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Oakland has had much to celebrate these days: the approval of the good jobs agreement as part of the old Oakland Army base redevelopment plan and most recently–the Oakland Unified School Board’s unanimous decision to implement a police complaint procedure. The new policy will allow students to file grievances against police and staff misconduct.
Congratulations are due to our grant partner, the Black Organizing Project (BOP), who was instrumental in organizing Oakland families and students to get this policy passed after months of meetings and strategy sessions. In a recent interview with Oakland Local, Jackie Byers, Executive Director of BOP, said, “This is a big win not only for us, but for all of the families and students that have yet to be heard by the school board on any issue. The doors were closed to us for months and we fought hard to be heard and we fought hard for this victory.”
Over a week ago, the Obama administration made an unprecedented decision to “defer action” and ease enforcement around the deportation of foreign-born youth, affecting as many as 1 million undocumented students. This news was met with much joy and relief by DREAMers and activists across the country. On the other hand, this week began with less satisfactory news as the Supreme Court decided to uphold the part of Arizona’s SB 1070, institutionalizing racial profiling. It has been a mixed bag of news on the immigration policy front.
Demonstrating outspokenness and up-to-the-minute news on these issues has been our grant partner, Voto Latino (VL), who has used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and a blog amongst other means to educate and engage young Latinos around voter ID laws, education, and immigration. Reaching 55 million Latino households nationwide, Voto Latino has recently joined forces with actress, America Ferrera, launching their newest campaign, America for America, to motivate young Latinos to the polls. In a recent video, Ferrera talks about the importance of this year’s election and the barriers threatening voter rights. “This year we’re up against some extra challenges. Confusing new laws and scary messages about voting can make it even harder to make sure Latino voters represent at the polls.” She adds why she teamed up with VL: “It’s our way of pushing back on these new rules, and making sure Latino’s are empowered to register, vote, and make a difference on election day.”
This past Tuesday, the Oakland City Council approved the $1 billion plan to turn the city’s old Army base into a state-of-the-art warehouse and logistics center serving the Port of Oakland. This deal, a momentous one for the city, will create thousands of jobs for residents–jobs that will replace those lost after the closing of the base in 1999.
We congratulate our grant recipients, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) along with the Revive Oakland Coalition, for this victory as they have been a leading force in this plan and its negotiations, advocating for the best possible jobs agreement for Oaklanders.
Last month, the National Domestic Workers Alliance held a National Congress in Washington, D.C. attended by over 400 domestic workers of over thirty organizations from twenty-two states. Amongst its members were our grant partners, Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), who have been at the forefront of local, state, and national civic engagement and organizing efforts around domestic workers’ and immigrant rights. MUA has been a prominent force in the efforts to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California. They played an instrumental role in advocating for its passing in the State Assembly last year and are continuing to organize for its approval from the Senate.
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:
The Bridge Between Bay Area Black and Latino Communities: Tenant, Immigrant Rights, and Voting Power
Ever wonder how Black and Latino communities can come together to organize around common issues? Just ask our grant partner, Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC), and they will tell you how they have unified African American and Latino communities in San Francisco and Oakland to become leaders in the struggle for fair housing, immigrant rights, and electoral power.
Since 2010, CJJC has organized the Mission District and East and West Oakland communities through direct action, rights-based services, and civic engagement. Last year, CJJC fought to win legislative victories in San Francisco to protect tenants against evictions and also connected local housing campaigns to broader national struggles like the Occupy Movement and the Right To The City Alliance (RTC).
Happy to share that the California Civic Participation Funders Collaborative, of which we played a minor advisory role, has come out with a great case study of how funders can come together – as we often encourage our nonprofit partners to do – around a common vision and goals. As shared by the collaborative:
“How can foundations help build movements for opportunity and social change…and win? This is the question we set out to address as part of the California Civic Participation Funders collaborative. This group of ten funders, large and small, working on a wide range of progressive policy issues, came together in early 2010 with the shared goal of increasing civic participation among underrepresented populations. Now we’re releasing the first case study of our work, published by the Haas, Jr. Fund.
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
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
César Chávez (1927-1993) is a national hero and symbol of dignity, workers' rights, peace, and justice in the Latino community and far beyond.
Born on March 31, 1927 in Yuma, AZ, his parents were small business owners who lost everything in the Great Depression. The family was pushed to California and became farmworkers, where César learned first-hand about the mistreatment of laborers in the fields and orchards.
Leading with the mantra "Si se puede!", Chávez later became a founding member of United Farm Workers (UFW), responsible for the largest farm worker strike in US history (the Salad Bowl strike), which led to positive reforms and gains in agricutural labor practices.
Today we honor César Chávez and his legacy. Despite the advances and some recent successes much remains to be done to ensure fair compensation and safe labor practices for those who pick much of our produce. Check out a parade, a local food co-op, and join a tomato boycott!
César Chávez's birthday is a state holiday in California, aiming to promote greater community service and action. For more information about this renowned organizer and peace activist, visit The César Chávez Foundation website.
Written by Nicole Sanchez & Steven Pine, Kapor Center
Image from US Department of Labor