Update on the Detroit water crisis

Thank you to those NN14 attendees who came out to protest the immoral water shutoffs last Friday in Detroit. To those who couldn’t make it, thank you for your support from afar.

The Monday after we left town, the City of Detroit announced it was suspending shutoffs for 15 days. This is huge progress, but there is more work to be done. Local organizers continue to pressure the City of Detroit Council to stop the shutoffs and work around the clock to provide water to those who currently are without.

The rally was among the highlights of NN14. Our collective voice, presence and support at the water rally last Friday added momentum to the efforts of organizations like the People’s Water Board Coalition, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, We the People of Detroit, and many more. Organizers say the rally drew 2,500 people—allies and those wearing NN credentials alike. The rally received mentions in national press including the New York Times, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and more. As Rev. Barber told us Thursday night, ‘forward together, not one step back!’

One of the most moving moments of the week was when we received this email from a Detroiter:

“That you shined a light on the wicked things going on here and took time out of your conference to support us in this right wing attack is appreciated more than you will ever know by myself, my family and my neighbors. One neighbor said she has been praying for something like the Friday march to happen. May this kindness come back to you a thousand times.”

It’s important that we continue to stand in solidarity with our friends in Detroit to end this crisis. You can help a Detroit resident directly by submitting a payment to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department on their behalf. Click here to pay someone’s bill.




Media coverage from NN14

Netroots Nation received more than 1,800 media mentions last week across top national outlets, local publications and television broadcasts. Below are a few select stories.

Former AZ House Minority Leader John Loredo on Phoenix 2015

To the Netroots Nation and progressive community, a statement from former Arizona House Minority Leader John Loredo, on Phoenix being chosen as the location for Netroots Nation 2015. Loredo was was one of the influential Latino leaders who supported a boycott of Arizona after the passage of SB1070, and for subsequently ending the boycott once it had served its purpose.

“Thank you for supporting the boycott we called. We called for the boycott to bring economic pressure onto the state and to force Arizona business leaders to get off the bench and into the immigration fight. It worked. The year after Senate Bill 1070 passed, business leaders testified at the State Senate and took the position that Arizona could no longer sustain the economic boycott and the legislature needed to stop passing any more harmful immigration bills. Since that point, not one immigration bill has passed at the Arizona state legislature. We accomplished our goal, and those of us who called for the boycott called it off. We hope those that respected our calling for the boycott will respect our decision to call it off.

Arizona is a perfect location for the 2015 Netroots Nation conference. We have large union hotels that serve our Phoenix convention center, and bringing thousands of Netroots attendees here to those hotels would benefit those workers and highlight the hard work Unite Here has done to organize this workforce. We hope the progressive community will support their work.

In the same way we halted the immigration bills, our progressive and labor organizations have united to stop the anti-gay religious right-to-discriminate legislation (Senate Bill 1062). After its passage, thousands of activists pressured the business community and chambers of commerce, who in turn begged Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB1062 specifically because of the threat of economic boycott. They did not want to go through what happened after SB1070. Brewer, who signed SB1070 into law, listened and vetoed SB1062. The great work by the progressive, Latino and the human rights community in Arizona was highlighted by panelists in the Netroots Nation 2014 panel “Religious Exemptions: The Next Frontier for Progressive Battles.” We want the progressive community to come to one of the front lines of this battle, which is still ongoing.

The political landscape is changing quickly in Arizona. Democrats now hold five of our nine Congressional seats. In 2012, our labor and progressive tables worked together to win back four seats in the state senate, which eliminated the Tea Party super-majority won in 2010. This victory made it possible to find a moderate bi-partisan majority to kill extremist anti-labor and ALEC legislation, and to pass Medicaid expansion. With just two more pick-ups in 2014, we can tie the senate at 15-15, which would allow us to go on the offensive with a progressive legislative agenda. Our coalitions have also defeated the legislature’s extreme anti-voter agenda and helped to elect committed Progressives in competitive city council elections in Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and Flagstaff.

Our successes are growing and building on one another. Momentum is shifting in our favor and we are excited about our future. Arizona has one of the largest Rising American Electorate populations per capita in the country (900,000 already registered and another 900,000 eligible to vote). Because of these tectonic demographic shifts, Arizona will turn blue even if we do nothing in 15-20 years. But we have a plan to do it by 2016. We want Netroots Nation to be a part of that success.

What would you get if we are successful? Arizona has 11 electoral votes. Flipping Arizona could fundamentally tilt Electoral College math in our favor for the foreseeable future. Those votes don’t disappear when it gets hot, and neither should Netroots. There is no reason the decision to come to Arizona should divide the Netroots community, even at the margins. This is an opportunity to highlight and impact our national debate over immigration at the issue’s epicenter. Most of the national Progressive community is investing heavily in Arizona because of the infrastructure we have created and the victories we have achieved. There’s much more work to do, and it will not be easy. Arizona should be supported for everything our Latino and Progressive community has accomplished, and for what we are working to change, not punished in perpetuity.”

Plenary on the Detroit water crisis

Right now, the Detroit Water Department is shutting off water to thousands of Detroit residents with outstanding debts each week, even if their debt was incurred by previous owners or is only 60 days late.
Not only are these shutoffs a violation of the human right to water, they are also a threat to public health. As the crisis in Detroit escalates, local organizers are banding together to provide relief to residents and demand a moratorium on the shutoffs while also aiming to make sure water is affordable, protected from pollution, and stays in the hands of the public.
On Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., we’ll host a keynote discussion about the crisis in Detroit and the local organizing happening here. Come hear from local organizers about the situation on the ground and how you can amplify their efforts.


Panelists include Monica Lewis-Patrick of We The People Detroit, Abayomi Azikiwe of Moratorium Now, Meredith Begin of Food and Water Watch and Professor Peter Hammer.


Netroots Nation 2014 Kickoff Party

The Michigan Senate Democrats and the DLCC are hosting a welcome party for Netroots Nation attendees, and you’re invited!

Join Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer and other special guests on Wednesday, July 16, at the Detroit Beer Co. The party starts at 7 p.m.

Click here to RSVP via Facebook, or here to RSVP with just an email address, then plan your travel accordingly so you can join us at the Netroots Nation 2014 Kickoff Party.

Our 2014 “Grab a Booth” Contest Winners

More than 2,100 votes were cast in our recent “Grab a Booth” contest. Here are the winners: Round One – Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Creative Action Network and United Peace Relief, Inc. Round Two winners – DOP INC, 4000 Years for Choice and Nursing Students for Choice. Thank you to all the organizations and companies that entered!

Now accepting panel submissions for NN14

SubmitSessionWe are now accepting panel submissions for Netroots Nation 2014!

With Netroots Nation 2014 coming just months before the midterms, our goal is to highlight the work you are doing around the country, from electoral campaigns to issue work in your home state.

What issues are most important to you and your community? To which campaigns will you lend your money, your time, your resources? Whether it’s rebuilding the middle class or winning back your state’s legislature, we want to know so we can build the agenda for Netroots Nation 2014 around what’s most important to you.

When you’re brainstorming ideas to submit, here are a few things to remember:

• How does my session help the broader progressive movement?
• How will it empower activists to take what they’ve learned and use it for the greater good?
• Do my panelists represent diversity—of ethnicity, gender, geography, age and viewpoint?

While we always welcome ideas that run the gamut of progressive issues, each session should include new perspectives, voices and ideas.

Are you ready to submit your idea?

The deadline for submissions is February 19, so click here and get started.

#NN13: Friday highlights

We kicked off the morning with a plenary session on gun violence featuring panelists Lily Eskelsen Garcia of NEA, MoveOn’s Anna Galland, Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Rep. Robin Kelly, CA State Senate President Pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Randi Weingarten of AFT; and moderator Jehmu Green. Click here for highlights from Not Another Newtown: Building a Movement to Prevent Gun Violence.

We also recapped a few of our panels from the day:

Carrying on Aaron Swartz’s Legacy
Women on the Run
The Three Keys to Reclaiming our Democracy

Visit our Facebook page to see photos of more sessions and social events from Netroots Nation in San Jose.