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Speaker Series 2020

Fall 2020 Speaker Series

Michael Arceneaux Bio

Michael Arceneaux

Michael is the New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé.” Additionally, he is a regular contributor to Esquire, Elle, Essence, NBC News’ THINK, MTV News, among others. He’s also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Houston Chronicle, Complex, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Wired, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, them., Time Ideas, New York magazine’s Vulture, Salon, The Atlantic, NPR, Comedy Central Online, and numerous additional outlets. In the past, you could find Michael in his most natural state on The Cynical Ones, a humor blog filled with commentary on politics, pop culture, and personal anecdotes. The Root once named Michael one of the Best Black Bloggers to Know. ESSENCE magazine named him one of the top #BlackTwitter voices to follow. His work has been referenced everywhere from The Weekly Standard to Jezebel to MSNBC and even been deemed required reading for courses at Harvard University. Michael has also been featured on MSNBC, NPR, BET, VH1, CBS News, Viceland, SiriusXM Radio, in addition to various radio interviews on nationally syndicated programs. His second book, “I Don’t Want To Die Poor,” which chronicles his struggles with private student loans and actual economic anxiety, was released on April 7, 2020.

America's Mayors on Crisis & Change

Jointly hosted by the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning and Poverty Solutions, the forum engages our campus-wide Democracy & Debate Theme Semester by addressing some of the most salient issues in this intense and high-stakes election season. This panel brings together U.S. mayors from across the country for a conversation that explores the agency of mayors in matters of national significance.

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Mayor Schaaf Bio

Mayor Libby Schaaf was born and raised in Oakland, California, which she proudly describes as, “the most unapologetic Sanctuary City in America.” During her tenure, Oakland has undergone an economic revitalization and building boom, as well as cut gun violence in half. Her “17K/17K Housing Plan” has helped increase Oakland’s affordable housing production, stabilize rents, and decrease evictions. Her innovative public-private partnerships Keep Oakland Housed and Cabin Communities are credited with preventing 1,800 families a year from losing their housing, while resolving some of Oakland’s most unsafe street encampments. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Mayor Schaaf to California’s first Council of Regional Homeless Advisors. She created Oakland’s first Department of Transportation, whose equity-based paving plan is the first of its kind in the nation and will make previously underserved neighborhoods safer, while addressing the city’s decades-old infrastructure backlog. Mayor Schaaf is most proud of launching the Oakland Promise, a bold cradle-to-career initiative to send more low-income Oakland kids to college. The Oakland Promise gives every baby born into poverty a $500 savings account at birth. The Oakland Promise has sent more than 1,400 Oakland students (and counting) to college with scholarships and mentors.

Mayor Frey Bio

Since his election in 2017, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has worked to lay a strong foundation for the city and deliver concrete results. In his first two years, he successfully advocated for a record-setting investment in the city’s affordable housing efforts and helped spearhead landmark zoning reform. The mayor has also focused on instilling accountability in the Minneapolis Police Department and rebuilding police-community relations. He has made inclusive economic growth the center of his economic agenda and continued to work with small businesses to ensure they have the resources to compete.

Mayor Lightfoot Bio

On May 20, 2019, Lori E. Lightfoot became the 56th mayor of the city of Chicago. Her campaign’s call for an ethical and responsive government and opportunities for all Chicagoans resonated in every ward of the city. Mayor Lightfoot carries the watchwords of her campaign into office: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Transparency, Accountability, Transformation. Mayor Lightfoot came to city hall following a career as a manager, advocate, and reform expert, with extensive experience working at the city and federal level to make government more accountable and accessible. Before taking office, she served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP. While at Mayer Brown, Mayor Lightfoot took on two critical tasks for the city of Chicago, chairing the Police Accountability Task Force and serving as president of the Chicago Police Board. Mayor Lightfoot held other key positions in city government, as the interim first deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services and chief of staff and general counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Prior to that, Mayor Lightfoot was assistant United States attorney in the Northern District of Illinois criminal division, managing large-scale investigations involving criminal drug conspiracies, political corruption and bankruptcy fraud. Mayor Lightfoot is the youngest of four children born to Elijah and Ann Lightfoot in Massillon, Ohio. With the exception of a one-year clerkship on the Michigan Supreme Court in Detroit, Mayor Lightfoot has lived in Chicago since 1986. She and her spouse, Amy Eshleman, live on the near northwest side with their daughter, Vivian. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

Mayor Tubbs Bio

On Nov. 8, 2016, Michael Tubbs was elected to serve as the mayor of the City of Stockton, California. Upon taking office in January 2017, Michael Tubbs became both Stockton’s youngest mayor and the city’s first African American mayor. Michael Tubbs is also the youngest mayor in the history of the country representing a city with a population of over 100,000 residents. Included in Fortune’s 2018 Top “40 under 40,” Forbes’ 2018 list of the “30 Under 30” and The Root’s 100, Tubbs’ leadership, paired with an ambitious agenda, has received national recognition. Mayor Michael Tubbs has secured over $20 million in philanthropic capital to launch the Stockton Scholars, a place-based scholarship that aims to triple the number of Stockton students entering and graduating from college. Mayor Tubbs also brought Advance Peace to Stockton, a data-driven program that works to reduce gun violence in communities. Additionally, with an innovative public-private partnership supported by a $1,000,000 seed grant from the Economic Security Project, Tubbs launched the nation’s first municipal level basic income pilot, the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. Before becoming mayor, Michael Tubbs served as Stockton’s District 6 City Councilmember. Elected at age 22 in 2013, he became one of the youngest City Councilmembers in the country. As a councilmember, Tubbs created the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, championed the creation of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention and was part of the council that led the city out of bankruptcy as chair of the Audit and Legislative Committee. Mayor Tubbs graduated in 2012 from Stanford University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree with honors. Tubbs has been a college course instructor for Aspire Public Schools and a fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design and the Emerson Collective. Michael is a Stockton native and product of Stockton public schools.

Frederick Wherry: The Weight of Debt, the Dignity of Debtors

Frederick Wherry is a Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 professor of sociology at Princeton University and director of the Dignity and Debt Network, a partnership between the Social Science Research Council and Princeton. As part of the Real-World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions fall 2020 speaker series, Wherry discusses “The Weight of Debt, the Dignity of Debtors.”

In partnership with U-M Department of Sociology

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Frederick Wherry Bio

Frederick Wherry

Frederick Wherry is a Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 professor of sociology at Princeton University and director of the Dignity and Debt Network, a partnership between the Social Science Research Council and Princeton. He, Kristin Seefeldt, and Anthony Alvarez are the authors of “Credit Where It’s Due: Rethinking Financial Citizenship.” Wherry is also the editor of “The Oxford Handbook of Consumption” (with Ian Woodward) and he is editor of the four-volume “Sage Encyclopedia of Economics and Society” as well as “Money Talks: How Money Really Works” (with Nina Bandelj and Viviana A. Zelizer). He is the author or editor of four other books or volumes. He edits a book series at Stanford University Press: Culture and Economic Life, with Jennifer Lena and Greta Hsu. He was the 2018 president of the Social Science History Association ( and the past chair of the Economic Sociology Section and the Consumers and of the Consumption Section of the American Sociological Association. He has served on numerous editorial boards and on the policy board of the Journal of Consumer Research. He participates in a working group on work and wealth at the Aspen Institute and serves in an advisory capacity to the Boston Federal Reserve (Community Development Research Advisory Council) and the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business at the Birmingham Business School (UK). Before joining the Princeton department, he was a professor of sociology at Yale University and co-director of the Center for Cultural Sociology. He has also served on the faculty of the University of Michigan and Columbia University. He currently serves as a selector for the Luce Scholars Program (Henry Luce Foundation). He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar, his MPA from The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and his PhD in sociology from Princeton.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and Garlin Gilchrist II: Life during COVID-19

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist discuss life during COVID-19 as part of the Real-World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions 2020 fall speaker series.

In partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and School of Public Health

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Dr. Khaldun Bio

Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun is the chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In these roles, she provides medical guidance for the State of Michigan and oversees the public health, medical services, aging and adult services, and behavioral health and developmental disabilities administrations. Prior to her roles at MDHHS, she was the director and health officer for the Detroit Health Department, where she oversaw a robust community-driven community health assessment, established a comprehensive reproductive health network and led Detroit’s response to the Hepatitis A outbreak. In 2018, Dr. Khaldun was selected for the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Award by the National Minority Quality Forum. She also is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians (FACEP). Previously, Dr. Khaldun was the Baltimore City Health Department’s chief medical officer, where she oversaw seven clinics and a laboratory and led efforts to address the opioid epidemic. She has held several local and national leadership positions, including director of the Center for Injury Prevention and Control at George Washington University, founder and director of the Fellowship in Health Policy in the University of Maryland Department of Emergency Medicine, and as a fellow in President Obama administration’s Office of Health Reform. Dr. Khaldun has served on several national and local boards and committees that include: Commission on Health in Montgomery County, Maryland; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit; the Detroit Urban Research Collaborative; the governor-appointed Michigan Public Health Advisory Council; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Disparities Advisory Committee. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in public health in health policy from George Washington University. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she served as chief resident. She practices emergency medicine part-time at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has dedicated his career to fixing problems for hardworking families. From spearheading campaigns for equality and justice to harnessing technology to solve everyday problems for Detroiters, his focus has consistently remained on serving the public by getting things done. Bringing Michigan’s state government fully into the 21st century is a top priority for Lt. Gov. Gilchrist. He brings a lifetime of experience to the task, receiving his first computer at age 5 and setting up a computer lab in the community recreation center using computers that he built himself at age 16. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist studied computer engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, graduating with honors, and later had a successful career as a software engineer at Microsoft, helping to build SharePoint into the fastest growing product in the company’s history. During his time in Seattle, Gilchrist served as social media manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, where he helped launch a national text message program to recruit volunteers. He later served as the first director of new media at the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C., and spent three years as national campaign director at, where he spearheaded equity and justice campaigns, including fighting to expand Medicaid in states with Republican governors, like Michigan. This eventually led to his serving as the first-ever director of innovation and emerging technology for the city of Detroit, where he used public data and technology to address everyday concerns the community was facing – including an app to report issues such as broken fire hydrants, potholes, and broken street lights. This mindset of harnessing technology to solve problems will play a critical role in finding solutions to improve the lives of people across the state. A native of Detroit, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist’s parents are proud lifelong Detroiters. His mother worked at General Motors for 32 years and his father worked in defense contract management for the Department of Defense. His family was active in the community, including serving in leadership roles within their various neighborhood associations, as well as the church. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist began speaking at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Detroit at age 4, and he later honed his skills under Dr. Frederick G. Sampson at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and his wife, Ellen, currently reside in Detroit where they are raising their twins, Emily and Garlin III, and newborn daughter, Ruby.

Luke Shaefer Bio

H. Luke Shaefer

What does disadvantage look like in America? And where are the nation’s most disadvantaged communities? In this panel discussion, U-M Poverty Solutions Director H. Luke Shaefer and other members of the research team will share what they learned as they developed an Index of Deep Disadvantage to identify and better understand America’s most disadvantaged communities. Learn more about the Understanding Communities of Deep Disadvantage project

Ariel Kalil: Behavioral Insights and Parental Decision-Making: A New Framework for Supporting Low Income Families

Ariel Kalil is a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, and she directs the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy and co-directs the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab. For the Real-World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions fall 2020 speaker series, Kalil discusses “Behavioral Insights and Parental Decision-Making and A New Framework for Supporting Low-Income Families.”

In partnership with U-M Department of Psychology

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Ariel Kalil Bio

Ariel Kalil is a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. At Harris, she directs the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy and co-directs the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab. She also holds appointments as an adjunct professor in the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen, Norway, and in the School of Business Administration at the University of Stavanger, Norway. She is a developmental psychologist who studies economic conditions, parenting, and child development. Her current research examines the historical evolution of income-based gaps in parenting behavior and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills. In addition, at the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab, she is leading a variety of field experiments designed to strengthen parental engagement and child development in low-income families using tools drawn from behavioral economics and neuroscience. Kalil received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan. Before joining the Harris faculty in 1999, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center. Kalil has received the William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholars Award, the Changing Faces of America’s Children Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Child Development, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and in 2003, she was the first-ever recipient of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Award for Early Research Contributions. Her current work is funded by NIH and by a number of private foundations

Nicholas Kristof: Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The New York Times since 2001. He also was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times and has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur, along with many humanitarian awards such as the Anne Frank Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. For the Real-World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions fall 2020 speaker series, Kristof discusses his new book, “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon and MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun offer responses.

With support from with the William Davidson Institute, Wallace House, and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

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Nicholas Kristof Bio

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The New York Times since 2001. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, graduated from Harvard, studied law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and then studied Arabic in Cairo. He was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times and speaks various languages. Mr. Kristof has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of Tiananmen Square and the genocide in Darfur, along with many humanitarian awards such as the Anne Frank Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. With his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, he has written several books, most recently “A Path Appears” (September 2014) about how to make a difference. Their previous book, “Half the Sky,” was a No. 1 best seller. Their latest book, “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” was published in January 2020. Mr. Kristof, who has lived on four continents and traveled to more than 150 countries, was The New York Times’s first blogger and has millions of followers across social media platforms. Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the parents of Gregory, Geoffrey, and Caroline. Mr. Kristof enjoys running, backpacking, and having his Chinese corrected by his children. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. His column appears every Sunday and Thursday.

Majora Carter: Community as Corporation: Talent Retention in Low-Status America

Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. As part of the Real-World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions fall 2020 speaker series, she discusses “Community as Corporation: Talent Retention in Low-Status America.”

With support from Business+Impact at the Ross School of Business, and in partnership with Graham Sustainability Institute, School of Public Health, and School of Environment and Sustainability

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Majora Carter Bio

Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous economic development, technology, green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training and placement systems. Carter combines her corporate consulting practice focused on talent-retention and applies it to reducing “brain drain” in American low-status communities. She has firsthand experience pioneering sustainable economic development in one of America’s most storied low-status communities: the South Bronx. Carter creates vision, strategies, and developments that transform properties in low-status communities into thriving mixed-use economic developments. Her approach harnesses capital flows resulting from American re-urbanization among all ages, races, and income levels, to help increase wealth-building opportunities across demographics left out of this historic financial tide change. Her work produces long-term fiscal benefits for government and leading private real estate developments. She advises and partners on transformational real estate developments in the South Bronx and around the country. In 2017, she launched the Boogie Down Grind, a Hip Hop-themed specialty coffee shop and craft beer spot, and the first commercial “3rd Space” in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx since the mid-1980s. This venture also provided a rare opportunity for local families to invest. Her ability to shepherd projects through difficult socio-economic conflict has garnered a very long list of awards and honorary PhDs, including: 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs, Silicon Alley 100 by Business Insider, Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement by Fox News, and other honors from the National Building Museum, International Interior Design Association, Center for American Progress, as well as her TEDtalk, which was one of six to launch their site in 2006. Carter has served on the boards of the U.S. Green Building Council, Ceres, and the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and she is quoted in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., as saying: “Nobody should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one.” Carter has continually set new standards of excellence with projects in her South Bronx community, while expanding her reach through business interests that have all pointed toward greater self-esteem and economic potential for low-income people everywhere.Carter was born, raised, and continues to live in the South Bronx. She is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science (1984), Wesleyan University (1988 BA, Distinguished Alum) and New York University (MFA). After establishing Sustainable South Bronx (2001) and Green For All (2007), among other organizations, she opened a private consulting firm (2008), which was named Best for the World by B-Corp in 2014.While at Sustainable South Bronx, Carter had deployed MIT’s first-ever Mobile Fab-Lab (digital fabrication laboratory) to the South Bronx, where it served as an early iteration of the “maker spaces” found elsewhere today. The project drew residents and visitors together for guided and creative collaborations. In addition, Carter launched StartUp Box, a ground-breaking tech social enterprise that provided entry-level tech jobs in the South Bronx, operating it from 2014-2018. Carter has helped connect tech industry pioneers such as Etsy, Gust, FreshDirect, Google, and Cisco to diverse communities at all levels.