Eric Ward

Executive Director | Western States Center

Eric K. Ward is a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy. In his 30+ year civil rights career, he has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant, and board member. The recipient of the Peabody-Facebook Futures Media Award, Eric’s widely quoted writings and speeches are credited with key narrative shifts. He currently serves as Executive Director of Western States Center, Senior Fellow with Southern Poverty Law Center and Race Forward, and Co-Chair for The Proteus Fund.

Presentations from Facing Race 2020

Where Do We Go From Here? Building a Just Multiracial Democracy

As Reverend Barber argues, we find ourselves in the Third Reconstruction. Like all previous reconstructions, Black leaders are at the forefront, collectively moving us towards liberation and justice. When we think about what it means to build a truly just, multiracial democracy, what are the core questions that we need to answer? This plenary will draw on the brilliance and wisdom of Black leaders across our movement to answer the fundamental questions of our time, including what it looks like to center the experiences of Black and Indigenous people in practice, why we need to build multi-racial solidarity across communities of color, how we tackle core issues of immigration, land rights, and a reimagining of our justice system, and what's needed for us to lean into intersectionality in more meaningful ways. Panelists will share concrete actions that participants can take to help us build new possibilities for our future. The title from this session draws from Dr. King’s final book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” which is deeply resonant in this moment. The legacy of our ancestors rests on our shoulders; it is up to us to use this crossroads in our country’s history to make our democracy finally meet the needs of our communities.

Speakers: Glenn Harris, Eric Ward, Michael McAfee, Judith Browne Dianis, Andrea Jenkins

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

A Movement Is Rising and It’s Not Ours: White Nationalism from Charlottesville to the White House

Once contained, the racist fringe subculture is morphing into a mass movement that has support from nearly one-third of Americans. The white nationalist movement and its “alt-right” coalition is shaping public narrative on national policies, endangering community cohesion, and limiting the rights of people of color, immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized communities. White nationalism has changed the game, jeopardizing 50 years of equity gains and the vision of an inclusive democracy. Join us to explore the history, strategies and personalities of this movement, examine its impact on American public opinion, and take with you resources and tools for learning more.

Speakers: Eric Ward, Scot Nakagawa