The Honorable Julián Castro
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
As three-term mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro was known for innovative governance. His “Decade of Downtown” program campaigned for new investments in San Antonio’s city center and older communities and brought in $350 million of private sector money, generating more than 2,400 housing units. In 2010, Castro was enrolled in the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders and named by Time magazine as one of its “40 under 40” list of notable leaders in American politics. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he became the first Latino to deliver a keynote. Castro took office as the sixteenth Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014.
Introduction by Melissa Mark-Viverito
Melissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position. She worked for over a decade in local activism, nonprofit organizations, and labor before being elected to the City Council in 2005. In 2009, she was elected to her second term in the City Council, during which she served as Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation, the founding Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, and a member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. In 2011, Mark-Viverito was one of four Council Members to pioneer the first Participatory Budgeting process in New York City.
Closing remarks by Ben Hecht
Ben Hecht was appointed President and CEO of Living Cities in July 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its twenty-two member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low-income people and the cities where they live. Currently, he is Chairman of EveryoneOn, a national initiative founded by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity, and he sits on the National Advisory Board for StriveTogether and on Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Advisory Council.
IDEAS CITY is a major collaborative initiative between hundreds of arts, education, and civic organizations centered on the belief that culture is fundamentally vital to urban growth and innovation. This keynote address anchored three days of conferences, debates, performances, activities on the street, and artistic interventions that transformed the Bowery neighborhood in downtown Manhattan into a multi-platform incubator that examined urban issues, propose solutions, and seed concrete actions. The Festival took place May 28–30, 2015, and this year’s theme—The Invisible City—explored questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship and representation, expression and suppression, and the enduring quest for visibility.