FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
September 22, 2017
The Democracy Initiative Congratulates Board Members Derrick Johnson and Tefere Gebre on Their Recent Elections
Washington, D.C. (October 31, 2017) — The Democracy Initiative (DI), a dynamic coalition of 63 diverse issue organizations, celebrates the elections of Derrick Johnson as the 19th president and CEO of the NAACP and Tefere Gebre as the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO. Johnson and Gebre are active members of the DI’s six-member board of directors. Johnson has been serving as the interim head of the historic civil rights organization since July of this year. Gebre was re-elected executive vice president at the AFL-CIO convention in St. Louis along with President Richard Trumpka and Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler.
The Democracy Initiative launched in 2013 – by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), NAACP, Greenpeace USA and Sierra Club – to mobilize members to demand a democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. Since its first convening, endorsing groups have represented a diverse range of progressive issues, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice. All partners hold a firm belief that success in any of these areas depends on civil engagement and participation in democracy.
“I look forward to collaborating with Derrick Johnson to fix our democracy and build a movement for racial, environmental and social justice,” said Annie Leonard, Executive Director for Greenpeace USA, and co-chair for the DI board of directors. “Now more than ever, we must work side-by-side to fight for justice in our communities and to create a healthy planet and democracy for all!”
Mr. Johnson’s extensive career and advocacy on civil rights and Mr. Gebre’s tireless voice on workers’ rights are an asset for the Democracy Initiative as it launches its most ambitious program, Democracy 365. The Democracy 365 campaign is actively pushing back on attempts both locally and nationally to shrink the voting power of everyday people.
“I’m so excited to continue to have Tefere’s leadership as part of Democracy Initiative,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President and CEO of Common Cause and co-chair of the DI board of directors. “Labor members continue to be at the front lines of the fight for change in our democracy and we need their drive and energy now more than ever to fight back corporate influence in government.”
“In this critical moment, it is bold visionary leaders like Derrick and Tefere that are leading the way not only with their words but through actions,” said Wendy Fields, executive director for the Democracy Initiative. “I look forward to working with Chairman Leon Russell at the NAACP and President Richard Trumpka at the AFL-CIO as they guide members to meet the demands for a 21st century democracy. They know that in order to advance critical issues like economic justice, criminal justice reform, and climate justice we must create a just and fair democracy where we can hold our leaders accountable.”
The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of 60 organizations representing 30 million members working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.