I believe that we will win

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.”

In Power,
Lorella Praeli
President, Community Change Action


Our Voices. Our Issues. Our Election.

Voting is well underway this election season, and we at Community Change Action know there are pivotal races up and down the ballot in states from coast to coast. That’s why we are mounting a full-court press to ensure that the voices of our community ring loud enough this November to not only win big, but to define the governing mandate for the next administration. We’re supporting campaigns in eight battleground states, five Senate seats, 28 Congressional districts, 151 state legislative districts, and 11 ballot initiatives. And with 8 million voters engaged and two pivotal weeks to go, as Lorella Praeli told MSNBC, we cannot take our foot off the gas.  

  • In Wisconsin, our partner Voces de la Frontera Action has seen an incredible shift in progressive energy with 84% support among targeted voters in recent weeks. As highlighted in The New Yorker, the deep trust and relationships they have built in local Latinx communities are now being turned into ballot box power. As Jeanette Arellano, a member of Voces Action artists’ collective told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel while painting a Black Lives Matter mural, “Making sure that our voices are heard gives us power.”
  • In Arizona, historic Latinx turnout could flip the state. The Daily podcast from The New York Times highlighted our partner LUCHA, working to engage and mobilize infrequent local Latinx voters.The electoral power of this community is based on decades of organizing with the people most impacted by the cruel, anti-immigrant policies in Arizona and across the country. As Community Change Action’s National Political Director Grecia Lima shared recently on MSNBC, “The fear of border patrol, of family separation, never leaves your body. The wall is a representation of everything that divides us.
  • In Georgia, the determination and enthusiasm of our community was highlighted on the first day of early in-person voting: Our partners at New Georgia Project Action Fund reported that many waited as long as five hours in line at polling stations. In Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, more votes have already been cast than in all of Georgia. In Florida, Democrats have a 6% advantage over Republicans in returned ballots so far. 
  • In Colorado, our partner Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition is working to register and turn out the estimated 59,806 people who have become naturalized U.S. citizens since the vulnerable Sen. Cory Gardner was elected by 40,000 votes. And partners Colorado People’s Action and United for a New Economy Action have helped to develop Colorado’s first ever Racial Justice Ballot Guide, including support for Proposition 118 for paid family and medical leave.

Elections are a snapshot of our movement’s power. As Community Change Action continues to build that power, our partners are updating traditional GOTV tactics to reach diverse and specific communities often left behind by traditional voter mobilization programs. In collaboration with movement partner Way to Win, we’re using ads informed by a race/class narrative like “Breathe” and “No Matter Your Zipcode” to motivate voters based on a positive vision for the country. We’re also making sure they understand the ballot initiatives that give them direct control over policy on issues like education, paid medical and family leave, minimum wage, and the state board of pardons.

Child Care and the Election

Did you catch our virtual rally for a caring economy? We organized Be a Child Care Voter to lift up our vision and send a message to policymakers and political leaders that child care is a key issue in the upcoming election. The powerful event featured Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, Community Change Communications Fellow and author Stephanie Land, actress Angelique Cabral, bachata and merengue performer Hector Acosta, and kickass grassroots leaders and organizers from our partner organizations in Michigan, Ohio, and California.

In partnership with Family Values at Work Action, MomsRising Together, and the National Women’s Law Center Action Fund, the virtual rally showcased how, for many voters, child care stands at the intersection of our struggles for racial, gender, and economic justice. Here you can watch the palpable excitement of the child care voters and leaders that are organizing for their vision.

Sharing the Knowledge of Women of Color

This month, Community Change previewed Calling In & Up: A Pedagogy for Women of Color Organizing Leaders. This pedagogy draws on the experiences and the knowledge we gained through our signature leadership development programs: the women’s fellowship and Power 50. This new, field-tested curriculum is a tool designed by and for women of color, centering the unique challenges they face and offering a transformational approach to leadership development within the movement for justice. Developed by the incomparable Aida Cuadrado Bozzo, Community Change’s Senior Facilitator, Leadership Development, and Trish Adobea Tchume, our former Director of Leadership Development and current Sterling Network Organizer at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the curriculum, to quote Ruha Benjamin, is designed to support women-of-color organizers toimagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the worlds you cannot live within.” Stay tuned for the full launch of the curriculum in early 2021.

Lifting Up Our Voices

What Voters Want

Share your Story

We are listening to what our voters care about — and so can you. Community Change Action’s National Video Day of Action on October 15 added to over 295 videos about the voter experience. You can watch Lisa share what’s at stake for Black people in this election (hint: it’s health care and the economy), Debby from Alabama explain why our democracy needs us all to raise our voices by voting, and Rebecca from New York speak about her vision for child care policy. We invite you to share your experience at the polls and tell the world what issues matter most to you. Use the hashtag #VoteYourPower to share your story with your social media network.

COMING SOON: Black at the Polls Rally and a Post Election Briefing

On Wednesday, October 28, at 12 pm ET, please join us for the virtual Black at the Polls Rally, sponsored by Community Change Action and our grassroots partners in the Black Freedom Collective. We are using this opportunity to mobilize Black voters, take back the narrative of what is at stake for Black voters, and showcase our national Black Freedom Collective partners working in Black battleground states. The event will feature soul musician Lee Langston, movement poet Sha’Condria Icon, and our grassroots organizers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, and Texas.  

On Thursday, November 12, at 3 pm ET, join us for Our Voice: A Post-Election Conversation with Black, brown, and immigrant movement leaders in the 2020 election, featuring President Dorian Warren and National Political Director Grecia Lima. This will be the first in a series of important conversations with the groups building electoral power from the ground up. We’ll share what we’ve learned in this unimaginable year, and discuss how we transition our voice at the ballot box into governing power, rooted in years of deep organizing.

In Case You Missed It

Want to know the secret to beating Trump?

Read Mother Jones’ The Secret to Beating Trump Lies with Your Friends, featuring Community Change Action’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Kristee Paschall. Learn more about how we are marrying new-school technology with old-school relational organizing to facilitate conversations between friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about being a voter this year. 

How to Court Latinx Voters

Check out Community Change Action President Lorella Praeli’s insight about Trump and Biden’s relationship to Latinx voters in this CNN article.

A Partnership: Child Care and Economic Stability

Clarissa Doutherd, Community Change’s 2020 Emerging Change Champion and Executive Director of partner organization Parent Voices Oakland, shares the common sense and grassroots view on why child care and economic stability go hand-in-hand in the San Francisco Bay View. 

Care Workers Organizing for Dignity

Faced with low wages and uncertain financial futures, workers are raising their voices about what’s important to them in an article in The American Prospect, which also features Wendoly Marte, Community Change Action’s Director of Economic Justice.