Please Join Me in Thanking WSC’s Momentum Team, Who Galvanize a United Response to Hate & Political Violence

Western States Center played a leading role in countering the threats posed to inclusive democracy in Oregon by the federal authoritarian response to the racial justice mobilizations in the summer of 2020. We launched a digital campaign to give organizers around the country concrete actions to raise the alarm and demonstrate solidarity with Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Portland, Oregon in the face of a political, authoritarian crack-down by federal agents; and we filed a lawsuit against the federal government to sharpen focus on the full range of constitutional rights being violated.

MOMENTUM: GALVANIZING A UNITED RESPONSE AGAINST HATE & POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Over the past four years, Western States Center has been sounding the alarm about the threat that authoritarian social movements pose to the hard-fought social justice gains of previous generations and to our democratic institutions. To combat the growing influence of white nationalists and other authoritarian movements, we are laying the groundwork for a 21st century civil rights movement by testing and replicating novel strategies for equipping civil society leaders to close the space for hate and to advance a more inclusive democracy.

EQUIPPING CIVIL SOCIETY TO CLOSE THE SPACE FOR HATE IN THE PACIFIC NW & MOUNTAIN STATES

Our Momentum Program’s strategies for engaging organizational and civil society leaders and the media around inclusive democracy yielded two recent victories that demonstrate what it means to close the space for hate in our communities.

  • In response to the January 6 insurrection, releasing an organizational statement to Defend Democracy, Not Sedition with more than 80 partners and elected leaders signed on.
  • Proactively organizing more than 100 state and local elected and civil society leaders before the election around a unified statement against hate and election-related violence. Governor Brown’s amplification through her official social media channels helped carry the message across the state.
  • Supporting immigrant workers, and immigrant rights and labor groups in Oregon by organizing community and elected leaders to stand in solidarity in rejecting racist and bigoted groups’ efforts to co-opt the annual May Day rally at the state capitol.
  • Unifying Coloradans against hate and political violence: When Major League Baseball moved their All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in a bold statement against state legislative efforts to weaken voting rights, we joined with Southern Poverty Law Center in reaching out to Colorado leaders and groups to offer support should the game become a target for anti-democratic mobilizations. The result was Coloradans for Voter Freedom, a broad coalition pledge and community event to denounce political violence and strengthen democracy.

INCREASING GRASSROOTS SUPPORT FOR INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY

We built on the WeDefendDemocracy.org digital action platform we launched last summer to catalyze a grassroots response to threats to inclusive democracy in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States region. We amplified our efforts social media and e-news alerts, and equipped seven leadership development cohorts and three grassroots networks with analysis, shareable tools, and ongoing support to increase their impact within their local communities and constituencies:

SHAPING THE NARRATIVE

We’ve worked with community and civic leaders, organizations, and news media throughout the country to shape the narrative around extremist actions as a backlash to the nation’s demographic changes and racial justice reckoning, and as a threat to inclusive democracy and the rights of all:

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Western States Center

Western States Center

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Based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States, Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy.