Heather McGhee

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Heather McGhee

Heather C. McGhee is Director of Demos' Washington office,where develops and executes strategy for increasing the organization's impact on federal policy debates in Washington. Previously, she was the Deputy Policy Director, Domestic and Economic Policy, for the John Edwards for President 2008 campaign, and a Program Associate in Demos' Economic Opportunity Program.

Her writing and research on debt, financial services regulation, retirement and inequality have appeared in numerous outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Detroit Free-Press and CNN. She is the co-author of a chapter on retirement insecurity in the book Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and its Poisonous Consequences (New Press, 2005).[1]


McGhee holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.[2]

Race Class Narrative

Race Class Narrative founding principals were Anat Shenker-Osorio, Ian Haney Lopez and Heather McGhee at Demos.

"A letter from the movement to the movement'

In September 2019 Heather McGhee was one of 100 black leaders, many affiliated with Liberation Road who signed A letter from the movement to the movement defending Maurice Moe Mitchell and Nelini Stamp of the Working Families Party for endorsing Elizabeth Warren instead of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

America's Future Now!

Heather McGhee was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference.[3]

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

Heather McGhee was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [4]

Americans for Financial Reform

McGhee served as the Chair of the Systemic Risk and Resolution Authority Policy Task Force for Americans for Financial Reform during the Dodd-Frank legislative debate.[5]

Fight Back Teach In

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Fight Back Teach In held in New York City, a national teach-in on austerity, debt and corporate greed featuring Frances Fox Piven, Richard Trumka, and Cornel West on April 5, 2011

The following were featured speakers for the Teach In:[6]

RT broadcast

The Russia Today Moscow-funded propaganda channel, aired a special program on Tuesday February 22, 2012, on how progressives in the U.S. can “Take Back the American Dream” by defeating Republicans. The propaganda effort was broadcast throughout the United States and produced in collaboration with major liberal groups such as the Campaign for America's Future, MoveOn.org and Demos, all of them George Soros funded.

The host was Thom Hartmann, who regards himself as the nation’s “number one” progressive radio talk-show host.

The “National Teach-In to Take Back the American Dream” featured Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor; Heather McGhee of Demos; Leo Hindrey, a businessman and self-styled “Patriotic Millionaire;” Natalie Foster, the co-founder of Rebuild the Dream; and Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America's Future.

Nobody on the program, which also aired on DISH Network, DirectTV and the Free Speech TV Network, demonstrated any concern about appearing on a Moscow-funded channel to promote the “American dream.”[7]

"Serious costs of racist policymaking"


In 2020 Rockwood Leadership Institute alumni Heather McGhee and Rashad Robinson joined Rep. Ayanna Pressley for a discussion about the serious costs of racist policymaking and more...

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

Heather McGhee, Executive Vice President, Demos, was a 2013 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[8]

Cuba trip, June 2014

Delegation at Foundation of Nature and Man, June 21, 2011, Heather McGhee, second from right

In June 2011 a delegation organized by the Center for Democracy in the Americas traveled to Havana Cuba. It consisted of Sarah Stephens of CDA, US Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Anna Eshoo, Rosa DeLauro, Betty McCollum, and former Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Bettina Duval, Alicia Daly, Heather McGhee and other, The delegates had several meetings in Havana, including on June 21, when the Congressmembers and Sarah Stephens met with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

The delegates also visited the Foundation of Nature and Man.[9]

"Progressive Agenda"

Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included Heather McGhee - Demos.[10]

Retail Justice Alliance Steering Committee

As of 2015 the Retail Justice Alliance Steering Committee included;[11]

WFP National gala

In mid-November 2015, Working Families Party staffers from across the country gathered for their first-ever national gala. Held in a dimly lit foyer of the national AFL-CIO headquarters, two blocks from the White House, the event featured a modest bar and forlorn-looking cheese tray. To one side, an imposing, 1950s-era, gilt-heavy mural of heroic laborers with a motto from Virgil (“Labor Omnia Vincit”); to the other, a canvas banner color-printed with WFP activists, carrying signs like “The Seas Are Rising & So Are We,” “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” and “I Am a Woman.” A plaque identified the venue as the Samuel Gompers Room.

Heather McGhee, the president of the leftist think tank Demos, kicked off the proceedings. “You ain’t seen nothing yet from the Working Families Party,” she said. “We’re electing leaders, we’re winning on issues, and most importantly, we’re changing what’s politically possible.”

McGhee, ticked off the party’s victories, starting with minimum-wage hikes and paid sick days. “We took down the Rockefeller drug laws, we won police body cameras, and we helped stop the abuse of stop-and-frisk,” she said. “We stood up to the hedge funders who look at our schools and see dollar signs, from Bridgeport to Newark, from Philadelphia to Chicago.

“We’ve been working day in and day out to win on these issues and change the debate,” she added. “And this here, tonight, what you’re at, is our coming-out party. Because we are the people who believe that our economy should be measured in the health, happiness, and security of our families, not in corporate profits. We are the people who believe that democracy is for the people, not the super PACs. We are the people who know that economic inequality in America has always been built on the scaffolding of racial injustice.”

At this, there was applause and shouts of “Amen!” “We are the people who believe that the future of our planet is worth more than the profits of oil and coal executives,” she added. “And you know what? We deserve a political party, too.”

Later, Diana Richardson, a member of the New York State Assembly from Crown Heights, Brooklyn; in a May special election, she became the first-ever New York state legislator elected solely on the WFP ballot line. Her campaign hinged on railing against gentrification and the “greedy developers” leaving the neighborhood’s historic residents behind.

Richardson proclaimed, “The local Democrats didn’t want someone like me. Listen to my voice—it’s very strong! You can’t push me around.” The audience laughed and cheered. “But another party did want me,” she added. “The Working Families Party.”[12]


#Our100 was set up in New York City, right after the 2016 election. Following the election of Republican Donald Trump to the White House, women of color in New York City are joining together over the next four days in solidarity against misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiments.

This action builds on October’s #GOPHandsOffMe protests, when women of color and survivors took to the streets and made videos in response to the tape in which the president-elect could be heard through a hot mic speaking about sexually assaulting women.

“Women of color-led coalitions are coming together in the first 100 hours after electing a new president to support an agenda for Black lives, immigrants, Muslims, Latinas … against rape culture and a sexist, racist, xenophobic policy,” said Agunda Okeyo, an activist, organizer, and African immigrant in the city who told Rewire in a phone interview that Trump is “a danger to democracy.”

Thousands will mobilize nationwide to tell the country that the leadership of women of color will not end at the ballot box. These first 100 hours are the kickoff to demand accountability from all holders of public office and to spread an anti-hate agenda that includes a vision for Black lives, common sense immigration reform, and an end to rape culture, according to the release.

A press conference by women of color leaders was held in Manhattan November 9. Speakers included My Muslim Vote’s Linda Sarsour, Demos President Heather McGhee, Movement for Black Lives co-founder Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, and Demos Vice President Jodeen Olguin-Tayler, as well as survivors of sexual assault and immigrant rights leaders.

Leaders representing Black Lives Matter, Demos, Forward Together, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance worked together in the week leading up to the election to raise the national profile of women-led organizing. Those efforts culminated in the #Our100 pledge and a wave of actions nationwide.

“We have a lot more work to do, to build the America we deserve. But we are strong, determined, and we are just getting started,” said Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and one of the organizers of this action.

Viviana Bernal of Demos and the #GOPHandsOffMe campaign told Rewire she is participating to end the culture of violence, rape culture, and sexual assault that many women have spoken up against since the Trump tapes went public.

“We believe Donald Trump basically admitted to sexual assault. Women of color and sexual assault victims felt triggered,” Bernal said during a phone interview. “He has been saying really racist, sexist things all along. It is only when his comments violated the rights of white women that it led to public outcry.”

The women of color participating in the campaign are outraged at all his vitriolic statements against marginalized populations and want to “center our voices and speak out,” she added.

“This election was a referendum on the politics of hate and division. We have a long way to go,” said Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

In conjunction with the launch of #Our100, the leaders will release polling data from Celinda Lake about women of color voters and an open letter to the nation to be published in major national publications this week.

“Our work did not start, and it will not end at the ballot box,” said Olguín-Tayler, a survivor of sexual assault, in a statement. “We are women who lead organizations, work in Hollywood, teach in our universities, women who are ordained faith leaders, who run large businesses; women who are mothers, who take care of our land and our elders. We came together across our differences to write this letter to our fellow Americans because we know we can, and must, do better. We need a nation that does right by women. Because when women of color are doing well, when Black and Muslim and Indigenous women in particular are doing well—this whole country will be well.”

“We stand determined to hold the vision of a just, inclusive America worthy of ALL of her people,” McGhee said in the release. “No longer can anybody sit on the sidelines. This election will be the last stand of the past, and tomorrow is already being born.”

Marxist meme


October 23, 206 Jodeen Olguin-Tayler, Yong Jung Cho, Xochitl Oseguera, Latchmi Gopal, Heather McGhee, Nikki Fortunato Bas, Sarita Gupta, Alicia Garza, Laura Dawn, Agunda Okeyo, Greisa Martinez Rosas, Edith Sargon, Renata Pumarol, Ai-jen Poo, Trina Greene Brown, Naila Awan, Pramila Jayapal, Cindy Wiesner, Brigid Flaherty, Serena Perez and Angel Kyodo Williams, were part of a #GOPHandsOffMe meme.

Black Futures Lab Strategic Advisors

Black Futures Lab Strategic Advisors, April 24 2018;[13]

We have an amazing team of advisors and thought partners that help us shape our strategies.

Indivisible Civics Board members

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Indivisible Civics Board members, 2018: