Welcome to the Alliance’s annual conference, “Power from the Roots Up”!
In this moment, we are witnessing intense gridlock in D.C. The once-promising dream of comprehensive immigration reform has turned into a political nightmare. Congress refuses to allow former students to refinance one of the great scourges of family debt out there, student loans. And, despite significant momentum by state and local governments around the country — including the recent passage of a $15 minimum wage here in Seattle — Congress is still unable to increase a federal minimum wage that has remained stagnant since 2009.
However, we have much to celebrate.
Community organizations around the country are running successful campaigns at the local level, making change one policy at a time. They are racking up big wins with innovative campaigns, ensuring that, when national opportunities arise, we have built power and are poised to strike.
A few examples that provide an inspiring contrast to the morass in D.C.:
- Make the Road New York has successfully advocated for the creation of an identification card for local residents, resulting in legislation passed by the New York City Council just a couple weeks ago. This development could have national implications.
- In Seattle, Washington Community Action Network and OneAmerica were coalition leaders for the successful creation of the highest citywide minimum wage in the country, at $15.
- Virginia Organizing celebrated a big “ban the box” win last month, after successfully advocating for the Danville, Va., City Council to remove the question regarding criminal convictions on city job applications.
At “Power from the Roots Up,” we will come together and share what’s behind victories like these, with the hope of empowering others to win their campaigns for progressive change.
Besides that, remember that building relationships is building power, so make sure you talk to somebody you don’t know. And, most of all, have fun!
Alliance for a Just Society Executive Director
Follow LeeAnn on Twitter: @leeann_Hall