FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Michelle C. Whittaker, Director of Communications
September 20, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC - The Democracy Initiative, a dynamic coalition of 60 diverse issue organizations, welcomes NAACP Interim President Derrick Johnson to the board of directors. Johnson was selected to lead the historic civil rights organization in July while the board searches for a new president. As a longtime member of the NAACP, President Johnson’s strategic leadership will help foster continued mobilization of millions of members across the country for democracy.
The Democracy Initiative launched in 2013 – by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), NAACP, Greenpeace USA and Sierra Club – to mobilize members to demand a democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. Since its first convening, endorsing groups have represented a diverse range of progressive issues, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice. All partners hold a firm belief that success in any of these areas depends on civil engagement and participation in democracy.
“Derrick Johnson understands how to engage, move, and mobilize citizens to engage in civic life and have their voices heard at all levels of government,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause president. “These are skills the Democracy Initiative is in the process of teaching, implementing, and moving to scale as voters remind politicians that they serve in the public interest, not wealthy special interests. We welcome Derrick’s leadership, his experience, and his vision as we build a democracy that works for all Americans.”
“The Democracy Initiative creates a collaborative space for a diverse set social justice organizations to take collective action and advance just causes by creating a more inclusive democracy,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP interim president and CEO. “I am pleased to join the DI board of directors. We are all stronger when we work together to make sure our government delivers on the promise of a democracy for all."
The Democracy Initiative launched its most ambitious program, Democracy 365, to focus the energy of the millions of grassroots members within in the coalition to win large scale reforms at the state and local level. The program will officially start later this fall; however, the DI is already seeing the impact of this new effort. The DI mobilized members around 5 coordinated state actions across the U.S. on the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to push back on their attempts to shrink our voting power. These actions featured members of the diverse coalition speaking boldly on the need for a proactive vision for democracy that ensures all eligible voters can fully participate. The NAACP was involved in many of these actions, mobilizing members and providing local leadership as speakers.
“NAACP is a founding member of the Democracy Initiative and their presence is invaluable to the coalition, said Wendy Fields, executive director for the Democracy Initiative. “Already, President Johnson has added his voice to our Democracy365 program and I’m excited to partner with him and the incredible members of the NAACP to advance democracy reforms so we can hold leaders accountable on issues like criminal justice reform, policy brutality, economic development, and climate justice.”
The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of 60 organizations representing 30 million members working for a responsive, reflective, and inclusive democracy where all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process.