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ACORN Founder Wade Rathke Will Speak at the U of M Nov. 23 University News
For release: November 19, 2009

For press information, contact Dr. Kenneth Reardon, 901/678-2161

Wade Rathke, founder and longtime chief organizer for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), will speak Monday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fogelman Executive Conference Center, Room 136, on the University of Memphis campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Rathke lecture is the second of four evening presentations being sponsored by the U of M Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning and the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.  The series marks the 100th anniversary of the American city planning profession.

Rathke’s talk, “Common Wealth: The Campaign to Save Working Families,” will examine state and federal policies designed to strengthen the economic position of poor and working-class Americans during tough economic times. He will discuss how policy makers can improve the nation’s economic productivity and encourage a more equitable distribution of income, wealth and power within our society.

 During the past 30 years, ACORN’s dues-paying membership has grown to more than 315,000. Among ACORN’s many policy accomplishments are the Community Reinvestment Act, Workers Right to Know Legislation, the Family Leave Act, and Living Wage ordinances throughout the nation. Rathke served as the chief organizer for ACORN from 1974 to 2008.

Dr. Pierre Clavel, professor of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University, will be the next speaker in the series. He will lecture on “Progressive Cities in American History: Lessons for Would-Be Municipal Reformers” on Monday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center, Room 123.

The final lecture in the series will take place Monday, Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center, Room 123. Dr. Kenneth M. Reardon, professor and director of the U of M’s Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning, will discuss “The Accomplishments and Failures of American City Planning Practice: Lessons from the First One Hundred Years.


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