RISE Up!

This post is co-authored by George-Ann Ryan and Nabila Hassan, both of whom were members of RISE’s steering committee

Are you a potential SIPA student who wants to know what student organizations are available to satisfy your interest in social justice, inequality, and similar topics? At SIPA there are many organizations that cater to students who want to know how to apply their coursework and experience to issues of social and economic equity, one of which is RISE.

But first, who is RISE? 

RISE is the student working group on Race, Inequality, Solidarity and Economics (RISE) whose mission is to create a safe environment for students to work towards solutions to problems of social inequality, such as wealth and income inequality, poverty, and racial, economic and gender disparities.

How will RISE achieve this? 

  1. Knowledge sharing: Bringing together students, scholars and activists who are researching and working on all dimensions of inequality. RISE frequently partners with other student organizations and committees to explore multiple dimensions of inequalities
  2. Inclusivity advocacy: Advocate for greater inclusion of income disparity, poverty, racial divides and other dimensions of inequality in public policy curriculum
  3. Community building: Promote and enhance organizational efforts for social, economic and racial justice through active partnership with other student organizations
  4. Civic and political engagement: By connecting SIPA students to relevant volunteer and activism opportunities across New York City

Our main avenue to achieving our goals is through events where we invite practitioners, academics, artists, activists, and social entrepreneurs to educate and share with us about how their work has improved conditions for the communities they serve. 

Flagship event: Inequality of Rights Workshop

Last April, RISE held our inaugural Inequality of Rights Workshop, analyzing inequality through an intersectional lens. All of our privileges lie at the intersections of all our identities. Whether it be gender, race, economic status, or migration, our multifaceted identities provide insight into how we approach policy problems. RISE, along with other students groups, wanted to analyze how our intersecting identities impact how we are impacted by public policy decisions and start a conversation about what it really means to create policy that positively impacts everyone. Speakers were a combination of practitioners and academics including Dr. Suresh Naidu (Columbia SIPA), Ravi Ragbir (New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City), Eddie Taveras (FWD.us), and Helen Ho (Biking Public Project).

At the Workshop, Suresh Naidu gave an overview of the role of economic rights in the fight for equity through economic research and policy as well as all the ways in which our present policy framework denies us our economic rights. Ravi Ragbir shared his battle with and the importance of knowing your rights when navigating the migration process.

Why did you join RISE? 

George-Ann: My background in economics and public policy, especially as it relates to economic inequality and the ways in which racial and gender identities exacerbate it, meant that when I came to SIPA and saw the group’s name I was hooked from the get go. Making equitable policy begins with being able to see and propose remedies for the equalities present in our society

Nabila: I am interested in racial inequality and that was a huge motivator for me to pursue graduate school. RISE was a perfect fit that expanded on my interest and taught me that inequality exists across broad dimensions and often times multiple dimensions are intersecting with one another making the problem of inequality intertwined and complex 

Why is RISE an important dimension to the conversations at SIPA? 

RISE is a great way for those of us whose course load does not have the room to directly explore issues of equity in depth to discuss how we can apply our learned skill set to these issues, meet a diverse pool of like-minded students, and share resources and materials.

How does RISE engage with the broader SIPA community?

RISE also engages with the broader SIPA community through having representation on the Diversity Committee where a member of RISE’s Steering Committee, alongside chosen Steering Committee members of whom many are also representatives of student organizations,  acts as a student voice to the administration in reflecting our sentiments in how the school manages issues facing students from marginalized communities, driving diversity initiatives, and letting them know how students feel about the campus climate to that effect. RISE also collaborates with faculty and other student groups on events and programs to further the conversation beyond our membership and, sometimes, beyond SIPA’s doors!

Interested in what SIPA students are doing to further diversity? Check out this article, ‘The Quest to Build a More Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive SIPA’ here.

Want to learn more about RISE and what we’re up to? Like and follow our Facebook page!