Jean Hardisty remembered with special program
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times 2016-03-03
This article shared 3246 times since Thu Mar 3, 2016
Crossroads Fund and Political Research Associates hosted a discussion of the work of political scientist and social activist Jean Hardisty, who died March 16, 2015. Hardisty was a co-founder of Chicago-based Crossroads Fund, and founder of Political Research Associates; both agencies have been existence more than 30 years.
The focus of the discussion, held March 3 at Saint James Commons in downtown Chicago, was on "neoliberalism," a belief system that is almost the opposite of what traditional political liberalism means. It is, rather, a support of privatization, austerity, deregulation and authoritarianism, according to Tarso Luis Ramos, PRA's executive director. Ronald Reagan popularized the appoach during his presidency.
Tarso was the featured speaker at the event. PRA board member Lynette Jackson, an associate professor of Gender and Women's Studies and African American Studies at UIC, moderated the discussion. Crossroads Executive Director Jeanne Kracher also spoke about Hardisty and her support of her agency for so many years.
Hardisty founded PRA in 1981 as a research center based in Chicago. She moved its headquarters to Boston a few years later. Her mission was to "get people to take the right seriously." For more than 35 years, she offered cogent and far-reaching analysis about its impact on women, people of color, immigrants, educators, and the LGBTQ community.
She served on the board of directors of the Highlander Research and Education Center, Ms. Foundation for Women, Center for Women Policy Studies, Grassroots International, Center for Community Change, and the Women's Community Cancer Project. In addition, she was a consultant for 10 years to the Women Donors Network, where she led seminars on the political right wing. In 2010, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Community Change, Inc., a Boston-based anti-racism organization.
Some audience members also paid tribute to the work of Hardisty, and her impact on their lives personally and professionally.
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