All posts by Mario
Last week, I joined my colleague at the Foundation, Justin Davis, as well as my colleague from Kapor Capital, Brian Dixon, and traveled down to Austin, TX, to take part, for the first time, in the week and a half affair that is South by Southwest (SXSW). Specifically, I was there for SXSW’s Interactive Festival, with its focus on all things technology-related.
Like much of my travel for the Foundation, it was a privilege to attend. Particularly so this time because it was a new and unfamiliar setting, one in line though with the Foundation’s pivot. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve attended a conference where social justice wasn’t in some way central to the gathering, and, quite a few years, probably not since the World Social Forum, since attending a conference as large as this one.
There’s much I’m still processing from the trip and many folks to follow-up with. In the meantime, though, here are some early reflections: (more…)
The Common Counsel Foundation’s Grassroots Exchange Fund (GXF) provides grants to small community-based groups seeking to meet face-to-face with other grassroots organizations, to build collaborative campaigns, and to benefit from technical assistance opportunities. GXF will start accepting applications again on the first Monday of February (February 4). This small grants program is designed to support networking and collaboration between grassroots social change and environmental justice organizations throughout the United States. Potential grantees can check out Common Counsel’s website for guidelines and an application.
Poll results say this election is too close to call and results will not come in for several more hours… but, we are already winning.
Groups from around the Bay have for months now been engaged in deep coordinated voter engagement work, from creating voter guides to forming paid and volunteer phone bank and field teams, reaching tens of thousands Oakland and San Francisco residents. [more on Oakland Rising and San Francisco Rising]
Because of this, we are already winning …
And, for that, we thank those individuals who hold the participation of those around them to be as important as their own.
We thank those organizations that are, to their communities, the place to learn and come together, that work to transform people’s own relationship to the governance of their communities and society, that center those on the margins.
“Here’s our basic idea: we can crowdsource democracy. Let anyone in the country create a voter guide and promote it through Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. Then we’ll compile these thoughts into user-friendly formats so anyone can see what their friends and neighbors think about the stuff they’ll be voting on.” - Matt Singer and Scott Duncombe, http://news.theballot.org/
As a relatively new California voter, I’m overwhelmed by the various candidate races and ballot initiatives that I’ll have to vote on come Nov. 6th. Voting in NY was nothing like this. Voter guides – printed or online guides usually offering basic information or strong opinions on races and/ or propositions produced by a single organization or entity – are one immensely helpful way of navigating the many choices at the polls. (more…)
Today, September 17th, is Citizenship Day. While not heralded widely, the spirit behind the day is one full of meaning for almost everyone in this country, whether their own individual story, or that of their parents, grandparents and ancestors.
President Obama offers us one way to reflect on today:
“As a new group of citizens takes an oath to support and defend our country’s oldest principles, we affirm another truth: that our American journey and our success would never have been possible without the hope, the drive, and the irrepressible optimism that every generation of immigrants has brought to our shores. Across our country, Americans are working side-by-side with our Nation’s newest citizens to build strong, welcoming communities that embrace the talents and contributions of all their members.” – President Obama’s Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Proclamation
In a move to greatly expand California residents ability and access to vote, the legislature has sent a bill to Governor Brown that would allow for Election Day or Same Day Voter Registration. Read more in this press release from CA Common Cause:
On Saturday, I had the chance to attend the Chinese Progressive Association‘s 40th Anniversary, “Together We Move Mountains, Celebrating Generations of Change.” In a testament to the organization’s work and legacy, over 500 people attended the sold-out event (including many friends from NY, New Orleans and across the country), and, true to the event’s title, attendees represented multiple generations of organizers, leaders and supporters. The Foundation is proud to have supported CPA over the years and particularly glad to see CPA leaders, Alex Tom and Shaw San Liu, recognized as local heroes by the San Francisco Bay Guardians just a few days earlier. Click here to read the article.
Photo credit: http://www.sfbg.com/specials/best-bay-2012-local-heroes
A few months ago, I shared a save the date for the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)’s upcoming conference and my own reasons for valuing deeply GIFT’s community, work and vision on this blog.
I’m happy to share that registration is now open for the 2012 Money for Our Movements conference. I look forward to seeing many of you there!
More info below:
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) passed a budget that included a two-year pilot program providing free public transportation to low-income youth. This vote was the culmination of deep organizing work – outreach, education, leadership development, coalition building, all within a campaign framework – led by Kapor Foundation grant recipient, POWER.
Don’t get us wrong, we are always proud when community-based organizing groups, our vehicles for change, move us closer to equal opportunity. But there’s something that feels especially good today about a vehicle for change winning access for our youth to the literal vehicles that connects us to schools, services, and jobs.
Congratulations to POWER and to all the youth who led and participated in the work. Congratulations on winning a core demand and, also, congratulations for raising the issue of public transportation inequity and access to one we should all care about.
Photo credit: SFBayview.com
Brought to you by Craig Newmark, of Craigslist fame and a Voto Latino board member, comes this great infographic. In addition to providing rich and detailed information about the multiple legislative efforts to restrict voter access, the format makes clear the national scope of “the war on voting” and its cumulative impact. Check out the full infographic here.