December 27, 2016

Getting to know people who know what we do now: Ilhan Omar, Brittany Packnett, Robert Reich


What-We-Do-Now-white-235x300As you might have heard, in time for Inauguration Day we’re putting out What We Do Now, a collection of short, powerful essays on what we can do now to cope with Trump’s election, and how, moving forward, we can protect our values, our politics, and our country. The book’s twenty-seven contributors are prominent progressives, writers, and activists.

For the rest of the year, we’ll be sharing info on a few of our contributors every day — just a way to help you get acquainted with who’s on that list, and to help all of us remember that now’s the time to be preparing ourselves for the difficult and vitally important struggle ahead.

Ilhan Omar

urlIlhan Omar is the director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network and a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She is the first Somali-American legislator in US history.

Background intel:
Check out profiles of Ilhan like Doualy Xaykaothao’s at NPRMazin Sidahmed’s in the Guardian, and Emily Tate’s at the Huffington Post.

“[O]ur work won’t stop. We will continue to build a more prosperous and equitable district—state and nation—where each and every one of us has opportunities to thrive and move forward together.”

What to look at:
Once you’ve made sure you’re following the Twitter account set up by Ilhan’s supporters and have spent some time on her website, check out her recent interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow:


Brittany Packnett

Brittany-PacknettBrittany Packnett is the cofounder of Campaign Zero and the vice president of national community alliances for Teach for America.

Background intel:
Read Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent interview with Brittany in Elle.

“If we are serious about winning in this fight against inequity in its many varieties, drawing up the people we disagree with to be nothing more than villains of cartoonish proportions abdicates us of the responsibility to figure out how to win, together — because it’s the only way we will.”

What to look at:
Spend some time on Campaign Zero’s website, make sure you’re on Brittany’s Twitter, and then check out her TedTalk on valuing leadership from young women of color:


Robert B. Reich

imgresRobert B. Reich is an economist who served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, and was secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Background intel:
Check out Lisa Gutierrez’s recent piece on Robert’s suggested improvements to next month’s Inauguration Day festivities, and watch his interview last fall with PBS’s Tavis Smiley.

“No President or President-elect has ever before bypassed the media and spoken directly to large numbers of his followers to disparage individual citizens who criticize him. That occurred in the fascist rallies of the 1930s. America came closest to this in the 1950s when Sen. Joseph McCarthy wrecked the lives of thousands of American citizens whom he arbitrarily and carelessly claimed were communists.”

What to look at:
Do follow Robert on Twitter, of course. But also be sure to follow him on Facebook, a platform he has elevated to a place of crucial political discourse with his regular “office hours” videos. Then, watch this remarkable conversation Robert had with Chris Hedges on Democracy Now! a few months ago: