Goldstein Program in Public Affairs

Date: 5:30pm EDT October 8, 2018

Are We There Yet? The Fight for Economic Justice and the Black Middle Class

The Goldstein Program’s Young Alumni Series Welcomes Caryn York

This year commemorates the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years before King’s death, millions of Americans descended on the National Mall for the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom’ to hear King’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech calling for both racial and economic justice denied to millions of black Americans. Today, fifty years after King’s assassination, the same fight continues for millions of Americans, even in the blue-ish state of Maryland. In her lecture, Caryn will discuss the implications of prior and existing public policy decisions that threaten the possibility of King’s dream ever fully becoming a reality.


Caryn York is Executive Director of the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF), an independent, statewide nonprofit organization that promotes policies and programs to help low-wage workers advance to high-wage jobs. Caryn is the first African American female to lead the twenty-two-year organization. Caryn works tirelessly to encourage key policymakers and stakeholders to adopt and support policies and programs that eliminate educational and employment barriers and facilitate the successful entry, or re-entry, of low-wage workers. As such, Caryn has been instrumental in leading numerous state and local policy reform efforts including, but not limited to, ‘Ban the Box’ on job and college applications, expansion of criminal record expungement and shielding laws, postsecondary access and affordability, and reducing the impact of incarceration on working families through development, passage, and implementation of the Maryland Justice Reinvestment Act and statewide bail reform.

Caryn majored in International Studies at Washington College, and has worked within state and local politics for over 10 years.