On Monday, December 19th, A.R.T./New York held a Post Election Town Hall Meeting. The full video of the event is above and you can find the program here. Our distinguished panelists included:
- Congressman Jerrold Nadler
- City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer
- Earl Lewis, President of the Andrew W.Mellon Foundation and co-author of "Our Compelling Interests";
- Bruce Gyory, professor and political strategist who is of Counsel to Manatt, Phelos and Phillips;
- Lameece Issaq, Artistic Director of Noor Theatre Company; and
- Lauren Wainwright, Managing Director of Tectonic Theatre Company
There were several "Takeaways" from the Panel:
- The Affordable Care Act Is complex and dismantling it will take a long time. Yes, it is flawed, but with 2 million people signed up for the exchange-many who voted for President-Elect Trump - it will be impossible to create something better that is also more affordable without increasing taxes.
Yet as I write this Congress is swiftly moving to dismantle the ACA. No one is quite sure how this will play out.
- There is documented proof that equal access to education leads to a more equitable access to college and greater earning power among people of various races;
- There has been a spike in hate crime since the election. Muslims, Jews and the LGBTQ community are primary targets.
For me, the most important "takeaway" was Jimmy Van Bramer's call for us to become politically active in support of the values we hold so dear that are under threat. He urged us to go to our Community Board Meetings and even consider running for office.
In his Farewell Address on Tuesday evening, President Obama made the same argument:
"George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken... to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth...."
It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy, citizen."
As your advocate, I look forward to working with you to become more active and engaged Citizens!