just a select few. And deplorable behavior is there. It doesn't mean that every deplorable person is un-American. My children called me the next day, and I listened to them. And you know what I told them? "Raise good children." If you wanna give back in that way with the grandchildren, raise good, honest, law-abiding, hard-working Americans.
1:14:49: And then you were like, "Bring them to me so I can see my grandchildren!"
1:14:53: I wanna open it up to questions. So Susan, how about we do this? Just raise your hand, and someone will come to you with a microphone. So we will make it even easier. And why don't you go ahead and say who you are before you ask a question to one of these fine folks? And it is hard for me to believe that there are no questions for the five who are on my right here. Yeah, yeah, right here?
1:15:25: Hi, my name is Derek [1:15:25] ____... And I work in a non-profit sector the past dozen or so years. My question is, how do you feel the impact of technology and its growth over the past 20 years, and its resulting displacement of workers and flattening of wages has impacted the political tone and tenor that we have today?
1:15:48: Actually, a thing that I work on... But let me start by saying, you said you're an Air Force vet. Thank you for your service.
1:15:55: [1:15:55] ____.
1:15:58: So technology by itself isn't good or bad, it's how it gets used. And so there's lots and lots of negative potential, but there's also lots and lots of positive potential. But we are in a time that's like the Industrial Revolution, in terms the scale of change and the pace of it. It's a lot of change, really fast. That's gonna have a transformative impact. And we learned some stuff last time, that hopefully are lessons that we can apply this time, which is kind of what I'm doing at the organization where I'm working now, which is called New America. It took us, last time, several decades before we passed things like child labor laws and developed labor unions and put the structures in place that mitigated some of the harms of the rapid technological change. So we shouldn't wait for... We can anticipate some of what's gonna happen here, and we can get ahead of it.
1:17:01: Technology has the capacity to give us the tools to actually reduce inequality, or it could increase inequality. But if it's gonna reduce inequality, that's not gonna happen by itself. We have to be deliberate about it. And we know... Look, you can anticipate what some of the negative effects are gonna be. We have some information about the kinds of jobs which are likely to shift, and we know which communities typically get left behind, because that has been true for a really long time. So instead of having a conversation about, "Holy mackerel, the robots are coming for our jobs and we're all gonna get screwed again, and there's nothing we can do about it," we're trying to have a conversation that says, "Alright. There's technological change. How do we make sure that we put the tools in the hands of people, so that they can be driving this change in a way, which catapults their communities forward?" That's the question that we're trying to ask. And we're trying to... In particular, I'm engaged in an effort to put technological tools and technologist themselves, the people who develop them, on the staffs of non-profits and on the staffs of people like Mayor Duggan. And we should be using technology to solve our problems and not just assume that technology is the problem. But that takes deliberate work and investment and forethought.
1:18:24: Hi, [laughter] hello. My name is Gabrielle Horton. I'm a second year master of public policy candidate at the Ford School. And Hardy, it's good to see you again and thank you all for all of your comments. But Hardy in particular you had a comment that really struck me, talking about or reflecting on your time at the law school and thinking about how you sort of distant yourself from a professor, who could have been a really great ally. And I think that that's a word that we keep hearing over and over again, thinking about intersectionality and allyhood and who's an ally. And I guess I would be curious to hear from you and perhaps one other person on the panel, about some of the best tips or suggestions you think about in terms of cultivating allies. Where does sort of that boundary get drawn between I guess you sort of educating and doing all of this emotional labor, but then also finding ways and spaces to actually support others along that journey, and perhaps towards a much larger goal as well. So if you have any tips or suggestions for folks who are doing this work thinking about how to incorporate and best work with allies, I'd be curious to hear about that. Thanks.
1:19:30: [1:19:30] ____ I had allies anywhere, right? So I tried not to presuppose that my allies were only gonna be found in this forum or in this area. I think I do myself a disservice if I think of it that way. I think in terms of forming relationships, 'cause that's what really it's about, it's about relationship building, that I do my best relationship building if I can talk like I know what I'm talking about and listen like I don't know what I'm saying, [chuckle] right? So that, I think to the extent that I can ensure that I'm open to learning that's an important piece of this ally building, right? 'Cause when I come to the table saying that, "I've got all the answers and surely you don't so please lean forth and take notes." I've got myself a problem. And I recognize also with ally building, since we do a lot of that at Human Rights First, that sometimes we're gonna be allies on XY but maybe not Z. That's okay, right?
1:20:31: That doesn't mean that can't come back and regroup on something else. And so I'm pretty forthright about that, I go, "I'm gonna work with you on this, this one we're not gonna be able to be on the same sheet of music, so I wish you well. I'll catch up with you next time." And I think having sort of candid discussions and assessments of that are helpful, and to use Cecilia's words, be strategic. That I do especially in our line of work, that we've gotta think thoughtfully about who our allies are, and make a plan to go about it. And recognize that when it comes to being allies it all pivots on sincerity, right? That if I can't truly be your supporter on this, I should own that and be forthright about it. And if I am going to be your supporter on that, then that means I'm gonna represent myself in a certain way, that means I'm gonna speak up for you in a certain way, there's a certain commitment involved in that. So those are the things I would say. La June or anyone else wanna...
1:21:25: I was just gonna quickly say that this feels so relevant about this idea about figuring out what we can agree on, whereas it feels like, and maybe this is technology, social media has figured out how to talk so much about what we disagree on, or this idea that if we're not 100% on board for the same policy or the same way of thinking about something, that's it. Instead of accepting, we've got some differences, but overall probably we've got more similarities about what we want. Health, goodness for our families, to be able to take care of our loved ones. La June, please.
1:22:00: Yeah, I mean, that's a lot of what our work is about, it's taking people from kinda dichotomous thinking. This or that, in or out. And that's why I was laughing earlier when you put the chart up and said, "You're either in or out." And I can see me doing that at one point, and now I've learned that a lot of that type of thinking is what's ingrained in us. Part of that is something that's much more deeper about how you build division, in a country as opposed to alignment. So when I think about allies I think some of the best work I've done is in this space around, and working with an organization called, White Men as Diversity Allies. And basically it's a space where we talk about how you can have allies, even some that you may not think would be your ally, but how they can be an ally and how you can receive that. And I think part of that journey is getting to that space and some of my best allies, I would not be sitting in this seat had it not been for certain people who chose me, I didn't chose them, but I had to receive that, and it had to take me to a new space of trust and openness.
1:23:31: And so there's a lot of growth in that relationship, and I think you have to show up ready to grow and ready to learn something different than you knew when you started out. But I think that's the journey we all have to take.
1:23:47: Cecilia, I'd love your thoughts too on it, though just going back to the idea of working not between two separate groups, but I think one of the things that you dealt with at the White House was the idea of dealing with immigrants and then dealing with a president who some folks didn't always think was very kind to immigrants or calling him the deporter-in-chief and you having to go back and forth between the White House and some allies, what was that like and how did you deal with that role of being so in the middle?
1:24:20: The person you called the president, deporter-in-chief is my former boss someone who's like a sister to me, so that wasn't easy, but it's also... I knew going in that I would live with that tension that as an, I'm an immigration policy expert I knew when I went into the administration at some level no matter what we did with immigration enforcement I was gonna own it. And that's a very uncomfortable issue in my community, I did it because I was certain, and I turned out to be right that the president was gonna be making good decisions. So immigration enforcement in fact did go up, deportations of folks in the interior because Congress allocates the money for that and the DHS' job is to spend that money, that would have happened no matter who was president. What we did do was put in a set of priorities so that instead of treating all 11 million people who were deportable as if they were the same, we made an effort to work with the agency, the law enforcement agency, in this case DHS, to focus their energy and attention on folks that pose some kind of risk as opposed to other folks who don't. And we actually it took... Clearly it took too long, the agency was too tentative, all of those criticisms were true, but we got there and we got there in a way that was tremendously impactful all of which has been undone since, badly undone since then.
1:25:49: And what people came at me with was, "you're suspect now because you're involved in enforcing the law" and my response to that was, "I'm a government official. I swore an oath to uphold the law." And you need people who know what I know from all of my experience in the advocacy community, you need people like me to be willing to go into government and help make decisions about how the law is gonna be enforced even when it's a broken law that you don't like and if people like me stay pure and stay out of government, somebody else is gonna be making those decisions who doesn't know what I know. And how do we move forward that way? So I am comfortable with that, now those meetings where black people who were like my family were sitting in the room, and I was sitting next to the president and it was uncomfortable, those were painful meetings. But he understood, he was an organizer, so of course you need advocates, you need people to be in your face, you need people holding your feet to the fire, that's the essence of how a democracy is supposed to work, but it works best when people understand themselves to be part of the same team, playing different positions.
1:27:08: So their job is to keep us honest, our job is to listen, but also to let them know what the legal constraints are. And when it works well it's an extraordinary thing, but you have to be able to have conversations with people who disagree with you on some stuff because on other stuff they may agree with you and you might be able to move the ball a few yards. And president Obama used to say all the time, "You go into government to make things better and if you stop because they can't be perfect then you're making a mistake," he would say all the time, he would say, "I'll take better everytime, we're not gonna get to perfect, but if we can get to better, I'll take that," and he's right.
1:27:51: So not everybody's coming at you.
1:27:53: Yeah no, and maybe they shouldn't.
1:27:56: We've all been there, okay? And it's okay and you're not gonna like everybody, but as we mature and we're able to see the world just a little bit differently not through the eyes of a... I'm gonna use myself as an example of a 20-year-old or a... I grew on the air, I started out as a young reporter and by the time I retired, I was old enough, I probably raised I don't know how many generations of kids who don't hesitate to tell me I grew up watching you on TV and... [laughter] But you know what, it's a compliment and did everybody that watched that night believe everything that I said or liked everything I said? No, and it's okay, but when I was younger it hurt, it was like, "Oh my gosh, how am I gonna live tomorrow, how am I gonna get over this?" And then I had to understand that's not my job.
1:29:03: Hi. My name is [1:29:04] ____, I'm a second year undergrad that's studying at the Ross School of Business and... Hi. And so I think the first step to addressing inequalities is to acknowledge them and in conversations with my peers I've realized that a lot of them refuse to acknowledge that there's inequalities in the world and refuse to have an open conversation about inequalities in America. And so many of you and myself and I'm assuming many people here believe in inequalities because they've experienced inequalities themselves or have had conversations and have been able to grow as a person and realize some of these things, but how would you handle having conversations with people who refuse to acknowledge those kind of things and will turn that as you being unpatriotic or you not being appreciative of being in the United States, how would you handle those conversations and trying to educate other people?
1:29:49: Well, that feels so relevant again today, who wants to grab at it first, yeah?
1:29:53: So one of the things that you could use in this case is storytelling. Because you can debate a manifestation of something, but no one can debate your own personal story. And I think the best way to do that is to get any person to really not only talk about what they see out there, but talk about themselves and what's going on in their own journey and their history and what's their personal story and get them to listen to your personal story. And typically what you find is there are gonna be some commonalities and then there are gonna be some bends. And to talk about where those stories bend and also where they come together is actually pretty powerful. So I've been in a room where people start out... I had sometime this man stand up to me and cross his arms and just, he was ready for battle. And I just un-armed it because I talked about what was true and real for me. You had to be vulnerable first of all to break down some of those barriers. But I told my own story, and he couldn't debate that. And it also made him listen and then we talked further and further into whatever the issue was and it's pretty powerful. So that's what I would say is the... There is a methodology around how storytelling can be affirming and actual build trusting relationships, and I think that's the only thing that I've seen to work well.
1:31:39: But don't let anybody suggest that being critical means being ungrateful of being an American, right?
1:31:47: So this experience happens sometimes when people, one thing when you have last names like ours, people don't necessarily assume that you're from this place, that comes into question a lot. But ultimately it is questioning what goes on in this country and working to make it better is a fundamentally patriotic act and don't give an inch on that question.
1:32:24: I'm Belinda Tucker from UCLA, went here for graduate school. And what I've appreciated most about this panel I think is your stories of personal evolution. I mean you've all had really interesting and unique journeys, but how you've developed strategies over the years, how you dealt with things then, versus how you deal with things now, you know they're terribly useful, and I don't think we hear enough of them. So I'm gonna suggest that maybe you package these kinds of stories in some kind of accessible form. I mean, great that you all went to the University of Michigan [chuckle] but I recently got some kind of publication from the University of Michigan, and it had little narratives of people in there that I found very compelling, but this is an... I mean you're all incredibly accomplished and for people to just see that, obviously your paths were not straightforward, but you've learned something over the years, you're successful and the path can be different.
1:33:29: We had like a Ford School podcast idea right there.
1:33:35: I actually was gonna go down a very similar road so I'll build on Belinda's question, I'm David Lam from ISR. Which was also in the vein of sort of advice for young people choosing these, making decisions, what do they do when they graduate, what do they do when they face these different potential things they could be doing. Cecilia, you said it's good to choose a good boss, but what if you don't have that choice? [chuckle] What if you got some options after you graduate they're not quite perfect, the bosses aren't quite perfect, which most of them aren't probably. And maybe they're not necessarily the path that you wanna have an impact on society, but your option is to work for McKinsey or do something else. Not that McKinsey doesn't make a positive contribution to society, but... So I just wondered if you could reflect on those kinds of things. These sort of, where do you go, how do you make these decisions to try to end up having an impact and you don't immediately get invited to serve President Obama. And maybe you get invited to serve some other President that's not President Obama, which is the same kind of a question I guess of... As Cecilia I think as you eloquently put it, somebody is in there making those decisions. What if you get invited to serve in an administration you're not so crazy about at a level that isn't quite what you hoped for?
1:35:14: Yeah, Carmen said something which really resonated with me that I think about a lot. I've given a lot of career advice lately 'cause every one I worked with was moving on in last January so I've had a lot of conversations, especially with younger colleagues, along these very lines. And I think it's really, really, important to find a way to be true to who you think you are. La June talked about she had a plan and like the plan turned out differently than she had anticipated, but it sounds like you were being true to yourself which is how you found the courage to go in a different direction. I think of, and any young person that I have given career counselling to will laugh when I say this 'cause I say the same thing every time, I think of it as a continuum.
1:35:58: If what you wanna do is make a difference for example, there are bunch of places on the continuum you can do it. You can be an advocate and an organizer, you can work in government, you could go to law school, you could do it in the corporate world, there are lots and lots of places. The key is figuring out where you belong, where your voice is strongest, where you feel like you fit and you're really gonna... I think of it, like if you're a violin string, where are you gonna be the most in tune, like at your core? Because that's where you're gonna be successful. People come to me and ask, like "I'm thinking about making this move, and it seems like the right credentials to have on my resume in order to go in the direction that I wanna go." And I tend to discourage people from getting the right credential. And to go with... What is gonna make you wake up in the morning feeling pretty good about what you do? Because, as somebody who hires people, I can spot those people, they shine, right? And the person who is like "Well, I'm gonna work at this place because I feel like I need a few years experience doing this thing and then I'll move on to something else." They're not in love with it, then that shows too.
1:37:06: So, understanding that you may not be presented with an array of options, all of which make your heart sing. But it matters to be looking for things that are true to where you think you belong on that continuum them, and you may find out. I thought I was... I started my career thinking I am destined for direct service, I'm gonna work at an organization that has clients. And I did that initially, and I was bad at it. [chuckle] But I discovered my voice as an advocate, and my course changed too. So, you have to be willing to listen to what your life is telling you. But... I just think if you're trying to be true to yourself, that is... Is that sets you on a path where you are most likely to shine.
1:37:50: [1:37:50] ____...
1:37:55: Actually, on the back end of that, when I try to give career advice, I think of, trying to free young people up from this belief that, there's a perfect... That there's more than one of us, right? I'll be like, "Hardy at 30 was not the same Hardy at 40, was not the same Hardy at 46. And they've all been different incarnations with lots of missteps along the way, thankfully." And so... I try to steal a page from design theorists, technologist, they designed the mouse and they have three buttons on it, and they put it out there, and they go "Get feedback from Sicilians." Why doesn't it... I have three buttons, it's awkward to use, and then they do it again, and then they do it again. I think there's something if you can think of life in that sort of manner, I tried to tell younger people that it frees you up from going, "I gotta get the perfect job." Just this week I heard from a recent Michigan undergrad... Graduate, who I've met earlier this year, and she has a fellowship in Pittsburg and has been there for three months, and she says "I need to get out, because it's not perfect." And my response was, "Call me."
1:38:57: Because, it's okay if it's not perfect, it's not... You're invariably going to learn something about yourself in that process. I think if we can try to free younger people up from this belief, that you gotta get it right. Because I suspect not many of us have got it right the first time around. And we're probably better off, because we didn't get it right the first time.
1:39:16: Don't be afraid of failing. Failure reads success, you learn by picking yourself up, and you find out who you really are, if everything goes so smoothly and they think you're wonderful, and you don't have anything to fall back on, then you think that, that's the way life is, and we all know that it's not that way, and we've all failed at something. But finding something that you love to do every single day, whether you're paid or not, will separate you from the people who feel compelled to follow a plan or a pattern or whatever, than those who let the opportunities find them too.
1:40:00: And I would just add, when I tell people I've been at the WK Kellogg Foundation for 30 years, young people laugh at me.
1:40:09: Well, because they say "What, you started when you were four?" I mean...
1:40:13: They're like "Who works [laughter] anyway for 30 years?" They're thinking two, maybe three, and sometimes I have a conversation with them about growth within, and there's something [1:40:28] ____ here to the building, about needing a challenge in a place and working through it and getting to the other side, building that perseverance and that character, and that safe relationship that you begin to know. And I could say there were many times when I thought, "Oh my gosh, I gotta get out of here." And at one point, when I had many opportunities, and I looked at these places, they were worse than the one I was in.
1:41:00: And there weren't as enlightened, they just obvious... They really were not. And so, there's something about a journey that you choose [1:41:09] ____ and it's inward, as much as it is that employer, and sometimes I think a person has to think about, what are you learning through this? And what might be that longer term perspective, then that short term reward, that some people are driven toward?
1:41:27: Wonderful. Well, that's close to time. I got to start with sort of a silly, three-word and so I'm gonna start with the... End with a really serious question, which is all of us as U of M graduates in different decades, different times. What's your favorite thing, favorite restaurant, favorite thing to eat when you were a student here at U of M?
1:41:48: Do you remember?
1:41:50: I still eat here.
1:41:52: When I come back, in fact I'm on my way there now.
1:42:00: It's Red Hot right there on State Street.
1:42:02: When I was a student, when I was a student [1:42:05] ____... Every Friday, the Charcoal House, every Friday on State Street. Then, I would buy myself something for making it through another week, a magazine or something like that. Yeah.
1:42:23: Bob's. Bob's is still open, right?
1:42:26: Yeah, the chapati?
1:42:27: Yeah, the chapati.
1:42:29: And a malt. And when I came back to the [1:42:31] ____, I did a sabbatical here a few years ago. Of course, it's right across the street and I went and I got the same thing that I always got as a student which is a chapati and a malt. I was appalled at how much food that is.
1:42:42: You're like, "how did I ever... "
1:42:43: I can't believe I could get all that food down when I was a student. But I did.
1:42:47: La June, what was...
1:42:48: A Blimpy burger.
1:42:49: Blimpy's. Sure, sure. Okay Hardy.
1:42:52: [1:42:52] ____ Price is still low.
1:42:53: What was yours?
1:42:54: Mine was University Cafe, a Korean place over by Rick's.
1:42:58: Sure, sure.
1:43:00: Spicy has reminded me of Haiti and so, it was just... It was pretty awesome.
1:43:04: Well, thank you all for sharing so much about your lives and your really incredible journeys from the University of Michigan before that and after. It was really... It was an honor to get to hear all your answers. So, thank you.
1:43:16: You're welcome.
1:43:17: And thank you for all of you. Susan Collins, Dean, Director. Thank you so much for having us.
1:43:24: Just to close things out, fascinating conversation. Thank you so much for moderating.
1:43:30: Of course.
1:43:32: And for the insights and especially the candor. We do have it recorded. I know a number of folks have been watching us online. Thank you for joining us. We hope to see, at least, some of you tomorrow as well. This was wonderful so please, join me in a round of applause to our moderator.