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We’re in the process of updating our agenda for Netroots Nation 2023. You can view sessions as they are added below.

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Winning Jobs Narrative: Using Values Based Economic Messaging to Win

Working people decide who holds power in this country. The existential challenge facing Democrats is that we’ve been losing strength with these voters, particularly non-college voters, cross-race and geography. The Winning Jobs Narrative Project, launched in 2021, focused on creating effective, values-based economic messages that increase support for policies and candidates. Based on our research, we have created an easy-to-implement guide on how to communicate effectively with working people. We’ll go over the guide including specific messaging examples and a narrative checklist for you to implement in your own work.

Trainers: Bobby Clark, Melissa Morales

How to Build a Powerful Deep Canvass Program

Deep canvassing is the only field tactic that has been found, through extensive study, to change voter attitudes and behavior long-term, both in person and on the phone. Join us to learn more about the latest in deep canvassing and to receive training on the aspects of how to build a power-building and persuasion program. We’ll share key case studies that demonstrate how deep canvass programs have been built to create change and build power on a variety of issues and contexts.

Trainers: Drew Frye, Heather Schmucker

Your New AI Intern: How to Navigate Chat GPT for Texting

Who is texting me? Are they even human? Does it matter? Sure, texting is fast, efficient and cost-effective, but who is on the other end? Join us to learn how Chat GPT can change your texting skills, habits and campaigns. We’ll cover what AI tools are and how to use Chat GPT to your progressive advantage as well as tips and tricks to keep your message fresh and relevant.

Trainers: Lloyd Cotler, Tamilla Mirzoyeva

Prioritizing Accessibility in Advocacy

Prioritizing accessibility is critical to addressing ableism in both our advocacy and the systems we are working to change. People with disabilities make up 1 of 4 adults in the United States. But our country’s systems of communication, transportation, work and democracy were too often built without disabled people in mind and create barriers that exclude millions in our communities. Join this training on accessibility in advocacy to learn practical and meaningful ways to make your work more accessible and inclusive of the diverse disability community.

Trainers: Alexia Kemerling

We Got NOW! The Black Women Bench

Black women are a powerful electorate with the proven ability to decide elections. We now have the first Black woman Vice President, 26 Black women serving in the House and Black women mayors in seven of the nation’s largest cities. Despite those accomplishments, Black women still lack representation in important chambers of power. Only 4.9% of the U.S. House are Black women and zero serve in the U.S. Senate. Our panel of dynamic Black women including current and former elected officials, operatives and pundits will talk about the cadre of Black women doing amazing things in every sector of American politics and how we can uplift them and support their growth. The Black women bench doesn’t need to be built—it needs to be believed and bolstered.

Led by: Angela Angel

Panelists: D'Shawna Bernard, Sonya Harper

Progress at the Ballot Box: Why Progressives Should Back Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked Choice Voting has exploded in popularity over the last few years, with over 62 US jurisdictions currently using it and likely many more in coming years. This panel brings together local, national and international political and advocacy voices to explore why it’s time for the progressive movement to throw themselves firmly behind this reform. We’ll explore how Ranked Choice Voting helps women and minorities get elected, increases the power of advocacy organizations, encourages forward thinking policy, depolarizes politics and encourages coalition building, breaks the power of corporate lobbyists and authoritarian candidates, and encourages voter turnout by giving voters a real choice at the ballot box.

Led by: Gary Schotz

Panelists: Mike Griffin, Rachel Hutchinson, Alisa Kaplan, Matt Martin

Seeing Sexwork Within and Connected to Our Movements for Justice and Equity

Many movements rely on the experience, energy and leadership of individuals with past and present sex trade experience. Yet, sex worker voices are often maligned or silenced in these same movements, such as exclusion from Pride festival events, reduced presence in marches for reproductive rights or consideration in demands for racial justice. This panel brings together Chicago-based sex worker activists and leaders along with movement experts to share the impact of silence on the past, a snapshot of what is being done in collaboration today and how justice-oriented leaders can take action to welcome sexworker voices and join to address key sex workers’ rights initiatives, including decriminalization.

Led by: Shane Lukas

Panelists: Bella Bathory, Betty Devoe, Ceyenne Doroshow, Melodie Garcia

Don't F**k Up Your Campaign Launch: Building Your Online Infrastructure Early

Building a successful online fundraising effort for your campaign starts long before day 1. In this session, you’ll hear from the folks behind some of the biggest digital campaign launches in the 2022 cycle—John Fetterman, Beto O’Rourke and Charles Booker—as well as early 2024 candidates like Katie Porter and Lucas Kunce. What should progressive candidates do before launch to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running? How can we build a comprehensive launch plan that spans email, ads, texting, web, social and other channels? This panel will focus on how to capture attention, drive the narrative, generate huge fundraising returns and make the most of your campaign launch online.

Led by: Kasey O'Brien

Panelists: Marissa Fretes, Emily Harrison, Crystal Stanford, Eric Stern

Democracy in Jeopardy: Reining in Big Tech to Protect Election Integrity

In recent years, we have seen unprecedented attacks on the integrity of our democracy and the information ecosystem that supports it. Social media has been weaponized to manipulate countless voters and exploited by extremists to incite political violence. But there are straightforward design principles that tech companies can and must implement to restore voters’ confidence in the democratic system. With the Presidential election next year—along with dozens of major global elections in 2024—it is critical that social media companies take action now. Learn from advocates and activists who have been leading the fight to demand critical democracy-saving change from Big Tech.

Led by: Nash Alam

Panelists: Jelani Drew, Paul Gowder, Kaili Lambe, Zamaan Qureshi

App Workers Organizing—Online and Off—for Pay, Security, Safety and Power

App corporations like Uber and Lyft force their costs and risk onto drivers, mostly people of color and immigrants, while paying low rates and controlling working conditions through faceless algorithms. In this panel discussion, drivers and organizers will share how they are fighting for fair pay, safety and security in Chicago—and coordinating with drivers around the country to build long-term power. Panelists will explore new strategies and models for building worker power in the gig economy, share how workers are coordinating and forming relationships online (since drivers are always on the move and often don’t know their coworkers) and discuss how people who use these platforms can stand in solidarity with drivers.

Led by: Catherine Foley

Panelists: Lisa Lei, JC Muhammad, Ted Parks, Lori Simmons

Combatting Political Cynicism in Black Communities

Young people and BIPOC communities are now the majority in the U.S. They are the political powerbrokers of the future, but cynicism with a system that has ignored their interests threatens their full participation. In 2020, 73% of Black voters felt their vote was ‘very powerful’. Today that number has dropped to 43%. This session brings together a diverse panel of experts at the forefront of polling, advocacy and media to discuss new messaging and power frames that civic leaders must employ to effectively mobilize BIPOC communities in politically divisive times. In an actual field test, their messaging was 49.53% more effective than conventional tactics.

Led by: Katrina Gamble

Panelists: Ranada Robinson, Terrance Woodbury

When You're Called a Terrorist: How Domestic Terrorism Laws Target Protestors and Activists

In January 2023, 19 climate justice activists in Atlanta were charged with domestic terrorism and other crimes for their protests against Cop City. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has designated human rights organizations as “terrorists,” and justifies its crackdown on Palestinian protestors as combatting terrorism. These trends threaten our movement work to build a better and more equitable world. Today, the “domestic terrorism” label is wielded against communities of color, even though the laws were pushed through to ostensibly quell white supremacist violence. This panel explore how domestic terrorism laws target anyone challenging police violence, environmental degradation and militarism.

Led by: Sandra Tamari

Panelists: Jehad Abusalim, Kamau Franklin, Diala Shamas, Nick Tilsen

How Minnesota Prepared for a Democratic Trifecta and Won Our Progressive Agenda

In 2022, Minnesota unexpectedly won a narrow Democratic trifecta with momentum from voters who were demanding action on reproductive rights, climate change, paid leave and strengthening democracy. While this trifecta was a surprise to many of us, we’d been preparing for this moment for 5 years. In 2017 a group of legislators and people-powered organizations started the Minnesota Values Project. We toured the state to listen to Minnesotans and build a shared agenda. In the only divided legislature in the country at the time, that agenda seemed impossible. But we built a robust inside/outside table committed to making that agenda a reality. Join us to hear more about how we made history in Minnesota in 2022.

Led by: Alexa Howart, Bethany Winkels

Panelists: State Sen. Liz Boldon, State Rep. Cedrick Frazier, State Sen. Erin Murphy, State Rep. Liz Olson

Chairman (Emeritus)'s Pub Quiz 2023: Getting The Band Back Together

It all began in Chicago in 2007, as an energized crowd waited for a beloved former Vermont Governor to complete his keynote so that everyone could boo Mother Teresa, or at least that’s how the New York Times initially reported it. It has changed little since those august (and August) days — form teams of 6-10 to answer trivia questions on politics, history, pop culture and Americana. There will be silliness, merriment, costumes, and bonhomie — because that’s the Chicago Way … unless you switched the samples, didn’t you, or my name isn’t Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago.

Led by: Adam Bonin

Morning Yoga with Reggie Hubbard

As activists we often get caught up in the perception of progress through busy-ness and neglect the necessity of focus and calm. Our morning flow will ground your day in peace and clarity before diving into the business/busy-ness of the conference. We’ll do light stretching, joint mobility enhancements, breathing and relaxation exercises.

Panelists: Reggie Hubbard

Campaign Disability: Making Your Social Media and Comms Accessible

Every day, progressive organizations and campaigns craft great content to reach folks in their community and fight for change. But, this content is too often not created with accessibility in mind. In this session, we will approach accessibility in communications through language, color and images. We will look at how all three come together in social media and work together to design a social media tool kit that is accessible to all audiences.

Trainers: Jessica Olson

How to Build Your Email List Ethically and Sustainably

Every campaign and issue-advocacy organization needs to recruit new donors, supporters and volunteers; and having an effective and ethical list-building strategy can save your team time, energy and money. In this training, we’ll discuss effective tactics you can employ to build your email list ethically and sustainably, including digital advertising, social media, internet communities, online actions, data modeling and even signup notebooks at your reception desk. We’ll also cover how to avoid common pitfalls like spam, list swaps and passive storytelling.

Trainers: Will Easton, Craig Grella

Golden Moments: Working with the Media to Enhance Your Campaign

Working with the media at the right place at the right time can take a golden moment to the next level and raise community awareness of your campaign in a massive way. In this training, you will learn strategies to communicate with the media, develop relationships and keep the media engaged with your campaign. We’ll show you how to create an effective media advisory and press release. You’ll also learn and practice ways to communicate your message to the media when you are interviewed for TV, radio, online or print media. This training is for those who are new to working with the media as well as experienced media relations practitioners.

Trainers: Laila Dalton, Bill Whitmire

Digital Ads from Soup to Nuts: Persuasion and Mobilization Campaigns that Win

Working on digital advertising can feel like playing whack-a-mole with new formats, channels and restrictions every cycle. In this training, we will review the benefits and limitations of the top channels and formats; discuss how to use audience research to build media plans and how to design creative that gets results; go over effective QA processes and show you how to report and optimize once your ads are running. We’ll also offer best practices from elections up and down the ballot and across the country. Every participant, whether they are “hand-on-keyboard” executors or strategists, will come away with a better understanding of what questions to ask and what to look for in strong digital ad campaigns.

Trainers: A.J. Carrillo, Michael O'Meara

The Long Game: How to Organize and Win in Rural America

Too often, rural races (especially in red states) are under-resourced because they’ve been deemed “unwinnable” in one cycle. But we need to look at the long game. In this training, we’ll discuss how to develop and deploy messages that resonate and fundraising techniques that work in rural communities. We’ll cover how to identify progressive organizers and create a boots-on-the-ground approach for reaching rural voters. We’ll also talk about how to keep going in rural America if winning in one cycle doesn’t seem possible.

Trainers: Jess Piper

Fighting Digital Suppression of Abortion Information

Digital suppression and disinformation are posing an overt threat to the pro-abortion movement, which is increasingly relying on the Internet and digital tools to deliver services and disseminate information. With the overturn of Roe v Wade, a surging number of people are searching for abortion-related resources online. Concurrently, Big Tech companies and governments are suppressing accurate abortion information and preventing access to critical healthcare. In this panel, we’ll identify common patterns of content suppression and dissect the tools and strategies of those working to challenge the often biased and misinformed policies technology providers have adopted around SRH-related content. We’ll also discuss how we can hold Big Tech accountable for allowing the dissemination of accurate abortion information.

Led by: Imani Wilson-Shabazz

Panelists: Claire Crossett, Martha Dimitratou, Jessica Ensley

Why Care Infrastructure Wins (and the Fight Ahead) Impact Everyone

Over a dozen organizations have come together to push our nation to finally build the care infrastructure we all need; and while we’ve so far fallen short of the transformational change our country needs, the fact that we’re building momentum is undeniable. The end-of-year 2022 Congressional package included unprecedented victories: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the PUMP Act for Nursing Mothers, $8 billion in childcare funding and more. Looking forward to 2024, we are doubling down on our victories to aggressively push for transformational policy change—and against Moms For Liberty. We’ll discuss how we can make policies like paid family/medical leave, childcare and fair pay key priorities in the 2024 elections.

Led by: Hillary Holley

Panelists: Jocelyn Frye, Fatima Graves, Dawn Huckelbridge, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

We Just Passed the Biggest Climate Bill Ever. Now What?

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 was touted by Democrats as “the biggest climate bill since ever.” And it’s got huge amounts of money in it. However, many environmental justice advocates believe that the IRA is a betrayal of deeply help principles of intersectionality. This panel will examine the IRA through the lens of the progressive movement: what went right and what went wrong? What can be done to fix it? What can be done to make it work for all Americans, from factory workers to kids on school buses? Will this signature achievement turn out to be a hollow victory?

Led by: RL Miller

Panelists: Daniel Blackman, Representative Sean Casten, Juan Jhong-Chung, Hebah Kassem

Immigration is a Black Issue, a Gender Issue and a Social Justice Issue

This panel brings together diverse, Black leadership working in the field of immigration to call on the progressive movement to see immigration as a Black issue, a gender issue and a social justice issue. The progressive world reacted in horror to the images in Del Rio, Texas in September 2021 as U.S. agents on horseback threatened and menaced people from Haiti seeking refuge at the U.S. Southern border. This panel will connect that moment to the history of anti-Black racism within the US immigration systems, highlight the contributions of Black immigrants and their families in the U.S., and demonstrate how seeing justice in immigration alongside other progressive-justice priorities will strengthen the progressive movement.

Led by: Guerline Jozef

Panelists: Patrice Lawrence, Ola Osaze, Fatou-Seydi Sarr

Passing the Assault Weapons Ban in America

Since an AR15 was used by a gunman to kill 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School a decade ago, assault weapons have been the weapons of choice for mass shooters. Assault weapons were used to kill AAPI dancers in a ballroom in Monterey Park, black shoppers in a grocery store in Buffalo, Latino children in Uvalde and Jewish parishioners in Pittsburgh. Weapons of war are being used to target all our communities. This January, Illinois passed the ban and lawmakers and advocates from other states are working to do the same. Join us for a discussion of how we can build momentum around banning assault weapons and mobilize voters around this issue in 2024.

Led by: Po Murray

Panelists: Robert Emmons, Jr., Felix Rubio, Kimberly Rubio, Angela Weber

Centering Race to Build Narrative Power

As both progressive & regressive movements have shown, we only win by strategically (re)claiming, deploying and making common our narrative of both problem and solution. Arguably, progressive movements don’t always have strong processes for cohesive online/offline engagement. In this training, we’ll explore how to strategically advance a progressive, intersectional narrative deeply connected to and working with communities to shift the political and ideological environments toward long-term structural change.

Trainers: Dr. Charlene Sinclair

#UnionsforAll: No Contract, No Coffee. No Justice, No Fries. No Standards, No Peace.

We’re in the midst of a historic uprising by workers. From Starbucks baristas and fast-food workers to gig workers and airline cleaners, workers are tired of corporations wielding all the power and they’re standing up to demand a voice on the job through a union with a force and clarity like never before. They are leading the charge on game-changing legislative approaches, rejecting a status quo that has never worked for working people, and in the process, inspiring other workers to unite together and demand a better future for their families and communities with unions for all. Come hear from workers who are leading the way on some of the most innovative and game-changing organizing and progressive legislative approaches with victories both nationally and in the states.

Led by: Kim Kelly

Panelists: Pedro Castro, Mysheka Ronquillo, Juniper Rose, Joy Vaughn

Creating Joy and Setting Boundaries in Times of Resistance

During times of unrest and progress, oftentimes those most impacted by the issues find themselves working tirelessly personally and professionally to create, advocate and implement necessary change. However, this can not only lead to burnout about also barriers to progress. In order to create lasting change and truly build transformative power for a reflective democracy, organizers must be able to sustain themselves through setting boundaries and being intentional with creating communal moments of joy in order to withstand the onslaught of attacks attached to making a difference. In creating strategies for success, the mental health and wellbeing of the organizers is paramount, especially in such unprecedented times.

Led by: Miracle Jones

Panelists: Farooq Al-Said, Andres Garduno, Dena Stanley (She/her)

End Prison Funding and #StopCopCity: Financial Activism Strategies = Decarceration

After generations of community organizing, investors and national allies locked arms with the local Communities Not Prisons Coalition in Alabama to block a $630M deal to build three new mega prisons. Our win sent seismic waves through the financial industry and exposed a grave weakness in the prison industrial complex. And we’re taking these strategies to #StopCopCity in Atlanta. This is our story of how a directly impacted-led, multi-racial, multi-class campaign informed by those fighting on the inside, supported by investors and also Tea Party Republicans, won against all odds. We’ll walk through our playbook, get real about what worked and didn’t and share how our victory exposes a clear opportunity for us to win all across the country.

Led by: Matt Nelson

Panelists: Kamau Franklin, Christina Hollenback, Veronica R. Johnson, Nancy Trevino

US-China Policy: How Not to Repeat the Mistakes of the War on Terror

This panel examines how the U.S. approach to China has reproduced the patterns of racism and violence against vulnerable communities here and abroad that we saw in the post-9/11 era, and offers an alternative vision for the U.S.-China relationship. At a time when progressives are facing a growing Washington consensus in favor of a militarized, zero-sum approach to U.S.-China relations, this panel discusses how to describe the costs of that approach in human terms and make a powerful case for prioritizing diplomacy over escalation and xenophobia.

Led by: Stephen Miles

Panelists: Tobita Chow, Nancy Okail, Rep. Ilhan Omar

How Service Workers are Building Power—and Winning—in the Windy City

Since the pandemic, restaurant workers have been leaving the industry in droves. Research by One Fair Wage reveals that 53% of restaurant workers surveyed are considering leaving the industry, and 70% cite low wages and tips as their primary reason for leaving. In response to this staffing crisis, thousands of restaurants nationwide have raised their wages to get workers to attract and retain staff, but this measure is not enough. In Chicago, a worker-led movement is fighting for better pay and improved working conditions—and they’re winning. Join us to hear from the organizations and workers on the frontlines of this fight talk about how they’re winning wage increases in the Windy City.

Led by: Nataki Rhodes

Panelists: Saru Jayaraman, Richard Rodriguez, Antoinette Simmons

Feminist Buzzkills Live from Netroots Nation

Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show, Founder Abortion Access Front) returns to Netroots with a live broadcast of Feminist Buzzkills, the podcast from Abortion Access Front.  Each day at noon, join Lizz, her cohost Moji Alawode-El (writer, activist and marketing lead at Abortion Access Front) and special guests, for a hilarious breakdown of the latest news from patriarchy’s evil trilogy of misogyny, white supremacy, and anti-abortion extremism. Your Buzzkills will make sense of all the madness, and with their expert guests, toss around some f-bombs and dive deep into the abortion stories and info being ignored by the mainstream media. So grab your lunch and watch a live broadcast of the Feminist Buzzkills pod!

Led by: Moji Alawode-El, Lizz Winstead

Screening and Q&A: Higher Power

Recreational cannabis use is legal in Washington, D.C. Recreational cannabis sales are not. Higher Power uses the stories of Black Washingtonians navigating this gray space while fighting to enter the legal cannabis industry to reveal the stark reality of 700,0000 disenfranchised American citizens and the urgent need for D.C. Statehood. It explores how the D.C. Home Rule Act of 1973 marginalized D.C.’s Black community. It profiles Black cannabis and wellness entrepreneurs serving the community through the gray market and Black-owned licensed medical dispensaries juggling the impacts of a global pandemic and competition from unregulated operators. Higher Power shows how the federal government’s control of the District has made a challenging process almost insurmountable, bolstering the case for D.C’s right to self-rule.

Panelists: Rafi Aliya Crockett, Dewey Ortiz, Bo Shuff

Mindful Meditation Moment

Need a break to regroup and recenter? Join us for a mid-day mindfulness moment to reset after the morning sessions and stay grounded headed into the afternoon.

Panelists: Reggie Hubbard

Expanding Justice: Organizing to Reform the Supreme Court

While Supreme Court justices are not elected, voters and activists have the power to organize and change the direction of the Court. As the Court’s conservative supermajority attacks our fundamental rights, expanding the Court has quickly entered the political mainstream as the surest way to restore ideological balance and save us from a generation of right-wing, minoritarian rule. Over 60 members of Congress and 130 organizations have endorsed historic legislation to add 4 justices to the Court. Featuring progressive champions inside and outside Congress, this panel will underscore how the progressive community can strategically organize to rebalance the court to save democracy and our rights.

Led by: Tristin Brown

Panelists: Brett Edkins, Rep. Barbara Lee, Murshed Zaheed

Running on Climate: 2022 Lessons that Can Help Democrats Win in 2024

In 2022, the power of climate and other issue-based voting was on clear display, vital to winning up and down the ballot and to flipping swing seats and states. Democrats had the best midterm elections in the first term since the Kennedy administration because both the base and less-frequent voters turned out to vote on the issues. The climate and environmental justice crises are escalating—as are their importance to voters. What do the midterms teach about how and why to run on climate in 2024? How can Democrats best communicate climate achievements as well as urgency? Join us to discuss takeaways from 2022—and why leaning into climate issues is a winning strategy for 2024 and beyond.

Led by: Michelle Deatrick

Panelists: Ebony Martin

An Overdue Reckoning of Structural and Systemic Racism in Policing

Black lives matter. I Can’t Breathe. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. No Justice, No Peace. These powerful phrases are rallying cries for fair-minded Americans seeking to live up to one of this country’s core principles: equal justice under the law. Since this nation’s founding, Black Americans have struggled, fought and died for the right to be free and equal citizens. At a powder keg moment in American policing history, Black fathers from the frontlines will share a fly-on-the-wall look deep inside their intimate personal state as they struggle to confront structural and systemic racism in abusive policing that led to the murder of their children. Nowhere else will you have the opportunity to hear and witness the power of their experiences.

Led by: Rashad Timmons

Panelists: Michael Brown, Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson, Andrew Joseph, Kevin Tarver

Projecting Power: Making Visuals Part of Campaign Strategy

Whether or not we realize it, our understanding of social movements is shaped by the images we see of them. Visual storytelling is one of the main ways movements communicate with our targets, the broader public and our own members. Often we struggle to plan and create visuals as part of a broader strategy. This training will help you make a plan to create the images we need to win, when we need them. We’ll dig into how to create a visually rich movement culture, how to use photography, action staging, and other forms of imagery-making to meet campaign needs, and how planning visuals can bridge traditional comms/organizing silos.

Trainers: Rachel Schragis, Josh Yoder

Beyond Land Acknowledgement: Moving from Optical Allyship to Action

After hearing a land acknowledgment statement, do you ever find yourself asking, “Now what?” Land acknowledgment is growing in popularity, yet it often functions as optical allyship. Since releasing a guide to land acknowledgment in 2019, Native Governance Center (NGC) has received hundreds of inquiries from people wanting help. Most of these inquiries have focused on verbiage, rather than action steps for supporting Indigenous communities. In response, NGC created a new action-planning approach. In this session, you’ll learn why land acknowledgment can be problematic. You’ll engage in small and large group activities to learn how to design meaningful action steps. Finally, you’ll have a chance to begin creating your own action plan.

Trainers: Wayne Ducheneaux, Jessica Glidden

Standing in the Gap: Organizing Joy When Policy Fails

When policy fails to support thriving communities, particularly in neighborhoods being gentrified, how can social justice organizations step in? Using a case study in East Liberty, Pennsylvania, we’ll talk about how to center joy and community in the midst of efforts to displace and exclude marginalized people from changing neighborhoods and communities.

Trainers: Jasmine Green

How Digital Organizing Can Turn Community Organizers into Community Influencers

While a lot has been said about what happened during the most recent midterm elections in Texas, we have not heard enough about what grassroots organizers in Harris County did to galvanize the second-largest midterm election turnout in 30 years. Join us to learn four critical digital organizing tactics that will turn community organizers into community influencers to make a historic impact in the next election.

Trainers: Jess Moore Matthews, Chris Valdez

How to Organize Online (Even if You Don't Want to)—and Win

In 2020, every facet of U.S. life changed and organizers were forced to take their offline efforts online. Three years later, where have things landed? In this session we’ll follow the work of ACCE-LA (The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment–Los Angeles), a grassroots organization that was forced to go digital in 2020. Despite all odds, they tripled their membership, elected their people into office and won a city-wide eviction moratorium. This case study will trace the journey this member-led organization took from in-person, direct actions to flooding public comment spaces on Zoom, organizing communities on WhatsApp, and creating digital spaces that support real relationships and wield enough force to move decision-makers.

Trainers: Joe Delgado, Shireen Nori

The Anti-Abortion Playbook is Coming for Us All

The anti-abortion playbook is being used as a tool to erase other rights and freedoms, including threats against the transgender community. Look no farther than Missouri —the first state to ban abortion just minutes after the Dobbs decision. We’ve long said what happens in Missouri never stays in Missouri. Now, the Missouri legislature is using the same tools—sham investigations, character assassination hit pieces and inflammatory disinformation—to eliminate transgender health care and rights. Abortion and LGBTQ+ advocates will talk about the interconnectedness between the fight for reproductive freedom and all intersections of justice, liberation and human rights.

Led by: Boyen Lee-Gilmore

Panelists: Shira Berkowitz, Pamela Merritt, Yamelsie Rodríguez

How Labor Can Help Build a Progressive Media for the 21st Century

In the past three years, interest in labor organizing has exploded, along with public attention. High profile organizing campaigns and strikes are constantly in the news. Yet the once-robust labor media has declined for decades alongside unions themselves, leaving the movement today dependent largely on mainstream reporters unfamiliar with the labor movement. In our panel, four veteran labor journalists—who are themselves rooted in the values of the movement—will talk about how to build, grow and maintain a new and thriving progressive media for the 21st Century. The panel will discuss how the newly energized labor movement can work together with progressive journalists to build a strong independent media that can scale.

Led by: Hamilton Nolan

Panelists: Maximillian Alvarez, Luis Feliz Leon, Kim Kelly

Hide and Seek with Gen-Z: Identifying Platforms to Effectively Engage the Youth

To bring the next generation of organizers into the progressive movement, we need to speak their language, engage on their platforms and elevate their ideas. Four young leaders coming out of the YouTube and Twitch streaming space will speak about their experience forming new action-focused political communities that reached hundreds of thousands of voters in the midterm elections. These groups built upon the existing excitement among political streamer audiences and offered them the tools and knowledge to organize. They’ll share their thoughts about how individuals and organizations across the progressive movement can tap into Gen-Z’s energy and passion, utilizing this generation-native model.

Led by: Jack Gardner

Panelists: Cameron Jones, Sam Laude, Kristian Park, Alex Pena

Care Over Cost: Organizing People Hurt by Insurers to Win Medicare for All

To win Medicare for All, we need a long-term strategy to defeat our corporate opponents in the healthcare industry. We need to win victories for people harmed by the healthcare industry now, but we must do so in a way that decreases the power and profits of the private health insurance industry while strengthening public programs. In this panel, we’ll discuss a strategy to build power and set the conditions to win Medicare for All, as well as how we can organize people directly impacted by corporate profiteering and grow our movement.

Led by: Aija Nemer-Aanerud

Panelists: Matthew Covington, Callie Gibson, Mark Hall, Eleana Molise, Ken Whittaker

Housing Advocacy for All: Coordinating Local, State and Federal Efforts

Housing is an issue that affects everyone. In New York, the housing crisis impacts upstate and downstate residents differently; but legislation to protect tenants, increase assistance programs and create/retain affordable housing happens on the state, local and federal level. This panel will delve into the many challenges of tackling such a broad and complicated issue, including how to build a unified coalition, how to coordinate priorities and messaging, how to expand outreach and advocacy to all communities and how to keep the focus on the issues that matter most. We’ll also explore ideas that are gaining more momentum, like Land Banks and Community Land Trusts, and how they can shape the future of housing for all.

Led by: Danielle Mowery

Panelists: Gabby Ross, Ritti Singh

Winning on Public Safety: How Progressives Can Combat GOP Narratives on Crime

Republicans attempted to make crime the centerpiece of the midterms, spending millions on ads that smeared Democratic candidates with race-baiting attacks. While the GOP underperformed, they will likely return with similar messaging in 2024—and these midterms showed us which strategies work and which ones don’t. In this session, political and policy experts will describe how to construct a winning coalition for progressive public safety reform. We’ll outline actionable policy proposals and communications tactics to help voters understand the need to reimagine public safety. We’ll also provide strategies on actualizing policies to improve racial and economic justice in every aspect of our criminal justice system.

Led by: Roshni Nedungadi

Panelists: Stephen Clermont, Stacey Davis Gates, Alicia Garza

A Chance to Come Home: Remedying Injustices of the U.S. Immigration System

For decades, the U.S. immigration system has deported hundreds of thousands of people, permanently separating them from family and community. In some cases, the deported had strong legal grounds for remaining in the U.S. In others, the government abused its discretion, imposing detention and deportation in grossly unfair ways. The unjustly deported, who now seek to return and reunite with loved ones, include U.S. military veterans, civil rights activists, former DACA recipients and a disproportionate number of Black and Brown immigrants. Across the world, journalists, filmmakers, politicians and activists are calling on the U.S. to redress the injustices of its immigration system—to give the unjustly deported a chance to come home.

Led by: Nayna Gupta

Panelists: Hector Barajas, Alina Das, Rep. Chuy Garcia, Alex Rivera

Protecting the Right to Protest and Voice Dissent

Over recent years, we have seen an escalation of the effort to criminalize and silence protest, dissent and critical advocacy. This shrinking of civil society space, driven by right wing extremists and extractive corporations, poses serious threats to our democracy and efforts to address the climate crisis, as well as advancing a progressive agenda overall. While the effects are being felt more and more across the movement, many in Congress and in state legislatures are not yet aware of the growing threat or the potential legislative remedies. There are two different streams of the attacks: state-level policy criminalizing various types of protest and corporate legal bullying in the form of SLAPP suits. We’ll talk about these attacks and how we can protect our right to protest and voice dissent.

Led by: Ebony Martin

Panelists: Deepa Padmanabha, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Small and Steady Wins the Race: Microstorytelling for Campaigns

When amassing content for the long haul, it’s time to think smaller. Powerful, memorable stories don’t require massive monitors, video shoots and thousands of dollars: instead, mobilize 100 supporters to tell a tale in 15-second segments. Not every piece of content needs to belabor the issues. You can create tweets, teasers and small pitches that capture the mood, spirit and flavor of your campaign. Microstorytelling is scalable, sustainable, phone-based and makes digital organizing a group effort rather than a losing battle for a few tired staffers. Just as we ask folks to chip in small amounts like $5 or $10, we should feel comfortable asking them to dedicate 15, 30, or 60 seconds to amplify your impact.

Trainers: Janani Sreenivasan

Interactive Activism: How to Create Fun and Engaging Workshops

Training and educating are key components of organizing and advocacy work; but to keep organizers and volunteers coming to your events, they need to be fun and engaging. But how do you make trainings fun? How do you move away from panels and lectures and into engaging, thought-provoking, interactive sessions? During this training, which we promise will be fun, we’ll walk you through climate education examples of how to meaningfully incorporate games, music, art and other activities into your events. We’ll share both in-person and virtual options.

Trainers: Alaura Carter, Jill Leaness

Religiously Unaffiliated: Understanding and Engaging the "Nones"

Religiously unaffiliated Americans, or the “nones,” are the fastest growing religious demographic in the nation—now representing nearly one-third of Americans and nearly 40% of millennials and Gen Z. But this population is stigmatized, overlooked and misunderstood despite its enormous potential as a voting constituency. Learn everything you need to know about the nones: their very diverse demographics; their voting behavior; how to reach and activate them; and how to be more inclusive of this constituency, including how to avoid common missteps and pitfalls that further marginalize them.

Trainers: Sarah Levin, Juhem Navarro-Rivera

Someone Always Calls the Cops: When Karen or Chad Dials 911 on Your Canvassers

Canvassing is protected First Amendment free speech, but that doesn’t stop residents from calling the cops on your team for canvassing while Black or Brown. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t usually stop the cops either. In this session, we’ll share three steps to support canvassers and keep the campaign strong and safe, without reverting to savior mode.

Trainers: Aaron McCall, Mira Weinstein

From Training to Trending: How to Build and Activate a Team of Trusted Messengers

Whether you’re trying to get out the vote, invite people to join a rally or collecting petition signatures, a grassroots social media team that is inclusive of all communities is your key to success. By learning how to build, train and activate a diverse team of trusted messengers to mobilize their personal networks using our tried and true best practices, you can reach an exponential number of people you won’t find on your own targeted list. Creating a low barrier to entry volunteer role for your supporters not only grows your base, it expands the communities you are able to reach. Let us show you how to build your team using recruitment tactics, volunteer trainings and ways to distribute messaging toolkits.

Trainers: Gabriela Diaz, Lisa Hendricks

Making the Impossible Mainstream: Learning From Progressive Economic Policy Wins

Over the past few years, with perseverance and resilience, the progressive movement has shifted economic policies, making ideas once dismissed as radical now embraced as common sense. This work has led to policy victories at all levels of government that tackle corporate power, expand workers’ rights, directly meet peoples’ needs and address our housing crisis. How did organizers, policy experts and advocates change entrenched narratives around progressive economic issues and achieve massive policy wins? How can we build on these successes and ensure the reign of outdated neoliberal ideas favoring the so-called free market at the expense of our communities finally ends for good? Come find out!

Led by: Claire Guzdar

Panelists: Ben Beachy, Brandon McKoy, Tara Raghuveer

Shifting the Narrative Around Philanthropy: Escaping the Scarcity Mentality

Our panel will illustrate that we as a progressive movement have long been mired in a scarcity mentality that pits organizations against one another for resources—and reinforce the need to shift the narrative across the philanthropic and advocacy sectors. In this session, we will have a robust discussion with panelists underscoring the importance of progressive collaborative funding. Panelists will explore trust-based impact framework models that have worked in the past. This expedition will help us better understand progressive collaborative fundraising and power-building while promoting cross-sector collaboration. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge and motivation needed to abandon the scarcity mentality.

Led by: Sadé Dozan

Panelists: Josephine Kalipeni, Stacy Kono, Krista Scott, Choua Vue

You Cannot Win Without The Youth Vote

Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, many national news sources suggested that the youth would not turn out. In reality, the election saw the second-highest youth turnout in the last 30 years. Gen Z voted overwhelmingly for pro-democracy candidates. Without the youth vote, the “red wave” may have become a reality. Hear from youth organizers on how they helped turn out the vote in November and what they are doing now to prepare to turn out the youth in record numbers in 2024. We’ll discuss approaches youth mobilization and engagement, what galvanized Gen Z, as well as what strategies organizations and campaigns can employ to boost youth engagement.

Led by: Marianna Pecora

Panelists: Elijah Lee, Santiago Meyer, Victor Shi

Utility Justice: The Next Frontier in Environmental Justice Campaigns

Groups around the country are taking on investor-owned electric utilities, which are responsible for 25% of America’s climate emissions yet shut off power for millions of Americans each year. Through state-level work and campaigns pressuring corporations, they are winning justice from these giant corporations. Join us to hear from a member of Congress leading the charge for utilities as a human right, a community activist working to hold a giant utility company accountable in the Deep South, a renewable energy worker pushing utilities to raise standards in her industry and a national alliance of groups fighting for energy democracy in the utility sector.

Led by: Jean Su

Panelists: Felicia Allen, Dieynabou Diallo, Lindsay Harper

Taking Back Our School Boards from Right-Wing Extremism

Book bans. Attacks on LGBTQ+ youth. Our public schools are under a coordinated, well-funded attack from right-wing extremists who have taken over local school boards and are working to dismantle our education system. Dark-money groups have spent big in local races where every dollar counts, and pro-equality, pro-education forces need to fight back. Learn how we can support school board candidates and refute extremist talking points. Grassroots donors and volunteers are rising up to take back our school boards, and fight for justice and equality. Our democracy depends on it.

Led by: Kenton Ngo

Panelists: Sean Frame, Liz Ratcliff

Relational Organizing at Scale: When to Run an Incentivized vs Volunteer Program

In 2022, we saw the first-ever experiments demonstrating the persuasive impact of relational. This new research shows relational organizing can be more impactful and efficient than other modes of campaign communication such as TV, mail and door, and latest advancements have finally unlocked the ability of relational to scale. This panel will examine the new research around RO’s persuasive impact and the innovations in the space that have allowed groups to scale—from paid relational programs to volunteer ones that leverage growth over time. In this panel, experienced relational organizers will discuss their paid vs volunteer campaign strategies, outcomes and the lessons learned from the largest relational campaigns this last cycle.

Led by: Nick Chedli Carter

Panelists: Amanda Brink, Quinn Dunlea, Amity Foster, Sri Kulkarni

The Parallels of Anti-Abortion and Anti-Trans Laws and What We Can Learn

For the last 50 years, right-wing policy makers have put increasingly complex laws on the books to impact how and where abortion is accessible. They are now—almost to a T—replicating those laws to limit access to gender affirming care for trans and gender non-conforming people. The result of these restrictive policies around abortion access has created a vast network of organizations that help people travel for their care (called practical support) which is now also starting to be replicated in trans health. We talk about the local, national and legal systems that exist within abortion access and how they can be understood and leveraged to support trans people who will need to travel.

Led by: Marisa Falcon

Panelists: Walker Fitz, Rafa Kidvai, Erin Smith

Building a Feminist, Anti-Racist Peace Movement

It’s past time for the progressive movement to hold the U.S. accountable for its militarized foreign policy. The U.S. militarized approach to security has not made people safe, either at home or abroad. Instead, it has worsened systemic exploitation, harmed targeted communities worldwide and accelerated the climate crisis. As the Feminist Peace Initiative, we are building the antidote to militarized policies: a peace movement that centers the leadership of women and gender-nonconforming people of color, who have organized in solidarity with communities of color in the U.S. and in the Global South. Join us to answer the question: how do we build this peace movement?

Led by: Kate Alexander

Panelists: Cathi Choi, Diana Duarte, Kitzia Esteva, Brittany Ramos-DeBarros