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Social Justice

Reclaiming the American Dream

Friday, November 2, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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"We don’t have to pass laws to protect people. We have to have each other enforce the laws we already have." – Ben Hecht

Throughout our history, the promise of the American Dream often united Americans. It was the principle the country was founded on - that everyone, no matter their birth or station in life, had the opportunity for upward mobility. While our country has never fully lived up to this grand ideal, many would agree that today, for the majority of Americans, the dream has started to crumble. Over the last several years, discussions of our country's economic troubles, rising inequality, and vast racial disparities have dominated the national discourse.

Ben Hecht, the president and CEO of Living Cities, a collaborative of 18 of the world’s leading foundations and financial institutions working together to fight poverty and close the racial gaps in income and wealth in America’s cities, authored the book Reclaiming the American Dream: Proven Solutions for Creating Economic Opportunity for All. He has seen how economic disparity wreaks havoc with lives and communities - and how local leaders can take action to address the root causes of inequality themselves, rather than waiting for policy changes from above.

In the book, drawing on his decades of working directly with low-income neighborhoods, Hecht presents a series of case studies from throughout the country that focus on real problems and real solutions. From improving educational opportunities to strengthening civic engagement to investing in women and people of color to start businesses, Hecht shows that we know how to create conditions where everyone can prosper, we just need to implement these proven strategies.

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