Friday, June 26, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Victory Fund

It's the last Feel Good Friday in Pride month and it's election season so today I'm highlighting the "only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ officials", Victory Fund.

Victory Fund was founded in 1991 with a mission "to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government."

Modeled after EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women, Victory Fund recruits, trains and supports openly LGBTQ candidates for public office around the country.

Candidates are given strategic, technical and financial support. In addition, endorsements from Victory Fund help increase the candidates' exposure to potential donors.

These methods work. In 1991, the first candidate Victory Fund ever endorsed won her election. Sherry Harris became the first openly lesbian African American city council member in Seattle. Since then, Victory Fund has helped over 600 candidates win elections all across the country! You can read more of their success stories on their history page and visit this interactive map to view 2019 election results.

Victory Fund wants to ensure the LGBTQ community has a voice at the table and there are many ways you can get involved to help them. Search this list of current candidates to see who needs your vote in November. Support multiple candidates with a donation to Victory Fund.

You can also join a virtual Sunday Social on June 28th to hear elected officials discussing the impact of LGBTQ leadership and how current events will influence their decision making.

To stay in the loop for future events, like Victory Fund's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @VictoryFund. Happy Pride!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Movement for Black Lives

Today's Feel Good Friday falls on Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. The Movement for Black Lives has put together a list of events for Juneteenth which I'll share at the end of the post after we learn about M4BL.

Formed in 2014, M4BL is "a national network of over 150 organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize, and take action."

Their website explains that M4BL was created "as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political conditions, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. Under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately."

Their work is organized around six areas: policy, organizing/base building, electoral justice, the rising majority, culture, and resource. Groups within those areas organize strategy and programming that supports M4BL's long term visions.

These visions are outlined in a 5-year plan titled Black Power Rising 2024. Goals include: mass engagement (of 4 million Black people in the US), local power (establishing self-determined Black communities), building across movements/multiracial strategy, leadership development (training 500,000 Black organizers, activists and strategists) and an electoral strategy that aims to prevent the rise of white-nationalist and authoritarian rule.

Read more about M4BL's specific policy platforms at this link and visit this page to find out how you can create a customized week of action in defense of Black lives. From low risk activities like donating to bail funds or organizing a Twitter storm, through higher risk activities such as engaging in civil disobedience, there are many options of how you can participate and resources to help you.

If you want your activities to coincide with Juneteenth, here is the promised list of resources so you can find an event near you! 6.19

If you'd like to support the work of M4BL directly, you can join a virtual event, make a donation and amplify their message by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Mvmnt4BlkLives.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Unicorn Riot

Today's Feel Good Friday highlights Unicorn Riot, another organization I learned about in the Black Vision Collective's resource page.

Founded in 2015, Unicorn Riot is "a volunteer-operated decentralized media collective comprised of multimedia artists and journalists" operating in Boston, Denver, Minneapolis and New York City.

Unicorn Riot's mission, as explained on their Facebook page, is "to amplify the voices of people who might otherwise go unheard, and broadcast the stories that might otherwise go untold, as we further understanding of dynamic social struggles."

In pursuit of this mission they "are committed to producing media that exposes root causes of social conflict and explores sustainable alternatives in today's globalized world." To get an idea of what that entails, watch this short video that follows reporters on the ground.

Unicorn Riot's reporting focuses on the following areas: arts and culture, borders, community, Covid-19, eco, labor, LGBTQ+, police, prison, racism, social control, and tech. Visit their website or video archives, to search by topic and find stories that interest you. Examples of recent reporting include nurses in Minnesota striking over lack of protective equipment, council members vowing to disband the Minneapolis police department and Mother Goose's Bedtime Stories - a cabaret event where marginalized artists share their talents and perform in front of a live audience.

I normally end these posts with information on how to donate to the profiled organization, however, Unicorn Riot set a fundraising goal of $5,000 on May 27th and by June 10th they had raised over $560,000! While you are still more than welcome to donate, you can also help Unicorn Riot maintain free, independent media by amplifying the stories they tell. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @UR_Ninja.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Women for Political Change

Last Feel Good Friday, I profiled Black Visions Collective and the work they're doing in Minnesota to organize Black communities and dismantle systems of violence. In that spirit, they've shared a list of other organizations that can use our support. I'll highlight some of them here, starting with Women for Political Change.

It began as a student group at the University of Minnesota in 2015 and became a non-profit organization in 2018. As explained on their website, "Women for Political Change (WFPC) holistically invests in the leadership and political power of young women and trans and non-binary individuals throughout Minnesota."

Student chapters of WFPC are active on campuses at UMN, St. Olaf College and Spring Lake Park High School. They provide space for the students to identify and take action on issues important to them.

WFPC also has a new program called the Campaign Leadership Cohort, designed to create leadership opportunities in electoral politics for young people from historically marginalized communities. The first cohort consists of six young women who are receiving training, support and compensation in preparation to move into campaign leadership positions in local 2020 elections.

There are two additional programs. The Young Women's Initiative Network hosts events to connect young people interested in professional development and community building. The Mutual Aid Project provides a list of mutual aid funds where you can both receive or give financial aid, as well as resources related to health, housing, food assistance and safety.

You can support Women for Political Change with a donation and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page, following them on Twitter @MNWFPC, all while dancing along to their playlist on Spotify, WFPC Mix!