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The Great American Lie: Film Screening and Panel

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 -
3:00pm to 6:00pm PST
Restore Oakland
1419 34th Avenue | Oakland, CA 94601
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With income insecurity and economic inequity at historic highs funders, practitioners and policy advocates are working harder than ever to understand and address the root causes of family economic insecurity. The film explores the systemic and structural causes at the root of US economic inequity and lifts up local leaders, researcher and advocates working on addressing these key issues.

The film screening will be followed by a moderated discussion with the two key local activists featured in the film, Zachary Norris (Ella Baker Center for Human Rights) and Saru Jayaraman (Restaurant Opportunities Centers United).

Catering for the event will be provided by COLORS, the new restaurant located on the floor level of Restore Oakland which pays a livable wage, hires people from the community, and offers a training kitchen and community cooking classes.


3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.       Reception and Networking

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.       Film Screening

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.       Panel Discussion


Saru Jayaraman, Co-founder, ROC United & President, One Fair Wage

Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 18,000 worker members, 200 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in a dozen states nationwide. The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her most recent book is Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Zachary Norris, Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Zach Norris is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that will empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families.  Zach is also a co-founder of Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation’s youth incarceration epidemic.

Zach helped build California’s first statewide network for families of incarcerated youth which led the effort to close five youth prisons in the state, passed legislation to enable families to stay in contact with their loved ones, and defeated Prop 6—a destructive and ineffective criminal justice ballot measure.

In addition to being a Harvard graduate and NYU-educated attorney, Zach is also a graduate of the Labor Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing in Los Angeles, California and was a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow. He is a former board member at Witness for Peace and Just Cause Oakland and is currently serving on the Justice for Families board. Zach was a recipient of the American Constitution Society's David Carliner Public Interest Award in 2015, and is a member of the 2016 class of the Levi Strauss Foundation's Pioneers of Justice.

Zach is a loving husband and dedicated father of two bright daughters, whom he is raising in his hometown of Oakland, California.

Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland

Mayor Libby Schaaf was born and raised in Oakland, which she proudly describes as, “The most unapologetic Sanctuary City in America.” During her tenure, Oakland has undergone an economic revitalization and building boom, as well as cut gun violence in half.

Her “17K/17K Housing Plan” has helped increase Oakland’s affordable housing production, stabilize rents, and decrease evictions. Her innovative public-private partnerships Keep Oakland Housed and Cabin Communities are credited with preventing 1,800 families a year from losing their housing, while resolving some of Oakland’s most unsafe street encampments. In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Mayor Schaaf to California’s first Council of Regional Homeless Advisors.

She created Oakland’s first Department of Transportation, whose equity-based paving plan is the first of its kind in the nation and will make previously underserved neighborhoods safer, while addressing the city’s decades-old infrastructure backlog.

Mayor Schaaf is most proud of launching the Oakland Promise, a bold cradle-to-career initiative to send more low-income Oakland kids to preschool and college. The Oakland Promise has sent more than 1,400 Oakland students (and counting) to college with scholarships and mentors, and will give every baby born into poverty a $500 college savings account at birth.

Bob Uyeki, Chief Executive Officer, Y & H Soda Foundation

Bob joined the Foundation in 2004 as Senior Program Officer and was promoted to CEO in 2008.  He oversees all of the Foundation's grantmaking strategies and community leadership work, as well as its finance and administrative functions. Bob has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in the Bay Area, having previously worked at the East Bay Community Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation and as the Director of the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival. 

Bob has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the East Bay Community Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, Rise Together, the Foundation Consortium for California's Children and Youth, the Family Independence Initiative and the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. He currently serves on the Local Advisory Board of Bay Area LISC. Bob holds a B.A. in English from Amherst College and a Master in Public Administration with an emphasis in strategic planning and management from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In his leisure time, Bob enjoys jogging, cycling and hiking throughout the East Bay.  

Target Audience

This program is open to NCG members and non-member funders only. 


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