Because of the importance of the topic, along with our exciting involvement with the Festival of the Book, our focus during the coming year will be to delve deeper into the issues surrounding economic inequality.  We will explore the historical roots (Lincoln), the social and ethical implications, national and local initiatives, and the spiritual crisis that arises from this problem.

Economic inequality is a major topic crossing virtually all social strata: religion, politics, social analysis, finance, micro- and macroeconomics. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have expressed concerns about the effects on American AND global society of what seems to be virtually universal agreement that rapidly increasing inequality in both income and accumulated wealth is destined to result in massive social upheaval.

Led by Ed and Dianne Murray, a small steering committee (also Bob McAdams, John Peale, Chip Sanders, and Pete Weatherly) has been working closely with Jane Kulow, the Director for the Virginia Center of the Book. They have responded enthusiastically to our proposal to include, as a major element in the FESTIVAL (March 2017), a two-tiered program addressing the subject of INCOME/ECONOMIC INEQUALITY. The FESTIVAL program will feature two elements: a moderated panel discussion (featuring a skilled moderator and a panel of recently published authors and spokespeople addressing the INEQUALITY-related issues, AND a major presentation on the same subject by an outstanding, nationally known spokesperson. More concrete information will follow FOB’s mid-September meeting.

CLUJP, by stepping into this partnership with FOB, commits itself to: assist with promotion of the March FOB event; follow up the festival presentations with a series of facilitated discussions to which local folks would be invited to participate actively with other members of the community. These discussions will be designed to help local leadership and citizens to create strategies/services/actions that can be promoted in our area (C’ville/Albemarle) to help alleviate these conditions over time.

As part of CLUJP’s commitment to the success of this project, we will enrich our WEB site in such a way as to assist interested folks to learn more about these issues. Every CLUJP member can help by submitting relevant content (including original content) and encouraging friends and fellow citizens to attend the FOB presentations.

FALL 2016
We will initially be focusing on the current state of the problem based on the most current literature, followed by an overview of Raj Chetty’s ‘Equal Opportunity Project’. His venture explores the fundamental structures of the problem based on geographical and educational data. November’s program looks at the historical roots of the federal government’s role, following up in December with an insider’s perspective on the Executive Branch’s major initiatives.

SPRING 2017  
The second half of our scheduled programs will explore the moral imperatives/ ethical implications upon Christian individuals, as well as perhaps an international and/or other religions’ perspective. The final four programs will delve into the authors we are supporting to bring to the Festival of the Book. We will finish the year with how we can help influence change in our communities using our improved understanding of the problem.

September 2016:
Current State of Economic/Income Inequality – Recent articles and literature concentrating on the ethical, economic, and political factors impeding equality.
Presenter: Chip Sanders

October 2016:
Raj Chetty and the Equality of Opportunity Project – explore the factors correlated with upward mobility. High mobility areas have (1) less residential segregation, (2) less income inequality, (3) better primary schools, (4) greater social capital, and (5) greater family stability.
Presenter: Pete Weatherly

November 2016:
Review of A Just and Generous Nation by Harold Holzer and Norton Garfinkle (2015) (Copy of book available from Pete)
Presenter:  Hal Horan

Abraham Lincoln and the Fight for American Opportunity – a groundbreaking new account of the beliefs that inspired our sixteenth president to go to war when the Southern states seceded from the Union. Rather than a commitment to eradicating slavery or a defense of the Union, the authors argue, Lincoln’s guiding principle was the defense of equal economic opportunity.
Lincoln firmly believed that the government’s primary role was to ensure that all Americans had the opportunity to better their station in life. As president, he worked tirelessly to enshrine this ideal within the federal government. He funded railroads and canals, supported education, and, most importantly, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which opened the door for former slaves to join white Americans in striving for self-improvement. In our own age of unprecedented inequality, A Just and Generous Nation reestablishes Lincoln’s legacy as the protector not just of personal freedom but of the American dream itself

December 2016:
How has the Federal Government addressed economic/income equality – Initiatives, successes and failures over past 30 years

Presenter: Mark Weatherly, former OMB Deputy Associate Director on Housing, Treasury, and Commerce under 5 presidential administrations.

January 2017:
What are local organizations in the area doing related to economic inequality.
Presenter:  Laura Brown from Casa Alma