We cannot allow ourselves to believe that the best or the worst is behind us – we must invest in a different world -One we reimagine and rebuild together. It's not going to be easy, and it will take ALL of US to create the world we know is possible – one that leaves
NO ONE OUT or LEFT BEHIND!
It will require different things from each of us and it will require everything we have.. Leave nothing on the table when you ask of yourself, “What did I do…when?”
Collective liberation is dependent on our collective investment and effort. A new world is possible if we make it our collective priority and our individual responsibility. We all have an important role to play.
LET’S MAKE CHANGE REAL TOGETHER!
In 2016, UVI made a serious financial investment to go to the places of pain and deepening division to engage in real conversations by asking, "What hurts? What would really make a difference in your life, that of your family and community?" If we could dream together again, what would that world look like?"
At the onset of the pandemic, we thoughtfully and strategically transitioned our in person relational organizing model into digital space during one of the most critical times we have faced as a county and unilaterally as a people.
We took on the revolutionary task of tailoring technology to meet the authenticity of our programing to build one the most robust distributed organizing programs in the country – and broke the mold of how to unite people around their shared issues and values utilizing digital technology.
Together, we reached 1.2 Million Idahoans, had 189,000 deep conversations, which led 57,000 people to access emergency aid and join campaigns to take action on the issues that matter. Another 9,800 folks took part in additional training and actions. Our members submitted stories, videos and participated in national programming. While digital outreach doesn’t replace in person relational work, our ability to reach the majority of Idahoans was truly epoch. We all crave connection, but especially during these trying times, the need for empathetic interaction is critical particularly for those who have been cut off and targeted by extremist groups intent on spreading disinformation and directing their hurt toward blame and hate of those "other."
Idaho quickly became a model for how to transform our in person relational organizing into digital space in Idaho and across the country – Highlighted by Community Catalyst for how to organize amidst a global pandemic.
This provided the foundation for the next endeavor entitled the United Vision Project
Our imagination about what we can do can't be limited to the next election cycle. There are no shortcuts in organizing. Trading expediency for long-term movement building is an approach of diminishing returns.
HOW IDAHO IS LEADING THE WAY
Spearheaded by United Vision for Idaho, this revolutionary, innovative program is designed to lay the foundation for deep understanding needed to effectively organize against the pervasive threat of the rise of authoritarianism and disinformation, expand the pro-democracy American electorate and generate movement-wide coalition investments in the infrastructure to build the power of progressive blocks, and advance a vision and practice to support the generational struggle for inclusive, multi-racial, just democratic possibility in the US.
Democracy unattended has culminated in the culture war taking place in America- It’s not relegated to the events on January 6th - it resides in our communities - urban, suburban, rural and remote. Federal, state, and local efforts are all intertwined. These efforts have long been waged in states across the country.
The most recent wave of anti-democratic legislation aimed at civil liberties is nothing new. For decades rural states across the country have been trying to sound the alarm as waves of anti-democratic legislation has been tearing at social fabric and undermining faith in our collective power to win for all our people.
Amidst laws to suppress the fundamental right to vote, omit and alter US history, restrict women's rights to bodily autonomy and roll back civil liberties guaranteed to every citizen of the United States to create a patchwork of unequal rights; The reality of perilous democracy is now at the foot of every American.
UVI IS SHOWING UP TO MEET THIS MOMENT
When social justice movements fail to facilitate intentional conversation and meet people where they are, the consequences are deadly.
We can’t build what we can’t dream together. Spaces of radical imagination allow us to come together with people who are not yet aligned to imagine a culture of inclusion, safety and thriving. Learning how to structure these conversations is critically important to get into right relationship with one another.
We simply can’t transform what we don’t understand. The reality is that many people being influenced and recruited are our neighbors, family members, and friends. Together, we are building the muscle to have real dialog with disparate communities across difference that is permeating in our lives and our communities. There is power in recognizing relationships and what it takes to build them. Through our outreach, we’re having deep conversations with people who have given up on our collective ability to do and be better as a country and susceptible to ideas promulgated through misinformation. Thousands of volunteers strong, we have reached over 600K people across five states and had over 94K deep conversations about their fears, hopes and dreams. Together, we are laying the foundation for deep understanding needed to unite our country against the pervasive and rising threat of authoritarianism.
The strength of our democracy rests on a majority of the country rejecting authoritarianism. For that to occur we must have a mechanism to navigate the discontent, bigotry, tribalism, disinformation, and propaganda that is deepening the divide between Americans. There is no silver bullet or magic message that will suddenly bridge these divides. We will have to finally invest in the hard work and the long arc of organizing that builds bridges and engaging with people to cross them.
The UNITED VISION PROJECT is comprised of a powerful group of dedicated social justice leaders uniquely positioned to address this scope of work and build the kind of movement infrastructure needed to advance an inclusive, multi-racial and just democracy for ours and future generations to come. Each partner in this collaborative is advancing associated aspects of work and contributing to the collective outputs and recommendations made possible because of this historic outreach.
The fragile state of our democracy is the result of having left it unattended for generations and the reliance on expedient measures to produce policy wins at the expense of structural, cultural shifts that can realign the country in a shared struggle around a bold vision of US. We know that when we believe in ourselves, our communities and our country nothing is impossible. Out organized and out funded it will take a concentrated effort and deep investments; it will take reimagining each other; a clarity about what's at stake and a commitment to building a durable, multi-racial, inclusive democracy for ours and future generations.
How We Are Showing Up for Idaho in Powerful Ways. Over the course of the past few years, UVI has shown up in a powerful way to go to the root of injustice and develop powerful tools with leading partner organizations to change our trajectory.
Recognized by The Roddenberry Foundation, executive director Adrienne Evans was selected as a 2020 Fellow as one of the most inspirational leaders working to advance social justice through the work of United Vision for Idaho. Most recently, our director was selected by the Rockwood Foundation for a Leading from the Inside Out 2020-21 year long fellowship along with other inspiring national movement leaders.
In January, UVI was honored to deliver a presentation to leaders in the anti-hate movement convened by Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Sun Valley Museum of Art and the Company of Fools presented a critical and bold theater production of “The Niceties,” challenging racial bias. United Vision for Idaho proudly partnered with the company to offer debriefing sessions and community workshops bringing in partners from Western States Center and Southern Poverty Law to provide powerful programming to hundreds of students and community members. "
In May, UVI was deeply honored to present at the Bend the Arc Perusing Justice Annual Conference in a special conference presentation entitled “From the Frontlines” viewable here for a limited time.
From June through December, we provided grounding and debriefing for thousands of volunteers of our texting and phone banking programs with People's Action and featured dozens of local musicians from Idaho.
In December, we were invited to lead a conversation entitled Listening Way Home: Restoring Civility to Civil Discourse for Sha'ar Communities in Toronto, Canada and NY City