Income inequality in the U.S. is the highest of all the G7 nations, and the wealth gap between America’s richest and poorer families more than doubled from 1989 to 2016. This hierarchy of power gives control to the rich, while leaving the rest to fend for themselves without support or voice. ALOUD’s Power and Value series will kick-off with a program that unpacks America’s income gap with professor, author, and political commentator Robert Reich and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, an American Protestant minister and political activist. From elections to media and entertainment, how does the imbalance of income and representation impact our society? Join us for a change-making conversation with these two powerful voices about how to create a more equitable democracy.
Robert Reich is an American economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama's economic transition advisory board. Reich has been the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley since January 2006. Reich is a political commentator on programs including Erin Burnett OutFront, CNN Tonight, Anderson Cooper's AC360, Hardball With Chris Matthews, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNBC's Kudlow & Company, and APM's Marketplace. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the Ten Best Cabinet Members of the century, and The Wall Street Journal in 2008 placed him sixth on its list of Most Influential Business Thinkers. Most recently, he is the author of The System: Who Rigged it and How to Fix It.
Reverend William Barber II began leading regular "Moral Mondays" civil-rights protests in North Carolina's state capital, Raleigh, in April 2013. The Wall Street Journal credited Barber's NAACP chapter with forming a coalition in 2007 named Historic Thousands on Jones Street People's Assembly, composed of 93 North Carolina advocacy groups. Historian and professor Timothy Tyson named Barber, "the most important progressive political leader in this state in generations," saying that he "built a statewide interracial fusion political coalition that has not been seriously attempted since 1900." In May 2017, Barber announced he would step down from the state NAACP president to lead "a new 'Poor People's Campaign'", named Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival in honor of the original 1968 campaign founded by Martin Luther King. In 2018, Barber was named a MacArthur Fellow (popularly known as the "Genius Grant") for "building broad-based fusion coalitions as part of a moral movement to confront racial and economic inequality."