Spring 2014 Lecture Series
All lectures are on Fridays at 12:00pm in Lazter Hall, University YMCA.
Rethinking Security: Community Approaches to Economic Development
Friday Forum is a weekly lectures series held in the fall and spring semesters that strives to raise awareness about national and international trends and events.
January 31-Addressing Food Insecurity in the United States
Craig Gundersen, Soybean Industry Endowed Professor of Agricultural Strategy
Executive Director, National Soybean Research Laboratory
Food insecurity is one of the leading public health issues facing the United States today. It has become an important issue due to the magnitude of the problem - approximately 50 million Americans are food insecure - and the numerous negative health and other consequences associated with food insecurity. In this seminar, Craig Gundersen, Soybean Industry Endowed Professor of Agricultural Strategy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at University of Illinois and Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory, will begin with a description of food insecurity in the United States. This description will include a national perspective along with information for the Chicago area and for Illinois. Following this description, he will cover the determinants of food insecurity and, given these determinants, how public policies can be used to alleviate food insecurity. This description will primarily concentrate on food assistance programs and the evidence regarding their effectiveness. To conclude, Gundersen will review future research possibilities in this area and provide some thoughts on the future of food assistance programs in the United States.
February 7-The Power of Community Currency
Paul Glover, Founder of Ithaca Hours
Paul Glover is the founder of Ithaca HOURS, a community currency that has transacted millions of dollars value since 1991. He will explain how regions can take control of the economy to meet their urgent needs. He says, "We are the treasury, and we are the treasure." He is founder of more than a dozen organizations that convert average citizens into job creators, health system managers, urban planners, environmental stewards, and publishers. A former professor of urban studies at Temple University, he is author of six books, including Hometown Money, Health Democracy, Deep Green Jobs, How to Take Power, and Los Angeles: A History of the Future. .paulglover.org
February 14-Global Poverty: What is to be Done--and Why?
David Schweikart, Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
David Schweikart asks us to consider what sort of economic structure would a poor country put in place in order to optimize genuine development over time for all of its citizens if it was not constrained by local elites or international interference. How would global development differ and could this change in perspective finally eliminate poverty? David Schweickart is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics (University of Virginia), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy (Ohio State University).
February 21-Behind the Kitchen Door: The Real Cost of Dining Out
Jose Oliva, Networks Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center,
Associate Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance
How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions, discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Jose Oliva of the national restaurant workers' organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans.
BIO: Jose Oliva was born in Xelaju, Guatemala, on November 15, 1972 to Myriam Gonzalez a popular educator. As a result of Jose’s mothers’ involvement in social justice issues, they were forced to flee Guatemala in 1985. Once in the U.S. Jose went to work at the Midwest Latino Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago under the direction of Dr. Aida Giachello. He then was called to be Executive Director of Casa Guatemala where he began to organize day-laborers in Chicago’s street corners. He founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers' Centers Network. In 2008 he became the coordinator for the Workers’ Alliance for a Just Economy a program of the Center for Community Change.
Currently Jose is the Networks Director for the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. Jose is also the Associate Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance an international coalition of food-worker organizations that collectively represents over 250,000 workers.
February 28-Redefining Security and Abundance Through a Permaculture Lens
Bill Wilson, Lead Certifying Instructor and Co-founder of Midwest Permaculture
What if we had no debt, our mortgages were paid off, and our utilities and food were all available in abundance at no financial cost to us? And what if our immediate neighbors were all people that we loved to be around and were a part of our daily lives? What would this do to our experience and quality of life? Would we make other choices on how we spent our days? This is the concept around Agraria—a permaculture approach to redefining and recreating the way we secure our livelihood while supporting an authentic relationship with the natural world and others around us.
Bio: Bill Wilson is a permaculture designer and teacher. He brings years of small business, community, and food growing experience to his work and nationally recognized educational trainings. As cofounder of Midwest Permaculture, he has hosted and taught at over 40 Permaculture Design Certificate Courses and speak widely on this subject and on Agraria. He strongly advocates combining the heart of authentic living with finding one’s right livelihood.
March 7-Working to Make Chicago the Most Immigrant Friendly City in the U.S.
Adolfo Hernandez, Director, Chicago Office of New Americans
Bio: In 2011, Adolfo Hernandez was appointed by Mayor Emanuel to serve as the Director of the newly created Chicago’s Office of New Americans. The Office of New Americans was created by the Mayor to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the country by better leveraging the contributions of immigrants through enhanced collaboration between city government, community organizations, academic and faith based institutions, and the private sector. Hernandez, who is the son of Mexican immigrants and was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village community, has worked to develop and implement policies and strategies that support the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses, that develop, attract, and retain talent and expertise from other countries, and that bolster Chicago’s status as a vibrant and welcoming international city. In September of 2013, the White House recognized Adolfo for his work in Chicago as one of ten local heroes who are “Champions of Change” and that work tirelessly to effectively integrate immigrants civically, linguistically, and socially into the fabric of their neighborhoods by bringing all residents together to create welcoming communities.
March 14-Domestic Microfinance, Credit Unions, and Payday Loans
Robin Greiner of Accion Chicago.
Traditional banking models that use revenue, collateral or credit alone, to determine who can receive loans systematically prevent a large percentage of our communities from accessing affordable credit and drive those with the least expendable income to high-interest predatory loan markets. This panel explores two local organizations dedicated to making affordable loans to those who most need them.
Accion Chicago is an alternative lending organization dedicated to providing credit and other business services to small business owners who do not have access to traditional sources of financing. By encouraging the economic self-reliance of microentrepreneurs, Accion Chicago strives to help businesses and communities grow.
April 4-Dreaming Beyond the Rolling Jubilee: Towards a Debt Strike and Global Jubilee
Thomas Gokey, Co-founder of Rolling Jubilee and organizer for Strike Debt
Strike Debt is asking one basic question: What is it that we really owe each other? What promises should we make to each other? If someone gets sick or hurt, do we owe them adequate health care? If someone is curious and willing to study hard do we owe them an education? It is immoral for the 1% to profit by forcing people into debt to meet their basic needs. Debt is one way that Wall Street occupies our lives. It's time to evict Wall Street. Debt is the way in which you and I cooperate with Wall Street on a daily basis. This makes debt a potential site of resistance. What would non-violent non-cooperation with Wall Street look like? The Rolling Jubilee offers a creative first step. The Rolling Jubilee purchases debts for pennies on the dollar and then abolishes them. It has been a wildly successful project, but it is not a solution to our debt crisis. Instead the Rolling Jubilee prefigures the global, revolutionary jubilee we must fight for. The Rolling Jubilee is designed to roll, to snowball into larger more aggressive tactics of non-violent direct action. Strike Debt is developing these tactics now. In this talk we will discuss some of these tactics and imagine a world where we can refuse to cooperate with the bonds that tie us to the 1%, while we build new bonds and new forms of cooperation with one another to make sure that basic needs like health care, housing and education are available to all.
Bio: Thomas Gokey is a visual artist, educator and organizer with Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street which seeks to build a global debt resistance movement. He currently lives in Chattanooga Tennessee. Before that he was an adjunct professor at Syracuse University. Gokey has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently a PhD candidate at the EGS in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Recent projects include the LibraryFarm, a collective farm on public land in upstate NY; GutenbAAAAARG, a DIY pirate printing press; and the Rolling Jubilee a project of Strike Debt which purchases and abolished debt for pennies on the dollar.
Aprill 11-Cooperatives-Creating a Community of Wealth
Jacqueline Hannah, General Manager of Common Ground Food Co-Op
Jacqueline Hannah, General Manager of Common Ground Food Cooperative will paint a picture of what the the cooperative business model is, the different ways it is being used all over the world today, and its unique ability to create community wealth. Cooperatives strengthen community democratic participation, increase money circulation in local economies, create strong jobs rooted in their communities, and empower communities to control their own futures. Common Ground has been one of the fastest growing food cooperatives in the nation for over five years and has mentored the founding and/or growth over half a dozen other cooperatives in Illinois.
April 18-Consumer Futures in the Healthcare Marketplace
Daniel Yunker, CEO, Land of Lincoln Health
The Affordable Care Act created two dozen health insurance co-ops, launched with about $1.9 million in federal loan funding — before budget reductions sank plans for more co-ops in other states — with the hope that consumer-operated and -oriented plans would stir up competition and lower insurance rates for everyone. Land of Lincoln Health is the first and only health insurance co-op in Illinois. COOPS differ from health insurance companies because they are member-run and required to use their revenues in excess of expenses to lower premiums, improve health benefits, improve the quality of health care, expand enrollment or otherwise contribute to the stability of coverage for members. One of the ways Land of Lincoln Health expands health insurance benefits is by offering a wide range of choices that allow individuals to select the network of health care providers (like doctors and hospitals) that best fit their needs.
Sponsored by: University YMCA, Wesley United Methodist Church, Wesley Foundation at the U of I, Institute of Genomic Biology, Center for Advanced Study, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center, Center for Business and Public Policy, Russ Rybicki, AIF, of Progressive Asset Management Group, the Socially Responsible Division of Financial West Group Member, FINRA/SIPC, Nancy Dietrich, Graduate Employees Organization, Dept of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, International Programs and Studies, Prairie Research Institute, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Asian American Cultural Center, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning, Chapel of St. John the Divine, Dept of Latina/Latino Studies, Dept of Sociology, College of Nursing, Dept of French, Dept of Political Science, C-U Branch of AAUW, Channing Murray Foundation, Urbana Champaign Friends Meeting, Jobs with Justice and The Office of Public Engagement and The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department of African American Studies, First Mennonite Church.