Roosevelt University to host virtual conference on American dream, Sept. 14--17

Katy Cesarotti
Updated 8/28/2020 2:08 PM

On September 14--17, the virtual American Dream Reconsidered Conference will convene civic leaders to discuss social movements and the modern American dream. The annual conference, presented by Roosevelt University and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, is free to the public.

In honor of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the weeklong event will explore the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt. To the University namesake, the American dream meant a vibrant civic life -- voting, protesting and investing in the common good. Panelists will discuss activism and progressive leadership in the leadup to the 2020 election.


Conference highlights include:

- Monday, Sept. 14 -- 21st Century New Deal Political Leadership with Chokwe Lumumba, mayor of Jackson, Miss.

- Tuesday, Sept. 15 -- Champions for Democracy: Black Women and the Right to Vote with authors Martha Jones and Lisa Materson

- Wednesday, Sept. 16 -- The Struggle Continues: The Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights with leaders of the Brave Space Alliance, Center on Halsted and Lambda Legal

- Thursday, Sept. 17 -- Speaking Truth to Power: Roosevelt Students Fight for Racial Justice, moderated by alum and political commentator Ameshia Cross

Roosevelt University president Ali Malekzadeh founded the conference in 2016.

"The American dream transcends economic opportunity and individual success," said Malekzadeh. "This election year, our panelists will ask: How can we strengthen our democracy? What are our responsibilities to each other as Americans?"

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Conference co-chairs and Roosevelt professors Margaret Rung and Andrew Trees will serve as guest hosts of the University podcast, And Justice for All. With special guests like civil rights leaders Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, episodes will explore what the American dream means across communities.

The conference will also mark the 75th anniversary of the University. In 1945, Roosevelt's founding faculty and staff walked out of the YMCA College to protest racial and religious discrimination.

To learn more and register, visit

About Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University is a private institution founded in 1945 on the principles of inclusion and social justice. Roosevelt offers associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs online and at four campus locations in the Chicago area. For more information, visit

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