The California Comeback: How Progressives Stopped California’s Decline

The California Comeback: How Progressives Stopped California’s Decline

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Saturday, Jun. 22 1:30 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Saturday, Jun. 22 2:45 PM (Eastern)

In early 2011, California was thought to be declining rapidly, ungovernable, with the worst bond rating in country. That all changed when labor and community came together to pass groundbreaking reforms—including a progressive tax initiative, a Homeowner Bill of Rights and same-day voter registration—and electing a Democratic supermajority in the Legislature. Come learn how it happened and how you can apply those lessons in your state.

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Rick Jacobs


Rick is Chair and Founder of Courage Campaign, a California-based online organizing network of 750,000 members that pushes for progressive change and full equality. Rick chaired Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in California and served as Senior Advisor to Democracy for America. He also co-founded Brave New Films and served two terms as a director of the Liberty Hill Foundation. Rick is also a featured contributor to Rick has a long background as an investor and senior executive.

Other sessions: Rights in the Balance: The Supreme Court and Social Justice

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Christina Livingston


Christina Livingston is the Executive Director of ACCE and the ACCE Institute. She began her organizing career in 2004 as a field organizer for Los Angeles ACORN. There she worked with community members in South LA, developing leaders and organizing campaigns to improve community conditions. She later became the Field Director for California ACORN. As Field Director Christina directly managed operations in 4 cities, and helped coordinate state issue and policy campaigns.

In 2010 Christina, along with former ACORN staff and leaders started ACCE and later the ACCE Institute where she worked for 2 years as Deputy Director before becoming Executive Director. Her work during those years focused heavily on coordinating and advancing the revenue and banking accountability campaigns.

Christina graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 with a B.A. in Sociology. In 2008 she received her M.A. in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles.

Other sessions: Creative Extraction: How Wall Street Banks are Extracting Resources from Main Street

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Josh Pechthalt


Josh Pechthalt was elected president of the California Federation of Teachers in 2011. He also serves as a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. He is a former vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles and former president of AFT Local 1021.

Pechthalt was raised in Cali, Colombia, and Los Angeles and is a product of the L.A. Unified School District. He earned his bachelor’s from UC Santa Cruz and his master’s from the University of Wisconsin. His began his career by teaching ESL in Colombia. In Los Angeles, he taught social studies at Manual Arts High School for 20 years.

Pechthalt was a school site union representative, a member of the UTLA House of Representatives, regional director and a citywide officer. He also helped build a reform group within the union that focused on building ties with parents and community members.

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Aparna Shah


Aparna has worked for social change and expanded democracy for 18 years. She is Executive Director of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV), a multiracial California coalition that advances large-scale, culturally-resonant electoral campaigns to build the power of New American communities with a shared vision of progressive values and social justice.

Previously, Aparna worked for the self-determination and reproductive justice of women, people of color, and queer communities, and spent several years working to transform San Francisco public schools into vibrant youth and community centers. She is on the Board of the Brown Boi Project and the East Oakland Community Playdate, has worked to build solidarity with democratic movements in Latin America, and holds a Masters degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She was born in Manila, raised in Mumbai, and lives with her family in Oakland, CA.

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Anthony Thigpenn


Anthony Thigpenn has worked as a community activist and political strategist for over thirty years, helping to build coalitions between issue movements and striving for social justice. Mr. Thigpenn is the founder and president of Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE), a social justice organization based in South Los Angeles. Under his leadership, SCOPE has instituted programs that train low-income African-American and Latino residents to participate in public policy formulation, established successful regional community-labor alliances, developed public/private partnerships training low-income residents for jobs in the entertainment, healthcare, and green jobs industries, and conducted statewide and national capacity building training for environmental and economic justice organizations.

Mr. Thigpenn currently leads California Calls an ongoing alliance of 31 organizations in 11 counties around the state of California that have help win major policy victories by significantly increasing the civic participation of young people, people of color, low-income residents, and immigrants.

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