Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 03.14.19

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Our highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—please share widely.


Statement from Democracy Initiative Executive Director, Wendy Fields:
The Democracy Initiative is thrilled to welcome Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth, to our Board of Directors.
Erich is a nationally recognized environmental and progressive leader, who brings deep expertise in economics, energy, and tax and budget policy. With Erich’s longstanding commitment to connecting racial, economic and environmental justice, the DI board stands to gain another champion for work at the intersections of today’s most pressing issues. What’s more, Erich’s focus on indigenous and grassroots advocacy at Friends of the Earth means he is sure to bring a strong focus on coalition-building to his role with the DI.
Erich’s fellow board members share in our excitement about his appointment. Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune said of the new Board Member: "We are excited to welcome Friends of the Earth US and their President Erich Pica to the board of the Democracy Initiative at such a pivotal moment. Together with our allies, we can and will continue the work to safeguard our democracy and in turn tackle the climate crisis, and we welcome this new energy to the Democracy Initiative."
Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Founding DI partner Greenpeace tells us, “We are thrilled to welcome Erich Pica onto the board of directors. Friends of the Earth, under Erich's leadership, has been a powerful voice for not just the environment, but for democracy and justice. He's a perfect addition to the team.”
We also want to take this opportunity to thank Annie Leonard for her years of service to both the DI and the democracy fights, as she rotates off the board. We will miss her fighting spirit but know that Greenpeace will remain a strong partner in the fights ahead.  


Good afternoon DI partners,

On behalf of the Democracy Initiative, I would like to express our appreciation to our coalition partners for your support and engagement on H.R. 1, For the People Act! You are the game changers that led to this historic democracy reform victory. The passage of H.R. 1 last week in the House of Representatives was a result of the hard work in the states by the grassroots to transform our democracy. We should all celebrate our collective power. Over 40 (& growing) of our coalition partners personally shared with us photos and quotes of DI leaders to show their solidarity. If you don’t see yourself represented, it’s not too late to send us your quote and photo. We’ve attached a collage of our leaders who shared their statements on why the victory matters to their members. To date, the DI principals' statement twitter thread has garnered more than 80,000 impressions!

We are so proud that this is one of the most unified and active engagements from DI partners that we’ve experienced in a while. Our work is not over, time to get out of the Beltway and into the states, let’s keep the momentum as we now pivot to the Senate and the states.

In peace and solidarity,

Wendy Fields
Executive Director
Democracy Initiative

Following the successful House vote, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) announced he would introduce the House-passed bill in the Senate. All this week, we have been working with our partners at the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) to gather original co-sponsors on that Senate companion bill. As of today, the Udall bill has collected nearly 40 cosponsors, including almost the entire Democratic Caucus. As momentum builds, the lead sponsors have decided to delay introduction until March 27, to give time for additional Senators to sign on.

The short delay gives us an excellent opportunity to help secure those final cosponsor targets.


  • This week and next, we are driving calls to the Senate. Stand Up America has set up a coalition number to call the Senate: 888-724-8879.
    • Feel free to use it! Callers will hear a quick recording on the "For the People Act" before being connected to their Senator or the switchboard.
  • The coalition has also drafted a sample email to encourage calls.  

Additionally, we are continuing our social media efforts to keep the issue in the public eye, and to amplify the important House win leading to potential Senate action.

Our toolkit is available on the DI website. Click here!

Please continue to use these social media toolkits from our partners:


DI Board Member and Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune's latest for Sierra, the national publication of the Sierra Club, is "One Planet, One Vote: protecting our democracy is how we save wild places," a piece that meditates on the always recurring truth that, fundamental to our fight to save our planet and achieve real justice and sustainability, we must build our democracy.
"These attacks on democracy are relevant to the Sierra Club because, of all the tools we rely on to fulfill our mission, the most indispensable is the principle that every citizen can participate in the electoral process. Any assault on our democracy is also an assault on public lands, healthy communities, and a stable climate. If we fail to defend our democracy, then nothing that we hope to protect—and nothing that we've already protected—will be safe."

Read the full piece here.


The Democracy Initiative is pleased to announce that Getachew Kassa, our Senior Campaigner, has been promoted to the position of National Field Manager. Getachew has been at the DI for almost two years as Senior Campaigner, after serving as the NAACP's leader for the DI.
Getachew has built many key relationships both at the national level and in the states, and has the respect of many allies and has a deep passion to ensure that state and local initiatives and our partner organizations' members are an integral part of shaping and making decisions around campaigns.
We look forward to the dedication, passion, and expertise we've come to expect from Getachew continuing as he takes on this new role.


State Voices seeks an experienced, innovative organizer with a proven track record of success managing talented staff, developing and facilitating trainings, leading civic engagement and issues campaigns to serve as the Sr. Director of State Capacity Building (Sr.). The Sr. will manage a dynamic team of three capacity building organizers and one deputy director to ensure the department is supporting 23 state partners to strengthen organizational infrastructure, deepen and amplify leadership, and create a thriving and connected network. The ideal candidate will lead with an organizer’s orientation, build strong relationships with myriad stakeholders, implement innovative ideas and bring good energy into this newly redesigned department. Moreover, the Sr. must have a demonstrated track record of and commitment to leading with racial and gender equity principles and practices. The Sr. is an integral part of the State Voices senior management team and will report to the Managing Director.

Click here to see the full posting.

The Voting & Elections Program Director will manage overall operations of the Voting & Elections Program, working with state and national staff to develop and implement strategic campaigns that advance priority legal, policy and issue agendas on topics including modernization of voter registration and voting models, restoration of voting rights for formerly-incarcerated individuals, voting system integrity, curbing voter suppression and boosting voter participation.

Click here to see the full posting.



The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) works to turn environmental values into national, state and local priorities. LCVEF, in collaboration with our state LCVEF partners, advocates for strong environmental protections, organizes and amplifies the voices of communities of color and other key constituencies who are disproportionately impacted by climate change, air pollution, water contamination and other issues, and engages people in the democratic process in order to enact strong environmental laws.

LCVEF is seeking a Voting Rights Program Director who is a strong base builder, coalition builder, and fierce advocate for equitable and accessible democratic processes at every level of government and in every community. The ideal candidate thrives on building and growing programs and is creative, motivated and inspires leadership and collaboration from partners and peers. They should have a penchant for detail, exceeding expectations and a desire to be a team player in a growing, dynamic organization.

Click here to see the full posting.

* * *