New York State Caucus

New York State Caucus

Starts: Thursday, Aug. 2 2:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Aug. 2 3:00 PM (Eastern)

This is a New Orleans bat signal for New York Netroots. Let’s converge to build with, learn from and to celebrate one another. You, the proud slayers of pipelines, defenders of teachers. You who make fists for $15 and take airports for immigrants. You who tear down with the force of Niagara, rudely unseat smokey room electeds, and make with your hands the grip of a farmer tearing grapes from vines and a writer typing with snark as she unionizes by night! You who rise up to the heights of The New Colossus, our sister, once bronze now green with monied influence waiting to march with us as a state called Empire is pushed into the hands of the people.


Rafael Shimunov

Rafael Shimunov

Rafael Shimunov (he/him) is a creative and political activist in Queens, NYC.

You may know Rafael from Ellen Degenerous’ attempt to censor his video from social media after it creatively confronted her rehabilitation of George Bush. His viral video analysis that proved the Trump administration shared a doctored video to frame a reporter. His proving the Israeli government attempted to frame Palestinian mourners of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. His personal narrative as a refugee from Uzbekistan in a livestream at the first Muslim Ban protest, which reached over 16 million viewers and helped spark national protests. Or his unauthorized pop up exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which contributed to the removal of its board chair for providing weapons used on migrant families in Tijuana, Mexico.

Rafael directs communications at the Athena Coalition, a group of 50+ local and national racial justice and worker organizations, think tanks, public policy, grassroots and small business groups confronting Amazon’s intersecting harms on our communities, in its warehouses, and across halls of power.

From creative direct action, digital and radio ads, to millions of pieces of persuasive political mail, Rafael has directed creative and digital at the Working Families Party, Center for Popular Democracy and dozens of their respective state orgs and affiliates, promoting transformational legislation and challenging corporate Democrats with progressives in hundreds of elections.

At Center For Constitutional Rights, Rafael led digital advocacy on cases such as Stop & Frisk (Floyd v. City of New York), on behalf of Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG v. Lively) for an American pastor’s role promoting Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Law, with survivors of sexual violence taking on the Vatican at International Criminal Court and UN for aiding child abuse, and towards confronting Democrats and Republicans on Guantanamo Bay and drone warfare.

As Associate Director for Communications at PolicyLink, a national think tank, Rafael helped lead digital campaigns for policymaking communities that pushed legislation to adopt economic and social equity research.

As executive board member at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and a member of its Jews of Color caucus, Rafael helped transform 30 years of JFREJ’s organizing into electoral power by co-founding The Jewish Vote, a sister org that campaigns for progressive candidates in New York by mobilizing progressive Jewish voters. As an early member, he contributed to IfNotNow’s early growth holding US Jewish legacy organizations accountable for upholding apartheid, was part of a small team that successfully destabilized GOP support of white supremacist Congressman Steve King, and was active in successfully opposing Amazon’s HQ2 in his hometown of Queens.

His short film about Jewish Women of Color marching at Women’s March was an official selection at the International Social Justice Film Festival and was a semi-finalist at the 2020 People’s Film Festival in London by Kino. Prior to joining these fights, he helped win a Cannes award for advertising with the very same corporations he works to fight against today.

Other sessions: Progressives for Palestinian Rights