We the People Membership Summit

Monday, April 1, 2019 at Warner Theatre in Washington, DC.

8 CANDIDATES: Booker, Castro, Gillibrand, Inslee, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren.

Background: Groups including the Center for Popular Democracy Action, Communications Workers of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 32BJ SEIU, and the Sierra Club organized the Summit

After their opening remarks the candidates each fielded three questions from activists in the audience, except for Gillibrand at the end, who had two.  Unlike many forums where the questioners are encouraged to be brief, these questions were rather lengthy, more like statements plus questions or stories plus questions. The activists, often reading from sheets of paper, provided quite a bit of background to frame their questions.  In addition the emcees weighed in with follow ups. 

Times Approximate

11:00 AM Opening Plenary Begins

11:30 AM Julián Castro

12:07 PM Cory Booker

12:44 PM Lunch Break

1:30 PM Amy Klobuchar

2:08 PM Beto O'Rourke

2:45 PM Movement Speakers:
     Democracy in Chains author Nancy MacLean
     United We Dream executive director Cristina Jimenez

3:00 PM Elizabeth Warren

3:37 PM Bernie Sanders

4:24 PM Break

4:39 PM Movement Speakers
    CWA president Christopher Shelton
    Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune

4:50 PM Jay Inslee

5:18 PM Kirsten Gillibrand

5:55 PM Closing remarks

The activists who posed the questions:

1)   Dennessa Atiles – community organizer from Sacramento.  [Indivisible]
2)   SEIU members Gail Rogers from Tampa, Florida and Thomasine Wilson from Richmond, Virginia.
3)   Silver Light – a former educator from Buffalo, New York, who has spent years working in community programs and nonprofits.  [MoveOn]
1)  Joe Mayhew – the Secretary-Treasurer of CWA Local 1103 in Westchester, New York.
2)  Janeth Caicedo, a member of Make the Road Action and Center for Popular Democracy Action and a community leader and advocate for immigrant rights.
3)  Rachel Maiore from Northampton, Massachusetts. Lifelong social justice activist and community health organizer.  [MoveOn]
1)   Douglass Sloan. A lifelong Washingtonian, Douglass currently serves as first vice-president of the DC NAACP.
2)   David Tucker, SEIU 32 BJ members and sky cap at Reagan National Airport.
3)   Valencia Gunder, the criminal justice program manager at the New Florida Majority Vision and Founder of the Smile Trust Inc.
Beto O’Rourke
1)   Katie Mettle, a member of the Sierra Club who lives in Maryland.
2)   Kim Baker of Columbia, South Carolina. Kim spent 20 years as an elementary school teacher.  [Indivisible]
3)   Amber Pallante (Pul-Lahn-tay). Amber is the executive vice president of CWA Local 1014 and works for the City of Camden, New Jersey as a principal library assistant at the Camden County Library.  
1)   Ana Victoria Cruz Alanoca. Anna Victoria is 16 years old and a junior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School and youth leader with United We Dream here in DC.
2)   Chuck Tyler. Chuck is a decorated US Army combat veteran and a veteran campaign professional from Charlottesville, Virginia and a proud member of MoveOn.
3)   Belinda Freeman, who hails from California and is a student at Clark Atlanta University in the Atlanta University Center. She is the founder and president of the University’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action.
1)   Ebony Wiggins, a Planned Parenthood patient advocate and supporter from Nashville, Tennessee.
2)   Lauren Poteat Lauren is from southern Virginia, and currently serves as the Chair for Women in NAACP-DC Chapter.
3)   Pam Rall-Johnston. Pam is a janitor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she’s worked for the past 28 years. She’s a public sector member of 32BJ SEIU.
1)   Cherie Terhark, a single mom of three, who lives in Poplarville, Mississippi. She works at a federally-contracted call center in Bogalusa, Louisiana which provides support to people who rely on Medicare and the ACA.  It is operated by a company called Maximus.  She’s trying to bring that same respect and dignity of a union to call centers operated by Maximus, and is a key leader in CWA’s campaign to organize for justice at Maximus.
2)   Alan Parry, a lawyer and father from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  [Sierra Club]
3)   Kareena Rios, a member of Casa in Action and of Center for Popular Democracy Action from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

1)   Jeremiah Lowery, whose hometown is right here in the future state of Washington DC. Jeremiah is a longtime advocate and community organizer.  [Sierra Club]
2)   Aaron McCall, LGBTQ activist and a leader with Indivisible in Orange County, California.
March 20, 2019

Lia Weintraub, Center for Popular Democracy Action 
Beth Allen, Communications Workers of America
Benjamin Halle, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Sara Lonardo, SEIU
Amanda Torres-Price, 32BJ SEIU
Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club

2020 Hopefuls to Discuss Democracy, Economic Reform at
We the People Membership Summit

Washington, D.C. -- Six Democratic presidential hopefuls will join leading national progressive membership organizations on April 1 in Washington, D.C. for the We the People membership summit. During the summit, candidates will preview their policy priorities and make commitments to reform our democracy and economy for all people in this country, whether white, black or brown. Around 1,000 members of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, Communications Workers of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), 32BJ SEIU, and the Sierra Club will be in attendance.

Progressive leaders including Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren, Governor Jay Inslee, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, among others, will give remarks and then field questions from members in the audience.

This event comes as attacks on our democracy are specifically aimed at limiting the participation of working and low-income people, and people of color.  People in this country face numerous barriers to democratic participation. Some elected officials are more concerned with their own power than representation and have rigged our democracy through gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, voter roll purges, disenfranchisement of people with a felony conviction, census interference and more. We need to fix this and ensure that America’s democracy is inclusive of all Americans regardless of their skin color, gender or income. This erosion of democracy has a real impact on people's lives and has led to a government that does not reflect the will, priorities, or needs of the people. We cannot make it easier for working people to join a union, ensure access to health care, protect our environment, or have a fair economy without structural democracy reform.

Everyone deserves a government that protects each and every American's right to vote and ensures a reflective and responsive government. The only way that we can take our democracy back into our hands is through democratic action — through raising our voices and speaking our priorities. This is the only way that we will ensure that all people have the right to join a union no matter where they work, that health care is available for all, that our environment is safe for generations to come and that corporations are held accountable. 

Democracy reform, from the ballot box to the workplace, is the crux of the progressive agenda.
Candidates running for president, need to make commitments to expand voting rights, ensure fair representation for all, restore legitimacy to the Supreme Court, get corporate money out of elections, and more.  
About We the People 
In addition to the summit, the groups will be joined by organizations that are a part of the broader We the People coalition to host a training the night before the summit. Those groups include MoveOn, Indivisible, Demos Action, and the NAACP, as well as Working Families Party, United We Dream, End Citizens United, National Domestic Workers Alliance, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the League of Conservation Voters.