Building Political Power
Our civic engagement program is built on the belief that by organizing their members as voters underserved and marginalized communities can move from being legislated about to becoming equal partners and leaders in governing and community structures.
Decisions made at the U.S. Capitol, state houses and city halls are increasingly beholden to the influence of corporations and special interest groups that are focused more on profits than on people. Our communities pay the price through the impacts these decisions have on our lives.
From 2003 to 2013, Western States Center’s VOTE program elevated the power of community-based organizations to ensure that people’s voices are heard loud and clear. We increased the ability of 24 organizations to sharpen their political insight, to mobilize and organize their community members, and to catalyze collaboration among organizations and communities. We are integrating the lessons and strategies from VOTE into our RACE and Gender Justice programs.
We also continue to use a movement building approach to electoral organizing by supporting grassroots organizations in ballot initiative issues. We assist groups in deepening their community members’ understanding of how the issues they care about are affected at the ballot box. Our strategy is not just about turning out votes on Election Day, but also ensuring that people engage with their lawmakers and public officials throughout the year.
- VOTE (Voter Organizing Training and Empowerment)
- VOTE (Voter Organizing Training and Empowerment) is the centerpiece of our Building Political Power program. Through VOTE we provide training, financial support and technical assistance to build the capacity of community-based organizations.