In February–in the before times–our staff gathered for a retreat. Even before the pandemic sent us to our home offices, about half our staff worked remotely, so this was precious time for us to be together. We spent part of this time learning to apply the principles of improv to our social justice work. One of the lessons that I’ve drawn on the most is “Yes, and…” to affirm what is offered and build from it.
So, yes, I believe that we will win. AND we have to take seriously the threats to that win, and the work that will follow. As Community Change Action plans for the final two weeks of election season, we are all in on three strategies:
- Get Out the Vote. If Black and Latinx voters, women, and youth turn out, Democrats up and down the ballot will win. AND Community Change Action has mastered the best ways to reach these voters: trusted messengers who are leaders in the community; year-round engagement on the issues voters care about; and long-term partnerships with the organizations that can remain as political homes in the community long after election day. We are working in eight states that control 101 electoral votes and five Senate seats, and we’re targeting 28 congressional districts and over 150 state legislative districts. Using the deeply emotional stakes of this election, we are building a powerful bloc to vote and also stay in the fight for a Just Reconstruction in the next administration.
- Protect the Count. Free and fair elections. A peaceful transfer of power. These are the heart of our democracy. AND because this is 2020, and the president’s statements fly in the face of these fundamental truths, we’re preparing for the worst scenarios and hoping we won’t need to put these post-election plans in action. We’re organizing outreach to secretaries of state, naming the tactics of voter suppression in order to make them less effective, and our partners are calling out these tactics through a series of opinion pieces in local press. Across the country, community-based groups are making plans for election night and the days to follow–including Spaces in Action’s Go-Go Party on DC’s Black Lives Matter Plaza.
- Put Forward a Vision. In this election, we’re ultimately voting for our freedom to thrive in our own country. AND, even if we win up and down the ballot, the work remains to achieve a more inclusive and equitable vision of citizenship, of justice, and of the third Reconstruction ahead of us. Community Change Action has designed our voter engagement program to position Black and Latinx voters to define a mandate for the future. We are claiming our stake in what comes next–rooted in ideas from the ground up–and we will wield our power to make it real.
In any scenario, we will continue to follow Black, brown, and immigrant leaders–particularly Black, brown, and immigrant women–whose vision, organizing, and love will drive our policy fights, our national fights, our state fights. They are the reason I believe that we will win.
As I told Rachel Thomas on this week’s episode of Tilted: A Lean In Podcast: “We have the power and the ability to create a different kind of future.”
President, Community Change Action