"Inside Inequality: Power, Privilege, and Equity"
This interactive presentation describes the mechanisms that drive economic and racial inequality in the United States, weaving together theoretical frameworks from the assets field, life course theory, Intersectionality, and health equity. Participants will leave with an intergenerational, life course, and population perspective on social and racial inequality. We will focus primarily on wealth inequality and the effects of racial stratification on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. In this presentation, Dr. Santos invites participants to draw on their own experiences and expertise to co-construct a story of inequality and to identify leverage points in their own lives and work to create a more equitable society. We will critically review data on poverty and privilege and contrast findings with our nation's persistent meritocracy myth. We will identify the structural and policy-driven inequality mechanisms that simultaneously act as levers to wealth and health for some people in this country while systematically oppressing others. The presentation will end on a positive note by profiling innovative 'empowerment economics' practices being developed by native and immigrant leaders as they seek to establish ownership and power in their own lives and communities.
Jessica Santos, Ph.D. is the Director of Community-Engaged Research at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis where she conducts research on social inequality, workforce development and career pathways, refugee and immigrant integration, and equity in health and human services. She is a lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis where she teaches graduate classes in social policy and works to engage students in research to advance social change.