Press Release

David Sanchez Joins the Democracy Initiative in Key Outreach Role

Coalition Expands Staff and Mobilization Effort
Friday, May 12, 2017

David Sanchez Joins the Democracy Initiative in Key Outreach Role

Coalition Expands Staff and Mobilization Efforts

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org 202-567-6103

May 12, 2017

The Democracy Initiative (DI) is pleased to welcome David Sanchez as the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. The DI is a coalition of 58 partner organizations working to build a truly multiracial, intersectional democracy movement. David will focus on growing our grassroots base through collaborations with partner groups to engage and mobilize their members in reform campaigns. Mr. Sanchez will also facilitate new opportunities for underrepresented communities to engage on reform and expand the coalition’s reach and impact.

David brings over seven years of campaign experience to the DI. Most recently he worked as the DMV Coordinator for the People's Climate Movement (PCM), where he helped organize and bring more than 200,000 people to the streets of Washington, DC. Prior to his work with PCM, David worked across several southwestern states in a senior leadership capacity for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. In addition to his work experience, David earned his Masters in Public Administration from DePaul University, where he researched Latino voting trends in the southwest side of Chicago.  

"I am excited to join the Democracy Initiative to help preserve voting rights and fight big money in politics,” said David. “I want to ensure that people come before profit, and make sure our elected officials are held accountable to the people they represent."

The addition of Mr. Sanchez is part of a newly refined strategy for the Democracy Initiative to effectively mobilize and train members within partner organizations to lead the democracy movement. Earlier this month the Board of Directors announced changes in leadership roles and restructured the Coordinating Committee to become the Mobilizing Committee.

Sanchez will work very closely with the Mobilizing Committee and build relationships with new allies and partners.

“I’m excited to have David on our team,” said Wendy Fields, Executive Director for the Democracy Initiative. “He is among the young cadre of leaders that are the future of the democracy movement. David will allow us to effectively coordinate both financial resources and consistent engagement to build our grassroots power and capacity building in the field.”

David started on Monday, May 8.

The Democracy Initiative also hired Elana Orbuch as the Program Assistant and Office Manager. Elana has been serving as an interim administrative staff person and organized our member groups around the People’s Climate March. Elana brings a wealth of campaign experience after being a Field Organizer on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Western Ohio. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and International Studies. Elana joins the staff full-time and will provide technical support for coalition field meetings and social media, as well as administrative support.

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.

 

President's Election Commission is Inadequate to Address 2016 Election Threats

The Commission is "Not a Good Use of Time" Without a Focus on Russian Interference, Voter Suppression
Thursday, May 11, 2017

President's Election Commission is Inadequate to Address 2016 Election Threats

The Commission is "Not a Good Use of Time" Without a Focus on Russian Interference, Voter Suppression

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org 202-567-6103

May 11, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The Democracy Initiative (DI), a coalition of 58 organizations representing 30 million members nationwide, finds the focus and leadership of the President’s “Election Integrity Commission” wholly inadequate in the face of real, credible foreign interference in our 2016 election. The coalition’s executive director, Wendy Fields, issued the following statement:

“The Election Integrity Commission is not a good use of time and resources if it does not focus on the true threats to our democracy. As the Brennan Center for Justice (a DI partner organization) notes, study after study has shown that large-scale voter fraud is nonexistent. Without any evidence POTUS has claimed that 3 million people voted illegally in 2016 in an attempt to divert attention from the real and present threat of Russian interference in our election.

What is clear is a pattern of voter suppression under the false claim of voter fraud. The preoccupation with voter fraud has been a convenient excuse for some legislators to introduce and/or pass harmful voter ID and reduced voting options to suppress the vote. Many of the potential members of the commission, including Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, have contributed to voter suppression. Indiana's Secretary of State has purged nearly 500,000 people from the voter rolls -- some just for not participating in recent elections. In 2014, Kansas new registration rules championed by Kobach allowed the state to reject 20% of the applicants - a large portion being independents.

This administration’s unwillingness to properly investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election calls into question the real purpose of this commission. How can Americans trust that our elections will not be rigged in the future without an independent commission and special prosecutor to investigate how the Russians interfered and who was involved? We reject this commission's attempt to legitimize acts of voter suppression in the name of election integrity.”

The following are statements from coalition partners on the commission:

The details revealed to date about the ‘election integrity’ commission and its members read like a blueprint for trying to justify voter suppression. It is insulting that the new commission is headed by two champions of voter suppression – Mike Pence and Kris Kobach. It is hard to believe that any “findings” of this commission headed by those individuals will do anything but condone and seek to justify voter suppression efforts.
Karen Hobert Flynn, President Common Cause and co-chair of the Democracy Initiative

We must see this commission for what it is: an attempt to lend credence and legitimacy to the repeatedly disproved lie that pervasive voter fraud exists in this country – a lie designed to intimidate and ultimately prevent African American and Latino voters from fully exercising their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. All Americans, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, should be deeply disturbed to see the White House lend its prestige and power to the undermining of our political process.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF)

Every credible study of voting practices confirm, time and again, that our system is sound. What is a problem is that opponents of voting rights are attacking our voting process. Instead of pushing for free, fair elections, they are deliberately attempting to make it harder to vote – especially for communities of color. These efforts harken back to some of the ugliest periods in our history, when people of color, especially Black people, had to fight our way to the ballot with our own bodies and our very lives. The real fraud is the attempt by opponents of voting rights – following this administration’s model – seeking to kill the right to vote.
Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project’s National Office

Donald Trump has lied about Mike Flynn. He’s lied about the crowds at his inauguration. He’s lied about wiretaps on Trump Tower. And now he’s continuing to push his lies about widespread voter fraud. [...] The Trump administration’s claims about voter fraud have exactly the same credibility as his other debunked conspiracy theories: none whatsoever. Everything about this new commission should be judged in that light.
Diallo Brooks, Director of Outreach and Public Engagement at People For the American Way

“No one should be confused by what this executive order is: an assault on the right to vote built on non-existent evidence. Donald Trump has no interest in protecting our democracy, he’s only interested in destroying it for his and his corporate polluting friends personal gain. Clearly not satisfied with firing the person overseeing the investigation into his connections with Russia, Trump is expanding his attack on democracy with this waste of taxpayer’s money. The fact is that millions of Americans are having their right to vote suppressed, and this executive order puts our country on a path to continue that frightening trend. Our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people -- not Donald Trump, which is exactly why we will continue to grow our movement to protect our democracy.” 

Mike Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club            

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.

Statement on Senate Judiciary Vote to Confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org
202-567-6103

Democracy Coalition on Gorsuch: 
No Protections for Everyday Americans​

April 5, 2017

WASHINGTON—The Democracy Initiative, a 58-member coalition representing 30 million members nationwide, strongly calls for the Senate to reject Neil Gorsuch. The basic principles of American democracy are under attack. Putting Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court would be a threat to the safety, health, and voices of everyday Americans. The gravity of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court requires a nominee who would represent the people not corporate interests that pollute our planet, our politics, and our democracy.

Last month, over 120 groups raised serious concerns to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Judge Gorsuch's court opinions that have weakened protections for people in their workplace and communities. The party line vote to advance Gorsuch out of the Senate Judiciary Committee shows that he has not earned bipartisan support for his nomination. Gorsuch has failed to answer basic questions and his past rulings have attempted to rollback basic protections for workers, students, and women.

Below are statements from coalition partners regarding the nomination of Neil Gorsuch:

“Judge Gorsuch’s lower court decisions suggest he would undermine civil liberties, reduces worker’s rights, and roll back environmental protections.”  
Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

“There’s no place for a judge who consistently slams the courthouse doors shut on Americans and citizens groups while flinging them open for corporate polluters and who has a judicial history of ruling against workers’ rights, human rights, civil rights, and the right to clean air and water on the Supreme Court.” 
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

"The next Supreme Court justice will have a pivotal role in ensuring our Constitution protects the rights and voices of all Americans. Judge Gorsuch has the potential to be the deciding vote to destroy the few remaining safeguards against big money dominating our politics completely. Gorsuch’s record and his refusal to answer critical questions during his hearing require the Senate to reject his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.” 
Heather C. McGhee, President, Demos

“CWA members, like millions of working people, face health and safety threats on the job every day. Judge Gorsuch seems to object to the administrative role of government in ensuring safe workplaces or carrying out other critical responsibilities of government to defend ordinary Americans. Working people should not be subject to the broad assault on worker protections that Judge Gorsuch seems to advocate.” 
Chris Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America (CWA)

“Gorsuch’s alarming affection for voter suppression, unrestricted campaign spending, and nondisclosure suggest a vision of the United States where working people no longer have a say in their government.” 
Rachel Butler, U.S. Democracy Campaigner, Greenpeace

"The right to vote is too important and we must understand whether Judge Gorsuch is committed to interpreting and preserving what remains of the Voting Rights Act." 
Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

“Neil Gorsuch has a troubling record of siding with the wealthy and powerful at the expense of everyone else. If he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch will give big donors more power in our elections and make it harder for everyday people to be heard. The Senate should oppose his confirmation and stand with the majority of Americans who believe the constitution protects all of us, not just those able to write big checks.”
David Donnelly, President and CEO, Every Voice

“Today’s news that Neil Gorsuch has failed to earn enough support to meet the 60-vote bar for Supreme Court justices represents an important rejection of the ideology and extremism that Gorsuch would bring to the bench. Unlike Merrick Garland, who was denied the courtesy of even a hearing last year, Judge Gorsuch has received the full and fair consideration of the Senate. He has been evaluated according to his own merits, and by those merits he has been found to be unacceptable.” 
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way (PFAW)

Tags: 

Groups Urge Full Senate Hearing on Judge Gorsuch Given Trump Administration’s Poor Track Record for Vetting

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org, 202-567-6103

March  14, 2017

 

Groups Urge Full Senate Hearing on Judge Gorsuch
Given Trump Administration’s Poor Track Record for Vetting

Overwhelming Number of Americans Want Money Out of Politics

WASHINGTON, DC  — Over 120 groups are urging members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to fully vet Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. During a press conference with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman John Sarbanes, representatives from Every Voice, Demos, and Communications Workers of America (CWA) highlighted the damaging influence of money in politics for everyday Americans. The Democracy Initiative joins with these groups in calling for a full vetting of Judge Gorsuch. The American people deserve a Supreme Court justice that protects the people, not corporations.

In just the first 50 days of the Trump Administration their track record of not fully vetting nominees has led to conflicts of interest and serious questions about nominees’ ties to corporate interests and foreign powers. Judge Gorsuch presents similar questions. “Judge Gorsuch’s lower court decisions suggest he would undermine civil liberties, reduces workers rights, and roll back environmental protections,” states Wendy Fields, Executive Director of the Democracy Initiative.

As shown in a new report released today by Demos, the Supreme Court has gutted protections against money in politics. The report notes that Supreme Court rulings have led to a total of more than $3 billion in spending on the 2016 elections.

“The Supreme Court has elevated the voice of corporations,” notes Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Emmanuel Caicedo, Senior Campaign Strategist at Demos, warned that Gorsuch on the Supreme Court could give the wealthy unlimited power to translate their financial wealth into political influence. CWA Legislative Director Shane Larson emphasized that “Judge Gorsuch will further tilt the scales in favor of the wealthy and the powerful.”

“The court is opening the floodgate for money in politics,” observes Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD 3rd District), who formed the House Democracy Task Force. “It is not just about how much money is coming in but where it is coming from.”

A recent national poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research revealed that an overwhelming majority (78%) of voters of all political persuasions want the senate to reject a nominee that would increase the influence of corporations in politics. Among Republicans, 59% of voters oppose a nominee what would favor more money in politics.

Every Voice, Demos, and CWA are members of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of 58 organizations representing 30 million members nationwide. The Senate will begin hearings on Judge Gorsuch next week. Members within the Democracy Initiative will be actively voicing their concerns to their senators throughout the process.

Read full letter online.

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Americans Deserve the Truth, Transparency and Sessions' Resignation

For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 2, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications

mwhittaker@democracyinitiative.org 202-567-6103

March  2, 2017

Americans Deserve the Truth, Transparency and Sessions' Resignation

 

WASHINGTON, DC — The new revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled the public regarding his contact with Russian officials is the latest example of why Americans have a growing distrust for government. The Democracy Initiative, a coalition of 58 organizations representing 30 million members nationwide, calls on the President and Congress to take immediate action to demand Sessions’ resignation and to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. The American people want a government that upholds truth and transparency.

“The country’s highest officer for truth and justice has lied to the American people,” states Wendy Fields, executive director of the Democracy Initiative. “He gave sworn testimony about his communications with Russia. He should follow Flynn’s example and resign.”

As The Washington Post reported, and the attorney general’s spokesperson confirmed, then-senator Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice in 2016. This information directly contradicts Sessions’ sworn testimony during his confirmation hearing where he said “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” Further investigation shows that Sessions appears to be the lone member on the Senate Armed Services Committee to meet with Kislyak in 2016.

The Democracy Initiative believes a heightened sense of urgency and action by the President and Congress is required. In the 42 days since the start of the Trump Administration, three individuals involved with Trump’s campaign have been identified as having contacting with Russians during the 2016 election. This includes former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who was forced to resign. We call for an independent special investigation into Russian interference with U.S. elections.

Statements from Partner Organizations:

“If President Trump does not have the courage to call for a Special Prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election then Congress must mandate it.” Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause

"In order to protect our clean air and water, we must have a functioning and transparent democracy free of outside interference, which is why we need an independent investigation into this administration's interaction with Russia. Our democracy can never be permitted to come second to partisan politics." Courtney Hight, Director of Sierra Club's Democracy Program.

“Being openly racist should have been enough to disqualify Jeff Sessions from becoming U.S. Attorney General. Now it’s come to light that he may have lied under oath about his contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. This is one more demonstration of Sessions’ gross unfitness for the job and his unwillingness to stand up for all Americans.  Our democracy deserves better," said Rachel Rye Butler, Greenpeace Democracy Campaigner.

The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.

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Democracy Initiative Calls on Democratic Senators to Debate Each Trump Nominee for 30 Hours

Friday, January 27, 2017

For Immediate Release                                                               

January 27, 2017                                                                                                              

 

Contact:

Monisha Som, 202.448.0219

monisha@spitfirestrategies.com

 

Democracy Initiative Calls on Democratic Senators to Debate Each Trump Nominee for 30 Hours

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Democracy Initiative, a network of 58 civil rights, environmental, labor and civic organizations representing 30 million people, released the following statement calling on Democratic Senators to debate each Trump nominee for 30 hours:

 

The Democracy Initiative is calling on Democratic Senators to exercise their right to utilize the full 30 hours to debate every nominee. These Senators have the responsibility to ensure that the full record of each nominee is exposed to the American public, and that the process is not rushed through.

 

With our democratic principles and institutions at risk, now is the time to resist. Every single person nominated by President Trump represents a further erosion of the basic precept that the people – not a small circle of millionaires and billionaires – should control their own society and their own destiny. Democratic Senators must stand up and be a voice for the working class and for the marginalized in our society. They must not normalize the takeover of our democracy by individuals dedicated to undermining our values.

 

The only hope for the people to learn the true positions and values of these nominees lies with full exposure of their records, which without exception demonstrate a loyalty to the wealthy few who are amassing more and more power while our democracy becomes more and more fragile.

 

Democrats must not capitulate. They must utilize all 30 hours available under the rules to show the American people that they will not cave in to the imminent threats to our democracy under the new administration.

 

The Democracy Initiative, and our 58 member organizations, comprise 30 million people who want to see whether the Democratic Senators are going to be bold and fight for our democracy, or whether they are going to capitulate without a struggle. We the people are fighting back; are the Democrats with us?

 

We demand 30 hours of debate – no unanimous consent on the plutocrats who are perched to destroy our rights. We are watching.

 

We also urge you to contact your Senators to utilize the full 30 hours for debate. Call (877.959.6082) to help #StopSessions

 

 

The Democracy Initiative Board includes:

 

  • Larry Cohen, Chair
  • Cornell William, Brooks, NAACP President and CEO
  • Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
  • Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President
  • Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA Executive Director
  • Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President
  • Wendy Fields, Executive Director Democracy Initiative

 

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations launched in 2013 working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. We believe that the voice of every citizen should be heard and counted, so all of us have an equal say in a democracy that is of, by, and for the people. Our endorsing organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy.

 

United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance. Together, we can break down these barriers and protect our democracy from the systematic effort to shift power from the many to a wealthy few by silencing our voices in the workplace, in the ballot box, and in the offices of our elected officials.

Martin Luther King Day Statement

Monday, January 16, 2017

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Caption: 
The Democracy Initiative asks all Americans to recognize that the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is not a history lesson but a cry for action. We all must live up to his example and fight in 2017 for the democratic principles he embodied. The Democracy Initiative is committed to expanding voter participation and to reducing the corrosive influence of money in politics. To achieve these goals, we must follow the lead of Dr. King by fanning the flames of activism and civic engagement in our communities and states, and by marching and mobilizing and following the principles of non-violent civil disobedience.

 

    Two recent actions exemplify the spirit of Dr. King. Last week in Alabama and in Iowa, NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, a board member of the Democracy Initiative, led civil disobedience protests against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.  In Iowa, the Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) joined with the AFL-CIO and the NAACP to stage a sit-in at the office of Senator Grassley, the head of the Judiciary Committee who is rushing through the nomination of Sessions without allowing for the development of a full record.  We are all inspired by the willingness of the activists in Alabama and in Iowa to be arrested to show their opposition to a nominee who opposes civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and criminal justice and immigration reform.

 

     Dr. King lifted us up by demanding that our democracy treat all individuals with equal respect and dignity, and that we heed the voice of every person.   Dr. King recognized that economic inequality, poverty, and the concentration of wealth threaten our democracy as much as the suppression of the right to vote. He called out to our better natures and asked us to  stand up against injustice through peaceful mobilization and resistance.  

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    The fifty-eight organizations that comprise the Democracy Initiative recognize the intersectionality of our core issues.  Democracy cannot survive when the wealthy dominate our political system, when poor people are denied access to the ballot box, when people of color are profiled and marginalized, when religious minorities are targeted, when immigrants are vilified and slandered, when women lose access to health care, and when public education is dismantled.

    In this critical moment,  all of our democratic institutions and norms are under threat: the right to vote is again being suppressed,  powerful corporate interests dominate our political process to the detriment of our environment, our schools and our children’s drinking water,  unions are facing unrelenting attack.  It is our duty to link arms and stand up in the spirit of Dr. King, to march, to risk arrest, and to ensure that our voices are heard.

 

    Let us honor Dr. King through our actions in standing together to protect our democracy.  Let us communicate to elected officials through our voices and through our mobilizations that we are watching them and will hold them accountable to listen to the voices of ALL the people.

 

Democracy Initiative Says Rex Tillerson Nomination Undermines Democracy

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The following statement opposing Rex Tillerson’s nomination has been released by Wendy Fields, Executive Director of The Democracy Initiative, a network of 58 civil rights, environmental, labor and civic organizations representing 30 million people.

 

 

Caption: 

 

 

For Immediate Release                                                     

Jan. 12, 2017                                                                        

 

Contact:

Monisha Som, 202-448-0219

monisha@spitfirestrategies.com

 

 

Democracy Initiative Says Rex Tillerson Nomination Undermines Democracy

Statement by Wendy Fields, Executive Director

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – “The job of the Secretary of State is to represent the interests and values of the American people on the world stage. Rex Tillerson is the voice of big oil and big corporations, not of the people.  His confirmation as Secretary of State would be a blow to our democracy and our constitutional values.

 

Tillerson personifies the elevation of profit-seeking over the needs of the people, and the outsized influence of big money on political decision-making.  During his career as head of Exxon-Mobil, he repeatedly prioritized profits over the American people, selling out our democracy to fuel corporate greed.

 

How can someone who put his company’s profits ahead of our nation’s interests be trusted to speak for all the people in the global arena?

 

How can someone who funded climate change deniers be trusted to address the threat of climate change?

 

How can someone who funded right wing think tanks to misrepresent the dangers of fossil fuels be trusted to be a spokesperson for our country?

 

How can someone who has attacked and bullied journalists for exposing the truth about his corporation be trusted to uphold our freedoms as citizens of a democracy?

 

We call on the Senate to reject the nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, because we cannot sell our democracy to the highest bidder nor can we sacrifice our planet to the greed of the corporate elites. “

 

The Democracy Initiative Board includes:

 

  • Larry Cohen, Chair
  • Cornell William, Brooks, NAACP President and CEO
  • Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
  • Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President
  • Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA Executive Director
  • Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President
  • Wendy Fields, Executive Director Democracy Initiative

 

 

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations launched in 2013 working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. We believe that the voice of every citizen should be heard and counted, so all of us have an equal say in a democracy that is of, by, and for the people. Our endorsing organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy.

 

United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance. Together, we can break down these barriers and protect our democracy from the systematic effort to shift power from the many to a wealthy few by silencing our voices in the workplace, in the ballot box, and in the offices of our elected officials.

 

Democracy Initiative Opposes Nomination of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Thursday, January 5, 2017

For Immediate Release

January 5, 2017

Contact:

Monisha Som, 202-448-0219

monisha@spitfirestrategies.com


 

Democracy Initiative Opposes Nomination of Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Democracy Initiative, a network of 58 civil rights, environmental, labor and civic organizations representing 30 million peope, urges immediate action to reject the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General.

 

“The Attorney General of the United States holds the sacred responsibility of advocating for all the people of our nation, most importantly for those among us who most need a champion,” said Wendy Fields, Executive Director of the Democracy Initiative, which works to restore the core principles of democracy and political equality. “We strongly oppose the confirmation of Senator Sessions for this critical post because his position and record conflict with core democratic values.”

 

Cornell William Brooks, President of the NAACP, which is a member group of the DI coalition, said, “The U.S. Attorney General is a legal and moral compass for the president and our nation. From voting rights, to immigration rights to women's rights, an Attorney General Sessions under President Trump would lead America in the wrong direction–backward at full speed.” Brooks was arrested this week during a sit-in at Sessions’ office in Alabama.  

 

“If confirmed, Jeff Sessions might be the worst Attorney General nominee ever,” said Larry Cohen, Chairman of the DI. “This nomination should not be rushed. With such a controversial nominee, hearings should not be held before the nomination is received, and there should be a full vetting of his record.”

 

The right to vote is the fundamental feature of a democracy, and Senator Sessions has embraced tactics of voter suppression. He is a staunch opponent of the Voting Rights Act, calling it “intrusive.” He waged an infamous prosecution against civil rights activists in the 1980’s on phony charges of voter fraud, charges that a jury readily dismissed.  

 

Senator Sessions’ disrespect for the right to vote threatens the ability of people to have their voices heard on all issues that affect their lives. The policies of Jeff Sessions would compromise enforcement of labor, environmental, immigration, and human and civil rights laws which comprise the core missions of DI’s member organizations.

 

How can we trust someone who clamors for “law and order” and supports “stop and frisk” to advocate for a mother whose child has been gunned down by a police officer? How can we entrust someone who voted against a hate crimes bill with the life of the next Matthew Shepherd or James Byrd, Jr.? How can we believe that someone who fought against a bill to prevent violence against women would step in to save the life of an abused spouse? How can we expect someone who opposed bipartisan criminal justice reform to protect people of color from excessive sentencing?  What are the chances this climate change skeptic would stand up to big polluters?

 

How can someone who has shown indifference to the poor be trusted to protect the children of Flint, Michigan, from the poisoning of their water supply? How can someone who favors a “Muslim ban” be trusted to uphold the dignity of our Muslim neighbors? How can someone who has opposed virtually every immigration bill be trusted to show respect and compassion to hard-working parents trying to make a better life for their children?

 

The DI calls upon Senators to slow down this rushed process, to conduct a full and transparent vetting of this nominee, and to reject this nominee and instead select as Attorney General a person to whom all the people can look as an advocate for a truly democratic society where all voices are heard.

 

We intend to take all possible actions to oppose Senator Sessions and stand up for our democratic values.

 

The Democracy Initiative Board includes:

 

  • Larry Cohen, Chair

  • Cornell William, Brooks, NAACP President and CEO

  • Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

  • Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President

  • Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA Executive Director

  • Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

  • Wendy Fields, Executive Director, Democracy Initiative

 

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations launched in 2013 working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. We believe that the voice of every citizen should be heard and counted, so all of us have an equal say in a democracy that is of, by, and for the people. Our endorsing organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy.


United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance. Together, we can break down these barriers and protect our democracy from the systematic effort to shift power from the many to a wealthy few by silencing our voices in the workplace, in the ballot box, and in the offices of our elected officials.

Racial Profiling an Attack on Our Democracy

Democracy Initiative Board Statement, which includes NAACP, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO Common Cause, demands action
Wednesday, October 12, 2016


 

For Immediate Release Contact: Donald Gatlin, 202-587-2871

October 12, 2016 dgatlin@rabengroup.com


 

Racial Profiling an Attack on Our Democracy

Democracy Initiative Board Statement, which includes NAACP, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO Common Cause, demands action


 

WASHINGTON, DC – The board of directors of the Democracy Initiative released the following statement:

 

“The Democracy Initiative recognizes that the deaths of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina; Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the more than 700 people killed this year; and the 950 killed last year are all emblematic of a crisis in policing. As a coalition of pro-democracy institutions representing at least 30 million people and standing with many more allied organizations, we call on our elected officials – and every American who will be casting their vote on Election Day – to take on the issue of racial profiling as an attack on our democracy. A law enforcement practice that targets people by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity for separate and unequal suspicion, and often fatal treatment, fundamentally undermines our democracy. We demand accountability for the policies and practices that perpetuate profiling and target, marginalize and ultimately silence the voice of the people. Subjecting black lives, in particular, and communities of color, more generally, to profiling, is by definition anti-democratic.

 

We, as democracy advocates, call on all Americans to:

 

1. Use your power by voting. We encourage people to demand answers of candidates at every level – from city council to the President of the United States – about what they will do to protect our community members and our democracy. Keep the conversation alive on social media using hashtags like the NAACP’s millennial-focused hashtag #staywokeandvote, and hold our leaders accountable with your vote. 

 

2. Call on all elected officials and law enforcement agencies to take concrete steps to ensure that equal justice is assured for all members of our communities. Elected officials and law enforcement agencies must seek to improve community policing, and work to secure meaningful engagement between the faith-based, community and law enforcement leaders who interact with communities on the ground every day.

 

3. Speak out by using social and traditional media to communicate the message that racial profiling is antithetical to our democracy.

 

4. Work with your community and with organizations that want to bring about an end to police misconduct, profiling and stop and frisk. Ensure that elected officials include the voices of the community, strengthen community relations, and maintain full transparency while ensuring due process. You can reach out to Democracy Initiative for more information about how to start.

 

Now is the time to raise our voice and demand change. As Americans, it is our responsibility to maximize our individual engagement in the democratic process to eradicate systemic discrimination. We must vote – and vote the entire ballot, from the President of the United States, to county sheriff. We cannot let our voices be silenced a single day longer.”  

 

Democracy Initiative Board

 

Larry Cohen, Democracy Initiative Chair

Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO

Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President

Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA Executive Director

Wendy Fields, Executive Director Democracy Initiative


 

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The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations launched in 2013 working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. We believe that the voice of every citizen should be heard and counted, so all of us have an equal say in a democracy that is of, by, and for the people. Our endorsing organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy.

 

United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance. Together, we can break down these barriers and protect our democracy from the systematic effort to shift power from the many to a wealthy few by silencing our voices in the workplace, in the ballot box, and in the offices of our elected officials.