Ady Barkan


Ady Barkan is the co-founder of the Be a Hero PAC and an organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy. In 2016, at age 32, Ady was diagnosed with ALS – a mysterious terminal illness that slowly paralyzes the body over time.   

Prior to his ALS diagnosis, Ady was the founding director of two major projects at the Center for Popular Democracy: Local Progress and the Fed Up campaign. Local Progress is the network of over 700 progressive local elected officials across the country dedicated to shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Fed Up is a national campaign for full employment and a reformed Federal Reserve. By bringing the voices and perspectives of low and moderate-income Black and Brown Americans into debates about the Feds, Fed Up has transformed the national conversation about the Federal Reserve and our economy and meaningfully improved its policies and governance.

In 2018, Ady co-founded the Be A Hero Pac Fund. Be A Hero raises up the stories of everyday American heroes who stand up to powerful politicians and big money interests. Through his work with Be A Hero, Ady is focused on strengthening America’s health care system and inspiring millions of Americans to take back our democracy from the racists and kleptocrats.

Before joining CPD and founding Be A Hero, Ady was a law clerk to the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York, who found the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program to be unconstitutional. Prior to that, Ady worked at Make the Road New York, where he represented low-wage workers seeking to recover unpaid wages, engage in collective action, and obtain safe and dignified working conditions. He helped design and draft policy proposals to enhance the quality of low-wage jobs in New York City, including the right to paid sick days, regulation of major retailers, and unionization of the car wash industry. He graduated from Yale Law School and Columbia College.

Ady lives in Santa Barbara, CA with his brilliant wife, Rachael and their two beautiful children, Carl (4) and Willow (6 months).