We got through 2020 together. We depended on each other to meet extraordinary, unimaginable circumstances with grit, determination, and community. Thank you. Against all odds and amid all of the challenges each one of us faced–together, we held the power of change.
As a country, we faced a worldwide pandemic–and Black, brown, and immigrant communities bore the brunt of its devastation. The virus exposed the fragility of a “normal” that had never worked for too many of us, plunging families into crisis as unemployment soared, inadequate child care options grew even more unattainable, and folks made impossible choices between food or shelter. And then the nation witnessed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We took to the streets, following Black leaders to declare that Black Lives Matter and to demand a government that reflects that reality.
As a movement, we met this moment. We protested. We organized. We voted to change the players that call the political shots in our lives. And we won together. Take a moment to reflect with us on the challenges and triumphs of this year through photography.
PROGRAMS AND ORGANIZING TAKES FLIGHT
We started the year with programs to build people power. In the Bay Area, we knocked on doors alongside Parent Voices Oakland, helping to win a model tax policy to support parents and child care providers. We gathered at our offices to learn from the first cohort of the Women’s Fellowship program, which grounded us in the wisdom of community leaders, and we started building our relational voter contact strategy using digital tools like the Outvote app, which became a crucial element of our contacting “unlikely” voters in the pandemic that soon consumed the country.
BEFORE PANDEMIC LIFE
When the Community Change family kicked off this monumental year with an All Staff Retreat, we didn’t know what 2020 would throw at us. We focused on improvisation, connection, and vision, and we were clear that organizing, communication, a sense of humor, and collective power would be our tools to meet the challenges ahead of us this year.
BUILDING POWER DURING A PANDEMIC
The pandemic changed how we live, work, and build power. As we remember and mourn more than 300,000 lives lost, we recognize that the public health crisis also raised the stakes for all our fights: immigrant justice, housing security, reinvestment in Black communities, jobs and income support, and child care. It became clear that Black, brown, and immigrant workers are not only essential to a functioning America, but also are treated as expendable. So we continued to raise our voice: in the streets and through digital platforms toward our representatives. Photo Locations: COVID memorial on the Washington, D.C. national mall; Mitch Better Have My Money rally in Washington, D.C.; Housing partners action at Congress; Immigration partners fight for Dreamers and DACA on the Supreme Court steps.
BLACK LIVES MATTER & THE BLACK FREEDOM COLLECTIVE
In the days and weeks following George Floyd’s killing, despite the still-raging pandemic, people across the country followed Black activists into the streets. The protests grew to include more people than any prior protest movement as Black, brown, and white people, folks born in this country and elsewhere, showed up to protest the killing of unarmed Black people by the police. The movement moment accelerated our work to grow the Black Freedom Collective, which is building Black political power through grassroots organizing. Photo Location: The 2020 March on Washington and Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
HONORING OUR COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS
In September, we gathered in a virtual community to celebrate those leading the way in this pivotal moment for our movement. Every year, we celebrate the work that often goes unheralded, and the people and organizations that keep our vision for a just world alive. This year’s honorees: Susan Pritzker, Co-Founder of The Libra Foundation; United We Dream Network; Clarissa Doutherd, Executive Director of Parent Voices Oakland; and Movement for Black Lives.
OUR VOTING POWER, THE 2020 ELECTION, AND COUNT EVERY VOTE
In 2020, voters of color showed their political power. Community Change Action and our partners helped to determine the results in 20 states by using the power of organizing our friends and family, connecting with people on the issues that matter in their lives, and staying engaged over the months and years between elections. We engaged 13.8 million voters, connecting with people who are looking for a different kind of politics and reaching the people most impacted by the policies of the last four years and the injustice of the last four decades.