Giving Compass' Take:

• Patrick Gaspard speaks with Carnegie Council about how pushing for social change means challenging the status quo with pointed questions about injustice.

• How are you questioning racist systems in your community? How is addressing policy essential in pushing for social change?

• Learn about youth movements that are pushing for social change across the United States.

Patrick Gaspard is a wonderful person to speak to a class on engaged citizenship. He is the president of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), where he has served since 2017. Previously he was the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, where he served from 2013 to 2016. Prior to becoming ambassador, he worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 and in various positions in the White House, including as the director of the White House Office of Political Affairs. He then served on the Democratic National Committee.


The United States is an interesting petri dish of rights and social activism in this hour, where we have the twin crises of COVID-19 but also the crisis of the lack of legal access to justice that has been laid bare by the murder on camera of George Floyd. I am proud of the modest effort that I have been able to make over time to make some kind of contribution to pushing back against state-sanctioned violence through policing, but it felt to those of us who were engaged in that movement that we were fighting for the next generation, fighting to make sure that my children or grandchildren did not have to find their place in that machinery of injustice.

But suddenly we are all of us in this COVID-19 moment and this policing moment. Suddenly transformation that we thought not possible at all went over to the window, which has been busted wide open on these questions of disparities, these questions of inequality, and these questions of justice, and it has compelled average citizens and policymakers to have to interrogate these matters in real time and to have to also suggest a prescription.

Read the full interview about pushing for social change with Patrick Gaspard at Carnegie Council.