Building Local Power Together
The November 2016 election sparked an opportunity to revive and strengthen the progressive community as thousands of recently activated organizers stepped up to help and lead. That first year, we saw a surge of energy build at a frenetic pace, responding mainly to the incessant noise and attacks from the current administration. The benefit of so many newly involved also brought the burden of duplicative efforts and the difficulty of organizers, activists, and leaders finding each other in an efficient and productive way. How does one know who to work with, who to support?
These opportunities and challenges led to the creation of ActLocal. ActLocal is anchored by an alliance between Action Group Network (AGN), Wall of Us, Action Together Network (ATN), and RISE Stronger, who are using their combined resources to support and connect over 1,000 leaders across the country. In November 2017, more than 100 partner groups worked together to hold ActLocal events in 13 cities, bringing together emergent leaders, community leaders, faith leaders, leaders of large organizations, and seasoned grassroots leaders. We support these leaders as they continue meeting and building power locally. In 2018, we will hold ActLocal events in 15 new states. And, every day, we connect and engage with leaders in the ATN Leaders Network so they can communicate, build relationships, share best practices, and troubleshoot together between events.
Working together on ActLocal has shown us that the progressive community is far from fractured. Leaders are able and willing to put smaller differences aside and work together to build power in this moment of crisis. While organizing ActLocal events, creating resource and partner directories, engaging with our network, and analyzing data collected from leaders across the country, we are seeing first hand how network-building is strengthening the landscape. The swell of energy continues to grow, leaders are rising, and larger organizations are finding ways to leverage this energy.
Survey results gathered from participants in ActLocal show that, regardless of living in a rural, urban, blue, red, or purple area, 73% of leaders share the priority of electing progressive leaders up and down the ballot and across the country in 2018. And, 96% of these leaders are already working on and executing plans to make that priority a reality. Through our continued contact with ActLocal leaders, we also know that they are building the local bench of progressive candidates from amongst their ranks and shaping policy through coordinated education and action.
Nevertheless, leaders face challenges as they navigate the shift from resistance to replacing representatives and building oppositional as well as electoral power. We will continue to use our research and combined resources to help leaders find the tools they need to win. We are working with our partners and creating new partnerships in order to simultaneously amplify their work and address leaders’ obstacles to success. These resources as well as information about partners and local leaders will continue to be listed in accessible, easy-to-navigate directories on the ActLocal website. And, our support of in-person gatherings will bolster relationship development necessary for network building and provide information leaders need to win campaigns and elections. We believe in building these events from the ground up, with the input of local leaders driving the process the entire time. ActLocal prioritizes bottom-up organizing and empowers local leaders by trusting their judgment and ability to facilitate change within their communities.
In this moment, we have an opportunity to gain and build local power together quickly. We have the numbers, creativity, and justice on our side — in addition to the collaborative spirit progressive leaders bring to the table. By working together and combining our strengths, we will be coordinated, efficient, and effective — and we will win.
Join us in 2018 as we:
- Host ActLocal events in 15 new states
- Support follow-up gatherings in the 13 original ActLocal locations
- Expand and deepen our directories of local leaders, partners, and resources
- Connect and engage our network of leaders
- Provide targeted research to discover resources leaders need