Democracy Initiative Update 07.06.21

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Our highlighted issues and actions from the democracy movement—please share widely.

CHARLY CARTER JOINS DI AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Board of Directors of the Democracy Initiative (DI) announced on May 17, 2021 that Charly Carter, a woman of color with a track record of successful advocacy and leadership development, will join the organization as its new executive director.

“After an exhaustive and rigorous national search, we found the ideal candidate to lead the Democracy Initiative at this crucial moment,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause and co–chair of the DI Board of Directors. “Charly has a proven track record of effective organizing and concrete wins for children and working families. She is a perfect fit to build on the DI’s strong foundation of grass-roots mobilization in defense of our democracy.”

“We’re very excited that Charly has accepted our offer to lead the DI team,” said Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO and also a co-chair of the DI Board of Directors. “She is a battle-tested organizer with a deep commitment to the leadership development we need to build a progressive movement for the long haul. I’m especially looking forward to working with her on DI’s Bayard Rustin Fellowship, which creates a pipeline of talent and a pathway to inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQ people.”

"I am honored to join the Democracy Initiative at such a pivotal time," said Carter. "Never has it been so important for every person to be engaged in the fight for our democracy. I look forward to working with the team and coalition partner to mobilize our 45 million members in the fight for the soul of our nation. Together we will rebuild the infrastructure of our democracy."

Read our full statement here.

SUPREME COURT ELIMINATES VOTING PROTECTIONS FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR; CONGRESS MUST ACT

On Thursday, July 1, the Supreme Court voted 6 - 3 to give a green light to the ongoing Republican-led assault on voting rights at the state level by upholding Arizona's recently passed voting restrictions.

The case is one of the first taken up by the court that considered how the voting rights of people of color are protected by 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was gutted by the court in 2013 in the Shelby County v. Holder decision.

Charly Carter, executive director of the Democracy Initiative, gave the following statement in response:

The decision by the U.S Supreme Court to uphold discriminatory Arizona election laws eliminates the last protections for the voting rights of communities of color. In doing so, they have also eliminated the fence upon which too many leaders have perched. It's now time for us to choose. You either support a full and inclusive democracy or you do not. There is no middle ground or compromise.

“Congress must pass S.1, the For the People Act and HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This will likely require fixing or nixing the filibuster – and it’s about time. Our right to vote is more important than an archaic Senate rule, which itself is a racist remnant of white supremacy.”

TAKE ACTION: FIX OR NIX THE SENATE FILIBUSTER TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY

On Tuesday, June 22, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer initiated a motion to begin debate on S.1, the For the People Act. As we expected, this motion to begin debate was filibustered by Mitch McConnell and each and every one of his Republican colleagues.

But the fight is not over. The Senate has adjourned for a state work period and returns on July 9, which will usher in the next stage of the fight.

Our number one job over the coming weeks is to continue to demonstrate sustained and overwhelming grassroots demand for bold action to protect and expand our democracy, including changing filibuster rules so the Senate can do its job and govern. Majority Leader Schumer said "Today is the starting line, not the finish line;" now is the time to mobilize your members!

Below you'll find ways for your organizations to engage in this critical fight. Our communities and our democracy can't wait.

Democracy Initiative partners and allies in Arizona rally in Tucson, Flagstaff, and Phoenix to demand Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly put saving our democracy over preserving the Senate filibuster.

TAKE ACTION:

Democracy Initiative’s Democracy Action Blitz
From now through June 21 (and beyond—as long as it takes!), we are asking partner organizations to sign up for one or more days of action alerts to activate your members to drive calls and/or emails to their Senators urging them to fight for passage of the For the People Act and to eliminate or reform the filibuster to ensure that the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and (insert your issue priority here) get a full debate with up or down votes on the Senate floor.

Deadline for Democracy Week of Action
This July recess (June 28 - July 10) needs to be big. Indivisible is encouraging local activists to begin planning their visible, public, press-worthy events now to tell Senators—Democrats and Republicans alike—that the American people are showing up to demand a democracy that works for all the people and that we need them to act urgently on the For the People Act, no excuses.

#KeepIt100 Action with The Frontline
Black-led organizations are coming together to demand our elected leaders use their power to protect our democracy and our rights. Fair Fight Action, The Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project, The Frontline, Black Voters Matter, NAACP, and The New Georgia Project are coming together to make sure that those who delivered the White House and gift wrapped the Senate to Democrats do not continue to be the victim of Republican political attacks.

DI BOARD MEMBERS ON THE MOVE

On June 28, the United Auto Workers (UAW) International Executive Board unanimously elected Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry, a former DI board member, to serve as the next UAW President, effective today.

"It is a great honor for me to serve this historic union and the more than 1 million active and retired members,” Curry said. “I am so proud of our UAW sisters and brothers who work every day to better not just their own lives, but the lives of their neighbors and communities."

“Ray is a dynamic labor and civil rights leader and experienced coalition builder who has done the hard work of helping Southern manufacturing workers organize strong, effective trade unions,” said Charly Carter, executive director of the Democracy Initiative. “The member organizations of the Democracy Initiative look forward to working with Ray and UAW members to fight racial injustice, secure our right to vote and fix or nix the filibuster that stands in the way of the PRO Act and other transformative policy changes our communities need.”

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