The Inequity of Wealth in Contemporary America
|Date||Oct 17, 2017|
The statistics on wealth inequality in America are staggering: the richest 10% of Americans hold 76% of the country's wealth, and over the past 25 years, families at the 90th percentile saw their wealth grow by 54% while the 50th percentile saw a rise of only 4%. Even more shocking? Those at the 25th percentile actually saw their wealth drop.
This panel discussion brings together individuals who consider this crucial issue from a variety of perspectives: Leslie McCall, a sociologist and political scientist at CUNY's Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, Shawn Escoffery, director of the Strong Local Economies program at the Surdna Foundation, and Natasha del Toro, an investigative journalist and PBS host.
Leslie McCall is presidential professor of sociology and political science and associate director of the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the CUNY Graduate Center. She studies public opinion about inequality, opportunity, and related economic and policy issues; trends in actual earnings and family income inequality; and patterns of intersectional inequality. She is the author of The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (2013) and Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy (2001). Her research has been published in a wide range of journals and edited volumes and supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University, and the Advanced Research Collaborative of the CUNY Graduate Center. She was formerly professor of sociology and political science and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.
Shawn Escoffery is the director of the Strong Local Economies program at the Surdna Foundation. In his role, Shawn works to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses, equitable economic policy, and access to quality jobs. With an annual budget of $9.5 million the program aims to create opportunities for upward economic mobility among communities that have experienced historical barriers to opportunity, including low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants. Escoffery holds a master’s degree in city planning from MIT and bachelors degrees in English literature and political science from Rutgers University.
Natasha del Toro is an award-winning journalist and television host. She's currently an on-camera correspondent for Fusion's investigative documentary series called The Naked Truth, where she has made documentaries about the Panama Papers, the mugshot industry, and the US electoral system. Prior to Fusion, she worked on staff at TIME and as a freelance journalist covering a wide range of topics such as arts and culture, politics, the environment, and the Haiti earthquake, for which she was honored at the New York Press Club. She has produced stories in Cuba, Haiti, and Peru for PBS Frontline World. She also traveled across the US with internationally renowned photographer Joakim Eskildsen to create a book and multimedia website on poverty in America called American Realities. That project led to a documentary by KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting called Hunger in the Valley of Plenty. She is also a Colombia Fulbright scholar and host of America Reframed, a national PBS documentary program.