Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. | Watch Live.


Rachel Bloom, Citizens Union

Rachel Bloom is the Policy Director for Citizens Union. Her work focuses on New York state policy, with particular attention paid to access to voting and policing. Focusing on these issues, she works with Citizens Union members, as well as with national partners, to advance good government reform. Ms. Bloom is a proud alumna of Barnard College and received her Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.

Dustin Czarny, Onondaga County Elections Commissioner

Dustin Czarny is an elections commissioner from Onondaga County since 2013.  He is also Democratic Caucus Chair of the NYS Elections Commissioner Association and regularly appears in front of the NYS legislature to testify on election matters.

Assembly Member Diana Richardson

Diana C. Richardson has proudly represented Brooklyn’s 43rd Assembly District since 2015. She was the first elected official in New York to run her campaign without corporate PAC or real estate contributions. Since then, the trend she started has become the norm in New York. She is unapologetic, and unafraid!

As a lifelong resident of the community, Assemblywoman Richardson received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Medgar Evers College, and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Policy Analysis and Evaluation from the School of Public Affairs at CUNY Baruch College. She is a true community organizer who listens to the voices of the district, and fights for our communities even when there is formidable opposition (or she gets pepper sprayed by the NYPD).

In her almost five years as Assemblywoman for the 43rd District, she has been a fierce advocate of working people, families, renters and small businesses.

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Assemblywoman Richardson’s long list of accomplishments includes her instrumental role in passing the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which protects renters from eviction, and expanded tenant protections and rent stabilization to all of New York State. Her monthly community engagement series, Civic Minded, brings hundreds of community residents together in the district for updates from Albany and “know-your-rights” trainings and workshops. They are a true model of bringing transparency and democracy to elected office. Diana has fought against police brutality and over-policing, passing legislation nicknamed the “Amy Cooper law” to make it a crime to call 911 based on a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. She is also a co-sponsor on a long list of other bills (A10611, A01360-A, A06144-B, A10609, A08226-B, A08674-A, A10608, A01601-C, A10002-B) to increase police accountability and end police brutality. She has consistently been a champion of reforms to the criminal justice system like Raise the Age, which raised the age criminal responsibility to 18 years of age. New York was previously one of only two states that automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. She has been a strong proponent of ending cash bail and other criminal justice reforms. When it comes to protecting her community from Covid-19, starting in March Assemblywoman Richardson pushed for increased local Covid-19 testing capacity, and launched food distribution Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week. Assemblywoman Richardson has been a steadfast fighter for public education, from fully funding our public schools and CUNY to sponsoring numerous bills to bring financial, cultural literacy, and sex education to our schools. In 2020, she passed a bill to require Culturally Responsive Education in all schools. She has also been a champion of children in the district, from protecting those in foster care to ensuring that cases of suspected child abuse are reported. She has fought to ensure all New Yorkers have healthcare, including to ensure that adequate funding and resources are provided to our three hospitals and several external institutions. She is a staunch supporter of the New York Health Act (NYHA), which would create universal healthcare in New York State. Assemblywoman Richardson is adamantly opposed to cutting Medicaid funding, which would have disastrous effects on our most vulnerable. Assemblywoman Richardson helped create the Vital Brooklyn Initiative. This project will bring supportive housing, workforce housing, health services, and supportive services to Central Brooklyn. She has vigorously opposed developments like the Bedford Union Armory redevelopment, which sell off public land for little in return. She currently serves on the committee on Banks, Children and Families, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Mental Health, Small Business, and Women’s Caucus. She is part of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and a member of American Society of Public Administration and the Progressive Democrats Political Association.

Assembly Member Robert Carroll

A lifelong resident of the neighborhoods of the 44th Assembly District, Robert Carroll has served in the New York State Assembly since 2016.  Before being elected to the Assembly he was a practicing attorney specializing in contract law, election law, trusts and estates, and real estate law. Assemblymember Carroll serves on the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Cities, Election Law, Environmental Conservation, and Arts, Parks and Tourism Committees.

Kate Doran, League of Women Voters of NYC

Kate Doran serves on the board of the League of Women Voters of New York State. The League is a Non-Partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. Kate has been a member of the LWV of the City of New York since 1977.  Currently she is the Elections Specialist. In this role, she monitors the NYC BOE, and represents the LWVNYC on voting reform coalitions. Kate has been a poll worker since 2004, and an Election Day Poll site Coordinator from 2006 – 2016.

Tom Speaker, Reinvent Albany

Tom Speaker, Reinvent AlbanyTom Speaker is a policy analyst for Reinvent Albany, a watchdog organization that advocates for open and accountable government in New York.

L. Joy Williams, NAACP Brooklyn

L. Joy Williams is a highly sought-after political strategist, public speaker, political analyst, and social justice activist. With well over a decade of experience in politics, and over fifteen years in public speaking, L. Joy has made a name for herself as a respected, intelligent voice in modern politics. Demonstrating a strong talent as a political planner and tactician, both in political campaigns and government, L. Joy has been a regularly featured commentator on MSNBC (“Up with David Gura”; “Melissa Harris-Perry Show”; “AM Joy”), and NY1 (“Inside City Hall”).

L. Joy’s passion for political and community activism was instilled at an early age, stemming from a deep-rooted family history and commitment to civil rights and social justice. In this tradition, L. Joy currently serves as the President of the Brooklyn NAACP, one of the most generational diverse branches in the country. She is also the Legislative Coordinator for the New York State NAACP Conference of Branches. Her outstanding leadership has increased chapter membership and engagement, making Brooklyn NAACP one of the leading civil rights groups in New York City.

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Since embarking on her career as a political strategist with the 2002 McCall for Governor campaign, L. Joy experience as a trusted political advisor and strategist has made her a go-to team member. Recently she has worked with a number of prominent and notable political figures, including Letitia James, Jumaane Williams and Cynthia Nixon, for whom she served as Senior Advisor during Nixon’s gubernatorial run in New York State. L. Joy has also held key positions such as Campaign Manager for former New York State Assembly Member Karim Camara; GOTV Supervisor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Kerry/Edwards 2004 Presidential campaign; Special Assistant to former New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller; Program Assistant at Demos, a nonpartisan public policy and advocacy organization; and Deputy Director of Community Relations for then–New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson. She went on to become Thompson’s Political Director in his 2009 mayoral campaign. L. Joy is Chairman Emeritus of Higher Heights for America and now serves as Chair of the Higher Heights PAC. In these roles, L. Joy travels the country training, advising, and supporting efforts to build Black women’s political power and leadership potential. Working with Higher Heights L. Joy has assisted in the campaigns of Nina Turner for Ohio Secretary of State, Stacey Abrams for Governor of Georgia and several congressional campaigns. During the 2014 midterm election, L. Joy managed a voter engagement campaign for Higher Heights in Georgia and Ohio targeting Black women, who had only participated in presidential elections, encouraging them to vote in the federal midterm and state elections. The highly successful campaign increased enthusiasm and turnout by over ten percentage points. A dynamic public speaker, L. Joy has presented at several conferences and has been on numerous panels, focusing primarily on the impact and power of Black women voters including the NAACP National Convention in San Antonio, TX and the interactive media conference SXSW about the political power of digital communities in 2018. From 2012-2016, she was a staple at Netroots Nation, where she presented “#BlackWomenLead: The Role and Importance of Black Women Organizers” and “#BlackWomenLead: Harnessing Black Women’s Political Power and Leadership Potential w/ Sen. Nina Turner”, while also airing live as a former co-host of “This Week In Blackness”, one of the first Black-run political podcasts and web series. And in 2015, she was a featured speaker at the Women’s Freedom Conference, the first all-digital conference organized completely by women of color. Drawing upon her extensive career in politics, government and community work L. Joy believes in empowering communities with the knowledge and skills to be active participants in democracy. Recognizing the need for civic education and engagement in an accessible format L. Joy created #SundayCivics to teach civics using the current political landscape. The weekly show now airs Sunday mornings on SiriusXM Urban View and is available on demand on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public and all podcast platforms. L. Joy’s passion for civic action and commitment to progressive growth for all Americans cannot be understated. Rooted in a generational family tradition of community service, L. Joy walks in the steps of those who fought before her and encourages every citizen to become involved in America’s political process.

Susan Lerner, Common Cause/NY

Susan Lerner is the Executive Director of Common Cause New York. Susan joined Common Cause in December, 2007. She is responsible for setting priorities, strategy, lobbying, serving as a spokesperson, fund-raising and leading the team for the New York organization. Before joining Common Cause, Susan served from 2003-07 as executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign. As a member of the New York and California bars, she was a litigator for almost 20 years. Susan has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the New York University School of Law.