2016 Assets Learning Conference Proves: This Is Our Moment
By Sean Luechtefeld on 10/06/2016 @ 09:00 AM
If ever there was doubt about the potential of our movement to build a more inclusive and more equitable economy, it was put to rest when the field came together last week for the 2016 Assets Learning Conference. Over the course of three days, 1,311 of you—including 360 speakers and over a dozen sponsors—participated in 90 sessions and 175 Capitol Hill visits. But the numbers only illustrate one small part of the bigger picture. If we take a step back to look more broadly at the last week, the ALC underscored what we already know: that together, this burgeoning field can achieve meaningful progress in our quest to bridge the racial wealth divide, expand proven solutions to create prosperity and build a new U.S. economy founded on the principles of justice, opportunity and inclusivity.
We all know that the challenges facing U.S. families and communities are immense, and these issues generated a great deal of thoughtful discussion at the conference. For example, attendees received a copy of The Ever-Growing Gap, a report we co-authored with the Institute for Policy Studies that underscores the relentless racial wealth divide that is keeping people of color from getting ahead. Likewise, attendees also discussed housing insecurity and student loan debt, which are forcing people out of the middle class at alarming rates. And, in the closing plenary, attendees witnessed a riveting performance by Anna Deavere Smith that personified many of the daunting challenges low-income families grapple with each day.
We know that solving these challenges—turning the tax code right-side up, putting college within reach, ensuring pathways to homeownership and more—won’t be a small task. But we do know that when the field comes together, our chances of creating a more equitable economy are much higher than when we work on our own. The ALC was a clear testament to that notion. For three days, each challenge raised was met with a host of ideas for policies, programs and people that can help us overcome some of the most significant obstacles we face.
As you return home and turn your attention back to the important work you do day in and day out, we would love for you to reflect on your takeaways from the conference. We want to hear more about what you thought of the 2016 ALC, both to make the 2018 ALC even better and to inform our work more broadly. Please take a moment to fill out the ALC evaluation in the Mobile App to let us know your thoughts.
Whether you attended the ALC or not, YOU are the reason CFED believes that the opportunity economy we envision is within reach. Thank you again for all that you do.