I’m buoyed by the strength and tenacity of our movement and the leadership of people directly affected by centuries of injustice and who bear the greatest costs of the current harm inflicted by our government and corporations alike.
We are demanding more than incremental policies and many candidates for president are responding with big, bold and transformative ideas. As I wrote in Democracy Journal, social movements have always been necessary to drive significant and enduring change: organizing large numbers of people, setting a bold agenda, driving new narratives, and bringing about structural shifts in institutions, rules, or policies.
In this moment, we are seeing how disruptive power, combined with electoral power, can channel political will in democratic and justice-promoting ways. Community Change has been part of this shift, changing the narrative of what is possible and interjecting the voices and agendas of low-income communities of color on the national stage. We are building power from the ground up, leaning into the larger fight for our democracy and economy, for example, our work with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement Action (FIRM Action) putting forward a vision of unity and freedom as the heart of immigration policy.
Community Change Action is calling on presidential contenders to deliver on that vision. We co-hosted the first forum on immigration and immigrant rights in the presidential cycle. And in the midst of this effort to shape the agenda for 2020, we pushed for immediate change, with the U.S. House passing HR 6, the first pro-immigrant bill to pass the chamber in a decade.
In May, I had the honor of giving the commencement address to the graduating class of MacMurray College in my home state of Illinois. As part of my remarks, I shared the famous teaching that the self, who we are, is not a noun. It is a verb. I believe the self is BOTH a noun and a verb. Who we are, our names, our identities—all nouns. But to be is an active thing.
We are called to write our own stories. And together, our story can be transformational. This is a critical and historic moment in American history, and I’m grateful to co-write with you our next chapter in creating broad, sweeping change to advance social justice in our country.