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In this conversation, longtime social and economic justice organizer Erica Smiley will explore how the pandemic has left millions of people behind—especially women and people of color—while wealth grows even more concentrated in the hands of the few. She will explain why more political and economic democracy is necessary to lessen poverty and racism.

Smiley and respondents Margaret Hallock and Lisa Hubbard will discuss achieving worker power through organizing “whole people” in their communities. This strategy will help the labor movement in the United States build on the unions we have in order to create the new institutions we need.

Erica Smiley is the executive director of Jobs With Justice, where she has been spearheading strategic organizing and policy interventions for nearly 15 years. Smiley has served in numerous leadership capacities at Jobs With Justice, including senior field organizer for the southern region and organizing director. She is a WILL Empower Fellow – a joint project of Rutgers University and Georgetown University – and is currently co-authoring a book on bargaining and working people democracy with Sarita Gupta.

Margaret Hallock retired in 2015 as the founding director of the University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. She formerly directed the UO Labor Education & Research Center (LERC). Hallock is a Ph.D. economist who taught economics and worked for Service Employees International Union 503 where she led the struggle for pay equity for women workers. She served as a policy advisor to Governor Ted Kulongoski for labor, revenue and workforce development. She serves on the boards of Sponsors, a reentry organization, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.

Lisa Hubbard (she/they) is the interim executive director of Portland Jobs with Justice. Growing up in a union family, she learned the value of solidarity at an early age and has spent more than 30 years as a strategic campaigner, organizer, and movement builder with low wage workers and communities of color across the U.S. She has led a combination of union and community organizing, politics, policy and communications at the national AFL-CIO, UFCW, SEIU, a state labor federation, local unions, and with the building trades.

This event is part of the Wayne Morse Center's Margaret Hallock Program for Women's Rights and is funded by the Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Cosponsored by the UO Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Labor Education & Research Center, and Center for the Study of Women in Society.

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