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Deep Democracy Outreach Framework
September’s Massachusetts primary results reminded us again that we can’t transform Massachusetts if we only focus on an electoral strategy. The two sides of the coin of Massachusetts politics were on display—women won all six of the newly redrawn districts we identified as pickup opportunities, and five of the six were women of color. Yet nearly every Beacon Hill leadership-aligned incumbent facing a primary challenger won reelection.
Two generation-defining ballot measures to create a more equitable funding structure for our government and the protection of our immigrant neighbors will be at the forefront for us in November. Question 1 will ensure the super wealthy pay their Fair Share by increasing the tax rate on those who earn more than a million each year. And question 4, about Safe Roads, will preserver our undocumented neighbor’s ability to safely acquire driver’s licenses. Not only are these slam dunk proposals to say YES, but they’re going to set our state up for a more just and equitable future! That’s why we’re asking you to donate to and trust the organizations below that hold deep rooted community relationships with those that will most benefit from our state saying YES to questions 1 and 4!
Pioneer Valley Project | Coalition for A Better Acre | Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Pioneer Valley Project
The Pioneer Valley Project seeks to bring people together around shared values to build collective power and to transform the conditions of communities across Massachusetts, specifically in Springfield, the urban center of the Valley. In recent years, PVP has delved into police accountability, increasing education investment in Massachusetts, immigrants’ rights, the fight against gun violence, criminal justice reform among other policy issues that disproportionately affect BIPOC and low-income communities. It is currently a tier 1 designated organization by the Mass Voter Table regarding its voter education and engagement work on Question 4. It also supports direct voter engagement efforts in support of the Fair Share Amendment.
Coalition for a Better Acre
Founded in 1982, CBA began as an initiative featuring a wide array of community stakeholders in Lowell united in its objective of saving the Acre neighborhood from an urban renewal plan that would have caused the displacement of hundreds of residents. In its four decades of history, CBA has built and renovated over 500 residential units and continues to be committed to the promotion of sustainable community revitalization by fostering community leadership, economic opportunities, and affordable housing. The organization also focuses on workforce development, community organizing, civic engagement, health access programs, and food insecurity among other tactics aimed to provide more resources to the community. As part of CBA’s voter education, the organization is planning to have 2000 contacts before November to inform voters about the upcoming election and the importance of FSA.
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Massachusetts Jobs With Justice is a coalition of over 150 member organizations that include labor unions, student groups, community organizations and people of faith. The organization centers on anti-capitalism work that ranges from labor union contract negotiation, education, health, and transportation access to language justice. As an organization that covers a wide area in Massachusetts, JwJ is committed to working on the ground with the collaboration of partners to better understand what the priorities for each of the communities where they work are. MA JwJ is involved in direct voter engagement efforts regarding the Fair Share Amendment. While not specifically designated as an organizing entity around Question 4, its deep level of relationships and voter education efforts with immigrant populations will indirectly support voter turnout efforts in support of the ballot measure.
Mass Voter Table
350 Mass is a statewide organization that lobbies for climate justice and endorses progressive candidates and initiatives that advance the Massachusetts Green New Deal. Founded in 2011 as a climate organizing non-profit under the Better Future Project, they have eighteen chapter clusters across the state and 1200 active members who participate in legislative advocacy in Beacon Hill and volunteer for their endorsed electoral candidates. They are the only climate justice organization that is a part of the Rise Up Massachusetts Coalition. Their statewide staff have spent the last three years building with leaders of color and learning more about how they can be an ally in the intersection of climate justice and racial justice. They also have been ensuring that each of their chapters actively center anti-racism - through training and programming.
350 Mass has been working to ramp up their electoral work since 2017. While their eighteen chapter clusters are housed within their 501c3 status, their 501c4 hosts ten chapters around the state that focus on electoral organizing and candidate endorsement. A big part of their electoral work is educating candidates on what climate just Boston chapter endorsed Representative Nika Elugardo, and were a foundational part of the campaign's volunteer base. Members door knocked, but they also hosted house parties and fundraisers. 350 Mass encouraged their Chapter members to engage with the campaign in whatever way they felt comfortable - as long as they participated.
This election cycle, 350 Mass has endorsed 14 candidates running for the Massachusetts House, and 2 candidates running for State Senate. The majority of their candidates are incumbent challengers with a September 1st primary date. To challenge power and transparency in Beacon Hill, it's critical that we also hold other Democrats and Republicans accountable. For the November election, 350’s nodes or chapter clusters will be focused on educating and turning out voters on two ballot questions; one on the requirements to make Beacon Hill more transparent, and the other asks whether elected officials who represents should be required to support legislation that would require Massachusetts to rely on 100% renewable energy by 2040. Node members collected over 6000 signatures, during a pandemic and these questions will likely appear in 21 state representative districts.
Like many organizations, 350 Mass is learning how to pivot their organizing to make it safe and virtual. It certainly hinders their ability to lobby on Beacon Hill - however, the legislature is in the process of setting up virtual quarterly lobby days. This could actually help 350 Mass engage more of their members to participate in the lobby days because folks won't have to drive to Boston.
For the next three years, 350 Mass is focusing on getting the House to function in a transparent and accountable manner, by supporting progressive incumbent challengers and ballot initiatives. They also will likely be involved in the 2022 Governor's race.
Massachusetts Voter Table
The Mass Voter Table is an organization committed to a long-term organizing strategy that advances our vision of a more democratic, equitable, and sustainable society. Our core principles are to build capacity and leadership of our coalition members, increase voter participation to build power in their communities, and to advance a collective agenda for racial and economic justice. Since 2011, they spoke with half a million voters across the Commonwealth, and have trained over 1,000 volunteers. Mass Voter Table has been a key partner in the coalition that continues to fight for the Community Preservation Act, the Fight for $15, and Automatic Voter Registration. In 2020, they are leading statewide efforts for Election Day Registration, the Fair Share Amendment, and the 2020 Census and redistricting.
In light of COVID19, the Mass Voter Table has pivoted their efforts into launching virtual advocacy hubs, and have begun a robust phone banking program to turn out voters in the Massachusetts Primary and General Election. Their goal is to assist 100,000 voters of color to request absentee ballots and pledge to vote for the primary election on September 1 and 250,000 voters of color for the general election on November 3.
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