Common Ground#2

Jodi Archambault & Abigail Disney

Weekly conversations with activists, social justice practitioners, and changemakers


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Please join us for the second installment of Common Ground, featuring Jodi Archambault, artist and former policy advisor to President Obama, in conversation with filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail E. Disney

In this talk

Common Ground

At the start of quarantine, the Brooklyn Rail asked how might we stay connected to each other in a time of self-isolation? Now we ask: How can we stay involved and engaged in upholding our civic responsibility to one another across communities? How can we deploy this community we have built through the New Social Environment—through hundreds of conversations and meals shared over the past six months—to mobilize daily action for grassroots movements, social justice and equity projects, and for the political good of our most marginalized communities across the nation? Common Ground will be taking over the New Social Environment Thursday 1pm slot—beginning immediately and continuing up to the presidential election—and will convene weekly on Thursdays at 1pm Eastern from Sept 3rd through Nov 5th.

Please join us for our second installment, with special guest Jodi Archambault (Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), acclaimed artist and traditional dancer, Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives at Wend Collective and Strategic Advisor to the Bush Foundation, as well as former policy advisor under the Administration of President Barack Obama.

She will be in joined by Abigail E. Disney, filmmaker, philanthropist, and Emmy Award-winning director of The Armor of Light (2015). As president and CEO of the documentary production company Fork Films, Disney has produced such groundbreaking films as Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008), on Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, the women’s organization that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003, as well as co-created the subsequent nine-part PBS series Women, War, & Peace, spotlighting women-led political uprisings across the globe. She has executive-produced and supported over a hundred documentary projects through Fork Films’s funding program—among which shines the critically-acclaimed 2019 documentary Knock Down the House, which follows the primary campaign of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alongside three other progressive political newcomers. Disney’s nonprofit advocacy group, Peace is Loud, uses storytelling to advance social and political movements, focusing on women’s rights and gender justice.

They will discuss Archambault’s experiences as a policy advisor under the Obama Administration, being an interpreter between two radically different worlds, why we should each sign up to be poll workers in our communities in advance of the election, contextualizing Standing Rock after Ferguson and as a predecessor to our current moment of militarized policing, and the long resilience of Native Peoples.

We will close with a reading by poet Pamela Sneed.

Jodi Archambault

A photograph of Jodi Archambault
Jodi Archambault, Wend Collective Jodi Archambault (Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota) currently serves as a strategic advisor at the Bush Foundation and is the Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives at Wend Collective. Prior to that role, she worked for the D.C. law firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Edreson and Perry in 2015 after serving as a political appointee under the Administration of President Barack Obama. During her tenure under the Administration, Jodi served as the Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Assistant-Secretary Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior and separately as the White House Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Jodi served as the executive director of the Native American Training Institute in Bismarck, N.D., a non profit offering technical assistance and training to tribal, state and local governments in human service delivery systems. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Abigail E. Disney

A photograph of filmmaker Abigail E. Disney
Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, activist and the Emmy-winning director of The Armor of Light. As president and CEO of the documentary production company Fork Films, she produced the groundbreaking Pray the Devil Back to Hell and co-created the subsequent PBS series Women, War & Peace. She is also the Chair and Co-Founder of Level Forward, a new breed storytelling company focused on systemic change through creative excellence, balancing financial and social returns. The companies and stories that have most meaning for Abigail are the ones which foster human understanding. She has executive produced and supported over 100 documentary films through Fork Films’ funding program. She also created the nonprofit Peace is Loud, which uses storytelling to advance social movements and the Daphne Foundation, which supports organizations working for a more equitable, fair and peaceful New York City.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Pamela Sneed reading.

Pamela Sneed

Pamela Sneed
Photo by Patricia Silva
Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer, and visual artist, author of Funeral Diva, out with City Lights in Fall 2020, among others. She has been featured in New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Artforum, Hyperallergic and on the cover of New York Magazine.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.