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The future of philanthropy with Anand Giridharadas and Michael Tubbs

At our latest Arena Summit in September, Anand Giridharadas and Michael Tubbs joined us for a conversation about the ethics of philanthropy. Anand Giridharadas is a writer and author of a new book, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” In the book, Anand talks about some of the trappings of philanthropy, and how it might be a fig leaf that prevents us from solving deeper societal problems. Michael Tubbs is the Mayor of Stockton, CA, and he shares what he learned...


Bringing filmmaking to politics with Sarah Ullman

📸 Brinson + Banks Sarah Ullman is the co-founder of Vote Vote at a Time, a super PAC that created almost 200 videos about candidates for the 2018 midterm elections. Sarah and her team only work with progressive candidates who are strong on gun control. Sarah has done game-chasing work this election cycle, and was recently profiled in the New York Times. We had a great conversation with Sarah about what she learned during the latest election cycle, and her plans for the future.


Hope and justice with Amber Goodwin

Amber is the Founding Director of the Community Justice Reform Coalition, aka CJRC. She has spent the last 17 years working in progressive, grassroots advocacy and electoral campaigns. We talk about the state of gun violence in America, how we can address the problem holistically, and the structural barriers our society faces as a result of deep-seated white supremacy and toxic masculinity. We also talk about hope, and the inspiring work CJRC is doing to prevent gun violence and uplift...


Meg Ansara on firefighting, political campaigns, and leadership

Meg Ansara has had an incredible career in politics and social justice. She’s also the CEO of 270 Strategies. Most recently, she served as Hillary Clinton’s Battleground States Director. Meg talks about how serving as a forest firefighter taught her lessons about teamwork, how Paul Wellstone deepened her commitment to grassroots organizing, and what we should take away from 2016 as we look ahead to the midterms. She also shares her helpful perspective on management and...


Why isn’t the NY State Senate blue?

Zellnor Myrie is running for New York State Senate in District 20. If you caught our last pod with Alessandra Biaggi, you’re already familiar with New York’s strange State Senate. For seven years, a group of turncoat politicians have run as Democrats, been elected as Democrats, and immediately caucused with Republicans in the New York State Senate. They formed a conference, called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) to vote as a bloc, ceding control of the chamber and preventing...


From Arena Community Member to NY State Senate Candidate with Alessandra Biaggi

Welcome to a special crossover edition of our pod with Nathan Rubin of Millennial Politics. We’re joined by Alessandra Biaggi, a candidate for New York State Senate and a longtime member of our community. Alessandra is challenging the leader of breakaway Democrats known as the IDC, who sold out their district for personal gain and ceded control to Republicans. Her incumbent opponent, State Senator Jeff Klein, is the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference (or IDC). He ran as a...


Reflecting on a year of resistance with Kate Catherall and Nathaniel Pearlman

Welcome to a special episode of The Arena Talks produced in collaboration with The Great Battlefield podcast. You’ll hear from The Great Battlefield host Nathaniel Pearlman and The Arena Co-Founder Kate Catherall. Nathaniel founded Resistance Dashboard after the 2016 Presidential election. Nathaniel has a long history of connecting progressive politics and technology. In 1997, he founded NGP Software (now known as NGP VAN), a leading technology provider to the Democratic Party. He served...


Empowering communities of color with Woke Vote and DeJuana Thompson

DeJuana Thompson is a Partner at Think Rubix and the creator of Woke Vote — a movement for equity and justice that is empowering communities of color to fight mass incarceration, voter suppression, and urban gun violence. DeJuana talks about how her community organizing experience shapes her work, her strategy for winning elections in 2018, and how to make movement building work more sustainable. SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE PODCASTS


From the Maine wilderness to Congress with Lucas St. Clair

Lucas St. Clair is running for Congress in Maine’s 2nd District. Lucas is one of the most genuine, real candidates around. Watch this video to see what we mean. We talk about the twists and turns in his life that led him to this moment, why he’s running for Congress, and what bold leadership in today’s world means to him. Lucas’ primary election is this Tuesday June 12. Spread the word. SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE PODCASTS


Protecting Arizonans with January Contreras

January Contreras is an Arena Fellow running for Attorney General in Arizona. As a Deputy County Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, founder of a non-profit, and mother to two children, January has always been driven to protect others. We talk with January about growing up in Arizona and how it shaped her point of view, why she feels called to serve, and how she’ll deal with the pressing challenges of our current political climate - including protecting DACA recipients and addressing the...


How to make campaigning accessible to new parents

Liuba Grechen Shirley is an Arena Fellow running for Congress in New York’s 2nd District. That district includes parts of Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island. While running for office, Liuba has also led the charge to change campaign finance law so candidates can use campaign funds to pay for childcare. Last week, the FEC ruled 4-0 in favor of the change. Liuba talks about how we can’t just have millionaires running for office. Instead, we need to make campaigning accessible to new...


Music City Mayor to Governor? A conversation with Karl Dean

Karl is running to be the next governor of Tennessee. Karl is the former two-term Mayor of Nashville, serving during the great recession and historic 2010 flood. Before that, he was elected and served as the city’s public defender for nearly a decade. We talk about how both crises shaped his pragmatic leadership and vision for Tennessee’s future. We also discuss running as a Democrat in a state where they haven’t performed well in a long time. SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE PODCASTS


Building a better Colorado with Mike Johnston

Mike Johnston is running to be the next Governor of Colorado. Mike is a former educator. He taught in the Mississippi Delta, and went on to lead three different schools. He later moved home to Colorado and won a seat in the State Senate, where he pushed for many policy reforms - but is most well known as a leader in education policy. We talk with Mike about his vision for the kids of Colorado, the problem of gun violence, and how you can get involved in his campaign. SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE...


How to run (successfully) with substance with Lauren Underwood

Two weeks ago, Lauren won the Democratic Primary for Congress in the Illinois 14th District. In an upset victory, Lauren beat six other candidates - all men - with 57% of the vote. We met Lauren at the first Arena Summit in December 2016. She walked through the doors and said she was thinking about running for office. And that’s where she met her eventual campaign manager. Lauren later declared a run for Congress and joined our inaugural class of Fellows. We’ve been privileged and...


Can an Army Ranger flip a Trump +28 district?

Jesse Colvin is running for Congress in Maryland’s 1st District. We spoke with Jesse right after Conor Lamb’s stunning victory. Jesse’s race is even tougher than the Lamb race - at least on paper. Jesse is a former US Army Intelligence Officer. He completed four combat deployments in Afghanistan, as well as a year in the South Korea DMZ. He’s also a product of a bipartisan marriage. His wife is a former police officer and former aide to Congressional Republicans. Jesse is running an...


From Obama '08 to Cambridge Analytica with Michael Simon

Michael Simon is a pioneer in the field of data and analytics and an Arena Co-Founder and Board Member. He traces the origins of data and analytics in modern political campaigns to the present day controversy about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Michael ran Data and Analytics for the Obama 2008 campaign. He then founded HaystaqDNA, a leader in the field of political data and analytics. He’s now the founder and CEO of Elucd, where he works with police departments around the country to...


Let my people vote with Desmond Meade

This is one of our favorite episodes. Desmond Meade is the Founder and President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. More importantly, he is somebody who has been directly impacted by voting rights restrictions. He spent years addicted to drugs and served time in prison. As a result, he is one of the million plus US citizens living in Florida who has had their voting rights stripped away. We talk with Desmond about why he turned his life around, why he decided to stay in Florida...


Change is coming to Michigan with Rashida Tlaib and Ian Conyers

Rashida Tlaib and Ian Conyers are both running for Congress in a special election for Michigan’s 13th District. Both are active members of The Arena community — having served as hosts for our Detroit Summit last June. They are running for a seat that was previously held by John Conyers, who recently announced that he will step down. We will first hear from Rashida. She was a two-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives. She’s a force of nature and well known community...


How to fight the Trump Tax Plan with Andrea Purse

A few weeks ago, Dan Pfeiffer implored listeners of Pod Save America to do more to counter GOP messaging on the Trump tax bill. That call came as the New York Times and others reported on increased popularity for the legislation amidst a massive Koch-funded effort. In response to these trends, we’ve been in search of members of our community working to communicate with voters about what’s really in the bill. That led us to Andrea Purse, who is an advisor to the Not One Penny Campaign and...


Jessica Ramos takes on Trump Democrats in New York

📸 Angela Matua, Queens Courier Why are Republicans in charge of the State Senate in New York — one of the bluest states in the country? Why are New York’s voting law so antiquated? Why is progressive legislation often dead on arrival in Albany? The answers to these questions lead back to a small group of Democrats in the New York State Senate that call themselves the Independent Democratic Caucus (I.D.C.). In exchange for perks like better office space and committee assignments, they...