DECEMBER 8 - 9, 2017


  • DeRay Mckesson, Black Lives Matter leader and Co-Founder of Campaign Zero, delivered the closing keynote of The Arena Phoenix. He discussed why criminal justice reform and educational opportunity are fundamental to shaping a more perfect union, and why he fights in the arena every day. DeRay currently hosts the Crooked Media podcast Pod Save the People.
  • Gabby Giffords, former Congresswoman, and Captain Mark Kelly, retired astronaut, shared why they continue to fight in the arena, and how they shape a more perfect union through responsible gun ownership.
  • Anand Giridharadas delivered a keynote that revisits the theme of “A More Perfect Union,” ten years later. Anand is a writer and author of The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas and India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New Republic.
  • Randy Bryce, Veteran, Ironworker, and Candidate for U.S. Congress (WI-1), spoke about the need for authenticity in our politics.
  • January Contreras, Candidate for Arizona Attorney General, shared her vision of a more perfect union.
  • Jason Kander, President of Let America Vote, shared his reflections about the state of our democracy on the one year anniversary of the first Arena Summit.
  • Tom Perriello, former Congressman and CEO of Win Virginia, discussed the lessons we learned in last week’s historic election in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, spoke to racial and economic equity, and how we can shape progressive policy agendas leading into the 2018 cycle and beyond.
  • Mayor Robert Uribe from Douglas, AZ, shared his story of entering the arena and being an inclusive mayor representing a border community.
  • Ellie Pérez, Arizona DNC Member, shared her journey into the arena and why she fights for a more perfect union.
  • Desmond Meade, Executive Director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, highlighted the work he is leading to end Jim Crow in Florida and restore voting rights to 1.6 million formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Lennon Flowers, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Dinner Party, and Micky ScottBey Jones, Director of Healing Justice Initiatives at Faith Matters Network, helped us learn how to build a more inclusive, tolerant, and compassionate world across differences through a People's Supper.
  • Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder, shared his story of why he decided to enter the arena, and the work he is doing to advance voting rights and access for America's fastest growing county.
  • Alex Gomez, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), will talk about the immigrant rights movement and building power from the ground up.
  • Some of our Arena PAC Fellows joined us to share their stories of why they entered the arena.


Jamie Hodari
Jevin Hodge
Jacquie Hoffman
Betsy Hoover
Christie Houlihan
Elizabeth Jaff
Jennifer Jermaine
Molly Jong Fast
Kristen Kent
Nick Kowalski
Carolyn Kriss
Max Lubin
Joseline Mata
Matt McLaughlin
Rodd McLeod
Beth Meyer
Jaime Mulligan
Ben Nathnason
Victor Nguyen-Long
Avi Panth
John Michael Parker
Suraj Patel
Viral Patel
Ellie Perez
Cat Plein
Ashley Porter
DJ Quinlan
Sujeet Rao
Ari Ratner
Katie Reisner
Kat Sabine
Kat  Sadeghi
Neal Sarkar
Michael Simon
Liz Simon
Steve Sinha
Michael Slaby
Charlotte Slaiman
Jon Sutton
Tony Valdovinos
Dana Walton

Emily Abrams
Seth Andrew
Jimmy Arwood
Luis Avila
Raul Alvillar
Lauren Bille
Rep. Reginald Bolding
Sammi Brown
Ryanne Browne
Kelly Canady
Reggie Cardozo
Cesar Chavez
Tracy Chou
SaeHo Chun
David Cohen
Jill Collen Jefferson
Lisa Conn
Cory Connolly
Scotty Crowe
Aquiles Damiron-Alcantara
Jonny Dorsey
Akilah Ensley
Jeohn Favors
Herschel Fink
Maila Fisher
Lucas Fleischer
Adrian Fontes
Kate Gage
Charles Galbraith
Aman George
Zak Ghali
Jason Green
Jill Habig
Sejal Hathi
Josh Henderson
Luis Heredia
Alma Hernandez
Daniel Hernandez
Consuelo Hernandez
Roy Herrera


Public Narrative Training // All Day Friday, December 8

This is an all-day Public Narrative workshop based on the Harvard University course, taught by Sarah ElRaheb and a teaching team who has trained alongside prominent social justice activist and Professor Marshall Ganz. In a small-group setting, participants worked with coaches to develop their capacity to lead through learning to tell their own story, the story of those they call to join them, and the story of their call to action. This workshop leads participants through a dynamic experiential process that enables individuals to identify their values and inspire action.

Campaign Leadership Track // All Day Friday, December 8 + Afternoon of Saturday, December 9

This is a training track for campaign managers and other campaign leaders, looking to level up their skills in strategy, new media storytelling, management, and data. This training will not be comprehensive, but rather, will focus on discreet needs that we have observed in our interactions with campaign leadership teams. We highly recommend this track for first-time campaign managers and people stepping into leadership roles on campaigns, but invite all interested parties to apply. The cost of attendance for this session is $50. View the full schedule.

Innovator + Founder Track // Afternoon of Saturday, December 9

Higher Ground Labs, Empowered to Run, and Lab 736 are bringing together fellow innovators and founders who are developing new civic projects and organizations. We will explore gaps in the current ecosystem and strategize on issues like joint/coordinated fundraising, developing shared tech infrastructure, and staying legally compliant.

Based on your input in the application, we will pick two or three topics. Then we’ll start developing solutions together at the Summit. This is not a talk or panel discussion. Instead, it’s an opportunity to work with fellow innovators and entrepreneurs to accelerate your/our work.