March 11, 2017; Good
The next wave of the ACLU’s resistance movement has started, bankrolled by millions of dollars in new contributions that have poured into the nonprofit since the election. And this time around, the operation isn’t in response to President Trump’s latest executive order, although the ACLU and many others are fighting that, too. The new member-mobilization platform launched over the weekend at more than 2,200 events around the country, the ACLU reports, aims to proactively unite members around a “Freedom Cities” campaign.
As Good reported, the “cities of resistance” platform is the creation of Faiz Shakir, once senior adviser to Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and now the ACLU’s national political director.
The main idea behind People Power is to become a one-stop shop for resisters to “defend sanctuary cities, resist deportation raids, oppose the Muslim Ban, maintain Planned Parenthood funding, and support other priorities,” as the ACLU explains. The platform will support and work to amplify organic, bottom-up grassroots actions and be a one-stop resource and place for listings on all ACLU related meetups.
At in-person meetings over the weekend, the ACLU had volunteers explain the People Power platform as well as an outline of draft ordinances that members could present to local sheriffs or police, starting discussion and advocacy on immigration in each community.
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Building on the work of countless groups around the country who have labored for years on these issues, and with the guidance of law enforcement leaders who are committed to smart policing and placing local communities first, we have developed model local policies that we hope to see adopted in every city and town nationwide… Some of these model policies and rules are already on the books in certain places around the country, yet there are plenty of ways for most cities, towns, and counties to become more immigrant-friendly.
As NPQ has reported, since Election Day, the ACLU has seen a remarkable $79 million in new contributions online. Executive Director Anthony D. Romero recently shared how the ACLU envisioned its next phase of growth to scale up and “build a war chest for future battles,” including $40 million toward state offices and the hiring of 100 new staff members, particularly in what they consider to be battleground states; $13 million on member mobilization; $21 million on lawyers and staff at its headquarters in New York; and $5 million on infrastructure, offices, and operations.
The ACLU reported that more than 170,000 had already signed up on the People Power platform.
By comparison, Indivisible, the progressive grassroots movement, numbers about 225,000 participants. The group made headlines last month for its Town Hall Action Guide, which copied Tea Party tactics used to stall former President Obama’s agenda.
Despite the fervor that has gripped progressive activists since Election Day, only time will tell how many of these nonprofits and movements can convert new followers and rage donors into members and serious supporters.—Anna Berry