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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 11.09.2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Slow Clap for Democracy

Tuesday was Election Day for about 40% of the country. It resulted in many firsts for communities that have been marginalized in the past. We saw many young and first-time candidates run and win against incumbents or party establishment favorites. In Virginia and New Jersey, the state
legislative and gubernatorial races have had the most media coverage. The real
story is about participation.

For everyday people to be
advocates for the issues that matter most in their community, it requires
participation – not just 3 months of the year when there is an election – but
every single day. Tuesday demonstrated that more people are stepping up and more people are speaking up for the issues that matter which
is to be celebrated with a slow clap, David Sanchez explains.

Blueprint Conference: “There is a generation ready to move”

Common Cause hosted the 5th annual Blueprint for a
Great Democracy
conference at the National Education Association. DI Executive
Director Wendy Fields spoke on a money in politics panel where she emphasized
the need for everyday people to demand common sense reforms that hold leaders
accountable and get big money out of our politics and policies.

Titled as "Turning Cynicism into Confidence: Advancing Integrity in Our Democracy," the Blueprint Conference featured a morning panel discussion on
the powers of the presidency, Watergate and the importance of special
prosecutors. The afternoon session focused on election integrity and raising
the importance of election audits. Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common
Cause and DI board co-hair, shared “the new wave of technology is not the next iPhone but paper,” as
paper ballots become a common sense and reliable tool for voting and auditing
an election.

Watch Wendy’s opening remarks on the DI’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/U-LAKQBZ0Iw

Full videos from the conference are available at https://www.facebook.com/pg/CommonCause/videos.

Nov. 11 Day of Action: Floridians for a fair democracy

The Second Chances campaign in Florida is in home stretch in gathering the 750,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot to restore that ability to vote to 1.5 million Floridians who were convicted of felonies and have completed their sentences.

Here are the primary ways you can help: (sample email blasts here)

  1. Send out the petition to your Florida members and ask them to mail it in (and print extra copies to gather signatures). You can send it by email and/or by mailing.
  2. Join the Day of Action on November 11 to collect signatures. We need to not only help recruit hosts but also direct people to this page to find an event near them.
  3. Organize petition drive. Contact Itohan Ighodaro (itohanighodaro@gmail.com) if your organization is interested in bringing a group to gather petitions.

Florida has the most restrictive policies in the nation with respect to limiting the ability to vote for citizens who have completed felony sentences. It is one of only four states in the country whose constitution permanently disenfranchises all citizens with past felony convictions. Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment would allow people who’ve paid their debt to society to earn back their right to vote.

Speak up for Fair Elections: Cook County Town hall, Wednesday Nov. 15

Please join Our Revolution Illinois/Chicago, Common Cause Illinois, the Democracy Initiative, and the 40th Ward Alliance at a public forum to learn more about small donor matching and discuss how it can help fix our broken campaign finance system.

Speakers include David
Orr, Cook County Clerk, John Arena, Alderman 45th Ward, and Daniel Bliss, State
Senator 9th District.

For more information, email info@ourrevolutionil.com.

Save the date: Dec. 7, 2017
Fair Elections Town Hall in Prince George's County, MD

Fair Elections Town Hall
December 7, 2017
Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex
7007 Bock Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744
6pm -8 pm

Hosted by Councilmember Obi Patterson and Councilmember Mary Lehman

For more information, contact David Sanchez (dsanchez@democracyinitiative.org) for more information.


The Democracy Initiative participated in the National Action Network's Annual Policy Conference to speak on a panel, "Working and Building Coalitions in the States." Executive Director Wendy Fields joined Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of US Climate Action Network, Cedric Lawson, Field Manager at Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Right, and Erin Shields, National Field Organizer at The Center for Media Justice to discuss the importance of building and shifting power to advance kitchen table issues like access to clean water, clean air, quality health care, as well as access to a good education. Panelist noted that working on these issues is critical to ground coalition work in the local fights. Taking immediate action to advance their issues, the attendees then met with their elected officials on Capitol Hill, reinforcing that democracy is about governance and civic participation 365 days a year.

Democracy 365: The Power of the People

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is advancing 21st century democracy reforms to create thriving communities for all. As one of the oldest civil rights organizations, they understand that it is through increased participation, blunting the influence of big money, and shifting the power back to everyday people that NAACP members can become stronger advocates for issues like a living wage, criminal justice reform, and a healthy planet.

Let’s stand together for our democracy! Take the pledge to make democracy an everyday activity so all Americans vote, all votes are counted, and leaders are held accountable to the people they represent - everyday Americans.

Annual Meeting: DECEMBER 14          

Join us for the December Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 14th, 2017 from 1:00pm-4:30pm ET.  

Following the meeting there will be a reception to honor and appreciate "Democracy Champions!"

Mobilizing & Collaboration

Mobilizing Meeting

Wednesday, November 15 at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to gkassa@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

Our bi-monthly meetings to make decisions on field strategy and move actions  both at the national and state level so we can collaborate and move democracy reforms effectively. All DI Members are welcome

Email gkassa@democracyinitiative.org with any questions!

DI Communications Collaborative

Tuesday, November 21 at 4:15pm EST / 1:15 PST
RSVP to mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

This will be our second meeting focusing on messaging for our state campaigns in Illinois, Maryland, and DC. We also discuss analysis tools with Jess and Rob from Common Cause.  All members of your communications team (digital, press, messaging, etc.) are encouraged to attend.

Thank you to all the partners for coming out to the first meeting for our collaborative working group! We had great discussions with folks from Sierra Club, Common Cause, Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, Daily Kos, SEIU, Communications Workers of America, Public Citizen, and Rethink Media.

Please email Michelle (mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org) for more information.

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