Meizhu Lui

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Meizhu Lui


Meizhu Lui is the Director of the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a national non-profit organization dedicated to building economic health and opportunity in vulnerable communities.[1] She describes herself as a “professional troublemaker!” She became a single mother when her son was 7, and took a food service worker job at Boston City Hospital first out of necessity, but stayed on by choice.

She now lives in Papaaloa, Hawaii, after recently living in New Orleans, Louisiana.

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 Meizhu Lui, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Boston, endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[2]

Forward Motion

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In 1994 Rukiya Dillahunt, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Bill Gallegos, Karega Hart, Ed Hunt, Jamala Rogers, Juliet Ucelli, Bob Peterson, Meizhu Lui were guest editors of the editorial collective of Forward Motion, the journal of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.[3]

In 1996 Elly Leary, Bob Peterson, Meizhu Lui, Rukiya Dillahunt, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Bill Gallegos, Karega Hart, Ed Hunt, Scott Kurashige, Jamala Rogers were contributing editors to Forward Motion, the journal of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.[4]

Activism

Meizhu Lui was an AFSCME activist for fifteen years and became the first Asian to become the elected President of a local union in Massachusetts.[5] At Health Care for All Massachusetts, she organized to challenge local hospitals to do more for low-income community residents, and helped win the first hospital Community Benefits Guidelines in the country.

As the Executive Director of the national organization United for a Fair Economy, she brought public attention to the racial aspect of the economic divide, and to the negative consequences racial inequality has on our economy as a whole.

Her work for racial and gender equality has been recognized by numerous organizations including the Boston Women’s Fund, the Women's Law Caucus of the New England School of Law, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, the Labor Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Union of Minority Neighborhoods.

She is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization that works for a united left.

Achievements

Meizhu Lui is a Trustee of the Hyams Foundation, and was selected for the 2007 Barr Fellows Program that honors the contributions of the most gifted and experienced leaders in the Boston area.[6]

Serve the People Conference on Asian American Community Activism

The 1998 Serve the People Conference on Asian American Community Activism featured a mix of roundtable discussions, designed to provoke thought and debate on "large" questions facing all activists, and workshops and panels designed for activists in similar areas of work to open lines of communication with one another and to share lessons garnered through struggle. The choice of speakers was based primarily on their grassroots community work but also on concerns to have diverse geographic, ethnic, gender, and generational representation. A highlight of the conference was the opening panel on "Interracial Unity and the Struggle for Liberation," in which longtime, history-making activists Grace Lee Boggs and Yuri Kochiyama espoused upon why they have remained committed to revolutionary politics for decades.

With years of dedication to the Black Freedom Movement, both Boggs and Kochiyama served as living examples of the importance of unity among people of color. Boggs shared theoretical and practical insights from her highly praised autobiography Living for Change, which was a popular seller at the conference. Kochiyama brought the capacity crowd to its feet with her impassioned call to "Serve the people at the bottom... the people at the top don’t need your help!" They were joined by local activists Leon Watson and Bill Gallegos, veterans of the African American and Chicano movements, respectively. This inspirational opening plenary served to impart a radical tone to the proceedings and to bring out the best in participants, allowing the conference to maintain a pleasantly non-sectarian atmosphere throughout. The next morning, veteran activists of numerous since-dissolved cadre organizations engaged in a friendly yet critical conversation on the legacy of the Asian American Movement with some admittedly having not made contact with one another for upwards of 25 years. Overall, "Serve the People" provided an opportunity to interact with some of the most prominet community activists from around the country including Anannya Bhattacharjee of New York’s Workers Awaaz, Debbie Wei of Philadelphia’s Asian Americans United, Eric Mar of the Bay Area’s Asian Pacific Islanders for Community Empowerment, Jane Bai of New York’s Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, Joe Navidad of BAYAN-International, Kent Wong of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Meizhu Lui of Boston’s Health Care for All, Miriam Ching Louie of Berkeley’s Women of Color Resource Center.[7]

UFE report

In 2004 Racial inequities in unemployment, family income, imprisonment, average wealth and infant mortality are actually worse than when Dr. King was killed, according to a report by United for a Fair Economy.

"The State of the Dream: Enduring Disparities in Black and White," was written by Dedrick Muhammad, Attieno Davis, Meizhu Lui and Betsy Leondar-Wright.

Meizhu Lui served on the Center for American Progress National Initiative to End Poverty. Her articles have appeared in the Wealth Inequality Reader, published by Dollars & Sense in 2004, Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and its Poisonous Consequences, The New Press, 2005, and 10 Excellent Reasons to Pay Your Taxes, The New Press, 2008. She is a co-author of The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide, The New Press, 2006.

"Inequality Matters"

In 2004 United for a Fair Economy, a Boston "economic justice think tank", co-sponsored a national conference on inequality. Some of the conference papers were published as "Inequality Matters: the Growing Economic Divide in America", which also included suggested public policies to counteract it. Among the contributors were Betsy Leondar-Wright, William Greider, Meizhu Lui, Bob Kuttner and Christopher Jencks.[8]

Boston Social Forum

At the 2004 Boston Social Forum Socialist Organizations and Social Movements: friends or enemies? a Freedom Road Socialist Organization Workshop was held;

Explore the role of socialism and socialist organizations in movement-building. Panelists will comment on what has changedon the left, efforts to strengthen the socialist current, which anticapitalist initiatives have been more effective internationally today, and broader strategies for transformational social change. Group discussion will follow with three goals: 1) Explore the continuing relevance of socialism as an alternative vision to capitalism. 2) Assess the institutional resources we have for movement building: socialist organizations have had mixed results. Yet without the organized left, movements often wind up too disorganized to truly make a difference. 3) Strategize about what new kinds of organizations are likely to be politically effective and how they might come about.

Panel: Meizhu Lui (Freedom Road Socialist Organization), Will Colwell (Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism), Solidarity and others.

Contact for the panel was Steve Backman Freedom Road Socialist Organization.[9]

How Class Works

The "How Class Works - 2008" conference held at Stony Brook, New York, June 5 - 7, 2008, Center for Study of Working Class Life, proposed speakers list included: Sam Anderson, Catherine-Mercedes Brillantes Judge, Pedro Caban, Fuat Ercan, Claudia Fegan, Bill Fletcher Jr, Tami Gold, Elizabeth Hoffman, Sara Jarayaman, Stathis Kouvelakis, Sherry Linkon, Meizhu Lui, Manning Marable, Jack Metzgar, Nelson Motto, Manny Ness, Bertell Ollman, Jeff Perry, Catherine Pouzoulet, David Roediger, Andrew Ross, John Russo, Vinny Tirelli, Michelle Tokarczyk, Richard Trumka and Joe Wilson.

Conference organiser was Michael Zweig Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY.[10]

Center for Labor Renewal

In 2009 Meizhu Lui was listed as an endorser of the Center for Labor Renewal[11].

Commission to Modernize Social Security

In 2013 Maya Rockeymoore and Meizhu Lui, co-chairs of the Commission to Modernize Social Security, wrote an op-ed titled “Social Security as a Civil Right” for the National Journal‘s “The Next America,” a feature on how demography shapes the national agenda. The op-ed discusses the persistence of income and wealth inequality in America.[12]

Praise for "The Cost of Privilege"

"The Cost of Privilege" an anti-racist book was written by North Carolina Freedom Road Socialist Organization member Chip Smith.

Several people, mostly Freedom Road Socialist Organization members wrote advance "praise blurbs" for the book's website .

The Cost of Privilege makes it clear that the struggle for racial equality must be at the very heart of a movement to replace a system based on exploitation with one based on cooperation. Historical and future oriented, theoretical and practical, global and local, social and personal, it encourages reflection, organization, and strategic action.

Meizhu Lui, Executive Director, United for a Fair Economy.[13]

Chattanooga event

An Evening with Meizhu Lui - Co-Author of The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the US Racial Wealth Divide, Public · Talk · Hosted by Concerned Citizens for Justice, Monday, November 17, 2014, Barking Legs Theater Chattanooga,.[14]

"White Privilege and White Death?"

"Dialogue with Barbara Ehrenreich – Connecting White Privilege and White Death?" by Joy Schulman and Meizhu Lui posted on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization website January 5th, 2016.

The article was o framed as a response to a recent article by Barbara Ehrenreich called “What Happened to the White Working Class? The Great Die-Off of America’s Blue Collar Whites“.[15]

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those invited, on Facebook included Meizhu Lui.[16]

Highlander leadership

In December 2016, the Board of Directors and staff were pleased to announce that Ash-Lee Henderson and Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele will serve as Highlander Research and Education Center’s Co-Executive Directors.

“The selection of Ash-Lee and Allyn demonstrates Highlander’s commitment to supporting the next generation of organizational leaders critical to our movements,” said Interim Board Chair Meizhu Lui. “We feel that they are the right ones to guide us through political terrain where visionary, righteous, courageous, class-conscious, multiracial, and multi-gender leadership is desperately needed.”

.[17]

References