Event Photos

Panel Videos

Panel Videos

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on transportation as the backbone of a resilient economy and tackling climate crisis through innovative regulation and historic public investment
Author Anand Giridharadas and Community Change Co-President Dorian Warren in conversation on visioning a winning narrative framework and persuading the public that a just and equitable future is within reach
Ganesh Sitaraman, Elizabeth Kelly, and Dr. Sarah Myers West, on checking monopoly power and building AI for public good, moderated by Chris Hughes
Introductory Remarks
Author Angela Garbes and Community Change Co-President Lorella Praeli in conversation on essential labor, mothering, and a new social contract
Founding Director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy Darrick Hamilton and Economic Security Project President Natalie Foster in conversation on what every individual should be guaranteed in our modern age of volatility.
Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom and Springboard to Opportunities CEO Aisha Nyandoro in conversation on trust, deservedness and fighting for economic freedom for future generations
AFL-CIO Strategic Adviser Cindy Estrada and President of the Writers Guild of America East Lisa Takeuchi Cullen on striking, winning, and what the surge in organized labor means for the future of the country, moderated by Faiz Shakir, Founder and Executive Director of More Perfect Union.
Comptroller Brad Lander on Public Solar NYC and the impact of government delivering in our cities and communities
White House Economic Advisor Heather Boushey and New York Times Economics reporter Talmon Joseph Smith in conversation on insights from the pandemic and building a resilient, durable, and abundant economy.
White House Senior Advisor Mitch Landrieu and the Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong in conversation on the Administration’s once-in-a-generation investment in public infrastructure and vision to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board Jennifer A. Abruzzo on rebalancing economic power and leveling the playing field between workers and corporations.
Jerusalem Demsas on the housing affordability crisis and the politics of building enough housing for everyone.
ACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice Chase Strangio on body autonomy and the culture wars being waged on the LGBTQ community.
Oxfam Director of Economic Justice Nabil Ahmed with Ian Madrigal, “The Monopoly Man.”
Oxfam Director of Economic Justice Nabil Ahmed with Shabaz Ali, “@ShabazSays”
Event Recap

Event Recap

On a crisp November day in New York City, hundreds of activists, politicians, organizers, and community leaders—including many of you—gathered at the historic Great Hall at The Cooper Union for Bold New Consensus. This flagship event, hosted by Economic Security Project in collaboration with the Roosevelt Institute, Community Change, and the Hewlett Foundation, celebrated the progress we have achieved in building an economy that works for everyone, and set the course for a bigger, bolder economic paradigm for our collective future. 

The event brought together a cross-section of leaders fighting for progressive big ideas: from the people organizing and listening to the needs of communities, to those doing the math to deliver on those needs, to those building political power to make those transformative policies viable. The group embodied our theory of change and imbued magic into the event. 

ESP Co-Founder and President Natalie Foster, ESP Co-Founder and Chair Chris Hughes, Community Change Co-President Lorella Praeli, and Roosevelt Institute President and CEO Felicia Wong kicked off the day by mapping the tremendous distance we’ve come since Bold v. Old, our conference in Washington, D.C. four years ago. Many of the ideas advanced at Bold v. Old became the life-saving policies the government deployed to help families make it through the worst of the pandemic. This happened, in part, because past Bold v. Old attendees used that moment to catalyze change and win big political and cultural victories. “Going into the next four years,” said Praeli, “We must organize our communities to demand even bolder change grounded in a new economics that works for everyone.”

Many speakers testified to the power and necessity of investing directly in people and communities: from White House Senior Advisor Mitch Landrieu on how to move $1.2 trillion dollars into states and communities and effectively tell that story; to NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, who laid out his vision for a public option for rooftop solar, keeping renewable energy accessible to all New Yorkers while creating tens of thousands of good, green union jobs. Lander noted this would be a step towards “not just distributive justice, but contributive justice.”

We expanded the idea of what could be considered a collective resource, by considering not just a public option for solar energy but what one might look like for artificial intelligence. Ganesh Sitaraman, Director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator, Elizabeth Kelly, Special Assistant to the President on the National Economic Council, and Dr. Sarah Myers, Director of the AI Now Institute, joined Chris Hughes to talk about ensuring that AI brings the future into our living rooms without bringing along the monopoly harms of the past. Sitaraman laid out a vision for a government-run artificial intelligence tool that would offer nonprofits, governments, researchers, and small businesses a chance to access this world-changing technology, without reinforcing the corporate concentration inherent to this sector.

The energy in the historic hall, where Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama have spoken, was positively crackling when Community Change Co-President Dorian Warren and author Anand Giridharadas took the stage to throw down on how best to tell the story of progressive success and bring excitement to the movement. Giridharadas argued for responding to people’s anxiety around change by “walking people through the age,” avoiding wonkery, and “throw[ing] a more fun party than the other side.”

Grounding all those policy conversations in a moral philosophy, Natalie Foster and Darrick Hamilton, Founding Director of the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at the New School, urged us to consider the basic premises of our financial system, and whom it’s meant to serve, by asking ourselves the question: “What is the purpose of an economy?” 

“It is a dishonest project to think you can talk about economics independent of values,” argued Hamilton. “We need more economists talking about values and morals.”

Similarly, we heard that when our economics are built on fears and othering, the myths they uphold are difficult to break free from, in a conversation between Springboard to Opportunities CEO Aisha Nyandoro and sociologist, cultural critic and writer Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom. “We can rewrite the social contract to include everyone,” urged Dr. Cottom, echoing Nyandoro’s call to talk about “prosperity and morality together and not separately.”

Bold action is not just a moral imperative–it’s a practical one. That was the message Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg brought to the hall, in a speech touching on the Biden administration’s investments in communities, families, workers and infrastructure. He argued: “The debate on whether to be bold or pragmatic has been settled… Events demonstrate that the only pragmatic approach is to be bold.” The Secretary said of the administration’s policy goals: “In its proportions as well as in its ambition, this agenda is a big deal. Such a big deal that I am making the case that it should be known as the Big Deal.”

For those in the room, the lobby was as joyful and booming as the performance of the Resistance Revival Chorus that sang us out. There was a sense that if you turned to either side of you, you might find a former or future colleague; it would not be the last time this group convened to set the course of policy. The audience itself was testimony to how many people see themselves as doing this work together.



Jennifer Abruzzo

General Counsel at the National Labor Relations Board

Nabil Ahmed

Oxfam Economic Justice Director

Shabaz Ali

Comedian and Broadcaster

Heather Boushey

Member of the Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist for the Invest in America Cabinet at The White House

Pete Buttigieg

Secretary of Transportation

Jerusalem Demsas


Cindy Estrada

Strategic Adviser to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler

Natalie Foster

President and co-founder of the Economic Security Project

Angela Garbes

Speaker and Author

Anand Giridharadas

Journalist and Writer

Darrick Hamilton

Founding Director Of The Institute On Race, Power, And Political Economy At The New School

Chris Hughes

Senior Fellow at the Institute on Race, Power, and Political Economy at The New School and Co-Founder and Chair of the Economic Security Project

Talmon Joseph Smith

New York Times Economics Reporter

Elizabeth Kelly

Special Assistant to the President on the National Economic Council

Brad Lander

New York City Comptroller

Mitch Landrieu

White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator

Ian Madrigal

Monopoly Man

Tressie McMillan Cottom

Cultural Critic, Sociologist, and Writer

Sarah Meyers

Managing Director of the AI Now Institute

Aisha Nyandoro

Springboard to Opportunities CEO

Lorella Praeli

Co-President of Community Change and Community Change Action

Faiz Shakir

Founder and Executive Director of More Perfect Union

Ganesh Sitaraman

Director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator

Chase Strangio

ACLU Staff Attorney

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

President of the Writers Guild of America East

Dorian Warren

Co-President of Community Change and Community Change Action and Co-Founder of the Economic Security Project

Felicia Wong

President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute