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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 07.27.18

Friday, July 27, 2018
 

Take ACtion

USE YOUR VOICE: DEMAND A FAIR CENSUS IN 2020- DEADLINE APPROACHING

We need a fair, accurate Census in 2020- ACT NOW.

Our friends over at Common Cause need YOUR help to stop the Trump administration from adding an untested and unnecessary question on citizenship status to the 2020 Census.

Experts warn that this will cause countless Americans -- whether they’re citizens or not -- to refuse to fill out the Census survey. That means the Census data we use to draw legislative districts, make spending decisions, and more won’t accurately reflect our communities.

That’d play right into the Trump Administration’s hands -- skewing our government against communities with high non-citizen populations until 2030. Our Constitution requires the Census to count every person who lives here -- and getting that count right is hugely important for all of our futures.

The Census Bureau is accepting public comments on this dangerous, untested proposal -- can you submit yours today BEFORE August 4th to STOP the citizenship question?

Use your voice and submit your comment here.

SIGN ON LETTER: Tell the EPA to use sound practices in upcoming chemical safety assessment
In June, the EPA released its draft plan for how it will assess the safety of 10 chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The plan excludes analysis of legacy chemicals, and chemical exposures through air, water, and waste disposal -- the primary routes of exposure for most people. The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) developed an organizational sign-on letter calling on new Acting Administrator Wheeler to include legacy exposure of chemicals and aggregate exposures from air, soil, and water in its assessment, and to use the National Toxics Programs protocols for systematic review. Deadline for sign-on is July 30th.

TAKE A STAND AGAINST BIGCORPORATIONS WITH CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY!

Each August the civic organization Corporate Accountability launches its Corporate Hall of Shame - highlighting 10 corporations (ex. Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, etc.) and inviting people to submit votes to decide which organization is the most dishonorable. After the vote is held, Corporate Accountability partners with organizations and take action to reform these unrepresentative corporations. If you are interested in participating in this year’s Corporate Hall of Shame or Corporate Accountability, please reach out to Taylor Leake (tleake@corporateaccountability.org)  

Dark Money, a political thriller, examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana — a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide — to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Through this gripping story, Dark Money uncovers the shocking and vital truth of how American elections are bought and sold. The movie premieres in Baltimore today, and in Michigan on August 30th. Find your local screening and more info here.

FIX DEMOCRACY NOW WEEK!  

Every Voice and allies will hold a “Fix Democracy Now” week of action from July 29 to August 4, in partnership with candidates across the country, to rally support for reducing the influence of big donors, upholding access to the ballot, and drawing fair district lines. Candidates running at every level of elected office are encouraged to campaign that week for a democracy that works for all of us and to #FixDemocracyNow. For more information including toolkits for organizations and candidates with social media guidance, sample email blasts, and more, check out FixDemocracyNow.com or email Every Voice’s Communications Director Adam Smith at adam@everyvoice.org.

Partner NEWS AND UPDATES

BRENNAN CENTER REPORT

One of our partners, the Brennan Center for Justice, a key ally in voting rights, has written a powerful report. The study, published on July 20, focuses on the growing anti-democratic practice of voter purging and its grave threat to our democracy. Areas of our country that are not covered by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act are targeted significantly more for purging. There is no differentiation between those who have committed misdemeanors and those who have committed felonies, disenfranchising millions more. The report points out the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling as a significant cause of voter purging’s increasing prevalence, because the decision ended the practice of federal pre-clearance, a practice designed to evaluate potential curtailing of voting rights. The report further details the growing number of aggressive and often illegal purges, along with recommendations for the protection and expansion of our fundamental right to vote. The report can be found here.

 

Free Speech For People and United for a Fair Economy co-released a new report " Blackout in Puerto Rico: How 120 years of corporate dominance and political inequality stifles self-determination today ."

This report discusses 120 years of political inequality and corporate dominance in Puerto Rico, and also analyzes how the current system of money in politics affect s Puerto Rico’s financial crisis and hurricane recovery efforts. In discussing the impacts of money in politics today, this report acknowledges other systems of oppression — in this case, the creation and continuation of political inequality, white supremacy, and colonization — and discusses how money in politics is a tool used to perpetuate these already existing inequalities.

VICTORY! CT JOINS NATIONAL  POPULAR VOTE COMPACT

Connecticut was the most recent of 12 jurisdictions to pass the National Popular Vote compact, a massive victory for supporters of democracy around the United States. Connecticut was the first state to join the compact since the 2016 election. If passed by enough states, each jurisdiction would pledge all electoral votes to the candidate who receives the highest vote total. This success in Connecticut was driven by the organization National Popular Vote - a testament to the effectiveness of grassroots mobilization. For more information about the effort and how to get involved in your state, visit National Popular Vote here.

 
 
 
SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that a total of 792,851 voter registration transactions were completed through the Department of Motor Vehicles in the first two and half months since the launch of  California Motor Voter . This activity includes new voter registrations, as well as re-registrations and updated address transactions.
This total includes:
- 259,294 new voter registrations,
 
- 393,020 re-registrations,
 
- 120,016 updates to voter registration address, and
 
- 20,521 online voter registrations routed from DMV website and paper voter registration cards mailed to the Secretary of State’s office.

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 Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group-- Tomorrow, July 26th at 1 p.m.

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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org
 

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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, instagram (unite4democracy) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 07.18.18

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
 

TAKE ACTION!

CONFRONT CORRUPTION AND DEMAND DEMOCRACY

Confront Corruption and Demand Democracy vigils are being held tonight nationwide, and are endorsed by several DI partner groups. The DC event is from 8pm - 9pm at Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.

To find a vigil near you, go here.

 

TOMORROW: DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING IN DC

We already have nearly 40 participants, including interns from our partner organizations NAACP, Common Cause, Arab American Institute, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Every Voice, with more signing up all the time. RSVP now!

The Democracy Champions Training aims to provide interns with a larger perspective connecting the issues they care about and work on each day with overarching democracy issues. Interns will develop the skills they need to take their DC internship experiences home and create an impact there. With a focus on interpersonal communication, interns will learn how to reach out to people in their communities and get them involved and interested in the issues that matter.  

If you have interns who are interested in attending, please instruct them to RSVP here!

 

USE YOUR VOICE: DEMAND A FAIR CENSUS IN 2020

We need a fair, accurate Census in 2020.

Our friends over at Common Cause are asking for your help to stop the Trump administration from adding an untested and unnecessary question on citizenship status to the 2020 Census.

Experts warn that this will cause countless Americans -- whether they’re citizens or not -- to refuse to fill out the Census survey. That means the Census data we use to draw legislative districts, make spending decisions, and more won’t accurately reflect our communities.

That’d play right into the Trump Administration’s hands -- skewing our government against communities with high non-citizen populations until 2030. Our Constitution requires the Census to count every person who lives here -- and getting that count right is hugely important for all of our futures.

The Census Bureau is accepting public comments on this dangerous, untested proposal -- can you submit yours today BEFORE August 4th to STOP the citizenship question?

Use your voice and submit your comment here.

Support Transparency in Government, with The #CANCERCOVERUP Bill

The following is a message from our partner, the Center for Environmental Health:
Chemical and food manufacturers are up to no good. They just introduced a law in D.C. that would take away your right to know about dangerous chemicals in their products. This law would eliminate state requirements for labeling and disclosure. That’s right, the same labels that let you know if a product has chemicals known to cause cancer, hormone disruption, birth defects, and other serious issues would vanish if this law passes. That’s why we’re calling this the #CancerCoverup bill.

We need to make sure our political leaders hear from us! Click here to tell your representative that you have the right to know what's in the products you use!

Challenges to our Democracy

NC VOTER ID LAW PASSES

Discriminatory anti-Early voting law to take effect for Nov midterms

While the new measure may appear innocent, as it requires every early voting site to stay open 12 hours a day each weekday, its true impact is far more sinister. This change occurs after most counties set their election budgets, meaning these new regulations will force many counties to close their polling locations to avoid going over budget. Even more explicitly anti-democratic is the provision forbidding early voting places from opening the Saturday before elections. Unsurprisingly, a substantial number of minorities, especially black people, voted on this date in 2016. Read more here.

A WIN FOR DARK MONEY IS A LOSS FOR INFLUENCE OF ORDINARY AMERICANS

A midnight announcement from the Treasury Department on Monday indicated the IRS will only require certain tax-exempt groups to report their donors, which significantly does not include dark money groups that engage in political spending on issues and in campaigns. According to Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, “The Treasury Department opened a massive loophole that will, as a practical matter, allow Russia, Russian oligarchs and other foreign interests to launder unlimited amounts of undisclosed, illegal contributions into federal elections.” The more secret money that the corporate and wealthy interests pour into elections, the less we know about who is influencing our elected officials, and the less power we have to win on our issues. Read more here.

STATES SLOW TO PREP FOR HACKING THREATS-WILL OUR VOTES COUNT?

Despite both Congress allocating $380 million to the states in electoral security funding for the 2018 midterms and the recent indictments from the Russia investigation into meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election, states have failed to provide a plan for use of their funds. While a few states are planning to install new voting machines, in general states have failed to correct their most pressing electoral security issues in the months before midterms. States must work quickly to protect voter databases, as they are one of the most vulnerable elements of our electoral system. Do not let our vote go unprotected this November!  Read more here.

Arab American Institute'S #YallaVote Hotline

DI partner Arab American Institute has launched the #YallaVote Hotline for the 2018 election season.

The hotline is staffed by legal experts and both Arabic and English speakers who can answer questions and address concerns on voting day. These experts can also provide legal support to address voter suppression or disenfranchisement in your state.

Please spread information about the hotline widely, so that all voters are given the information and support needed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The #YallaVote Hotline can be reached at 1-844-YALLA-US, or 1-844-925-5287.

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 Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group-- Next month's meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 23rd at 1 p.m.

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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org
 

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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, instagram (unite4democracy) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.27.18

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
 

Supreme Court Rules against Working People, and Democracy

 

The Supreme Court decision in the case of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 is not only anti-worker and anti-union; it is part of the coordinated national assault on our democracy. The corporate interests behind the Janus case are part of a dark money web that includes the Koch brothers and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. These same wealthy interests are bankrolling anti-democracy efforts across the country. Their goal is to weaken the bargaining and political power of workers by limiting their ability to collect fees for the representation that they provide, and limiting the political power of ordinary Americans. Attacks on public sector workers disproportionately affect hard-working women and people of color, who provide some of the most important government services that we all rely on.

 

The right of workers to organize and bargain collectively leads to increased wages and benefits for all workers, whether or not they are union members. When wealthy interests take away workers’ rights to join together and take action, it increases economic inequality in this country, which is itself a threat to our democracy.  

Historically, the labor movement has been the backbone of progressive social movements that expand, protect, and diversify our democracy. By dividing workers and limiting their ability to wield political power, corporate and wealthy interests strengthen their grip on our democratic and economic systems, limit our ability to take collective action, and continue to hold our country hostage.

For all of these reasons, the Democracy Initiative condemns the Janus decision of the Supreme Court. We stand in solidarity with our labor partners. The labor and democracy movements have been assaulted before, and we always come back fighting. We will not allow decades of progress to be lost. No politically motivated judicial decision will stop the work of millions of people standing together for better lives for all Americans, or stop us from reaching our goal of a government of, by, and for the people.  

Statement from DI Executive Director Wendy Fields:

GET INVOLVED: SOLIDARITY ACTIONS

We are asking our friends to do three simple things to amplify our key message that workers are more resolved than ever to stick together and fight back against any attacks that attempt to divide us. That’s because America needs unions now more than ever to fix a democracy and economy rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful.
 
1. Amplify our message on social media with a Norma Rae-themed action (see samples below).
2. Issue and share a statement that lifts up the value of unions to our communities, calls on our elected officials and candidates to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join together in unions and highlights how this attack on unions is an attack on all working people. (For guidance, please refer to the joint statement from AFSCME, AFT , NEA and SEIU ) and attached message materials).  
3. Continue to stand with us in the days and weeks ahead to help drive policy at all levels that make it easier for working people to join unions.
 
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA
 
Twitter:
This case was an attack on unions and an attack on working people & the causes we fight for every day. We stand with our union brothers & sisters. No court case will stop our movement. #Union.
Show your solidarity with working people by tweeting your “union” photo with #Union. [ Click here for image ]
Unions sustain our families and make our communities stronger. Working people will stick together and organize to fight back against any attempt to divide and weaken us. #union
Unions are the best way to unrig our economy and democracy. We’re calling on our elected leaders and candidates to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join unions. #Union
 
Facebook:
#Unions are one of the most effective vehicles to move people into the middle class, especially for women and people of color. We must organize, hold our elected leaders accountable, and fight back against efforts to divide us and weaken the strength in numbers we need to sustain our families and make our communities stronger.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled on a well-funded case attacking workers’ power in unions. Let’s show that America needs unions now more than ever. Share this image or a photo of yourself with a “union” sign using #Union to show we’re sticking together. [ Click here for image ]
 
 

Spotlight on DI PRIORITY STATE CAMpaign: Missouri

One of our state campaigns, CleanMissouri, is hard at work getting money out of state politics! We’ve partnered with DI members Common Cause, Sierra Club Missouri, AFL-CIO Missouri, AFSCME, Demos, NAACP, and SEIU, along with other allies, to blunt the influence of moneyed interests on politicians. The Clean Missouri Initiative, on their website, lays out their goals:

1. Legislative records must be open to the public

2. Politicians must wait two years before becoming lobbyists

3. Banning any single lobbying gift more than $5

4. Lowering campaign contribution limits: $2,500 for state senate, and $2,000 for state house

a. Eliminating legislative fundraising on state property

5. Nonpartisan-drawn legislative district maps, reviewed by a citizen commission

a. Protecting the political power of minority communities against voter suppression

As of May, CleanMissouri volunteers turned in 347,000 signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, more than twice the number needed for a proposed amendment to appear on the statewide November 6 ballot, collected from all 114 counties and the city of St. Louis.

Report Back From Flint

On June 23rd, the DI successfully launched the first Democracy Champions training of 2018 in Flint, Michigan. Thank you to the organizations who turned out members for participants at the training; Flint Rising, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Voices, Clean Water Action, the UAW, Promote the Vote, and Voters Not Politicians! And thank you to the the UAW for hosting us! We welcomed community leaders to speak on the issue most impacting the state and local communities.
 
At the conclusion of the training, Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians, which are working to expand voting rights and create an independent citizens redistricting commission through ballot initiatives in Michigan, led participants through a mini-briefing of the campaigns. The group then went canvassing in support of the ballot initiatives.

Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Initiative has gotten on the ballot.

On Wednesday, June 19, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved Voters Not Politicians’ initiative, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Initiative, for inclusion in the upcoming November 6 ballot in a 3-0 vote. The initiative would alter the state’s constitution to set up an independent redistricting commission in time for the next scheduled redistricting after the 2020 Census is released. Read more here.

(to the right: Nayyirah Shariff of Flint Rising)

 

Take ACTION To end family detention of migrants

On Friday, June 22, Dallas News reported that “One of the country’s largest operators of private immigration detention facilities has made significant contributions to several Texas members of Congress.” The largest recipient is Houston Republican Representative John Culberson, accepting $32,900 from GEO Group’s PAC. GEO operates many of the private detention centers used by ICE to house immigrant families since implementation of Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. The ACLU has accused GEO of denying detainees food, water, and bathroom access.

The administration needs more room to hold all of the children they have separated from their parents, and are investigating the possibility of creating additional “tent cities” on military land. But according to a press release from DI partner the Sierra Club, the water at several of these potential build sites contains chemicals, effectively poisoning it. Evidence of the contamination was buried for six months by Pruitt’s EPA “for fear of a ‘public relations nightmare,’ according to the New Republic.” The exposure to these chemicals (PFAS) links to kidney/testicular cancer and thyroid disease. Children are particularly vulnerable, and even low levels of exposure can weaken their immune systems.

The depravity with which the Trump administration treats these people becomes more evident with each passing day as a slew of investigations bear fruit. Let us be clear: beyond the continued existence of xenophobia and racism in our country, the situation at the border is a direct consequence of our weakened democracy. So long as people are denied their constitutional rights to vote and govern free from wealthy, corrupt, bigoted politicians, the situation can only grow worse. A reflective, representative democracy is a matter of life and death.

Sign on to DI partner Sierra Club’s petition.

TOMORROW, JUNE 28th, the organizers of the Women's March are hosting a mass civil disobedience in DC to End Family Detention. We are participating and will share reports via social media. Sign up for more information and to join here.

Join the #FamiliesBelongTogether mobilization in Washington, D.C. on June 30th, or find one in your area. Thousands have already signed up to go to the White House on June 30th to tell Trump and Jeff Sessions to end their policies that break apart families. If you can't make it to DC, there will also be local events across the country. To learn more, click here.

 

Democracy initiative endorses recommendations to reform the Democratic Party

 

The Democracy Initiative is proud to communicate that we endorse an historic set of democratic reforms for the Democratic Party, recommended by the DNC Unity Reform Commission and supported by Chairman Perez, and Vice Chair Keith Ellison.

These proposed reforms and the internal debate about the Democratic Party rules are coming at an important moment as we face extraordinary challenges. Many of you are hearing clearly the demand for change from your rank and file members, the resistance movement, and activists from black, brown, and working class communities. In 2016, I was joined by many of our leaders in the DI and democracy movement, including Public Citizen,Our Revolution, and Every Voice, to name a few, to testify at the DNC platform committee to ensure that key democracy reforms on Voting Rights, Getting Money out of Politics, andRedistricting Reform must be a high priority on the platform and program.

Now we urge you to share information with your membership and engage in the debates currently happening. The full DNC will vote on the proposal from the Rules and Bylaws Committee, based on the Unity Reform Commission report, on August 25th in Chicago. We call on the members of the DNC to support transparency and increase the influence and power of the grassroots members.  We will share the exact language of the final proposal as soon as it is made public.

You can read the report of the Unity Reform Commission here: (copy and paste the link into a browser)

https://my.democrats.org/page/-/Unity%20Reform%20Commission%20Report%201...

 

Tomorrow: Democracy Behind Bars, COMMON CAUSE

DI Partner organization Common Cause is releasing a new report on June 28th entitled Democracy Behind Bars. In prison, on probation, and on parole, 6.7 million people live under court-ordered supervision. The mass criminalization and incarceration of our communities, disenfranchises and disempowers millions of Americans, and undermines the legitimacy of our democracy. The Democracy Behind Bars report represents an effort to build on Common Cause’s longstanding commitment to serve as a watchdog on government, defend and strengthen voting rights, and ensure that the power of ideas rather than that of monied interests counts most in our democracy.

Arab American Institute'S #YallaVote Hotline

DI partner the Arab American Institute has launched the #YallaVote Hotline for the 2018 election season.

The hotline is staffed by legal experts and both Arabic and English speakers who can answer questions and address concerns on voting day. These experts can also provide legal support to address voter suppression or disenfranchisement in your state.

Please spread information about the hotline widely, so that all voters are given the information and support needed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The #YallaVote Hotline can be reached at 1-844-YALLA-US, or 1-844-925-5287.

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 Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group-- This month's meeting RESCHEDULED for Thursday, July 9th at 1 p.m.

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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org

 

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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, instagram (unite4democracy) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.21.18

Thursday, June 21, 2018

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

Flint, Michigan: training & book launch

THREE DAYS AWAY IN FLINT, MI  

JUNE 23, 2018

Our Democracy Champions Training in Flint, Michigan is on Saturday! After the disappointing Supreme Court decision on Ohio’s voter purging, and recent gerrymandering cases dismissed back to district courts, it’s important to remember these temporary setbacks only affect one tactic in the fight for a representative, fair, and inclusive democracy. Organizing the people, giving them the strength and the resources to agitate for change, remains a crucially important part of the fight for democracy 365 days a year.

Democracy Champions Training
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
9 AM to 5 PM

United Auto Workers Regional Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, Michigan 48507

Register for the training here.

 


 


This highly-interactive training, grounded in popular education principles, will make the connections between democracy, power, and the ability to win justice on the diverse issues that motivate our partners. Participants will learn about effective communication and have an opportunity to practice making the pro-democracy case. We ask that our partners send 2-3 participants to the training. At the conclusion of the training, every participant will be recognized and celebrated as a Democracy Champion, with opportunities for ongoing engagement.  Contact Getachew Kassa with any questions at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

 


The AFL-CIO is delighted to host Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Flint water crisis whistleblower, one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people, TEDMED speaker and “pediatrician turned detective,” as she releases her new book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

Please RSVP here.
 

News and Action on the Border Crisis


WENDY FIELDS STATEMENT ON THE MIGRANT BORDER CRISIS

   "Once again, this administration has shown its inhumanity and displayed incompetence at governing our country. America had a reputation of being a beacon of hope, a north star for democracy in the world. Now we have a government, enabled by many in Congress, that is incapable of providing decent family living conditions and due process for those fleeing violence and seeking asylum. We are in the middle of an international human rights crisis; an international crisis that clearly this government and Congress do not understand and are not able to manage.

  This is a complete failure of government. Instead of going through the legal process and providing the most basic of humane services to migrants, they are building tent cities for children and possibly starting permanent separation of families. At the same time, this administration has pulled us out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which was created to deal with just these kinds of human-made disasters as a global community. Over the past few days we have seen the American people lift their voices in non-partisan opposition to the separation of families. Now we must demand more, efficient, timely due process of refugees and humane treatment. In November we must be sure that we, everyday people express their values and ensure they are registered to vote and on the voting list, we must hold this administration and elected officials accountable and to a high standard of leadership."

TAKE ACTION: JOIN THE JUNE 30TH MOBILIZATION: Join the #FamiliesBelongTogether mobilization in Washington, D.C. on June 30th, or find one in your area. Thousands have already signed up to go to the White House on June 30th to tell Trump and Jeff Sessions to end their policies that break apart families. If you can't make it to DC, there will also be local events across the country. To learn more, click here.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Private prison companies are making millions from the detention of families at the southern border, and some have given generously to Trump and other national leaders. It is important to inform ourselves about how and why the connections between these events translate into real life tragedy. Read more about the prison lobby here, here, here, and here.

The NAACP on the Civil Rights Front Lines

Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP, says that there is a direct correlation between the racism emanating from the White House and the expansion of attacks on the humanity of persons of color. Read more here.

EVENT: Democracy Behind Bars, COMMON CAUSE

DI Partner organization Common Cause is releasing a new report on June 28th entitled Democracy Behind Bars. In prison, on probation, and on parole, 6.7 million people live under court-ordered supervision. The mass criminalization and incarceration of our communities, disenfranchises and disempowers millions of Americans, and undermines the legitimacy of our democracy. The Democracy Behind Bars report represents an effort to build on Common Cause’s longstanding commitment to serve as a watchdog on government, defend and strengthen voting rights, and ensure that the power of ideas rather than that of monied interests counts most in our democracy.
 

LEARN THE racist HISTORY OF "RIGHT TO wORK" surrounding janus v. afscme council 31

The Supreme Court decision on JANUS v. AFSCME Council 31 is expected soon, and could be a major attack on our ability to act and organize collectively. it’s important to acknowledge the insidious, racist roots of “Right to Work” laws. We cannot allow the anti-democracy forces that support these laws to cause a rift among working people along racial lines. Check out this excellent piece from Tamara Draut, Vice President of Policy and Research at our partner Demos, to learn more.
 

The Koch attack on our democracy continues

This past Monday, Democracy Initiative and our partners Common Cause, Center for Popular Democracy, Every Voice, and Working Families were delighted to host Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. In her discussion of her illuminating book, MacLean repeatedly identified the Koch brothers and their vast national infrastructure as one of the gravest threats to our democracy; the Koch brothers and their allies’ success arises from their secrecy in changing policy at the state level to benefit themselves and their business. Her book traces the Koch strategy from its ideological roots in little-known thinker James McGill Buchanan, all the way to their current goal of calling an Article V Constitutional Convention to permanently alter the Constitution of the United States. MacLean’s book is a welcome addition to the growing awareness of the threat the wealthy few pose to the integrity of our elections and our democracy.

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields with Democracy in Chains author Nancy MacLean

An example of the kind of behavior MacLean discusses was explored by the New York Times’ Hiroki Tabuchi, who released an article on Tuesday documenting the Koch brothers’ strategy to undermine public transit at the state and local level. One of the Koch apparatus’ principal fronts, Americans for Prosperity, infiltrated Nashville in an Astroturf campaign to convince local communities of the danger of increasing funding for public transit, contrary to the widely popular campaign waged by the people of Nashville. But a cadre of “activists” appeared with an expensive, Koch-built profiling system called i360 appeared and convinced locals to opt for continuing the use of cars and roads—industries in which the Koch’s have a great stake.

But the Nashville strategy is part of a nationwide effort; according to the article, “Americans for Prosperity has coordinated door-to-door anti-transit canvassing campaigns for at least seven local or state-level ballots,” spending $711,000 last year on lobbying and $4 million in the last seven. As MacLean pointed to in her book, in order to defend our democracy, we must be vigilant when the Koch’s and other moneyed interests infiltrate our communities and undermine our self-determination—it weakens our power as people and threatens our ability to realize our vision for reflective and representative democracy, 365 days a year.
 

GERRYMAndering Cases REmanded

 
SCOTUS once again failed to deliver a definitive ruling on the issue of gerrymandering by remanding both cases before it (Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone) back to lower courts. It is expected to pick up yet another gerrymandering case (Common Cause v. Rucho from North Carolina) soon.
Wendy Weiser and Thomas Wolf of DI partner the Brennen Center for Justice wrote about the significance of these cases in the L.A. Times, saying, “There are good reasons to be optimistic. The justices did not throw the cases out of court, or say partisan gerrymandering is legal. Either or both would have been easy options if the court didn’t ultimately want to tackle the big issue.” Read more here.
 

TAKE action: BAltimore Fair election fund

After recent successes regarding public financing for political campaigns in Maryland, it is now Baltimore's turn. A charter amendment that has been proposed to the city council requires both the council and the mayor to sign off before it can reach voters. Call the Baltimore City Council today and let them know you want big money out of politics! Read more here.
 

VICtory in KANSAS! And kobach gets schooled!

Congratulations to the ACLU for bringing this case and securing a significant and symbolic victory for voting rights and popular democracy!

On Monday, Federal District Judge Julie A. Robinson of Kansas struck down Kris Kobach’s restrictive voter ID law. Kobach infamously justified his repressive voting law by citing built his entire reputation on his false claims that voter fraud committed by immigrants threatens the country. Now the premier champion of voter suppression’s own law has been repealed.

Kobach also decided to represent himself, and after committing numerous of the most rudimentary procedural errors, Judge Robinson wrote he had "a duty to familiarize himself with the governing rules of procedure" requiring him to attend six hours of legal education.

Read more here.

Arab American Institute'S #YallaVote Hotline

DI partner the Arab American Institute has launched the #YallaVote Hotline for the 2018 election season.

The hotline is staffed by legal experts and both Arabic and English speakers who can answer questions and address concerns on voting day. These experts can also provide legal support to address voter suppression or disenfranchisement in your state.

Please spread information about the hotline widely, so that all voters are given the information and support needed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The #YallaVote Hotline can be reached at 1-844-YALLA-US, or 1-844-925-5287.

Take action: support second chances florida

This Saturday, June 23, Second Chances FL are having calling parties all over the state and country to speak to Florida voters about why Amendment 4 should be passed to restore the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million Floridians. Voter Engagement Schedule Every week: Second Chances FL Phone Banking  
- Volunteer Calls: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (5:30-8:30pm ET); Saturdays (10am-1pm ET), Sundays (3-6pm ET). Here's a link to sign up .
- Adopt A Day Calendar Program: Sign-Up Here  


Every month: Days of Action
- First Week: Amendment 4 on the 4th (Digital Pledge)
- Second Week: Text Banking (Starting in July)
- Third Saturday: Super Saturday Volunteer Canvassing (Starting in July)
- Fourth Saturday: Second Chances Call Parties (Make sure to plan outreach to recruit attendees for parties on June 23)

With only 5 months left until the election, our allies supporting Second Chances Florida need our help to boost their calling program. To do that, they’re asking partners to pick a day every month for remote calling to Florida voters. You can sign up for a calling day here. Contact Jonah Minkoff-Zern at jzern@citizen.org for more ways to help; follow and amplify the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
 

American Promise National Citizenship Leadership Conference

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields will be on the panel "Working Together: Effective Collaboration Between Groups" on 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 24th, at the American Promise National Leadership Conference. For more information and to register for the conference, which runs June 22 through June 25th, click here.

 

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 Elsie (eguerrero@democracyinitiative.org ) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group

Fourth Wednesday of every month, at 1pm E.T.
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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org

Next Meeting: Thursday, June 28th

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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, instagram (unite4democracy) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.13.18

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

 

Arab American Institute'S #YallaVote Hotline

DI partner the Arab American Institute has launched the #YallaVote Hotline for the 2018 election season.

The hotline is staffed by legal experts and both Arabic and English speakers who can answer questions and address concerns on voting day. These experts can also provide legal support to address voter suppression or disenfranchisement in your state.

Please spread information about the hotline widely, so that all voters are given the information and support needed to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The #YallaVote Hotline can be reached at 1-844-YALLA-US, or 1-844-925-5287.

TAKE action: #Stophatestopfarr

On Wednesday, June 6, Civil Rights Leaders, Senators, Members of Congress, the NAACP, Demand Justice, Repairers of the Breach, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, held a joint press conference and rally outside the U.S. Capitol to urge opposition to the Trump administration’s nomination of Thomas Farr as a Federal district judge. President and Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill stated:

“That Farr would now be made a federal judge is offensive. It is offensive to African Americans in the Eastern District and all people who depend on independent and impartial courts. His legal career has been dedicated to opposing the rights of workers and denying African Americans full participation in our democracy. His record is repugnant and provides ample grounds to oppose his confirmation.”

Read about Thomas Farr's 30 year record of white supremacy here.

Color of Change has created a petition to the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Farr’s nomination, which DI Partner NAACP has endorsed.

Sign the petition to block his nomination here. #FarrOut

SCOTUS Fails Ohio Voters

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on behalf of Ohio, allowing its aggressive voting "purge" to continue. In Ohio, voters who abstain from voting or simply do not vote in a federal election are sent a mailed notice asking them to confirm their residence. If they fail to reply and do not vote for four more years, they are then purged from the Ohio voter rolls. People should have the right to be able to vote whenever they want, even if they have not voted in the past or have missed a few elections. In a country where voter turnout is already low, these kinds of practices simply make it more difficult for those who do want to participate in our democracy.

Read more about the Supreme Court's disappointing decision to allow for the continued purging of Ohio voters here.

Indiana Purging law blocked by courts

Congratulations to DI partners and allies on their victory in Indiana for voting rights. Common Cause Indiana, represented by the ACLU and DI partner Demos, secured an injunction on Friday, June 8 against use of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled that the danger of inaccurately purging voters from the roll surpasses the danger to Indiana election officials attempting to protect the voting process.

"The court agrees with Common Cause that the greater public interest is in allowing eligible voters to exercise their right to vote without being disenfranchised without notice,"

Pratt wrote in her 28-page ruling.

The Crosscheck program, championed by Kris Kobach, has demonstrated “inaccuracy and […] significant security holes” according to Demos Senior Counsel Stuart Naifeh. The injunction in Indiana secured by our partners and allies shows that we won’t allow our voting rights to be stripped away. Every reform and ruling we achieve brings us one step closer to a representative democracy for all.

Read more about the tireless efforts of coalition members Common Cause Indiana and the NAACP, as well as the problems posed by the Crosscheck system instituted by Kris Kobach, here.

Take action: support second chances florida

With only 5 months left until the election, our allies supporting Second Chances Florida need our help to boost their calling program. To do that, they’re asking partners to pick a day every month for remote calling to Florida voters. You can sign up for a calling day here. Contact Jonah Minkoff-Zern at jzern@citizen.org for more ways to help; follow and amplify the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Blumenthal v. Trump: Foreign Emoluments Clause Violation?

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has been joined by nearly 200 Democrats in a lawsuit against President Trump. Click the image or here to read more.

American Promise National Citizenship Leadership Conference

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields will be on the panel "Working Together: Effective Collaboration Between Groups" on 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 24th, at the American Promise National Leadership Conference. For more information and to register for the conference, which runs June 22 through June 25th, click here.

Democracy Mission Statement

While the focus of Democracy Initiative remains on the field, supporting local and state campaigns, we also see the value of and need for reform on the federal level. We’ve joined in coalition with a variety of groups to gain broad agreement on a set of democracy principles for Congress. Click here to read the full "Democracy Mission Statement" that we've signed. If your organization has not yet endorsed the statement, please contact Myke Bybee at the DI to get involved, at mbybee@democracyinitiative.org.

SAVE THE DATE: MEET THE AUTHOR OF “DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS”

Center for Popular Democracy, Common Cause, Democracy Initiative, Equal Voice, and Working Families are excited to sponsor a reception on Monday, June 18th, with Professor Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.”

For additional details, and to RSVP: here.
The book discusses the strategic and historic underpinnings of the right-wing billionaire assault on our democracy. It is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and was listed as The Nation’s Most Valuable Book. Ms. MacLean is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University.

 

DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING

SAVE THE DATE: MICHIGAN DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING IN FLINT - JUNE 23, 2018

Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategies. Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQ community. We invite the Democracy Initiative’s 69 partner organizations to extend an invitation to all of your staff, members, and activists to participate. This is an opportunity for your members and activists in Michigan to become Democracy Champions, motivated and empowered to carry forward the pro-democracy fight in their communities.

Democracy Champions Training
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
9 AM to 5 PM

United Auto Workers Regional Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, Michigan 48507

Register for the training here.

This highly-interactive training, grounded in popular education principles, will make the connections between democracy, power, and the ability to win justice on the diverse issues that motivate our partners. Participants will learn about effective communication and have an opportunity to practice making the pro-democracy case. We ask that our partners send 2-3 participants to the training. At the conclusion of the training, every participant will be recognized and celebrated as a Democracy Champion, with opportunities for ongoing engagement.  Contact Getachew Kassa with any questions at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

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 Elana (eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan. For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

DI Communications Working Group

Fourth Wednesday of every month, at 1pm E.T. Note new day!
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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org

Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 27th

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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.

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Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.07.18

Thursday, June 7, 2018

 

2018 Expanded Mobilizing Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST

Beginning next week, on June 13th, DI’s bi-weekly Mobilizing Committee Meetings (at 3 p.m. every other Wednesday), will for the first time shift their focus to state coordination of priority campaigns, beginning with the Promote the Vote and Voters not Politicians ballot initiatives in Michigan.

For more information, contact Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

over 118,000 voters purged from Los Angeles voter rolls

"There is a serious problem when 35% of a county's precincts purge voters from the rolls and keep them from having their voices heard. We need 21st century voting reforms that ensure that every vote is counted."

-Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative Due to a printing error, thousands of Angelenos were left wondering if their votes  would be counted during Tuesday's California primary. Click here or on the image above to read more.

the American Promise National Citizenship Leadership Conference

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields will be participating on the panel "Working Together: Effective Collaboration Between Groups" on 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 24th, at the American Promise National Leadership Conference. For more information and to register for the conference, which runs June 22 through June 25th, click here.

Democracy Mission Statement

 

While the focus of Democracy Initiative remains on the field, supporting local and state campaigns, we also see the value of and need for reform on the federal level. We’ve joined in coalition with a variety of groups to gain broad agreement on a set of democracy principles for Congress. Click here to read the full "Democracy Mission Statement" that we've signed. If your organization has not yet endorsed the statement, please contact Myke Bybee at the DI to get involved, at mbybee@democracyinitiative.org.

 

 

 

DI COngratulates UTAH allies and partners on passage of AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION


Three days ago, Utah passed H.B. 218, guaranteeing the right to Automatic Voter Registration. The bill enables eligible citizens to register to vote during licensing transactions, and streamlines recordkeeping; as a result, Utah voter rolls will be more accurate and the new process safeguards against interference. Utah’s new automatic voter registration secures an important victory for our democracy. Congratulations to the coalition members and DI allies in Utah on this achievement.

As Utah Senator Deidre Henderson writes:

“Essential to our democracy is the right to vote. While it’s the very thing that can make democracy so messy, it’s also the thing that makes it supreme. The vote empowers the people by offering protection—protection from being voiceless in our government and protection of democracy itself.”

Re-enfranchising voters in florida benefits economy and creates jobs for floridians

 

Another priority campaign for the DI is Second Chances Florida, which is fighting to overturn the lifetime ban on voting for those convicted of felonies. Nearly 1.4 million people in Florida are now permanently excluded from voting on the issues that matter most to them and their families.

A recent study conducted by the Washington Economics group found that Florida’s economy would receive an annual infusion of nearly $370 million by allowing felons to vote.

In addition, the study touts the addition of almost 4,000 jobs as well as an increase of $151 million dollars in annual household income for Floridians. The group aimed to calculate the potential outcomes of Amendment 4, or the Voting Restoration Amendment, which will be on the ballot in Florida come November. The Amendment enjoys wide support in Florida, with nearly three-quarters of voters expressing their support.

“Citizens who have their eligibility to vote restored will have increased chances at finding gainful employment and disposable income to give back to Florida’s economy. Amendment 4 would do more than just re-enfranchise people who have earned eligibility — it would also reintegrate them into society and Florida’s economy."

-Dick Batchelor, CEO of Dick Batchelor Management Group in Central Florida

This amendment is an important step towards preventing the disenfranchisement of voters not just in Florida, but across the country.

Click here to view the full study, and get involved in the the passage of Amendment 4, which would return the eligibility to vote to people only after they have completed their full sentences – including parole, probation, and restitution. The law specifically excludes those individuals who have committed murder or a felony sexual offense.

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS RELEASES NEW REPORT Detailing Cost of Trump'S Corruption

 

A recent report from DI partner Center for American Progress details the negative effects of the culture of corruption fostered by the Trump administration. This is further evidence of what the DI knows to be true: when big money has an outsized influence in politics, the American people and our democracy suffer.

“A political system focused on providing giveaways to donors is one that ignores issues that are of real concern to the majority of Americans.”

Click here to read the full report.

SAVE THE DATE: MEET THE AUTHOR OF “DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS”

Center for Popular Democracy, Common Cause, Democracy Initiative, Every Voice, and Working Families are excited to sponsor a reception on Monday, June 18th, with Professor Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.”

For additional details, and to RSVP: here.
The book discusses the strategic and historic underpinnings of the right-wing billionaire assault on our democracy. It is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and was listed as The Nation’s Most Valuable Book. Ms. MacLean is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University.

 

DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING

TIME TO REGISTER: MICHIGAN DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING IN FLINT - JUNE 23, 2018

Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategies. Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQ community. We invite the Democracy Initiative’s 69 partner organizations to extend an invitation to all of your staff, members, and activists to participate. This is an opportunity for your members and activists in Michigan to become Democracy Champions, motivated and empowered to carry forward the pro-democracy fight in their communities.

Democracy Champions Training
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
9 AM to 5 PM

United Auto Workers Regional Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, Michigan 48507

Register for the training here.

This highly-interactive training, grounded in popular education principles, will make the connections between democracy, power, and the ability to win justice on the diverse issues that motivate our partners. Participants will learn about effective communication and have an opportunity to practice making the pro-democracy case. We ask that our partners send 2-3 participants to the training. At the conclusion of the training, every participant will be recognized and celebrated as a Democracy Champion, with opportunities for ongoing engagement. We are happy to welcome Nayyirah Shariff, director of Flint Rising, who will be presenting at the event.

Contact Getachew Kassa with any questions at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

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 Aimée Pohl (apohl@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

DI Communications Working Group

Fourth Thursday of every month, at 1pm E.T.
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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org

Next Meeting: Thursday, June 21st

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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.

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 06.01.18

Friday, June 1, 2018

 

DI’s WENDY FIELDS ON A DINESH D’SOUZA PARDON

"The Dinesh D’Souza pardon tells big spenders that they can violate campaign contribution laws with impunity, and normalizes the political practices that allow moneyed interests to corrupt our democracy."

The Washington Post article is here.

"DARK MONEY" CONTRIBUTES TO FALL OF THE GOVERNOR OF MISSOURI, A Priority State for DI

One of DI’s priority campaigns is the Clean Missouri Initiative; an opportunity to create accountability, transparency and fairness so grassroots advocates can advance change on the issues impacting their communities - from raising the minimum wage to protecting our planet to addressing police brutality.

Together with our on-the-ground partners, we are fighting to reduce the power of lobbyists, to reduce the influence of big money in Missouri politics, and to increase access and participation in democracy for all Missourians. Read the full petition here.

Please support and endorse this initiative!

Also, Clean Missouri is hiring! Please spread the word about these positions:

On Tuesday, the extent of Missouri’s money in politics problem became national news when Republican Governor Eric Greitans resigned under a cloud of serious criminal charges and alleged ethical violations, including the use of “dark money” in his 2016 campaign, and while in office. Read more here.

PROFILE OF FLORIDA VOTING RIGHTS ACTIVIST, AUTHOR, AND RETURNING CITIZEN DEVIN COLEMAN

 

Another priority campaign for the DI is Second Chances Florida, which is fighting to overturn the lifetime ban on voting for those convicted of felonies. Nearly 1.4 million people in Florida are now permanently excluded from voting on the issues that matter most to them and their families.

Part one of a four-part series on the Second Chances Florida campaign on Courthousenews.com profiles Devin Coleman and his fight for the restoration of his voting rights.

Talking about his work to overturn the law that takes voting rights away for life from those convicted of a felony, Coleman says,

“It’s a people issue…These [former felons] are actually members of the community. They are married. They work. They coach football leagues. But there are pieces of their life missing, like not going to the ballot box.”

Read Devin’s full profile here.

And get involved in the the passage of Amendment 4, which would return the eligibility to vote to people only after they have completed their full sentences – including parole, probation, and restitution. The law specifically excludes those individuals who have committed murder or a felony sexual offense.

SAVE THE DATE: MEET THE AUTHOR OF “DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS”

 

Center for Popular Democracy, Common Cause, Democracy Initiative, Equal Voice, and Working Families are excited to sponsor a reception on Monday, June 18th, with Professor Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.”

For additional details, and to RSVP: here.

The book discusses the strategic and historic underpinnings of the right-wing billionaire assault on our democracy. It is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and was listed as The Nation’s Most Valuable Book. Ms. MacLean is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University.  

 

 

DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING

 

SAVE THE DATE: MICHIGAN DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING IN FLINT - JUNE 23, 2018

Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategies. Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQ community. We invite the Democracy Initiative’s 69 partner organizations to extend an invitation to all of your staff, members, and activists to participate. This is an opportunity for your members and activists in Michigan to become Democracy Champions, motivated and empowered to carry forward the pro-democracy fight in their communities.

Democracy Champions Training
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
9 AM to 5 PM

United Auto Workers Regional Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, Michigan 48507

Register for the training here.

This highly-interactive training, grounded in popular education principles, will make the connections between democracy, power, and the ability to win justice on the diverse issues that motivate our partners. Participants will learn about effective communication and have an opportunity to practice making the pro-democracy case. We ask that our partners send 2-3 participants to the training. At the conclusion of the training, every participant will be recognized and celebrated as a Democracy Champion, with opportunities for ongoing engagement.  Contact Getachew Kassa with any questions at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

New Report Refutes Republican Claims About Voter Fraud in New Hampshire

“Trump Crony Proves Widespread Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist; An investigation in New Hampshire refutes Republicans’ wild claims about busing in out-of-state voters.”

Read the article here

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 Elana (eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

2018 Calendar for Mobilizing Working Group Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to gkassa@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

Our bi-weekly 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 gkassa@democracyinitiative.org with any questions!
Next Meeting: Wednesday, June 13th

DI Communications Working Group

Fourth Thursday of every month, at 1pm E.T.
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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org

Next Meeting: Thursday, June 21st

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy, or let us know about a conference. Email Aimée (apohl@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.

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 05.23.18

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

#A BETTER DEAL FOR OUR DEMOCRACY

DI Executive Director Wendy Fields on “A Better Deal for Our Democracy;” Democracy Reforms Must Top House and Senate Dems’ Agenda

This Monday, House and Senate Democrats introduced a package of policies to fight legalized corruption in our democratic process, put voters’ needs first and keep wealthy special interests from rigging the rules of the game. Voters have long demanded voting rights, ethics, campaign finance reforms and limits on lobbyists’ as well as corporations’ financial influence in politics. Coverage can be found here. In response, Wendy Fields issued the following statement:

"The people are sending a strong message at the local level, and Democratic leaders are listening: Our communities want a government that works for them, and it’s time to stop wealthy special interests from cheating us out of active participation in our political process."

Read more here.

 

DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING

 

SAVE THE DATE: MICHIGAN DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING IN FLINT - JUNE 23, 2018

Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategies. Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQ community. We invite the Democracy Initiative’s 69 partner organizations to extend an invitation to all of your staff, members, and activists to participate. This is an opportunity for your members and activists in Michigan to become Democracy Champions, motivated and empowered to carry forward the pro-democracy fight in their communities.

Democracy Champions Training
Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
9 AM to 5 PM

United Auto Workers Regional Office
1940 West Atherton Road
Flint, Michigan 48507

Register for the training here.

This highly-interactive training, grounded in popular education principles, will make the   connections between democracy, power, and the ability to win justice on the diverse issues that motivate our partners. Participants will learn about effective communication and have an opportunity to practice making the pro-democracy case. We ask that our partners send 2-3 participants to the training. At the conclusion of the training, every participant will be recognized and celebrated as a Democracy Champion, with opportunities for ongoing engagement.  Contact Getachew Kassa with any questions at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org

 

DI PARTNER ACTION

 

Bob Levanthal, a national Common Cause office volunteer for over twenty years, had a Letter to the Editor on Montgomery County, Maryland’s public financing system published in the May 20th edition of The Washington Post.

Read it here. Thank you, Bob, for correcting the record, and spreading the word about public financing of elections!

DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE UPDATES--MEET AIMÉE POHL, NEW DI SENIOR DIGITAL CAMPAIGNER

 

Before coming to the Democracy Initiative Aimée was the Media Coordinator for RootsAction.org and the Institute for Public Accuracy, working on a diverse array of online campaigns including those for racial and economic justice, civil rights, whistleblower protections, democratic reforms, and peace.  

Learn more about Aimée here.

TAKE ACTION ON DEMOCRACY

SHOW SCOTUS AND ELECTED LEADERS UNIONS WON'T BACK DOWN

Any day now, the United States Supreme Court will issue its ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME.

This case is part of a national scheme by corporate CEOs and billionaires to weaken union power, rob public sector employees of the chance to freely assemble, and keep working people from speaking up about the basic conditions of their jobs.

We have no time to waste. Allies of working people from across the country are showing SCOTUS and our nation’s elected officials our power.

Join us to flood social media and policymakers’ offices with messages they can’t forget: that working people reject a rigged economy, and no Supreme Court ruling can take away our voice.

Use the Janus Vs. AFSCME toolkit for messaging and responses. For specifics on how to join the action, click here, or visit americaneedsunions.org. To get notified of when the decision hits, sign up here


APPLY NOW! GREENPEACE SEEKS DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGNER

Greenpeace is excited to announce an opening for a savvy, experienced Democracy Campaigner. As oil money buys ever bigger influence in government, the fight for clean air, clean water, and climate solutions has never been more urgent.

Join one of the planet’s most renowned campaigners to combat the corrupting influence of corporate money in government and defend our democratic spaces. To apply for the position, click here

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 Elana (eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

2018 Calendar for Mobilizing Working Group Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to gkassa@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

Our bi-weekly 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 gkassa@democracyinitiative.org with any questions!
Next Meeting: May 30

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 apohl@democracyinitiative.org Next Meetings: Tomorrow, May 24 & Thursday, June 2

 

 

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy or let us know about a conference. Email Elana (eorbuch@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.

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 05.18.18

Friday, May 18, 2018

 

Common Cause’s Karen Hobert Flynn: Transparency in Politics Long Overdue

Share with your networks: Karen Hobert Flynn, president of DI partner Common Cause, pens op-ed for NBC News. Read more to learn how outdated anti-corruption and transparency laws lead to shady backdoor deals in DC.

Democracy Initiative Updates - Get to know Myke Bybee, New di Campaign Director

 

The Democracy Initiative is thrilled to announce our new Campaign Director, Myke Bybee, an experienced strategist and campaigner who worked most recently at the Resources Legacy Fund.

Myke hails from Utah where he developed a passion for conservation and the environment. Beginning as a field organizer with the Sierra Club, Myke has worked on numerous political campaigns as well as issue-based mobilizations across the country.

He spent 5 years as a Program Officer at the Wyss Foundation, managing hard-hitting campaigns, strategic grantmaking, and overseeing a number of advocacy projects in the West.

Myke spent nearly a decade with the Sierra Club, forging coalitions with a wide range of organizations around climate change and environmental injustice.

He is looking forward to deepening his relationships with all the Democracy Initiative partners and working collaboratively to hone our strategic efforts to unite around the democracy reforms that are so critical to achieving all of our goals justice, equality and a sustainable planet. Read more about Myke here!

DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING

 

SAVE THE DATE: MICHIGAN DEMOCRACY CHAMPIONS TRAINING - JUNE 16, 2018

The DI is currently planning a series of high-energy, high-impact trainings for champions in the fight for our nation’s democracy. Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategy.

Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQIA community.

Keep an eye out for more information—including dates and a one-pager to share with your network.

The DI will host a training in Michigan on June 16! Register for the training here.

TAKE ACTION ON DEMOCRACY

SHOW SCOTUS AND ELECTED LEADERS UNIONS WON'T BACK DOWN

Any day now, the United States Supreme Court will issue its ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME.

This case part of a national scheme by corporate CEOs and billionaires to weaken union power, rob public sector employees of the chance to freely assemble, and keep working people from speaking up about the basic conditions of their jobs.

We have no time to waste. Allies of working people from across the country are showing SCOTUS and our nation’s elected officials our power.

Join us to flood social media and policymakers’ offices with messages they can’t forget: that working people reject a rigged economy, and no Supreme Court ruling can take away our voice.

Use the Janus Vs. AFSCME toolkit for messaging and responses. For specifics on how to join the action, click here, or visit americaneedsunions.org. To get notified of when the decision hits, sign up here


 

TELL THE FEC: NO MORE SECRETS IN POLITICAL ADS!

The U.S. cannot afford harmful meddling in our democratic process. Last fall, democracy advocates broke records by gathering 150,000 comments demanding the Federal Elections Committee develop rules on disclaimers and disclosure of internet political advertisement. We need your help to keep the pressure on!

The next round of comments is due on May 25. Join allied groups CREDO Action, Demand Progress, People for the American Way, Public Citizen and Common Cause to take action:

* Send out email blasts to your lists next week asking for sign-ons. Our friends at Public Citizen will have a sample comment and email blast ready next week.

* Pack the room on June 27, when the Commission holds its hearing with public testimony. Per the NPRM, “anyone wishing to testify at such a hearing must file timely written comments and must include in the written comments a request to testify.”

 

APPLY NOW! GREENPEACE SEEKS DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGNER

Greenpeace is excited to announce an opening for a savvy, experienced Democracy Campaigner. As oil money buys ever bigger influence in government, the fight for clean air, clean water, and climate solutions has never been more urgent.

Join one of the planet’s most renowned campaigners to combat the corrupting influence of corporate money in government and defend our democratic spaces. To apply for the position, click here

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 Elana (eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

2018 Calendar for Mobilizing Working Group Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to gkassa@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

Our bi-weekly 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 gkassa@democracyinitiative.org with any questions!
Next Meeting: May 30

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 eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org
Next Meetings: May 24 & June 28

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy or a conference? Email Elana (eorbuch@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

Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 05.09.18

Thursday, May 10, 2018

 

The Democracy Initiative is thrilled to announce its new Board Co-Chair, Tefere Gebre. Mr. Gebre currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, and joins current Co-Chair Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. We’re honored to have these two fierce, fearless leaders help steer the DI’s efforts to mobilize communities in the fight for democracy and justice. For more about Mr. Gebre’s work championing civil, workers’ and immigrants’ rights, click here.

SOLIDARITY NOW! SHOW SCOTUS AND ELECTED LEADERS UNIONS WON’T BACK DOWN

Any day now, the United States Supreme Court will issue its ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME. This case part of a national scheme by corporate CEOs and billionaires to weaken union power, rob public sector employees of the chance to freely assemble. We have no time to waste. Join allies of working people from across the country as we show SCOTUS and our nation’s elected officials our power. Help us flood social media and policymakers’ offices with messages they can’t forget: that working people reject a rigged economy, and no Supreme Court ruling can take away our voice. Use the Janus Vs. AFSCME toolkit for messaging and responses. For specifics on how to join the action, click here, or visit americaneedsunions.org. To get notified of when the decision hits, sign up here.


Congratulations to the CLEAN MISSOURI COALITION For advancing democracy reforms

Congratulations to the DI partners and allies in the CLEAN Missouri Coalition. Last week, the coalition turned in 346,956 signatures to get on the ballot this fall! This is a tremendous accomplishment for the campaign and their volunteers all across Missouri.

We want to appreciate the local members from DI partners organization including, Jobs with Justice, Sierra Club, SEIU, UFCW, AFSCME, and others for collecting over 80,000 signatures.

The CLEAN Missouri campaign is one of our priority campaigns under the Democracy 365 umbrella to achieve increased access and participation in democracy across the United States. In March, the DI worked with our partners and the CLEAN Missouri campaign to coordinate a signature day of action in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Together we can increase integrity, transparency and accountability in government and raise the standard of living in Missouri -- but we can’t do it without your help! We need your members continue to spread the word through November 6, so we can make the Missouri state government more transparent, limit the power of big money in our legislature, and ensure we're able to hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public interest.

VIctory! Ohio Voters Won A Major Redistricting Reform

Congratulations to the DI partners and allies in Ohio including, the Ohio Fair Districts Coalition, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and thousands of activists. Tuesday night, Ohio voters passed Issue 1, a bipartisan congressional redistricting reform initiative to make sure all Ohio residents can advocate for better schools, criminal justice reform, and economic justice.

When elections are determined by who draws the lines and not voters, that's not democracy. We need to pass common sense rules like the reform in Ohio to give every voter an opportunity to have elected representatives who represent their community!


don't forget: sign on with Democracy orgs to support meta reform pagkage

As part of our Democracy 365 umbrella to achieve increased access and participation in democracy, dozens of groups are working to advance a bold package of reforms to ensure everyone has access to a healthy planet, living wage, safe communities, and a fair justice system. Read here to learn more about the vision and policy demand framework, then email Getachew Kassa at gkassa@democracyinitiative.org to sign on!

 

As we work toward our goal to achieve a democracy that is 365 days a year and where every voice is heard, we are embracing a common mission: to fight for a democracy where "everyone participates, every vote is counted, voting rights are fully enforced, and everyone’s voice is heard.”

 

Stay tuned: Democracy Champions Training from the DI!

The DI is currently planning a series of high-energy, high-impact trainings for champions in the fight for our nation’s democracy. Join fellow activists to learn hard-hitting communications and smart strategy. Dig into the connections between the fight for democracy and today’s most pressing social issues—from environmental justice to the fight against racism and hate, from workers’ rights to issues within the LGBTQIA community. Keep an eye out for more information—including dates and a one-pager to share with your network.

Greenpeace SEEKS DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGNER

Greenpeace is excited to announce an opening for a savvy, experienced Democracy Campaigner. As oil money buys ever bigger influence in government, the fight for clean air, clean water, and climate solutions has never been more urgent. Join one of the planet’s most renowned campaigners to combat the corrupting influence of corporate money in government and defend our democratic spaces. To apply for the position, click here

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 Elana (eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org) if you have questions.

2018 Calendar for Mobilizing Working Group Meetings

Bi-Weekly on Wednesdays at 3pm EST / Noon PST
RSVP to gkassa@democracyinitiative.org, cc: eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org

Our bi-weekly 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 gkassa@democracyinitiative.org with any questions!
Next Meeting: May 23

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 eorbuch@democracyinitiative.org
Next Meetings: May 24 & June 28

Stay Connected with DI Partners

We invite partners to share a victory, recruit for actions in the fight for democracy or a conference? Email Elana (eorbuch@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