An Organizing Oppurtunity

March 2022 Newsletter




It took an entire movement to wrestle back power from an authoritarian, white supremacist opposition in 2020. Together, we did it — but the work to restore our democracy has only begun. The war in Ukraine is the latest in a series of alarms pointing at the worldwide rise of authoritarianism against a weakening of democracy. 

At the same time, there is an elephant in the room whenever we talk about democracy here at home. Six decades after the supposed end of Jim Crow, the promise of multi-racial democracy has not been fulfilled. The successful engagement of our diverse communities — Black, Latino, AAPI, Native, and immigrant — is not just essential for Democrats in 2022, it is imperative for the health of our democracy and the future of all progressive victories. 

Let’s take the example everyone is talking about: Latinos will account for about one in eight eligible voters in 2024. This voting bloc is far from monolithic and, as we saw in 2020, it is far from a secured progressive win. It is not the same to build with Latinos in Arizona as it is in Florida or Wisconsin. Geographic location, country of heritage, familial ties, age, gender, and income all matter. Our community is as diverse as it is resilient! If we are not listening locally we leave a big gap in our influence and, as we’ve seen before, the Right will fill that gap. Years of disinformation combined with an underfunded infrastructure led us to this moment. 

Community Change Action is focused on building long-term power that strengthens the health of our democracy and consequently leads to vibrant communities. Our contributions to this process in this electoral cycle include wrap-around data and technical support in priority states; a national platform for shared learning and skills development; and targeted Congressional district investments alongside statewide voter engagement programs with partners in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. 

This is a year to keep innovating and investing in strategies that strengthen capacity beyond electoral cycles. With one in five adult TikTok users coming from Latino communities, you will see us leaning in on social media. Not necessarily me! Rather you will see our hand-selected grassroots influencers who reach beyond traditionally engaged voter audiences and fight disinformation. We are also mobilizing one of the largest relational voter contact programs in the country. Investing early in relational programs creates deep, enduring ties — ties that provide assurance and resiliency amid the unknowns of a pandemic, civil unrest, and world crises. 

Beyond Election Day, Democrats will have to fight even harder for our communities. As we’ve seen this year, our people are ready to hold elected officials accountable to a future where everyone can thrive and feel safe. We need leadership that delivers policies like the expanded Child Tax Credit, immigration reform, and sustainable investment in our care economy. 

My 13 years working in electoral politics have taught me that social media platforms change, tools adapt, and policy demands and strategies evolve. But what stays constant is people and the relationships they hold. When we invest in grassroots leaders, there is nothing that can stop us. When we lift upstate leaders, our strategies create a long-lasting impact. And when we learn from each other, our progressive ecosystem strengthens. Only together can we claw back the very soul of our democracy. I’ll see you in the fight.  


Changing How We Talk About the Economy

Last year’s temporarily expanded child tax credit, as well as a growing number of guaranteed income pilot programs, have shifted the way the public and policymakers talk about money, the economy, and who “deserves” to thrive in the United States. Community Change and our grassroots partners are exploring narrative change and the language we use to talk about the economy, with the help of Liberation in a Generation. Through a series of trainings this spring, we are working together to describe the equitable society we want to see, frame and test messages about economic security in our communities, understand the history of the dominant racist and sexist narrative about welfare, and find ways to reframe the conversation.

Investing in Organizing

To win power and a progressive governing agenda, we must organize more people in more places, with better tools and tactics. Power in Places is a peer-learning cohort of grassroots partners convened by Community Change that focuses on supporting and surfacing successful approaches to building grassroots power, base-building, and innovative organizing practices and models, especially in Black, Brown, and immigrant communities. In collaboration with our partners, we seek to demonstrate what practices and conditions it takes to effectively grow our movement, through base-building and leadership development, at scale with soul. This cohort has grown to 28 powerful, grassroots organizations that are diverse in their geographies, base-building methodologies, and issues, and are deeply committed to innovations in organizing directly impacted people at a scale necessary to build and wield power at the state and local level. The organizations in this cohort are 81% BIPOC-led, 85% women-led, and 63% women of color-led.   

At our core, we are organizers engaging other organizers to learn from each other and strengthen our collective community organizing practice. Together, we seek to build a new knowledge, informed by emergent ideas in our field, that challenges conventional wisdom, disrupts the status quo, and changes people’s minds: learning and building power from the ground up. To this end, our work in 2022 will include:

  • Monthly organizer cooperative calls that will provide peer-learning spaces
  • Quarterly partner peer-learning calls on themes that include Organizing Talent, Integrating Technology in Organizing, and Building State and Local Governing Power
  • Surveys about our partners’ base-building successes, challenges, and goals to inform our ongoing support.

In addition to convening partners in peer-learning spaces, Community Change provides Power in Places partners with flexible, multi-year funding, access to policy and communications support, access to online organizing tools, best practices, and technology, and opportunities to co-create learning and evaluation tools and products to highlight partners’ work.

Housing Justice Event with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge

The Housing Justice Team and 50+ leaders — folks from California, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and more who are directly impacted by the lack of safe, affordable housing — held a dynamic meeting this month with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and several other HUD officials. Community Change and the leaders we organize secured a commitment to hold this meeting from HUD Chief of Staff Jenn Jones during our Housing Is Essential Town Hall in 2021. After many months of strategic follow-up and leveraging our collective power, it was incredible to witness all women, primarily women of color, lead this bilingual meeting and speak directly to Secretary Fudge, pushing for answers around the need for accountability and change in our four priority areas: race and gender equity in housing, landlord accountability, the decriminalization of people experiencing homelessness, and prioritizing housing for those at the lowest incomes. 

During the meeting, leaders led four breakout groups with HUD officials to dive more deeply into these issue areas. Leaders pressed for greater clarity on what action the administration is taking and advocated for necessary changes, for example, ensuring HUD-subsidized properties are held accountable for providing heating and cooling, and that HUD is held accountable for creating and enforcing consequences for jurisdictions that criminalize homelessness. Our spokespeople powerfully secured a commitment from Secretary Fudge to meet again and gained agreements from the HUD officials present to schedule follow-ups in the coming weeks to delve more deeply into these necessary structural changes to increase housing justice. The work is far from over, but this meeting was a major victory for grassroots base-building, leadership development, and speaking truth to power.

Expanding Influence: TikTok and the State of the Union

This year’s State of the Union marked a critical time to celebrate the accomplishments voters made possible — and to hold President Biden and Congress accountable to the promises they still need to deliver. 

In the days and hours surrounding the State of the Union address on March 2, we partnered with four social media influencers to see how we could enter the conversation from different perspectives. With the help of our four TikTokers (Benjamín Zamora, Lauryn & Steph, Carlos R Chavez, and Jenoah), we received 300,000 views and 18,000 engagements (likes, reports, shares). 

You can explore these pieces of art on IG and TikTok below:


Autumn Harry, USA Today’s Women of the Year Nevada Honoree

Learn about a powerful Native voice who’s looking to change the landscape of Indigenous and environmental activism.

READ: The Fed wants to slow down the economy. It risks leaving Black workers behind

In Fortune, Community Change Black Led Organizing Director Seft Hunter and William E. Spriggs, chief economist at the AFL-CIO,  share their thoughts on how the Federal Reserve’s move to slow down inflation could overwhelmingly hurt Black workers who are still recovering from the pandemic.

LISTEN: The Fed and Black Workers

Community Change staff Domenica Ghanem, Dorian Warren, and Chirag Mehta explain via this mixed media story (podcast included!) how raising interest rates right now only punishes Black workers for inflation caused by corporations.

Don’t Miss: Moving Immigration Protest in NYC

Community Change Senior Organizer Rommel Sandino joined our partner Make the Road NY to protest with hundreds of domestic workers, day laborers, service workers,  and street vendors and take over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges to demand the funding of the Excluded Workers Funds.

VIDEO: The state of our union is STRONG!

Check out our State of the Union video, which outlines some of the victories we celebrate from the past year, and where we want to go from here. You’ll see some familiar faces and hear some familiar voices from our friends and partners including IAJE in MS, Detention Watch Network, UWD, Parent Voices, MLK50, Make the Road PA and NV, and communication fellows Nissa Tzun, Emily Withnall, and Hannah Grabenstein.