April 25, 2023
SMC Public Policy Institute 2023 Spring Symposium
SMC Public Policy Institute Presents 2023 Spring Symposium May 15-19
"From Me to We: Building Cross-racial Solidarity for a Better Democracy"
Features Talks by Public Policy Experts Ian F. Haney López and Heather McGhee
SANTA MONICA, CA — The Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute (PPI) and the SMC Associated Students will present the 2023 PPI Spring Symposium May 15-19. The theme for this year’s community discussion is “From Me to We: Building Cross-racial Solidarity for a Better Democracy.” Symposium activities featuring public policy experts include an opening talk by Prof. Ian Haney López, a keynote speech by author and economist Heather McGhee, a screening of Derrick Bell's science fiction story "The Space Traders" with a panel discussion and audience Q&A, and a student panel discussion on race, class, and solidarity.
All symposium events are free and open to the public. These events will be presented live on the main SMC campus (1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica). All presentations are subject to change without notice.
"This year’s SMC PPI Spring Symposium provides a safe space in which to explore and discuss public policy solutions to foster cross-racial solidarity and strengthen democracy," said PPI co-director and SMC adjunct professor Shari Davis. "We feel it is a crucial time to do so in the current political climate."
The 2023 PPI Spring Symposium events include:
- Monday, May 15, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: Prof. Ian Haney López — "How We Build Power: Linking Race and Class" — Prof. Ian Haney López opens the 2023 PPI Spring Symposium with a discussion on mass incarceration, wealth inequality, and threats to democracy, moderated by SMC
philosophy professor Dr. Paul Klumpe. Prof. López is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law and a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches and writes about race and constitutional law. His current research emphasizes
the connections between deepening racial divisions and growing wealth inequality in
the United States. Prof. López has published four books and two anthologies, including "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals HaveReinvented Racism & Wrecked the Middle Class" (2014), which explains the central role of coded racism in American politics; and
"Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America" (2019), which develops the race-class fusion strategy to counter dog whistling and
to foster broad support for a racially egalitarian, economically just democracy. Prof.
López has also been a visiting professor at Yale University, New York University, and Harvard University. Free. SMC Student Services Center Orientation Hall (SSC 183), SMC Campus, 1900 Pico Blvd.,
- Tuesday, May 16, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: "Putting White Interests on Trial: Derrick Bell’s ‘The Space Traders’ Thought Experiment"
Screening and Panel Discussion — A look at the late civil rights lawyer and activist Derrick Bell’s role in shaping the debate on race includes a screening of "The Space Traders," his controversial science fiction story. Prof. Bell was the first tenured African
American professor at Harvard Law School and was later a visiting professor at New York University and a dean at the University of Oregon School of Law until his death in 2011. The screening will be followed by a discussion panel moderated
by SMC Public Policy Institute co-director Dr. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, SMC philosophy professor Dr. Amber Katherine, and SMC film professor Tim Conley. Free. SMC Student Services Center Orientation Hall (SSC 183), SMC Campus, 1900 Pico Blvd.,
- Wednesday, May 17, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion — “Why Don't We Have Nice Things? A Student Panel on Race, Class & Solidarity" — SMC students host a panel discussion that explores themes of race, class, solidarity. Free. SMC Student Services Center Orientation Hall (SSC 183), SMC Campus, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
- Thursday, May 18, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Keynote Address: Heather McGhee — The 2023 PPI Spring Symposium culminates with a keynote address by Heather McGhee, a public policy expert who promotes solutions to inequality in America, speaking on
her New York Times bestselling book "The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together." Ms. McGhee is a Visiting Lecturer in Urban Studies at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. She is a strong coalition-builder and trusted cross-movement leader who serves as
Chair of the Board of Directors of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. Ms. McGhee also serves
on the boards of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, and the nonpartisan "think and do" tank Demos. She is also an NBC News contributor, frequently appearing on "Meet the Press" and MSNBC programming, and her writing and research have appeared in numerous publications.
Ms. McGhee has also held visiting positions at Yale University’s Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy Program and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. Free. John Adams Middle School (JAMS) Performing Arts Center, 1630 Pearl Street, Santa Monica.
Accommodation for Disability: Guests who need an accommodation due to a disability to participate in any of these events should send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-434-4173, at least 5 business days in advance.
The SMC Public Policy Institute provides nonpartisan community programs exploring key economic, social, and political issues. The 2023 PPI Spring Symposium marks the 12th anniversary of the popular community discussion. Santa Monica College offers an Associate in Arts Degreeand Certificate of Achievement in public policy, and students can specialize in one of five public policy areas: arts and cultural affairs, education, environment and sustainability, public health, and urban/socioeconomic issues.
The SMC Public Policy Institute Spring Symposium is co-sponsored by a wide range of education, government, and community organizations and donors, including the Associated Students of Santa Monica College, City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), SMC Associates, and Santa Monica College Foundation.
More information is available at smc.edu/ppi or by calling 310-434-3541.