This column first appeared in The Amendment, a new biweekly newsletter by Errin Haines, The 19th’s editor-at-large. Subscribe today to get early access to future analysis.
II want to talk about the big event of the month: the “Succession” series finale. OK, not really, but I do want to point you to another major event you may have missed. Our fourth annual 19th Represents Summit was a little over a week ago. This year, we were online and in Chicago, and we tackled three themes: tech, justice and economic mobility.
I want to focus on the last day, not only because we were able to gather with so many of you, but also because we were able to unpack a priority coverage area for us that left me with some really important takeaways that will continue to inform our reporting at The 19th.
The issue of economic mobility is one we’ve written about a lot here, from how it intersects with caregiving, to what it means for cities and states to give its residents a universal basic income, to how the federal government is addressing gender and racial inequality that is holding many Americans back financially. Our daylong programming brought together activists, philanthropists, and the public and private sector — as well as our audience —for robust discussions about what’s working, what’s missing and who is doing the work of making economic mobility real, particularly for marginalized communities.
My role on this day was a conversation with Douglas Emhoff, the second gentleman of the United States. We discussed his pioneering role and the work he’s doing to advance economic mobility by addressing gender equity and women’s leadership, helping to amplify an administration priority, both in America and abroad. Most recently, he carried this message to the African continent, meeting with young creatives, fisherwomen and others in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia as part of Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic trip. I’d encourage you to watch our interview, in which Emhoff also discusses the reactions last summer from his wife, his mother and his daughter to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — as well as his own outrage.
“This is an issue for all of us,” he told me. “It’s about fairness, it’s about equality. It’s about fundamental rights and it’s about making sure women aren’t less than. When you lift up women, you lift up the economy. When women are fully able to participate in our democracy … whether it’s when they’re having a baby or whether they need to make decisions about whether to have an abortion or not … it would help everyone.”
What was clear for me at the end of the day was that it will take all of us — organizers, nonprofits, the business community, local and federal government and everyday people — working together to help everyone live lives that are more financially secure.