Yesterday, leaders and founders of progressive organizing hub For Our Future discussed their work this election cycle to turn out the vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and secure a firewall for Democrats in key states. Speakers walked through the group’s shift to safe canvassing, which resulted in 1.3 million knocks on the doors of voters in MI, WI, PA, and NV in the final stretch of the election. They also shared how their multi-cycle investment in permanent issue organizing in marginalized communities contributed to Biden’s edge in battleground states and progressive power building.
At the event, NextGen America founder Tom Steyer shared, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside my partners in the labor movement over the past few cycles. For Our Future’s message centered on the experiences of working people, and that message was matched by a ticket that prioritized working families. That’s why we won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada, and how I know this administration will operate.”
“Rebuilding the blue wall in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – which Trump won by a combined margin of just 77,000 votes in 2016 – was always the key to putting pro-worker allies back in the White House,” explained AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “And that’s why For Our Future made a multi-year commitment to those battleground states and executed our strategy successfully.”
Saunders continued, “For Our Future’s work, combined with labor’s political program, led to significant labor turnout for Joe Biden. We did it by building relationships with sporadic voters. We did it by following the same model we have since we started For Our Future in 2016: by going back to basics – through direct, eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, one-on-one, authentic, year-round conversations.”
Said AFT President Randi Weingarten, “”We know how important face-to-face communication is because politics happens in communities where people live. While COVID threw our organizing model for a loop, the question became: could we find a way to connect with people safely? For Our Future developed substantial and successful protocols to organize where we could, try to create a new normal and create hope, and it worked.”
Commented National Education Association President Becky Pringle, “As educators, we have long stood in the gaps where our institutions have fallen short in supporting all students – Black and white, Native and newcomer, Hispanic and Asian alike. We dedicate our lives to helping them succeed when others have overlooked or ignored their needs. That’s why we’re proud to be engaged in the work of For Our Future. It’s vital to be out in communities listening to and engaging with the public to know what keeps people up at night and how we can fix it. There are so many challenges facing our nation, and we must continue the important work of year-round community organizing that will prepare us for the fights ahead and help improve our communities.”
Said For Our Future CEO Justin Myers, “Political change can only be realized through meaningful organizing. Day in and day out through this pandemic, we’ve been in the trenches with our communities. We sustained our outreach and engagement with sporadic voters through virtual organizing. We connected them with COVID resources, public services, and unemployment and housing relief. We provided critical voting assistance and created Votingin2020.com so that people knew how, when, and where to vote.”