Closing Night With Rock the Vote





JULY 27 2016


During the 2016 Democratic National Convention, we’re excited to present over 25 hours of panel discussions and intimate conversations with compelling and talented artists, effective youth activists, community leaders, young elected officials, journalists, actors and actresses, spoken word poets, and theater and dance performers.

Text TRUTH2PWR to RTVOTE for the entry password!

Monday 7/25

Speaking Truth to Power. VOTE!

Moderator: Brad Jenkins
Panelist: Robert Brandon, Kristen Clarke, Janaye Ingram, Kendrick Sampson, Michael Waldman

Overview: Since Rock the Vote’s founding 25 years ago when it fought back against censorship, the notion of having a voice for young people has always been critical. But now we’re seeing a setback for the most fundamental way of speaking out — the right to vote. We will take a look at the landscape for voting rights, what it means for November and what is a path forward afterwards. Partners in policy and on-the-ground, in-your-face engagement will show what the future can be for young voters.

The Future of Democracy, Citizenship, and Power

Moderator: Erica Williams
Panelists: Caesar Vargas, Jose Antonio Vargas, Rosa Clemente, Calina Lawrence, Cenk Uygur, Shailene Woodley, Yolanda Wisher, Steve Way, DJ D-ILL

Overview: The laws of our land were written at a time when Congress traveled by carriage, and courts decreed by quill. Among the authors were no people of color, and no women. Is it finally time to redesign our democracy? As technology transforms our lives, can we also transform systems of power? We’ll talk with activists to imagine a human future that is free.

The Last Jimmy

Panelists: Dice Raw, Philip Brown, Erika Alexander

Overview: Dice Raw presents parts of his dynamic hip-hop musical ‘The Last Jimmy’ with audience discussion. Based on the book by Michelle Alexander, ‘The Last Jim Crow,’ the musical explores issues of mass incarceration with a sardonic lens and beats!

Undocumented & Unafraid: A Dialogue On Owning One’s Power in America Without The Right To Vote.

Moderator: Jose Antonio Vargas
Panelists: Erika Andiola, Pamela Chomba, Jonathan Jayes-Green

Overview: In what is likely to be the only fully undocumented panel at convention, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist & Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas will moderate a discussion featuring undocumented activists who are choosing to organize & fight back in period of anti-immigrant sentiment. Panelists will reflect on their personal narratives as tools for movement building & creative strategies they take on as change-agents in defining what it means to be American.

Art and Activism

Moderate: Touré
Panelists: Danny Glover, Tatyana Fazlaizadeh, Asheru

Overview: Art, entertainment and culture have been part of defining political moments for decades in our country. From music in the Civil Rights era to the HOPE poster and beyond, it has made an impact. Where is it going now? Where can it go?

Citizen Journalists Exposed! (or Bear Witness!)

Moderator: Shelia Pree Bright
Panelists: Tatti Ribiero, Baratunee Thurston, Aimee Rodriguez

Overview: A riveting look at citizen journalism, how it is a new form of truth-telling and empowerment in the digital space, some breakthroughs, how it is helping transform the political landscape and how others can do it themselves this year.

Tuesday 7/26

What If Robots Take All the Jobs?: How to Get Ready for the Next Wave of Automation

Moderator: James J. Hughes
Panelists: Richard J. Eskow, Kevin LaGrandeur, Jonathan Lyons, James P. Clark

Overview: Some economists and policy makers believe that new technologies will be eliminating more jobs in the future than they create. Work re-training and shorter work weeks may make the transition less painful, but if opportunities for work start shrinking it will require radical readjustment . How can we best prepare for the decline of work, as students and as a society?

Will Criminal Justice Reform Ever Happen?

Moderator: Van Jones
Panelists: Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Barbara Lee, Neera Tanden, Assemblymember Michael Blake, Judith Browne Dianis, Senator Cory Booker

Overview: For the first time in history, one of the nation’s major political parties officially adopted a plank in its convention platform calling for an end to “the era of mass incarceration.” The Democratic Party plank further addresses issues that have long been on the criminal justice reform movement’s policy agenda: “shutting down private prisons, ending racial profiling, reforming the grand jury process, investing in re-entry programs, banning the box to help give people a second chance and prioritizing treatment over incarceration for individuals suffering addiction.” Policymakers and experts in the field will come together to discuss the work needed to see real reform for our criminal justice system.

Disrupting Unemployment: The Untapped $100 Trillion Startup Market (sponsored by Innovation for Jobs/i4j)

Moderator: i4j Co-Founders David A. Nordfors and (via video message) Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet, co-authors of “Disrupting Unemployment”
Panelists: Participants from the i4j Leadership Forum (pending)

Overview: People are our world’s most under-utilized resource. All people can create value for others, but we have not had the economy that makes it happen. An innovation-for-jobs ecosystem of entrepreneurial startup companies can disrupt unemployment, introduce a people-centered economy where business is about increasing the value of people instead of merely lowering the costs of tasks. Entrepreneurs will earn by helping people earn better. They will use AI to make people more valuable, tailor jobs that leverage on their strengths, match them in teams that do excellently together, find them meaningful high-value tasks with good clients. The present dysfunctional labor market wastes human capacity by dismal matchmaking. Innovation can make people valuable again. The i4j Innovation for Jobs Leadership Forum is a community that has been discussing since 2013 how to make it happen. We will be presenting some ideas.

Are We Lifting All Boats? Economy and Race

Moderator: Melissa Harris-Perry (Wake The Vote)
Panelists: Jelani Cobb, Gerry Hudson (SEIU), Rosie Perez.

Overview: The Fight for 15 for the minimum wage is a critical fight that impacts young people and women and people of color. But is it the solution for racial equality in the economy? If not, then what is? And how do we make that happen? We’ll take a look.

Producer: Big Bowl of Ideas

The War at Home: A Global Perspective

Moderator: Erica Williams
Panelists: Linda Sarsour, Adam Foss, Claude Gatebuke, Poet: Frank Sherlock, Comedian: Ramy Youseff, Musician: Brianna Cash

Overview: War. It is single largest, most violent industry on Earth – but the least explained. What is the relationship between our battles abroad, and the battles for justice being fought here at home? How do we define war and peace? Join us for an honest conversation about America’s relationship to war, peace and resistance around the world.


Moderator: Michaela Angela Davis
Panelists: Aloe Blacc, Hill Harper, Jesse Krimes, Van Jones, Hank Willis Thomas

Overview: Paul Robeson once famously said, “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth” The artist panel will expose truths, humanize social struggle, and actualize grievances and fears. Art is more than just a tool to help us achieve these goals: it is the lens through which we view them, the voice through which we demand them, and the universal language through which we all understand them. The artists in this panel work in all kinds of mediums, but they have a common goal: to give voice to those most impacted by the broken criminal justice system.

The Secret Strategy: The Role of Prosecutors in Transforming Criminal Justice (or Not)

Moderator: Rashad Robinson
Panelists: Kim Foxx, Seth Williams, Adam Foss

Overview: Americans are waking up to the unfairness of our racially-charged criminal justice system. But few understand the role that prosecutors can play as change-makers… or as barriers to change. Prosecutorial elections are often uncontested, and rarely provide the platform for advancing progressive ideas and mobilizing the progressive base. But that’s changing—more and more advocates are making these elections a big deal for the public (and for the movement), and more and more aspiring prosecutors are motivated and equipped to make change.

Current, former and candidates for District Attorney will talk about the big opportunities we’re missing when we ignore these elections, and discuss the reforms they believe will actually transform criminal justice.


Overview: Closing our Tuesday programming is a captivating group of some of Philadelphia’s most dynamic and engaging spoken word artists and poets. Performers include L.Y.R.I.S.P.E.C.T., Khemist, Reef the Lost Cauze and Kia Davis.

Wednesday 7/27

The Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing the World

Presenter: Alex Tapscott

Overview: The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second generation — powered by blockchain technology — is bringing us the Internet of value; a new, distributed platform that can help us transform the old order of human affairs for the better. Blockchain is the ingeniously simple, revolutionary protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamperproof ledge of value. Blockchain has the potential to go way beyond digital currencies such as Bitcoin and record virtually everything of value to humankind, even votes.

Universal Basic Income: The Policy of the Future (and the Present)

Moderator: Scott Santens
Panelists: Chris Hughes (co-founder, Facebook)

Overview: A basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement. It would be paid to individuals rather than households; paid irrespective of any income from other sources; and, paid without requiring the performance of any work or the willingness to accept a job if offered. Social policy and economic policy can no longer be conceived separately, and basic income is increasingly viewed as the only viable way of reconciling two of their respective central objectives: poverty relief and full employment.

America’s Families and the War on Poverty: There Is A Solution

Moderator: Joy Moses
Panelists: Catherine Beane, Eric Tars

Overview: More than 50 years after the launching of the War on Poverty, many Americans still experience unacceptable levels of economic insecurity. The nation’s child poverty rate is currently above 22 percent. Black and Hispanic children are disproportionately affected. The story is not one of complete policy failure but of the emergence of new challenges — challenges that can and should be addressed.

Lady Parts Justice League presents Laugh With Your Conscience

Introduction: Valarie Long
Performers: Buzz Off, Lucille, Joyelle Johnson, Ramy Youssef

Overview: Wait! Who? What? Hands off, buddy! When it comes to issues of sex, women’s health, reproductive justice, gender identity and equality, things swing wildly. From Supreme Court decisions to state government’s trampling on rights, its been a bumpy ride. But sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying. See this comedic collective do their thing.

Producer: Big Bowl of Ideas

The Militarization of Police

Moderator: Erica Williams
Panelists: Ben Jealous, Chris Hedges, Alicia Garza, Carmen Perez, Kendrick Sampson, Poet: Jamal Parker Musician: Matre

Overview: Local police are often indistinguishable from our soldiers around the world. During this hour we’ll discuss how the war on terror and huge homeland security budgets, created militarized police departments. What does safety beyond policing look like? How do we best protect our communities? Listen in as activists consider demands to demilitarize, disarm and defund.


Moderator: Erica Williams
Panelists: Josh Fox, Rosario Dawson, Erika Andiola, Tia Oso Poet: L.Y.R.I.S.P.E.C.T,
Musician: Joie Kathos

Overview: People’s movements throughout history have depended on the power of disruption to create radical change. Marginalized people resist repression by reclaiming public spaces in protest. Here we will discuss strategy, history, destroying the status quo, and facing the future. No business as usual.

A World Beyond Prisons

Part I:
Moderator: Melissa Fitzgerald
Panelists: Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Richard Schiff, Tony Goldwyn

Part II:
Moderator: Matt Haney
Panelists: Carmen Perez, Glenn Martin, Baz Dreisinger, Lucy Flores

Overview: America’s addiction to prisons has failed – over 2.2 million people are locked behind bars and after serving their time, 60% will return to prison within 3 years. 70 million people walk through life with a criminal record and 5 million children grew up with at least one incarcerated parent. This is deeply affecting the safety, economic success, and vitality of our communities.

Yet we also sit at the precipice of a historic moment – the Democratic party platform is committed to “ending the era of mass incarceration.” As we begin to question the role of punishment for punishment’s sake, we must ask ourselves what are the alternatives to prison and how can we achieve a world beyond prisons, where underlying conditions like addiction and mental illness are treated with rehabilitation rather than punished through incarceration.

When Being Green is a Black and Brown Thing

Moderator: Quentin James
Panelists: Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Eddie Bautista, Adrienne Cooper

Overview: The movement for what is regarded as environmental justice continues to build in communities of color. Flint, MI is a flashpoint but hardly the beginning or end of this journey. We’ll look at other environmental concerns and challenges for the traditional environmental movement for inclusion.

The Audacity of Silliness: How Playing the President Saved My Life

Presenter: Dion Flynn

Overview: Dion Flynn is best known as Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and has over 45 appearances as 14 different characters on both The Tonight Show & Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Dion also makes live Obama appearances all over the world. He served overseas as a soldier and performer in the US Army for 4 years. His theater history includes Shakespeare in the Park, The Public Theater and The Guthrie. Dion is co-creator of Clanging w/Josh and Dion with How I Met Your Mother star Josh Radnor and a principal member of NYC’s longest running improv ensemble: Big Black Car.

Opening Night With Rock the Vote

Opening Night Truth To Power





JULY 25 2016