Archive (2007-2008)

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June 3, 2008
Poverty Center Co-Sponsors 14th Annual
Summer Public Health Videoconference on Minority Health


This year's videoconference, "Men's Health Disparities: Implications for Research and Intervention," featured discussions with four imminent speakers:

  • Claudia R. Baquet, professor, Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Associate Dean for Policy and Planning; and Director, Center for Health Disparities
  • Spero M. Manson, professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center and Director, National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research
  • Abel Valenzuela Jr., professor, Department of Urban Planning and the Cesar E. Chavez Department for Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, and Director, Center for the Study of Urban Poverty
  • Frank Y. Wong, associate professor, Department of International Health, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University
Abel Valenzuela Jr.
Frank Wong

The interactive broadcast was produced in front of a live audience at the UNC School of Social Work and was shown via c-band satellite and the Internet. For more information about the videoconference, including speaker biographies, presentation slides and other materials, as well as a link to the archived webcast, visit the Minority Health Project website.

Presented by the UNC School of Public Health Minority Health Project, UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and NC A&T State University Institute for Public Health.

March 25, 2008
Premiere Screening of "Change Comes Knocking: The Story of the NC Fund"

The Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity co-hosted the premiere screening of the new documentary, "Change Comes Knocking - The Story of the NC Fund" as part of UNC-Chapel Hill's Poverty Awareness Week (March 24-28).

Through interviews and archival materials, this vibrant film traces the story of the NC Fund, a groundbreaking anti-poverty initiative launched in 1963 by Governor Terry Sanford. From its innovative start as a public-private partnership and daring use of biracial teams of college students, to its controversial embrace of grassroots activism, the Fund was a visionary experiment with an influence that long outlived its tumultuous five-year existence.

The screening was followed by a fascinating discussion with the audience and distinguished panelists, including:

  • Billy Barnes - freelance writer, photographer, and former public relations director for the NC Fund
  • Rebecca Cerese - producer of Change Comes Knocking
  • Rubye Gattis - Durham-based activist and president of the NC Fund-affiliated organization, United Organizations for Community Improvement
  • Jim Leloudis - professor in the UNC history department and author of a forthcoming book on the NC Fund

"Change Comes Knocking" is a production of Video Dialog, Inc. Dr. Steven Channing is the Executive Producer.

Co-sponsored by the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, the HOPE Committee of the Campus Y, Opportunity Rocks and Video Dialog, Inc.


Congratulations to filmmaker Rebecca Cerese! "Change Comes Knocking - The Story of the NC Fund" won first place in the documentary category of the Appalachian Film Festival, held in April in Huntingdon, VA.

Nov. 14, 2007 - "The State of Things" with Marion Crain

On Nov. 14, 2007, WUNC radio's daily talk show, "The State of Things," featured an interview with Professor Marion Crain, the Center's director, on the lawsuit brought by Smithfield Foods against the local union. The suit, filed two days after Smithfield pulled out of negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, is based on a federal anti-racketeering statute. Professor Crain discussed recent Supreme Court rulings that laid the groundwork for this case.

Archived editions of "The State of Things" interviews are available online.

Nov. 4 and 5, 2007 - Wealth Inequality and the Eroding Middle Class

Conference of the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Watch video from the conference

Robert Kuttner giving keynote address

Keynote Address: Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is a co-founding editor of The American Prospect, a co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at Demos.

Listen to the keynote address

Panel I. Rising Economic Inequality: Why We Should Care

Recent reports of an increasing gap between rich and poor have brought renewed attention to claims of disparities in wealth and income in the U.S. and abroad. This panel examined the data underlying the claims: has the distribution of wealth and income changed dramatically over time? How do race and ethnicity correlate to economic status? If inequality is on the rise, what does this mean for us as a society? How much income inequality is "too much"?


  • Lisa Keister, professor, Department of Sociology, Duke University


  • Joel Handler, Richard C. Maxwell Professor of Law and Professor of Policy Studies, UCLA
  • Lingxin Hao, professor, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University
  • Mark Rank, Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Alan Reynolds, senior fellow, Cato Institute
  • John Schmitt, senior economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Listen to Panel One

Panel II. Labor Markets, Income Inequality and Globalization

In an increasingly globalized marketplace, capital crosses geopolitical boundaries with increasing fluidity. Given this new economic reality, is it possible to address problems of income and wealth inequality in one nation in isolation? Is economic inequality the inevitable consequence of a fungible labor market? How have trade agreements shaped the global economy? What role does immigration play and what is its effect on the U.S. labor market?

Moderator: Catherine Fisk (Douglas Blount Maggs Professor of Law, Duke University)

Speakers: Frances Ansley (College of Law Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee); Ron Bloom (Special Assistant to the President, United Steel Workers); Judy Scott (General Counsel, Service Employees International Union); Harley Shaiken (Professor, Departments of Education and Geography and Chair of the Center for Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley; Louis Uchitelle (Business Reporter, The New York Times)

Listen to Panel Two

Panel III. How Law Constructs Wealth Patterns

Wealth inequality is not a natural phenomenon--it is a product of social and public policy choices, often encoded in law. This panel investigated ways the law can perpetuate wealth inequality or act as a lever for change. Can certain areas of the law function in a more progressive manner to alleviate entrenched wealth inequality?

Moderator: Stephen Berzon (Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP)

Speakers: Ana Avendano (Associate General Counsel and Director of the Immigrant Worker Program, AFL-CIO); Jonathan Forman (Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma); Kent Greenfield (Professor of Law and Law Fund Research Scholar, Boston College); Patricia McCoy (George J. & Helen M. England Professor of Law, University of Connecticut); Ann O'Leary (Deputy City Attorney, San Francisco)

Listen to Panel Three

Panel IV. Charting our Next Steps: Removing Obstacles to Change

This panel engaged the critical question: what now? What are the political consequences of our definitions of socioeconomic class? Are stronger unions the path to the middle class or do we need to look for new paradigms? Which strategies for change are most effective at the state or local level and can they be duplicated more broadly?


  • Melody Barnes, executive vice president for policy, Center for American Progress


  • Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director, American Rights at Work
  • John Quinterno, research associate, Budget and Tax Center, NC Justice Center
  • Michael Selmi, professor of law, George Washington University
  • Michael Zweig, professor, Department of Economics and Director, Center for the Study of Working Class Life, Stony Brook University

Listen to Panel Four

Other resources:

Proceedings of the conference will be published in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, Spring 2008.

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