03/02/2017

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What’s different now? How did we get here? What happens next, and what can social change makers do about it? Stay up to date on all of our discussions via our live stream.

Circling back to our earlier discussion of the 2016 election, our third plenary focused on what changes we’re going to see- and what changes are already taking place. This riveting discussion was led by Beverly Gage, David Gergen and Michaela Angela Davis, all of which have been closely observing and analyzing the current political discourse throughout the nation.

“As a historian, I find both comfort and fear by looking to the past,” -Beverly Gage

Starting us off was Beverly Gage of Yale University. Diving right into the complex nature of our current political structure, Beverly offered a historical lens in which to analyze the various conflicts that both parties are faced with. “What the parties look like, what they stood for, and how they function, has changed quite a lot,” she said, noting that we now are living through an ideological party system which is fostering conflict over collaboration.

“I’m unapologetically black, I’m unapologetically woman, and American has made me this way,” -Michaela Angela Davis

Keeping the ball rolling, Michaela Angela Davis explored the various ways in which she’s been responding to the current political climate, the frustrations she’s facing and the solutions she’s searching for. “There’s life and liberty, and I’m trying in this generation, to find the pursuit of happiness,” she exclaimed, after expressing her deep concerns for various minorities, and the neglect they’re continuing to suffer from. “There are people in here who make change. If you’re fired up-stay energized,” she said looking towards the future.

“We have not been honest with each other for a long time about the American story,”- David Gergen

Finishing up the panel was David Gergen, who spoke on a range of topics from progress, to the importance of social innovation, to plans for the future. “We’ve come a long way, and the issue today is increasingly becoming- how do we hold the line on the progress we’ve made, and not go backwards?” The answer David found was social entrepreneurship and innovation. “The social entrepreneurship movement has been one of the great redeeming graces of the last 20 years,” he noted, while also acknowledging the current risks and vulnerabilities the social impact space is facing. “It’s time for this movement to take seriously systems change. The issue isn’t how you succeed in your organization- but how you organize with others,” he concluded, wrapping up another inspiring plenary.