What does it take to move the world?
Meet the individuals who represent a new guard of social justice, building a future grounded in equality for all.
When Warren returned to Chicago, he became a union organizer for 7,000 hotel workers and saw solidarity and collective power in action as housekeepers, mostly women of color, led negotiations with their employers. He taught at the University of Chicago and Columbia University and embarked on a media career when a friend from grad school, Melissa Harris Perry, and Chris Hayes, asked him to speak on MSNBC, where Warren eventually became a contributor, host and executive producer of “Nerding Out.” (When he’s not “nerding out,” he considers Coming to America underrated, and his favorite feel-good movie is The Lion King—is it any wonder he loves a good David and Goliath story?)
But, in 2016, after years of writing and talking about issues, Warren returned to rolling up his sleeves and went to work on the heart of the matters as president of Community Change’s sister organization, Community Change Action. In a matter of two years, he took the helm of Community Change, where he had chaired and been a member of the board. That was the start of its 15-year Path to Power, a bold vision to transform the lives of low-income Americans by 2033 by expanding Black, brown, and immigrant power; creating an election-deciding voting bloc; reinvigorating community organizing; and advancing economic, social, and immigrant justice agendas at state and national levels. Go big or go home, right? For Warren, there is no going home. Union organizing taught him to play the long game—the door knocking, conversation holding, circle expanding, and bridge building that never ceases—which helps when it comes to what Community Change calls “the forever unfinished project of democracy.”
In a 1966 address delivered at the University of Capetown, Kennedy said, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice.” The seven-year-old Warren who stood alongside his mom for fairness and equity is still fighting.
Illustration by Agata Nowicka