Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 04.04.18

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago today for standing up for racial, economic, and social justice. Dr. King was a strong advocate for unions and economic justice. He traveled to Memphis on April 3, 1968 to stand in solidarity with sanitation workers after two workers were crushed to death on the job. The dream of a democracy for all is still alive and one that starts from the grassroots demanding and creating change to make sure all people have a voice, all voices count, and everyone has fair representation no matter where you live.

The labor movement continues to be under attack by anti-democracy forces attempting to shrink the power of the grassroots and limit the protections for workers and consumers. As Wendy Fields, Executive Director of the Democracy Initiative notes, “You cannot have a strong democracy without a strong labor movement.” Now more than ever this is our moment to take collective action to create a 21st century democracy.

Take the pledge to stand up for democracy every day of the year. Share the pledge with your members and network to build our grassroots democracy movement.


Michigan was once a leader when it came to voting. The state was a model for voter registration across the country and what we all know now as the “Motor Voter” law. After leading for many years in the 1970s, Michigan has fallen behind with some of the most restrictive processes for voting, and politicians have drawn maps to choose the voters and control government. It’s time to change that. Michiganders have the opportunity this fall to both improve voting rights and achieve fair redistricting for all regardless of race, gender, class, or where they live.

If you have not yet been contacted by one of the DI team members to discuss endorsing this campaign, please contact Elana Orbuch, at

ACTION: We need Everyone to Count – Sign-on Letter for Census

Every 10 years, our constitution mandates, a national census is conducted, counting every person living in the United States at the moment. The Census count determines political representation at the national, state and local level. Our electoral district lines are drawn using census data. In addition, Census results are used by federal and local governments to distribute over $400 billion dollars every year in much-needed aid to local educational, employment, housing, health care and veteran services.

The Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census threatens to undermine the count and your representation. The question has received widespread objections from stakeholders, former Census Bureau directors, and career staff at the Census Bureau. We all agree that we need a fair and accurate census. However, the addition of an untested citizenship question after years of careful, and costly, research, testing, and planning will compromise preparations for the 2020 Census. When we jeopardizing the accuracy of the count it impacts all communities for the next ten years.

SEIU, in partnership with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, has drafted coalition letters to the committees of jurisdiction (House OGR & Senate HSGAC) calling upon them to promptly hold oversight hearings with regards to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census.

You can view the OGR letter here and the HSGAC letter here. You can sign your organization to both letters by filling out the form located here. The deadline to sign on to the letters is April 10th, 2018 at 9 A.M. EST. The letters will be sent to the Committees shortly thereafter. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Dwire at SEIU at or Getachew Kassa at DI

We Stand with Teachers

Jobs with Justice, a DI partner, is urging individuals and groups to stand in solidarity with teachers striking in Oklahoma:

When West Virginia teachers went on strike last month, they inspired educators across the nation with their unity and resolve. Since then, teachers in Oklahoma, as well as Arizona, Kentucky, and other states have started to come together to rise up. It's time to reverse the years-long trend of state legislators cutting taxes for big corporations while starving public schools of essential funding

Oklahoma schools have suffered from neglect and disinvestment by elected officials for far too long. That's why tens of thousands of teachers across the state walked off the job and converged on the state capitol on Monday morning, then again yesterday and again today. They’re taking a big risk to stand for high-quality public schools. Will you have their backs?

Add your name to the message and let the teachers in Oklahoma know you stand with them! If you have more questions, contact Jobs with Justice.


The Democracy Initiative celebrates the recent court victory by the Texas Civil Rights Project who challenged the Texas to make sure all voters can register and have their vote count. The Project sued the state for failing to comply with federal law. More than 1.5 million Texans who provided updated information to the state’s Department of Public Safety were not properly updated or registered to vote as required by the National Voter Registration Act (also known as the “Motor Voter” law). This forced thousands of voters to cast provisional ballots, which were not counted.

Voting is powerful and every eligible voter should have the opportunity to participate freely. Whether its laws that suppress the vote or policies that make it harder for all to access the polls, we must demand change.


Check out “Think 100%, Coolest Show on Climate Change”, a new radio show and podcast from our friends at Hip Hop Caucus. This ground-breaking weekly show focuses on building a diverse and empowered movement to fight climate change, environmental injustices, and propel the transition to 100% clean energy for all. The new platform will provide the climate movement with the ability to break down silos, reach and empower new audiences, mobilize supporters, and position frontline communities for bold action.

More at


Register for the National Action Network’s biggest convention ever! Marking 50 years since the assassination of MLK, we will measure up the state of the Dream and where the movement is going from here. Don't miss out on the biggest civil rights convention in the nation. It is guaranteed to truly be historic.

Register Online:

Registration is free. Please refer back to NAN's website for updates on the schedule, speakers and panelists.


Imagine a government run by people, not money. Our
American democracy and republic are in crisis, and no small measures will do.
In every state, Americans are working together to win a Constitutional
amendment to stop the big money corruption from super PACs and special
interests in our political system so that we the people are back in charge. We
need you in the game, and at the National Citizen Leadership Conference, June
22-25, 2018.

After a
weekend of inspiration, organizing and citizen training, join a team to meet
with our Members of Congress on Capitol Hill to build cross-partisan support
for our Constitutional amendment to stop big money corruption of our political
system! Lobby Day is included in your low, early bird Conference fee of $125.

more and register at


Citizen seeks a proactive, strategic Campaign Director who can help seize the
opportunity inherent in such a democracy crisis or changed Congressional
environment and win far-reaching democratic reforms at this “change moment.” The
Director will work closely with allies to orchestrate meetings and convening’s
to create momentum for the work. They will develop content, guide the outreach
to widen the circle of engaged organizations (state, local and national), and
coordinate Hill outreach, as well as benchmark our overall progress.

For more information and to apply, visit our website.

Mobilization & Collaboration

Get Engaged - See Latest Updates on the Campaigns Calendar

We are maintaining a DI campaign calendar that will include information on upcoming events and activities. Visit our website to access the calendar.

Contact Michelle ( or Elana ( if you have questions.

2018 Calendar for Mobilizing Working Group Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to, cc:

Our bi-monthly meetings focus on field strategy with groups working both at the national and state level so we can collaborate and move democracy reforms effectively. All DI Members are welcome. Email with any questions!

Next Meetings: April 18

DI Communications Working Group

Monthly on 4th Thursday of every month at 1pm

The communications working group is a collaborative space for message refinement using feedback from organizations working on the ground. These monthly meetings also help to resource partner organizations for ongoing local and national campaigns and coordinate messaging and communications as a coalition.

RSVP to, cc:

Next Meetings: April 26 and May 24

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a
victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy or a conference? Email
Michelle ( to add an action for the next
Weekly Update!

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