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OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas

May 12, 2023

This week, Off-Kilter continues our ongoing series of conversations with social justice leaders digging into why, in the famous words of Audre Lorde, self-care is political warfare—and the role radical self-care plays in their own lives to sustain them in this work. 

Our next guest in this series is Michele Evermore, a longtime leading voice fighting for America’s most marginalized workers, particularly when it comes to unemployment insurance. Michele is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and most recently served as deputy director of policy in the U.S. Department of Labor’s new Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization under President Biden. She's also a martial artist and an avid gardener whose tomato list we should all be lucky enough to get on.

Rebecca and Michele had a far-ranging conversation about how the historic, if sadly short-lived, improvements to the U.S. unemployment insurance system went from ideas to public policies early in the COVID era; the story behind the Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization and where things stand for jobless workers today; and the toxic “moral hazard” narrative that continues to hamper progressive policymaking to ensure workers have protection when they lose a job through no fault of their own. They also talked about how self-care shows up in Michele’s own life as a leader on social insurance, why she got into martial arts and how it informs her policy advocacy, and more.

For more:

  • Learn more about Michele’s work here and follow her on Twitter @EvermoreMichele

  • And you can find Off-Kilter’s most recent episode on unemployment insurance and the cliff created by expiring COVID-era improvements here