Would you like your organization to be a part of the Democracy Initiative? Fill out our form to get started!

Join Now


Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 11.22.2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

We wish everyone safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family. May you come back recharged and refreshed for the work ahead! The DI office will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving for Thursday and Friday this week.

Top Labor Leader & DI Board Member Tefere Gebre named 2017 “Roving Ambassador for Peace”

We congratulate AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre on being named the 2017 World Peace Prize "Roving Ambassador for Peace" by the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (WPPAC). The Council announced Gebre as the recipient on September 12, 2017 and will officially present him the award during a ceremony at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington DC on December 5, 2017. Gebre is being honored for his work within the labor movement to bring justice for men and women. The Chief Judge of the Council, Fr. Sean McManus noted, "We strongly believe that the Labor Movement should be recognized as powerfully contributing to world peace—based on solidarity, equality, and justice for all.”

Still #NotForUs

Last week the House voted 227 to 205 to pass a tax bill that gives corporations and wealthy interests huge tax breaks while leaving everyday people with little or no savings. The U.S. Senate is now considering their own tax bill which not only gives tax breaks to corporations but takes away healthcare from 13 million Americans. It’s clear, this bill is not for us – everyday people struggling to provide for their families; urging elected leaders to make healthcare affordable; looking for common sense solutions to the kitchen table issues

It’s time for elected leaders to work for everyday people, not corporations and wealthy interests. Democracy is more than just about elections, so here are three ways to keep you members engaged in democracy over Thanksgiving:

  • Write a letter to the editor about why the tax bill is a giveaway to corporations and how it impacts an issue your organization works on.
  • Schedule a visit. Make sure your Member of Congress hears from you while they are home.
  • Get organized. Talk to your neighbors and friends about how this bill puts more money in the pockets of corporations and billionaires and leaves everyday people to get by on less.




On Wednesday November 15, Our Revolution Illinois partnered with Common Cause Illinois to present a Town Hall on Fair Elections. The standing room only event was emceed by Cook County Clerk David Orr. The panel featured Sen. Daniel Bliss, Common Cause IL Executive Director Brian Gladstein, and Rep. Carol Ammons. Before the panel presented arguments for a Fair Elections Program in the city state and county, community activist Nicole Johnson from the Englewood neighborhood talked how small dollar donations.

Nicole said that small dollars from the community mean more than $1000 checks. She stated “If mother of 4 can give me a $5 or $10 donation, I not only have her vote I have her trust.” She continued to say “Money reinforces accountability” If you take big money you are now accountable to your donors and not your community. The panel and guest speakers answered questions from the audience. Rep. Ammons urged participants to change the way we think about money in campaigns, when $120,000 is considered pretty normal for a race in Illinois. She asked the crowd, “How many turkeys can you buy with $120,000? Instead we spend that money on TV ads.”

Common Cause Illinois and Our Revolution Illinois hosted this event to bring awareness to the Cook County Fair Elections Bill. The coalition which has collected approximately 1,500 postcards in support of Fair Elections in the past six weeks is working to build the demand on the ground to pass the Cook County Fair Elections Bill.

WATCH forum: https://www.facebook.com/hardlensmedia/videos/1760470397581538/

For more information on how your organization can get involved email David Sanchez at (dsanchez@democracyinitiative.org).



Floridians for a Fair Democracy has collected more than 800,000 petitions with the goal to have 1.1 million by the end of December. The deadline to gather petitions by volunteers is December 15, 2017. There are weekly days of action and the next big day of action is on December 2, 2017. Folks can also send the petition out to their lists via email for people to print and send in.

It is time 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. Here is the link for folks to print and send in the petition themselves (and print extra and share with friends). It’s also in Spanish if helpful.
  2. Here is a link to the campaign site where people can sign up to volunteer: https://secondchancesfl.org/
  3. There will be days of action on December 2 and 9. You can use this link to help recruit hosts and attendees and to track ongoing activity throughout the month.
  4. Finally, here are some campaign approved sample email blasts and I am attaching the messaging triangle for the campaign. Please run your blast by the campaign before you send it! A good sample is below from Common Cause as well.


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.

Let's Bring Fair Elections to Prince George's County - Town Hall Meeting Dec. 7, 2017


Fair Elections Town Hall
Thursday, December 7, 2017

6:30-8:30PM (doors open at 6PM)
Southern Regional Technology & Recreation Complex
7007 Bock Road
Fort Washington, MD 20744

Join Fair Elections Maryland and Councilmembers Obie Patterson (D-8), Mary Lehman (D-1) and Mel Franklin (D-9) for a Prince George's County Town Hall!

In recent years, many residents of Prince George's County have felt that their voices are being increasingly drowned out by the flood of big money into our local elections.

Small donor empowerment programs put voters back in the driver’s seat of our elections by providing matching funds for small contributions to candidates who reject large and corporate contributions. This system allows candidates relying on small donors to compete with big money candidates by appealing to everyday constituents.

Guest Speakers:

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel (Common Cause of Maryland), Delman L. Coates, Ph.D. (Our Revolution Prince George's), Larry Stafford (Progressive Maryland), and Joe Brice, President (Prince George's Civic Federation) as moderator.

Come out to learn about the program and what you can do to help bring fair elections to Prince George's County.

Democracy 365: Voting is Our Great Equalizer

Our Revolution is reclaiming American democracy for working people by empowering millions to fight for progressive change at every level of our country. It is clear that in order to have a democracy that is responsive to the needs of working families, we must transform our economic and political systems. Our Revolution is doing just that. They are active member of our coalition on reforms across the country to fight big money and expand voting rights for all Americans.

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.  

6th Democracy Initiative Annual Meeting
Thursday, December 14th, 2017
AFL-CIO Headquarters - President’s Room
815 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

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

Mobilizing & Collaboration

Mobilizing Meeting

Wednesday, November 29 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, December 19 at 4:15pm EST / 1:15 PST

RSVP to mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

The second meeting of the Communications Collaborative was well attended. Participants reviewed initial results of an internal survey on our coalition capacity. We encourage all partners to complete the survey. Full meeting notes will be sent out next week.

DI Launching Podcast & Hosting Twitter Chat

The DI will be launching a podcast in mid-December and hosting a Twitter Chat on A 21st Century Democracy on December 15th (the anniversary of the Bill of Rights). If you are interested in participating in the Twitter Chat or being featured as a guest on the podcast, please email Michelle (mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org) and Raven (rkeenan@democracyinitiative.org) for more information.

Stay Connected with DI Partners

Want to share a victory or call to action in the fight for democracy? Email Michelle (mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org) to add an action for the next Weekly Update!

If you are not already a subscriber, click here to receive the DI Report in your inbox. And please be sure to follow us on Twitter(@Unite4Democracy), like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel