50 years of ideas in action!

I was so fortunate to attend the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Policy Studies over the weekend. Their "Ideas in Action" festival aimed to be an "un-conference," bringing together thinkers, activists and cultural workers from across the left-progressive spectrum to exchange, debate and celebrate.

One of the highlights for me was the panel remarks by Jobs with Justice director and IPS board member Sarita Gupta, who talked about the Caring Across Generations Campaign, and its ambitious platform to pair the growing need for elder care and the need for more quality jobs. Her strategy includes a sweeping policy proposal that incorporates pathway to citizenship for the largely female, immigrant workforce that cares for our nations aging generation, and a narrative strategy to bring these seemingly disparate constituencies together into a powerful alliance.

"I would rather to fail trying to win big, than succeed making unsatisfying achievements. And I believe we can win big." ~ Sarita Gupta

By Doyle Canning, Former CSS Co-Director


And she is. Caring Across Generations recently won a tremendous victory: finalizing long-awaited regulations requiring that home care workers be paid minimum wage and overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Another highlight was connecting with our longtime ally at IPS Janet Redman, who co-leads the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network.  IPS's policy work in the climate arena has been a key in the US and internationally. Janet links policy with activism from the beltway to the UNFCCC, and helps to build the climate justice movement with clear policy strategy.

Overall, the best moment for me was the speech by the legendary leader, the "King of Calypso," 87 year old Harry Belefonte. Rather than speak of his long list of achievements and his own life's work, he chose to speak of the future generations, and the young leaders of today. He talked about the Dream Defenders, and their tremendous work to bring about justice for Trayvon Martin. He told of Jamie Foxx and his foray into public political protest after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, and the importance of engaging artists in the struggle. He had just come from meeting with Malala Yousafzai, and said, after his many years of experience, he "knows the real thing when I see it, and she is the real thing."

It was a tremendous weekend full of inspiring conversations and a forward looking optimism.

I was particularly excited to introduce my baby daughter to some of my "sheroes" of the movement, including CSS co-founder and President of NAARAL Ilyse Houge, and Katrina vanden Huevel, pubisher of The Nation...

Congratulations IPS on 50 years…May we celebrate 100 together!