2021 Convening

Virtual Meeting

October 21 - 22, 2021  | 10:00 - 5:00 pm ET

During two virtual afternoons in 2021, we strategized together to discuss the challenges and opportunities in our work to support powerful and impactful organizing, narrative, and policy reform programs with partners across the country.

Convening Agenda
Oct 21, 2021
10:00 am
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10:50 am
Welcome
Opening
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Welcome to the DPI FUND Learning Community!

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Oct 21, 2021
10:55 am
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11:45 am
Measuring What Matters in the Fight for Our Democracy
Plenary
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Our political industry in the last few decades has come to treat citizens as consumers and not participants, with an increasingly market-driven approach to politics. The impact on research, learning, and metrics has largely been to target citizens as atomized individuals, to measure treatments delivered to these individuals, and to evaluate the impact on an individual basis with voter turnout and partisan support the primary indicators. However, in this learning community, we are focused on growing a healthy, multiracial democracy: driven by and working for powerful grassroots organizations. What does research, learning programs, and metrics look like when our focus is the health of our democracy and power rooted in democratic practice? In this session we will share innovations from the DPI community in the last year around researching and measuring organizing inputs, collective capacities and power in practice. In a case study, Color of Change will share their progress and challenges as they work to put the civic leadership of their members at the center of their evaluation and metrics.

moderator
Ethan Frey
Program Officer
Ford Foundation
Speakers
Arisha Hatch
Vice President
Color of Change
Shannon Talbert
Senior Organizing Director
Color of Change
Elizabeth McKenna
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School
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Oct 21, 2021
11:45 am
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11:55 am
Break
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Oct 21, 2021
11:55 am
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12:55 pm
Finding Missing Voters: Busting the Myth of “If it isn’t in the VAN, it doesn’t exist.”
Concurrent Sessions
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As tech tools and unreliable voter lists have taken over civic and political outreach, many voters of color are being left out. This session will focus on the communities left unseen by the political industry’s voter files in the wake of the techno-political revolution and how organizing groups are innovating their own solutions to find them. DPI Analyst Miriam McKinney Gray and Michael Ingram from Florida Rising will lay out the problem: how race modeling, vote propensity scoring, and voter file matching redlines communities with the most untapped power and how overdependence on data tools and algorithms leave millions of potential voters unreached. Staff from the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, ISAIAH, and the AAPI Force will share their effective methods for reaching their communities and propose sustainable wide-reaching solutions for member based organizations.

moderator
Miriam Mckinney Gray
DPI Fund
Speakers
Amity Foster
Data Manager
ISAIAH/Faith in Minnesota
Timmy Lu
Executive Director
AAPIs for Civic Empowerment
Derrick Smith
Data Manager
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
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Oct 21, 2021
11:55 am
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12:55 pm
The Power of Political Homes
Concurrent Sessions
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We know from political science that individuals do not make decisions about their democratic participation in isolation but in community with their families, neighbors, and values-based institutions. These are “political homes”—spaces of belonging and powerbuilding in their communities. In this session, we will hear from researchers and organizers about how they have come together to develop learning agendas to understand “political and social homes” and their role as containers for collective action. Over the next year, the DPI community will embark on a multi-state, multi-researcher project that examines how participants in organizing groups define a “political home” and what they seek when joining one. The research will also explore the meaning and value associated with the idea of a “political home” among unaffiliated potential members and how organizations can meet the interests of those seeking a political home.

moderator
Katrina Gamble
Founder and CEO
Sojourn Strategies
Speakers
Brian Fullman
Lead Organizer
ISAIAH
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Oct 21, 2021
1:00 pm
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2:00 pm
Lunch Break
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Oct 21, 2021
2:05 pm
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2:35 pm
Disrupting Assumptions about Black Political Engagement
Welcome Back
description

For too long BIPOC communities have been treated by the political industry as monolithic collectives to be mobilized to outcomes defined by someone else’s goals. At DPI we believe that the most powerful way to increase political participation and civic action is not through tactical, transactional interventions but through support of and deference to base-building organizations. These grassroots groups deeply understand each constituency’s narratives and beliefs about politics and power and can build actual collective power to win change for the long term. This conversation will share how the DPI community is building a more nuanced understanding of the Black community and their orientation towards power and politics through strategic partnerships between organizations and culturally grounded researchers. Through thoughtful research informed by organizers, we’re disrupting political assumptions about Black voters as cynical and uninformed and learning about how to support and sustain Black political engagement for the long term.

moderator
Ashley Shelton
Founder, President and CEO
Power Coalition
Speakers
Ranada Robinson
Research Director
The New Georgia Project
Terrance Woodbury
CEO & Founding Partner
HIT Strategies
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Oct 21, 2021
2:40 pm
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3:20 pm
How to Understand Diverse Values and Political Identities in Communities of Color
Strategy Session
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Oct 21, 2021
3:35 pm
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4:30 pm
SESSION 2A - How Art and Culture Move Political Narratives
Concurrent Sessions
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MODERATOR: Prentiss Haney (Co-Executive Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative) SPEAKERS: Ray Block (Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University), Arekia Bennett (Executive Director, Mississippi Votes), Marshall Shorts

moderator
Prentiss Haney
Former Co-ED
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
Speakers
Ray Block
Associate Professor
Penn State University
Arekia Bennett
Executive Director
Mississippi Votes
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Oct 21, 2021
3:35 pm
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4:30 pm
SESSION 2B - “She Said What?” Organizing in the Age of Disinformation
Concurrent Sessions
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MODERATOR: Sandhya Anantharaman (Interim Director of Programs, Kairos Fellowship) SPEAKERS: Jung Hee Choi (Deputy Director, Power California), Vanessa Kelly (Digital Director, New Georgia Project)

moderator
Sandhya Anantharaman
Interim Director of Programs
Kairos Fellowship
Speakers
Jung Hee Choi
Deputy Director
Power California
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Oct 21, 2021
4:30 pm
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4:45 pm
Reflections and Synthesis
Concurrent Workshop
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Oct 22, 2021
10:00 am
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10:15 am
Welcome to Day 2! What are you excited for today?
Opening
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Oct 22, 2021
10:15 am
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10:45 am
Volatility, Despair and Hope: A Path to Multiracial Power in the Midwest
Plenary
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MODERATOR: DaMareo Cooper (Director of Place Based Power, Center for Popular Democracy) SPEAKERS: Heather McMahon Calhoun (Senior Project Manager, Community Building Strategies), Kirk Noden (Community Building Strategies), Mary Sobecki (Executive Director, The Needmor Fund)

moderator
DaMareo Cooper
Director of Place Based Power
Center for Popular Democracy
Speakers
Heather McMahon Calhoun
Senior Project Manager
Community Building Strategies
Kirk Noden
Community Building Strategies
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Oct 22, 2021
11:00 am
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11:40 am
Mapping the Path to Multiracial Power in Your Region
Strategy Session
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Oct 22, 2021
11:40 am
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11:50 am
Break
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Oct 22, 2021
11:50 am
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12:50 pm
SESSION 3A - Organizing to Change the Rules: How to Move Local Election Officials
Concurrent Sessions
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SPEAKERS: Alex Gomez (Co-Executive Director, ACE/LUCHA), Tomas Robles (Co-Executive Director, ACE/LUCHA), Hannah Furstenberg-Beckman (Researcher, Local Election Officials: Discretion and Democracy Project)

moderator
Speakers
Alejandra Gomez
Executive Director
LUCHA
Tomas Robles
Co-Executive Director
Arizona Center for Empowerment
Hannah Furstenberg Beckman
Program Officer
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
session REsources
Oct 22, 2021
11:50 am
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12:50 pm
SESSION 3B - Engaging Returning Citizens Beyond the Election Cycle
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MODERATOR: Andrea McChristian (Law & Policy Director, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice) SPEAKERS: Ronald Pierce (Democracy & Justice Fellow, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice), Pastor Rhonda Thomas (Faith in Florida), Hannah Walker (UT Austin), Ariel White (Associate Professor, MIT)

moderator
Andrea McChristian
Law & Policy Director
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
Speakers
Pastor Rhonda Thomas
Faith in Florida
Hannah Walker
University of Texas Austin
Ronald Pierce
Policy Analyst
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
Ariel White
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Oct 22, 2021
11:50 am
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12:50 pm
SESSION 3C - From Protest to Participation: On the Frontlines of Youth Civic Engagement
Concurrent Sessions
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MODERATOR: Tova Wang (Democracy Fellow, Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School) SPEAKERS: Jerusha Conner (Villanova),Kei Kawashima-Gisberg (Newhouse Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts CIRCLE), Johnnie Lotesta (Assistant Professor of Sociology, Appalachian State University), Destini Philpot (GoodKids MadCity)

moderator
Tova Wang
Democracy Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School
Speakers
Jerusha Conner
Professor of Education
Villanova
Kei Kawashima-Gisberg
Newhouse Director
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts (CIRCLE)
Johnnie Lotesta
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Appalachian State University
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Oct 22, 2021
1:00 pm
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2:00 pm
Lunch Break
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Oct 22, 2021
2:05 pm
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3:05 pm
Organizing and Operatives: Building the Political Culture Shift We Need to Win Real Change
Welcome Back
description

MODERATOR: Andrea Mercado (Co Executive Director, Florida Rising) SPEAKERS: Doran Schrantz (Director, ISAIAH), Mike Podhorzer (Advisor, AFL-CIO)

moderator
Andrea Mercado
Co Executive Director
Florida Rising
Speakers
Doran Schrantz
Executive Director
ISAIAH
Mike Podhorzer
Advisor
AFL-CIO
session REsources
Oct 22, 2021
3:15 pm
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4:10 pm
Operationalizing Our Influence Agenda
Strategy Session
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We conclude with a set of small conversations to discuss what we can do together to elevate organizer voices in the political industry; what research, data, and tech is needed to elevate organizing; what we need to do to increase philanthropic support for organizing and year-round base-building; and what more we need to do to effectively support BIPOC communities and grassroots organizations in the policy and electoral battles to come!

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Oct 22, 2021
4:10 pm
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4:30 pm
Reflections, Synthesis, and Next Steps
Concurrent Workshop
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Join us to explore more research and innovation projects housed in the DPI Research Library.