Launching A New Social Contract Promoting Bold and Transformative Community-Driven Solutions to Inequity



NESRI Launches A New Social Contract Promoting Bold and Transformative Community-Driven Solutions to Inequity

May 24 Event Co-Sponsored by People’s Action, Resource Generation, & Race Forward

New York, April 18, 2018 — The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) will kick-off A New Social Contract: Transformative Solutions Built By and For Communities on Thursday, May 24 at The New School in New York City.  Over the next twelve months and beyond, the A New Social Contract effort will roll-out bold solutions that localities across the United States are advancing, modeling or promoting to reshape our current landscape of inequity towards one that ensures the full range of human rights of all people. People’s Action, Resource Generation and Race Forward are all cosponsors of the May 24th event, which begins at 6:00pm and is hosted at the New School. To RSVP go to, or sign up for updates at

As a preview to the May 24 launch of A New Social Contract, NESRI executive director Cathy Albisa, TV host Imara Jones, and New School professor Mia White had a facebook live conversation about these themes today, online at

A New Social Contract puts forth ideas to prioritize human rights, create comprehensive systems that meet the needs of all, and build a deeper democracy.  Grounded in the concept of “targeted universalism,” A New Social Contract uses targeted approaches to universal goals, taking into account existing inequalities. Through a series of events, reports, and public engagement activities these proposals will propose serious alternatives to poverty, racism, sexism, inequality, and other structural problems that will promote social change from the ground up. Speakers at the May 24th gathering include Maya Wiley, Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at The New School; Cathy Albisa, NESRI’s Executive Director, Carol Anderson, Chair of the African American Studies Department at Emory University; Nijmie Dzurinko, Co-Founder of Put People First! Pennsylvania and Tri-Chair of the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival; Glenn Harris, President, Race Forward; Scot Nakagawa, Senior Partner, Change Lab; James Haslam, Executive Director, Rights and Democracy; Greg Asbed, Co-Founder, Coalition of Immokalee Workers; and Imara Jones, Creator of “The Last Sip.”  The legacy of Michael Ratner, one of NESRI’s founding supporters, will also be recognized during the May 24th program.

Cathy Albisa, Executive Director of NESRI said, “For the past fourteen years NESRI has worked with communities in a broad-based movement to help solve some of our most pressing problems.  Working with our partners and through our initiatives we have taken on a number of entrenched economic and social inequities.Now is the time to take what we have learned and apply it on a much larger scale.  In this time of crisis, many are asking what comes next. At NESRI we see the answers already exist in localities across the United States. That’s why we are excited about A New Social Contract and the year ahead.”

George Goehl, Director of People’s Action, said “The promise of the ‘American Dream’ has remained unfulfilled for the vast majority of people in this country. Everyday families have worked hard and produced great wealth but few have received a fair share of the country’s prosperity in return. People’s Action joins NESRI in recognizing that local communities have many of the innovative models and policy solutions needed to bring greater equity, justice and social progress. A New Social Contract highlights the way forward.”

Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward, said, “We can’t have a meaningful democracy without racial justice, and we can’t get to racial justice without having a truly functional democracy. But in order for us to become the truly equal, multiracial democratic society we strive to be, we need equity across all of our institutions. A New Social Contract doesn’t just recognize the importance of institutional change, but also the fact that these changes must grow out of our own communities.”

Iimay Ho, Executive Director of Resource Generation, said, “As a membership organization of young people with wealth and class privilege in the top 10% of the U.S. economy leveraging our resources for racial and economic justice, Resource Generation is proud to support this forum. The recommendations in A New Social Contract will help tackle the problem of massive wealth accumulation. As wealthy people we have an important role to play alongside poor and working class communities to build a world where wealth, land, and power are shared.”

Karen Ranucci, veteran journalist, said, “Michael Ratner spent his entire life fighting for the human rights and dignity of others.  He would understand implicitly the pivotal need to figure out new ways to advance these principles during especially challenging times.  Our family is honored by the recognition of Michael’s life at this important gathering. It underscores the fact his legacy continues to reverberate.”

Carol Anderson, Chair of the African American Studies Department at Emory University, said, “We live in a nation where the black infant mortality rate is worse than it was in 1850, during slavery. We live in a nation where inequality has become even more entrenched while corporate profits have soared. We can continue down this path that can only lead to more despair as this nation, despite Martin Luther King’s warning, worships the triplets of militarism, extreme materialism, and racism, or we can mobilize, at the grassroots, in the communities most affected, to embrace the liberating power of human rights. That’s what NESRI’s New Social Contract will do.”

James Haslam, Executive Director, Rights & Democracy, said, “While the Koch Brothers and their like in the radical right are spending billions trying to divide people up and dismantle our society, we need to do the opposite. With a new social contract we can not only advance intersectional forms of justice and freedom for all of our communities, but we can build the kind of real democracy we win need for humanity to navigate successfully the pending ecological crisis.”

Greg Asbed, Co-Founder of Coalition of Immokalee Workers and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, said, “As it becomes increasingly difficult for poor and marginalized communities to exercise many of the traditional means – from organizing unions to pushing for progressive legislation — for bringing about social change, finding and utilizing new forms of economic, social, and political power will be the key to ensuring respect for fundamental human rights in the 21st century.  This important gathering will cast a light on the many local, national, and even international efforts underway today to do just that.”

Imara Jones, Creator of The Last Sip, said, “Each week our program shows how historically marginalized communities are innovating social change from the ground up. That’s why I am thrilled to participate in this kick-off event and to have served as an advisor to NESRI on ways that it can communicate these pivotal ideas to the wider public.”

The event will take place in the Theresa Lang Auditorium, Arnold Hall at The New School. You can watch it online after the event at

UPDATE: You can download A New Social Contract’s proposals and recommendations at this link.