Ready to Resist: How a New Collaboration Used Technology and Mass Organizing to move Tens of Thousands into Action

Ready to Resist: How a New Collaboration Used Technology and Mass Organizing to move Tens of Thousands into Action

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Aug. 10 10:30 AM

Ends: Thursday, Aug. 10 11:45 AM

Room: Hanover C

Since January, an emerging collaboration of organizations have partnered on strategies and a series of mass actions and phone calls to build and bolster just part of the resistance movement. Over Trump’s first 100 days, MoveOn, Working Families Party, People’s Action and Center for Popular Democracy Action have organized a series of “Ready to Resist” calls on Sunday evenings. The calls have become a locus of energy for progressives and have taken on a life of their own: over 50,000 grassroots activists have joined many of the calls; Senators and progressive leaders have spoken; and most importantly, the calls have moved tens of thousands of people into consistent, nearly weekly action against the Trump agenda.

Moderator

Mehrdad Azemun

Mehrdad Azemun is National Campaigns Director at People’s Action. Mehrdad has over 15 years of experience running electoral and legislative campaigns with immigrant communities at the state, regional, and national/federal level.

He currently oversees issue and policy campaign organizing for People’s Action, an economic and racial justice organization working in 30 states and at a national level. He helped build People’s Action’s electoral operation aimed at opposing Trump nationally and moving a slate of progressive, people-powered candidates for office.

In 2009-10 and 2013-14, he ran the grassroots efforts for 2 different national campaigns aimed at winning federal immigration reform legislation from Congress and deliver relief from the White House for millions of undocumented immigrants. Before working on the national level, he was Director of Organizing at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, where he helped move the organization’s civic engagement and legislative work to the next level.

Mehrdad is an immigrant from Iran; his family moved to the U.S. in 1978, soon before the Iranian Revolution.

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Panelists

Jennifer Epps

Jennifer Epps-Addison serves as the President and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy and CPD Action’s network of 43 partner organizations in 30 states. As President, Jennifer leads CPD’s racial justice campaigns, and works closely with its network of local affiliates.

Jennifer boasts over 15 years of community organizing experience, advancing systems-change campaigns for economic and racial justice. Prior to joining CPD, Epps-Addison was the Chief Program Officer for the Liberty Hill Foundation, a social justice foundation in Los Angeles that funds grassroots community organizing campaigns for social change. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Epps-Addison helped coordinate the Fight for $15 campaign as the Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now.

Epps-Addison is the recipient of the 2013 Edna Award from the Berger-Marks Foundation, which honors an outstanding young woman each year for her leadership in fueling social change. In the same year, she was named an ‘Activist to Watch’ by Bill Moyers. She earned her BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies and her JD from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to her return to organizing, Jennifer was a trial attorney in the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office.

Epps-Addison, a leader who has deep experience building power in communities from the ground up, joins the Center for Popular Democracy at a time when local community voices matter more than ever in creating a nation-wide movement to fight for dignity and opportunity for all people. She brings with her a commitment to supporting and growing black-led organizations, strengthening investments in power-building efforts in communities of color, and deepening organizing strategies that build power with the white working class by addressing racism head-on and building authentic alliances based on shared interests and shared values.

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Vicki Kaplan

Organizer