Resources for Strengthening Our Democracy

Resources for Strengthening Our Democracy

For some actions you can take right now, go to the end of this page.

May 6 Speakers

Deval Patrick: American Bridge 21st Century: https://americanbridgepac.org/ Founded in 2010, American Bridge 21st Century is the largest research, video tracking, and rapid response organization in Democratic politics. We find what Republicans are hiding and make sure voters hear about it.

Tony Mack: Movement Voter Project: https://movement.vote/ MVP works to strengthen progressive power at all levels of government by helping donors – big and small – support the best and most promising local community-based organizations in key states, with a focus on youth and communities of color.

Herb Meisner: https://www.commoncause.org/ Common Cause has an innovative, pragmatic, and comprehensive pro-democracy agenda. Our grassroots work leads and defines the democracy reform movement, promoting solutions to hold power accountable and build a democracy that works for everyone. Current focus on fixing the filibuster, the electoral college and gerrymandering.

Steve Almond: https://stevealmondjoy.org/ Last year, he published Bad Stories, a literary investigation of what the hell just happened to our country, which he wrote to keep from going crazy. He also organizes Workshops for Democracy, writing workshops that double as fundraisers.

May 6 Breakout Session Facilitators

Marlene Silva, National and state campaign and issues organizer
Juliet Eastland, Sister District https://sisterdistrict.com/volunteer/massachusetts-rhode-island/
Susan Labandibar, Swing Left Greater Boston http://swingleftboston.org/
Alex Bausch, The Organizing Hub https://www.mobilize.us/maorganizinghub/event/385592/
Kristina Mensik, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, https://www.nationalcouncil.us/

National Organizations Strengthening Democracy

Democratic National Party: https://democrats.org/ Working together to build a bright future for everyone. We are fighting for the soul of our country, for the heart of our democracy, and for America’s place as the land of opportunity for all by helping elect Democrats in every state, city, and ZIP code — from local office to the Oval Office.

Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/ Swing Left helps you find the most impactful things you can do to help Democrats win key elections at the national (to win back Presidency, House, and Senate) or state (seats needed to ensure fair redistricting) levels.

Brennan Center: https://www.brennancenter.org/ An independent, nonpartisan law and policy organization, that conducts rigorous research to identify problems and provide in-depth empirical findings and compelling analyses of pressing legal and policy issues. We also pioneer and champion policy solutions, such as automatic voter registration, small donor public financing, and ending mass incarceration.

Fair Fight Action: https://fairfight.com/ Promotes fair elections around the country, encourages voter participation in elections, and educates voters about elections and their voting rights.

Democracy Docket: https://www.democracydocket.com/ Dedicated to opinion, advocacy and information about voting rights, elections, redistricting and democracy, providing detailed information about important voting rights litigation.

Activate America: activateamerica.vote Activate America harnesses grassroots power to help Democrats retain and grow their majorities in the House and Senate, through direct voter contact: phone banking, texting, postcarding, Instagram Direct Messaging, and canvassing.

Postcards to Voters: https://postcardstovoters.org/ Postcards to Voters are friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters to give Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.

Vote Save America: https://votesaveamerica.com/ A website, an initiative, and a grassroots community designed to help guide you with each step you need to take throughout the year to build power and win in places no one thought possible. Focused now on stopping voter suppression laws sweeping the country by passing the For the People Act, which will guarantee access to early and absentee voting, end partisan gerrymandering, and limit the influence of money in politics, and on removing the filibuster to help make sure that every American has an equal voice in our elections.

State Organizations Strengthening Democracy, Focusing on Voting Rights and Elections

Massachusetts Democratic Party: https://massdems.org/ Working to ensure every person has the right to live a full, meaningful life with equal access to opportunity, security, and inclusion. By empowering people to organize their local communities, we can change our Commonwealth and our country for the better by electing politicians who support high-quality public education, ensure universal access to healthcare, protect our environment, reduce income inequality, and guarantee equal rights and opportunity for all.

MA Organizing Hub: https://www.mobilize.us/maorganizinghub/event/385592/ Encouraging Massachusetts activists to make a commitment of supporting Democratic causes on a regular basis, whether it is a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly commitment. Many people volunteered in some way or other during the presidential cycle. It is important for activists to continue to stay engaged now and in the future. Bring your cause and find people to work with you.

Swing Left Greater Boston: https://swingleftboston.org/ focused on connecting Democratic committees and campaigns in the Super States with New England volunteers to get results by working on competitive races to protect our democracy, strengthen the Democratic party at the grassroots level and elect Democrats up and down the ballot.

Indivisible Massachusetts: https://indivisible-ma.org/ A statewide organization of volunteers, providing resources, support and services to the diverse Indivisible Members and Groups to strengthen constituent power in Massachusetts and improve democracy, in order to realize the promise of democracy and justice for everyone in Massachusetts and the country.

Our Revolution Massachusetts: https://ourrevolutionma.com/ Promotes informed and active citizen participation in local, regional, and national political processes, and works to improve public understanding of major policy issues, with particular focus on climate, overturning structural racism, Medicare for all, getting money out of politics, and electing supportive candidates.

Young Democrats of Massachusetts: https://ydma.org/ Engages young people across Massachusetts to elect Democrats, advocate progressive values, and train the next generation of leaders.

Voter Choice Massachusetts: https://voterchoicema.org/ A non-partisan, politically diverse, non-profit organization dedicated to educating the Massachusetts public about Ranked Choice Voting, to give Massachusetts voters a stronger voice when we cast our ballots, and guarantee that our elected leaders are supported by a true majority.

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts: https://lwvma.org/ A non-partisan non-profit with 45 local Leagues throughout the state, to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide range of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, state budget and finances, public education, and public safety, both at the state and local levels of government. We are women and men making a difference in the political future of our communities, state, and country.

Massachusetts Voter Table: https://mavotertable.org/ A non-partisan, non-profit advancing civic access, engagement, and representation to increase resources and power for people of color and working-class people toward achieving a multiracial democracy. The Massachusetts Voter Table is committed to a long-term organizing strategy that advances our vision of a more democratic and equitable society.

MassVOTE: https://www.massvote.org/ A non-partisan, non-profit organization working to increase voter registration, education, and participation in historically underrepresented communities in Massachusetts to promote social, economic, environmental, and racial justice. When people go to community nonprofits for healthcare, affordable housing, and childcare, MassVOTE helps them become engaged voters whose voices will be heard.

MassINC: https://massinc.org/ Does nonpartisan research, independent reporting of politics, ideas, and civic life from CommonWealth magazine, and inclusive civic engagement, focusing on education, transportation, economic development and criminal justice policy.

Common Cause Massachusetts: https://www.commoncause.org/massachusetts/ A nonpartisan, non-profit group of ordinary Americans working together to build a system that works for us all, by putting an end to partisan redistricting, limiting the undue influence of money in elections, dismantling barriers to voter participation, and ensuring representative, accessible, and accountable government.

Reclaim Our Democracy: http://reclaimourdemocracy.org/ An inclusive, collaborative, multi-partisan movement to reclaim our democratic rights as citizens of the United States of America, to have a government that truly represents and supports the needs and desires of all people.

NAACP Boston Branch: http://naacpboston.com/ A nonpartisan, non-profit working to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality and rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Sister District Network: https://www.sisterdistrictactionnetwork.org/ inspires and empowers legislators, organizations, volunteers, and voters through civic education, rigorous research, policy analysis, and strategic convenings to engage deeply in state legislative issues. Their State Bridges program activates Sister District volunteers across the country to fundraise or volunteer in key state level elections to win back state legislatures.

Movement Labs: https://movementlabs.com/ Uses peer-to-peer texting to help grassroots organizing, recruit candidates to run for office, and help those candidates win. We look for opportunities to work in red and rural areas, and with communities that have too often been ignored. Includes Contest Every Race project to encourage Democrats to run in all 520,000 elected offices.

Run For Something: https://runforsomething.net/ Provides a safety net for new and exciting progressive candidates — at all stages of their journey — to help them run efficient, grassroots & voter-contact driven campaigns and not feel alone in the process for local elections across the country.

Mass Alliance: https://www.massalliance.org/ A coalition for political and advocacy organizations that work together to build a progressive Massachusetts.

Raise Up Massachusetts: https://www.raiseupma.org/fair-share-amendment-2022/ Focused on passing the Fair Share Amendment, a proposal to amend the Massachusetts Constitution, creating an additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million, that would be adjusted each year to reflect cost-of-living increases. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on quality public education, affordable public colleges and universities, and the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges, and public transportation.

Represent Us: https://represent.us/ Bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful state and local laws that fix our broken elections and stop political bribery. Our strategy is central to dismantling the root causes of inequities in our democracy, and ending political corruption, extremism and gridlock.

Local Organizations Strengthening Democracy

Arlington Democrats: https://arlingtondems.org/

Belmont Democrats: http://belmontdemocrats.org/

Brookline Democrats: https://www.brooklinedems.org/

Boxborough Democrats: https://www.boxboroughdems.org/

Concord Democrats: https://www.facebook.com/ConcordDemsMA/

Lenox Democrats: https://www.facebook.com/Lenoxdems/

Lexington Democrats: http://www.democratsoflexington.org/

Malden Democrats: http://www.maldendemocrats.org/

Watertown Democrats: https://www.facebook.com/watertowndems/

Weston Democrats: Contact Miriam Soybel Msoybel@gmail.com

Indivisible Acton: http://www.indivisibleacton.org/

Indivisible Billerica/Tewksbury/Wilmington: https://www.facebook.com/groups/639353226771353

Indivisible Mystic Valley: https://indivisiblemysticvalley.org/

Cambridge Somerville for Change (Indivisible): https://www.cambridgesomervilleforchange.com/

Minuteman Indivisible: minutemanindivisible.org

Our Revolution Arlington: https://orarlington.wordpress.com/

Local Our Revolution Groups: https://ourrevolutionma.com/orma-affiliates-and-community-caucuses/

Local Leagues of Women Voters: https://lwvma.org/leagues-in-massachusetts/massachusetts-leagues/ Non-partisan local candidate’s night, rides to the polls, oversight of town committees, reports on town government.

NAACP Mystic Valley Area Branch: https://www.mva-naacp.org/

Some Organizations Focused on Issue Organizing

Focus on Racial Justice:

ACLU of Massachusetts: https://www.aclum.org/ A nonpartisan non-profit working to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, Bill Rights, and laws of the Commonwealth and United States.

Black Lives Matter Boston: https://blacklivesmatterboston.org/ Nonpartisan group that centers work against racist policing and police violence, abolishing mass incarceration, economic disparities and factors that allow the school to prison pipeline to exist. And to support the development of new Black leaders, as well as create a network where Black people feel empowered to determine our destinies in our communities.

National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls: https://www.nationalcouncil.us/ Grassroots group focusing on ending incarceration of women and girls.

Anti-Defamation League of New England: https://newengland.adl.org/ Nonpartisan group fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defending democratic ideals and protecting civil rights for all.

Communities for Restorative Justice: https://www.c4rj.org/ A nonpartisan nonprofit partnering with 32 cities and towns to rebuild trust and offer a path forward in the wake of crime, by listening to victims, holding responsible parties accountable, and restoring trust in communities. Our volunteer-led “circle” dialogue is called restorative justice.

Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/ A nonpartisan, non-profit leading campaigns that build real power for Black communities, by challenging injustice, holding corporate and political leaders accountable, commissioning game-changing research on systems of inequality, and advancing solutions for racial justice that can transform our world.

MassBailFund: https://www.massbailfund.org/ A nonpartisan, nonprofit paying bail in Massachusetts so that low-income people can stay free while they work towards resolving their case, allowing individuals, families, and communities to stay productive, together, and stable. They are committed to the harm reduction of freeing individuals serving pre-trial sentences, and to abolishing pre-trial detention and supervision in the long-term.

Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston: http://lawyersforcivilrights.org/ Foster equal opportunity and fight discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants through legal action, education, and advocacy, through support of entrepreneurs, education, employment, racial and climate justice, health disparities, fair housing, voting rights, immigration rights, and police accountability.

Marshall Project: https://www.themarshallproject.org/ A nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. We have an impact on the system through journalism, rendering it more fair, effective, transparent and humane.

Equal Justice Initiative: https://eji.org/ Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/ Use the legal system to win legal victories on behalf of the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten. Our lawsuits have toppled institutional racism and stamped out remnants of Jim Crow segregation; destroyed some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist groups; and protected the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBTQ community, prisoners, and many others who faced discrimination, abuse or exploitation. Internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups and other domestic extremists.

Focus on Immigration:

Many of the organizations listed above also work on immigration.

Massachusetts Immigrant & Refuge Advocacy Coalition: https://www.miracoalition.org/ We work to protect and support the most vulnerable, especially those at risk of deportation, but also strive to expand opportunities for all foreign-born people and their children, so they can make the most of their talent and labor. We encourage green card holders to become U.S. citizens, and naturalized Americans to vote and become civically engaged.

Council on American-Islamic Relations Massachusetts: https://www.cairma.org/ Committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith, by promoting civil rights, diversity, and freedom of religion.

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center: http://www.riacboston.org/ A community-based, non-profit, grassroots human service agency that provides comprehensive services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants as well as the larger community. Our services include refugee resettlement, counseling, outreach and education, and other social services.

Pair Project: https://www.pairproject.org/ Provides free legal services to asylum seekers and promotes the rights of detained immigrants. Plenty of legal or nonlegal volunteer opportunities.

Focus on Gun Safety:

Stop Handgun Violence: https://www.stophandgunviolence.org/ Nonpartisan, non-profit to prevent firearm violence through public awareness, education, policy advocacy and law enforcement strategies – without banning most guns. Focused on Massachusetts.

MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence: https://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsCoalitionToPreventGunViolence/ Coalition bringing together organizations and institutions across MA to end the epidemic of gun violence that plagues our communities and takes the lives of so many of our citizens.

March for Our Lives Massachusetts: https://marchforourlives.com/chapter/mfol-massachusetts/ To harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives.

Everytown for Gun Safety Massachusetts: https://www.everytown.org/state/massachusetts/ Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America came together to tackle our shared goal of ending gun violence. Since then, we have combined the best minds in research, policy, litigation, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.

Moms Demand Action MA: https://www.facebook.com/MomsDemandActionMA/ A grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.

Giffords: https://giffords.org/ On a mission to end gun violence, led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Working to change the conversation and elect officials who have the courage to stand up for lifesaving gun laws.

Focus on Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights:

Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-massachusetts Nonpartisan, non-profit to protect and promote sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice by providing clinical services, education and advocacy. Our vision is that sexual health is essential to every person’s well-being.

NARAL MA: https://prochoicemass.org/ A grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in the Commonwealth, working so every person can make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options.

Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-commission-on-the-status-of-women A state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality, that includes grassroots voices to advocate for these policies.

Focus on GLBTQ+ Rights:

Boston Alliance for LGBTQ+ Youth: https://www.bagly.org/ A youth-led, adult-supported organization committed to social justice, and creating, sustaining and advocating for programs, policies and services for the LGBTQ+ youth community, prioritizing the needs of LGBTQ+ youth of color, trans and gender non-conforming youth, and homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

Glad Legal Advocates and Defenders: https://www.glad.org/ Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

Boston Pride: https://www.bostonpride.org/ Produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond. Fostering diversity, unity, visibility, and dignity, we educate, communicate, and advocate by building and strengthening community connections.

Focus on Environment:

Environmental League of Massachusetts: https://www.environmentalleague.org/ Committed to combating climate change and protecting our land, water, and public health to ensure Massachusetts is a leader in environmental and economic sustainability.

Mothers Out Front: https://www.mothersoutfront.org/ Mothers, grandmothers and caretakers who have come together to make climate change an issue that our leaders can no longer ignore, focused on building a powerful grassroots movement to ensure that our children have a livable future in the age of climate change.

Mystic River Watershed Alliance (MyRWA): https://mysticriver.org/ Grassroots focus on a vibrant, healthy and resilient Mystic River watershed for the benefit of all our community members by protecting water quality, restoring important habitat, building climate resilience, transforming parks and paths, and inspiring youth and community members.

Massachusetts Sierra Club: https://www.sierraclub.org/massachusetts Volunteer-driven group joining together to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out those objectives. We push for a just transition to an equitable clean energy economy, advocate for efficient, clean transportation for all, work to reduce toxic pollution and to move toward zero waste, fight back against threats to our communities’ health and environment.

Mass Audubon: https://www.massaudubon.org/ To protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife.

Clean Water Action Massachusetts: https://www.cleanwateraction.org/states/massachusetts Organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems, focusing on clean water.

Restore: The North Woods: https://www.restore.org/ A grassroots-based group, using advocacy, public education, and citizen activism to address the root causes of our ecological crisis — not just the symptoms, to create new national parks, save natural forests, and protect endangered wildlife.

Native Plant Trust: https://www.nativeplanttrust.org/ Hands on plant conservation organization that monitors, protects, and restores rare and endangered plants, collects and banks seed for biological diversity, detects and controls invasive species, conducts botanical and horticultural research, educates the public, from home gardeners to professional land managers, and advocates for policy changes.

League of Conservation Voters: https://www.lcv.org/ A national environment groups that influences policy, holds politicians accountable, and wins elections. They fight to build a world with clean air, clean water, public lands, and a safe climate that are protected by a just and equitable democracy.

Transportation 4 Massachusetts (T4MA): https://www.t4ma.org/ A coalition of more than 100 member and partner organizations with a stake in improving transportation across the Commonwealth, by advocating for transportation policies that are equitable, sustainable, and strengthens our economy and our communities, while also being safer, healthier, more affordable and reliable.

Mass Power Forward: https://www.mapowerforward.com/ A coalition of over 200 environmental leaders, community development organizations, clean energy businesses, faith groups, neighborhood health and safety advocates and Massachusetts families fighting for healthy, clean, affordable, reliable energy and a thriving economy.

Environmental Voter Project: https://www.environmentalvoter.org/ Aims to significantly increase voter demand for environmental leadership by identifying inactive environmentalists and then turning them into consistent activists and voters.

Sunrise Movement Boston: https://www.facebook.com/SunriseBoston/ A national youth movement to end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel $$ in politics and elect true climate leaders, united to fight climate change and build a just economy in the process. Our hub is Boston, our base is national, our reach is global! Also Sunrise Arlington https://hubs.sunrisemovement.org/arlington-ma

350 Mass: https://350mass.betterfutureproject.org/ Better Future Project is a Cambridge-based climate organizing nonprofit founded in January 2011, that has grown into a much larger network with nodes in nearly every part of Massachusetts.

Focus on Health Care:

Health Care for All Massachusetts: https://hcfama.org/ Campaigns with coalitions of groups on critical health care issues facing consumers, including prescription drug affordability, oral health care access, children’s health, and health justice.

SOME ACTIONS: