For the past eight years, as gridlock has frequently halted progress at the national level, hundreds of progressive elected officials have been on the offensive at the city and municipal level.
Progressive elected officials have been working to coordinate campaigns to pass paid sick days legislation and raise the minimum wage, protect immigrant communities, and hold police accountable for true community safety. Cities across the nation have become the center of policy innovation in our country. The work is anchored by Local Progress, a network of hundreds of municipal legislators working together to accelerate these changes across our cities. Local Progress is staffed by the Center for Popular Democracy.
From March 3-5, Local Progress hosted its second annual Local Progress New York conference in Albany, which brought together around 80 local elected officials from across the state.
Just as it had last year, the event lifted up the common cause that exists among leaders with progressive values trying to serve their communities across rural, urban and suburban geographies. The gathering allowed Local Progress members to have real and deep conversations across a diverse array of topics including celebrating the half dozen New York cities and counties who have adopted sanctuary status since the election and discussing how to pass them in more places. Members also discussed police reform, and the challenges smaller municipalities face from underfunded and crumbling infrastructure.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of inspiring progressives in local offices, in red and blue states, in cities and counties and towns, throughout the United States. This past year, more than 19 cities and counties across the country improved the lives of millions of workers by increasing living or minimum wages or implementing paid sick leave policies. Our members led fights for affordable housing ranging from passing rent control in Richmond, CA to creating the first ever dedicated local funding sources aimed at raising more than $150 million over the next decade for affordable housing in Denver, CO. In Seattle, San Jose and New York, members pushed through innovative policies that include supporting the rights of Uber drivers to organize and to advancing fair workweek policies so employees can have greater control over their schedules.
In the coming year, this work will focus on resistance and fighting back against hate and injustice at the local and municipal level.
The CPD Network is proud to announce the launch of its new Leadership Council (LC). In these uncertain times, we need community and leadership more than ever before. The LC will be the embodiment of our vision for a true, popular democracy. It will be made up of three to five staff and member leaders from each of our network affiliates and will provide for a strong voice and input into the direction of the network for all affiliates. The LC will also make space for sharing and learning from each other. CPD’s inaugural Leadership Council will be meeting from March 21-23 in Washington, D.C.
From January 23 to February 3, CPD's Sustainability Initiative, in partnership with Membership Drive, held its first National Canvass Director Bootcamp in Seattle. Our training team worked with canvass directors across the country to develop the skills and strategies necessary to build dues paying membership canvass drives. The programs are designed to generate significant revenue for participating partners and dramatically increase organization membership over the coming years.
Canvass directors from Working Washington, Take Action Minnesota, VOCAL-NY, Make the Road Pennsylvania, and ACCE participated. The trainees spent a week in the field signing up members for our host, Working Washington. They also spent an intensive week in management training, and workshops on messaging skills, recruitment techniques and statistical analysis.
The goal of CPD’s Sustainability Initiative is to develop canvass programs capable of generating 50% to 75% of an organization's operating budget within five years.
On February 26, CPD joined MoveOn, Working Families Party, and People’s Action to co-host a “Ready to Resist” national phone call for activists around the country. An incredible 30,000 people joined to learn more about the challenges ahead and to understand where there may be opportunities to join in, take action and make their voices heard.
An audio recording of the call along with slides from the meeting are available at moveon.org/readytoresist! You can also RSVP for the next “Ready to Resist” mass movement call on April 2 and join tens of thousands of people united in our movement to resist Trumpism and protect our communities.
In 2013, CPD worked with our partner Make the Road New York, in coalition with several other local organizations and local legislators, to create the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) -- the nation's first publicly funded universal representation program for detained immigrants in removal proceedings. Since then, CPD's partners and allies across the country have been working to replicate NYIFUP in their own cities.
Since the November election, these efforts have moved into high gear. CPD is part of the California Coalition for Universal Representation, which has been advocating for the allocation of state and municipal funds to provide immigrants with lawyers. In December, in response to our coalition advocacy and in recognition of the new urgency to protect immigrant communities, the city of Los Angeles announced the creation of the LA Justice Fund to create a NYIFUP style access to counsel program to serve LA area immigrants. The city has committed $2 million, and the county Board of Supervisors voted in January to commit $3 million to the fund.
The city hopes to supplement this investment with philanthropic contributions. San Francisco has proposed a similar program, to be run in collaboration with the local public defender's office. Outside of California, CPD is working with local organizations in Boston and the DC area to establish programs there as well.
Learn more about CPD’s Immigrant Justice Initiatives on our website.
CPD is thrilled to announce that Maya Wiley has joined our Board of Directors! Maya is a nationally renowned expert on racial justice and equity. She has litigated, lobbied Congress, and developed programs to transform structural racism in both the United States and South Africa. Maya is currently Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the New School and the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy. She is also Chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) - the independent oversight agency for the City’s Police Department.
Previously, Maya served as Counsel to the Mayor of the City of New York from 2014-2016. As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief legal advisor and a member of his Senior Cabinet, Wiley was placed at the helm of the Mayor’s commitment to expanding affordable broadband access across New York City, advancing civil and human rights and gender equity, and increasing the effectiveness of the City's support for Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprises. During her tenure, she also served as the Mayor's liaison to the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary.
Before her position with the de Blasio Administration, Maya was the Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion. She has also worked for the Open Society Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A in psychology from Dartmouth College.
Maya is excited to join the CPD network, explaining that, “At a time when our democratic institutions are at risk and our communities are being stereotyped and are under attack, we must work from the bottom up to protect our values and work proactively for justice. CPD and all its partners are critical to resisting hate and fostering fairness. I can't think of a better way to serve change than to serve on the CPD Board." Please join us in welcoming Maya to our Board of Directors!
As Congress rushes forward with its repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), CPD is organizing a major demonstration in Washington D.C., on Thursday, March 23, 2017. It is now clear that Congress intends to repeal the ACA regardless of the shape and form of the proposed alternative and regardless of how many millions of people this will leave without access to health care. Our demonstration on March 23 is our opportunity to resist, to stand up for the millions who may soon lose their coverage and to demonstrate to Congress the sheer scale of opposition across the nation to this attack on our people and our communities.
Join us in Washington, D.C. on March 23. Click here to RSVP!
As frustration grows in all corners of the country over plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, concerned Americans took the fight directly to the Capitol to confront their elected officials. On Tuesday, January 31 constituents—including local activists, faith leaders, nurses and home care workers mounted a series of protests through Capitol office buildings—filling hallways, cafeterias, and member offices—in an effort to force Senators to respond to constituents whose health care they are threatening to dismantle.
CPD partners, Ole from New Mexico, Make the Road PA, Texas Organizing Project and Arkansas Community Organization all took part in the demonstration, with CPD staff supporting with logistics and action coordination.
Check out a live stream from the day’s events on CPD Action’s Facebook page!
CPD partner Organize Florida joined with local allies to organize an emergency action on January 29 in Ybor City, Tampa, a city built by Cuban and Italian immigrants. A crowd of more than a 100 showed up chanting to protect immigrants and refugees.
Three local officials - House Representative Sean Shaw, City Council Member Guido Maniscalco, and newly elected City Council Member Luis Viera each spoke about the urgent need to stand up for justice. Two women from CAIR, a Syrian American and a Lebanese American, told their stories to the crowd. Standing behind a banner that said “Because We Love We Will Resist” held by Muslim women, all 450 attendees took up both lanes of traffic marching down 7th Avenue, the busiest main street in Ybor, successfully holding up traffic for more than an hour in front of the gathered media.
Check out photos of the action on Organize Florida’s Facebook page!
On January 28 and 29, a number of CPD partners organized protests around the country in response to Trump’s immigrant ban. In NYC, Make the Road New York organized a rapid response action with the New York Immigration Coalition and Arab American Association of New York at JFK Terminal 4 to protest the Muslim ban executive order, with thousands of protesters attending.
Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reverse an earlier decision to restrict passage aboard the JFK Airport AirTrain to ticketed passengers and airport employees only. He also instructed state police and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to assist with security and transportation for protesters. "The people of New York will have their voices heard," Cuomo said.
In Washington, D.C., CPD Partner CASA organized the rally at Dulles airport and participated in another protest at BWI airport. CASA also organized a rally and press conference in Annapolis with Maryland Attorney General Frosh and local senators and delegates. Furthermore, CASA is now working on sanctuary or welcoming ordinances in York, PA, and in Baltimore, Montgomery, Prince George and Howard Counties.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights organized two days of protests at Chicago’s O'Hare airport. Over 1,500 people showed up for the protest which resulted in all detainees being released. In New Jersey, Make the Road New Jersey organized a 1,000 person demonstration in front of the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ to celebrate the New Jersey elected officials who have pledged to make their cities Sanctuary cities and the state of New Jersey a Sanctuary State. Senator Cory Booker also joined the protest in Elizabeth.
In Orlando, FL, Organize Florida worked with CAIR to organize a protest at Orlando International Airport, which drew a crowd of 1,500 people.
Read more about these actions in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and CNN.