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Ford Foundation


In the #InequalityIs series, a wide range of people on video—from CEOs to musicians, activists, and fast-food workers—define what inequality means to them, covering the many challenges that need to be overcome in the fight for equality, justice, and dignity for all.

The #InequalityIs campaign is a candid conversation about inequality in all its forms. The video series features a wide range of people from every walk of life, who are realizing that inequality threatens the foundations of our democracy and, over time, will become an impenetrable barrier to opportunity and upward mobility—the hallmarks of our society.

The yearlong campaign by the Ford Foundation aims to use the videos as starting points for what we hope to be robust conversations around inequality and how it affects social justice issues we face today. We believe that inequality extends far beyond the wealth gap. That it is political, social, and cultural in nature, that all forms are interconnected, and that it is a pervasive and growing threat to justice, prosperity, and human dignity around the world.

Learn more about #InequalityIs

  • 02:00

    Inequality means not having a say in how public policy is created, says Edgar Mora Altamirano, the mayor of Curridabat, Costa Rica. He says using technology to empower communities can increase civic engagement and break down barriers to understanding public policy.

  • 01:44

    Tanzanian member of parliament Zitto Kabwe says 30 percent of the world’s wealth is held in tax havens. To tackle inequality, we must address the issue of tax havens. An international tax convention that creates the same set of rules for everyone to follow would curtail them.

  • 01:28

    Inequality is not having access to basic public services. Carlos Moscoso Perea, mayor of Cusco, Peru, explains how despite his city being a UNESCO World Heritage site, only 40 percent of people in his town have access to potable water. People need to be given the minimum they need to survive.

  • 01:49

    Inequality is seen in the low numbers of African students attending tertiary education institutes both at home and abroad. 8B Education Investment Fund’s Lydiah Kemunto Bosire says it’s important to invest in world-class higher education for African students. This will enable Africans themselves to steer the continent to prosperity.

  • 02:07

    The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Alicia Garza believes inequality is a political consequence. NDWA has fought to change state labor laws to include domestic workers. They’re building an intersectional movement and fighting to make sure that women’s work is seen as work.

  • 01:55

    Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, the former mayor of Medellín, Colombia, knows the violence that inequality causes and that it’s a driver of social instability. But he’s witnessed what happens when this inequality is addressed through education and jobs, and how it can decrease the levels of violence.

  • 02:07

    Author Jeff Chang believes in the power of cultural equity in the fight against inequality. Cultural equity is access to the tools that get your story out into the world and also being able to have that story heard. Seeing each other in our full humanity creates a just society.

  • 01:33

    Disrupting health inequality is essential to equity for all. A person’s zip code should not determine the length or quality of their life, explains Risa Lavizzo-Mourey of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It should also not limit the housing, education, or access to healthcare services one receives.

  • 01:54

    Art is a powerful force for making change in the world. Laura Callanan, founding partner of Upstart Co-Lab, says artists are addressing social inequalities in their work. But with impact investing, they can better solve the complex problems that the world is facing.

  • 01:46

    Disrupting inequality is a responsibility that falls to all of us. Architect Teddy Cruz says better design of public institutions and places, especially in marginalized communities, is a way to fight for equality. Public spaces can be redefined by civic engagement, shared responsibility, and learning.

  • 01:25

    Edward Norton, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, says neglect of our natural world and the lack of value placed on the environment is inextricably linked to all kinds of inequality. lifting people out of poverty aligns directly with promoting environmental sustainability, he says.

  • 02:00

    LGBT people face discrimination that doesn’t just end with legal rights that may be granted. Activist Carmen Vazquez says there are many different kinds of inequality that LGBT people experience and there is still much work to be done in changing mindsets and perceptions. Equality is not justice.

  • 01:41

    In the #InequalityIs series, a wide range of people on video—from CEOs to musicians, activists, and fast-food workers—define what inequality means to them, covering the many challenges that need to be overcome in the fight for equality, justice, and dignity for all.

  • 02:15

    Gara LaMarche, president of Democracy Alliance, acknowledges his privilege as a white man. He sees the importance in reducing bigotry and inequality to liberate the talent and energies of all Americans. In order to address the challenges our society faces, we need to have everyone’s talents available and celebrated.

  • 02:11

    The prison system and incarceration rates exacerbate inequality. Max Kenner from the Bard Prison Initiative says education is an equalizer, as it provides those that have been incarcerated with a foundation for future success. Investing in individuals is key to fighting inequality.

  • 02:37

    Dismantling inequality is rooted in inclusion. Diversability’s Tiffany Yu explains how exclusion is more disabling to a person than an actual disability. She believes employers should hire people with disabilities because of their strengths, not just to meet a quota.

  • 01:44

    Immigrants experience inequality that results in great suffering caused by family separations. Ana Cañengez, a motel housekeeper, fights for dignity and justice for all immigrants. She explains that she moved to the U.S. to give her children a better future, and wants to see immigrants like her valued.

  • 01:57

    Inequality in the prison system has a devastating impact. The Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson says an abuse of power and racism exploits people of color and the poor, creating an inequality that becomes part of the culture and the political system. He says fighting inequality requires doing uncomfortable things.

  • 01:37

    Inequality impacts whose voices are heard and whose remain silent. Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson says disrupting inequality means giving people who haven’t been heard the chance to have their say. He explains that this includes giving those who are formerly incarcerated a fair chance to work.

  • 01:56

    Activist Linda Sarsour discusses the issues American Muslims face and how equality is a place where every person can be proud of and celebrated for the complexities of their background. Disrupting inequality requires eradicating stereotypes and embracing identities.

  • 01:25

    The internet is the backbone to accessing information. Radhika Shah from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs says access to information is essential for dismantling inequality. She believes social entrepreneurs and technology companies play an important role in bridging the global technological divide.

  • 01:33

    Inequality needs to be faced head on, and art can help us do that. Musician Usher says art can help us acknowledge and talk about complicated issues, such as the lack of racial justice in addressing problems like racial profiling and police brutality. Racial justice is necessary to address inequality.

  • 01:38

    Inequality is growing. The Ford Foundation’s Amy Brown says this is driven by government policy, which grants access to education and other opportunities to some, but not all. Closing this gap requires making government work for everyone, and giving people who are most impacted the power to change their communities.

  • 01:57

    All citizens need to be able to enjoy the same rights. Fatimetou Malick, mayor of Mauritania’s Tevragh-Zeina, says inequality is not valuing women’s work as much as men’s. She believes an equal society exists when everyone can contribute to society’s development and their skills are valued.

  • 01:42

    CultureStrike’s Favianna Rodriguez says cultural inequality is not often considered, but it’s just as important to address as other forms of inequality. Because art builds empathy, she believes we need to present a multi-dimensional view of who we are through the stories told in the content we create.

  • 01:39

    Michael Clemens, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, says that effective migration policy must consider the long-term benefits of welcoming refugees, along with the upfront costs. He believes today’s migration crisis is being compounded by a lack of vision.

  • 01:55

    Luis Mella Gajardo, mayor of Quillota, Chile, talks about the limited relationship between income and happiness, and why inclusion is key to fighting inequality. Inequality is not being seen and social inclusion can help address that. He believes focusing on happiness should be an objective for changing society.

  • 01:52

    As a comedian, Hari Kondabolu can joke about things people don’t are uncomfortable with, like injustice and inequality. He believes we can end inequality by people acknowledging their privileges, speaking up for what is unjust, and being prepared to lose something in the process.

  • 01:20

    Inequality of access to a working healthcare system has repercussions for the whole world. Sue Desmond-Hellman,Gates Foundation CEO, wants to see a future where the benefits of science, technology, and innovation are available to everyone. She believes health can be a driver towards equality.

  • 01:27

    By 2050, about 70 percent of the world’s people will live in cities. The Ford Foundation’s Don Chen says as our world urbanizes, we’ll see extreme degrees of inequality. He believes societies function better when everyone is contributing, andhere are opportunities for cities to address inequality head-on.

  • 01:25

    Social justice is good for business. Philanthropist Richard Branson believes businesses that do good become better brands. The more businesses can be run with a purpose, the better it is for the whole world— including the business.

  • 01:20

    Food is a basic necessity. City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens says inequality is the gap between the cost of living and the wages earned. Around 50 million Americans are considered food insecure and struggle to put food on the table. Stephens believes a collaborative approach can help end food insecurity.

  • 01:55

    Climate change is about inequality. May Boeve, executive director of, explains that the people who did the least amount to cause the problem are most affected by it. Addressing climate change has the potential to address issues of inequality and bring people out of poverty.

  • 02:07

    The U.S. has the highest level of inequality among higher-income countries. Economist Joseph Stiglitz believes this inequality has been chosen, and that the great divide between rich and poor has been created by U.S. economic policies that have limited economic mobility.

  • 01:26

    Higher levels of equality lead to higher levels of economic growth. The MasterCard Foundation’s Reeta Roy explains how her mother fought for her education while she was growing up and how important it is for women to have economic access in order to fight inequality.

  • 01:30

    Gender inequality, racial inequality, and economic inequality need to be solved by a social movement that is rooted in intersectionality. Educator Willie Baptist’s understanding of poverty is informed by his own experience of being homeless on the streets of Philadelphia. He believes ending inequality is truly possible.

  • 00:31

    In the #InequalityIs series, a wide range of people on video—from CEOs to musicians, activists, and fast-food workers—define what inequality means to them, covering the many challenges that need to be overcome in the fight for equality, justice, and dignity for all.

  • 02:01

    Everyday people are transforming inequality. The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Ai-jen Poo has seen what happens when people come together and decide to build a movement. She wants to transform the inequality that exists for caregivers, who are often immigrants, live in poverty, and are denied labor protections.

  • 01:16

    Singer Elton John says inequality is caused by stigma and discrimination against LGBT people. helped create the HIV/AIDS crisis, due to a lack of access to life-saving medication. He believes inequality is the greatest problem we face today and needs to be addressed through inclusiveness.

  • 01:27

    People with ideas changing the world need to be given a chance. Inequality hurts talented young people across Africa, says Fred Swaniker of the African Leadership Academy. He believes in giving young Africans the opportunity to work and develop as leaders, so they can transform their communities and the world.