Tax justice is necessary to achieve racial, social and economic justice. We need race-forward tax policies that create opportunity for everyone, demand corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share and raise enough revenue to respond to compounding climate, health and economic crises.
Tax justice is justice.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, joined by Dorian Warren (Community Change), Maurice BP-Weeks (ACRE), Ben Chin (Maine’s People Alliance), Amisha Patel (Grassroots Collaborative) and Amy Hanauer (ITEP/Citizens for Tax Justice) discussed the importance of tax equity in narrowing racial and economic inequalities and advancing progressive policies that help all of us thrive.
Watch the recording below:
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Sen. Sherrod Brown
A lifelong Ohioan, Senator Sherrod Brown has spent his career fighting for the Dignity of Work – the idea that hard work should pay off for everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of work you do. He has held nearly 500 roundtables across Ohio, because he believes the best ideas don’t come out of Washington – they come from conversations with Ohioans.
Building on his successful work to make the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent, Senator Brown has a plan to overhaul our tax code to put people first, and to make hard work pay off for more Americans. That includes putting more money back in the pockets of workers and families, giving workers more power in the workplace, making it easier to save for retirement, and encouraging companies to invest in their greatest asset: the American worker. Senator Brown also believes we need to broaden our definition of work – caring for children or an aging parent is work, and so is getting an education.
Senator Brown serves as Ranking Member on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. He also serves on the Finance Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and is the longest serving Ohioan on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Meet the Panel
Dorian Warren, Community Change Moderator
Dorian Warren is the president of Community Change, and co-chair of the Economic Security Project. A progressive scholar, organizer, and media personality, Dorian has worked to advance racial, economic, and social justice for over two decades. He previously held the position of vice president at Community Change. He taught for over a decade at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was co-director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy. He also worked at MSNBC, where he was a contributor and host, as well as the executive producer of “Nerding Out” on MSNBC’s digital platform. He serves on the boards of Working Partnerships USA, the Leadership Conference Education Fund Board, the National Employment Law Project, and The Nation magazine, among others.
Maurice BP-Weeks, Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)
Maurice is the Co-Executive Director of ACRE. He works with community organizations and labor unions on campaigns to go on offense against Wall Street to beat back their destruction of communities of color. He was previously the Campaign Director of the ReFund America Project and worked as the Wall Street Accountability and Housing Justice campaigner at the Center for Popular Democracy before that. Maurice serves on the Advisory Council of Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD). He graduated from Swarthmore College.
Ben Chin, Maine’s People Alliance
Ben Chin is the Deputy Director of Maine People’s Alliance, where he has worked on grassroots social change since 2005. He helped build the teams that won minimum wage increases, expanded Medicaid, and guaranteed workers paid sick days. As a community organizer, he focused on immigrant rights. As a political director, he lobbied on many issues, especially those related to taxes and the state budget, and helped elect dozens of candidates to office. He published Maine’s first racial justice policy guide, and a white paper outlining a plan for universal childcare, home care, and paid family and medical leave. He co-hosts the Beacon Podcast with Mike Tipping and Esther Pew, and received the Frederick Douglass 200 award for his contributions to racial justice.
Amy Hanauer, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Citizens for Tax Justice
Amy Hanauer is the executive director of ITEP and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ). She has dedicated her career to creating economic policy that advances social justice. Prior to joining ITEP/CTJ, Amy founded and developed Policy Matters Ohio from a one-person start-up in 2000 to a 14-person operation with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. Under her guidance, the organization provided research that helped boost Ohio’s minimum wage, establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit, restore collective bargaining rights for public sector workers and expose how tax cuts for the wealthy have not improved Ohio’s job climate.
Amy holds multiple leadership posts at the national level, including as a board member for both The American Prospect and Demos Action. She previously served as Vice President of the board at the think tank Demos from 2010-2018. A graduate of Rockwood Leadership Institute, Amy is the author of several publications on worker justice, green jobs and racial and economic equity. She received her Master of Public Administration from the Lafollette Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University.
Amisha Patel, Grassroots Collaborative
Amisha Patel has over 25 years of experience organizing for economic, racial, and gender justice. Since 2007, she has served as Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative and Grassroots Illinois Action, organizations working to win racial and economic justice in Chicago and statewide. GC/GIA organizes Illinois residents to build power for working families by fighting for progressive revenue solutions, living wage jobs, and quality public schools through cutting edge campaigns that directly take on austerity.
Amisha spent years leading arts-based violence against women prevention programming in communities of color in the Bay Area. The documentary that her youth created, Young Azns Rising! Breaking Down Violence Against Women, screened in film festivals nationwide and won the Asian Emmy for best documentary. Amisha has received numerous recognitions, including Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 award, and her op-eds have appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business, Bill Moyers, In These Times, and the Chicago Sun Times.
Since 1980, ITEP has worked to advance progressive tax policy at the state and federal levels. We envision a society that gives all of us equal opportunity to live up to our potential and in which we break down the systemic and structural inequalities that have denied or hindered opportunity based on race, gender and class. Achieving this vision, in part, demands a progressive tax system that raises enough revenue to make adequate public investment in education, health, infrastructure, the environment and other critical priorities. Watch our story.