We cannot allow ourselves to believe 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!
How We Are Showing Up for Idaho in Powerful Ways. Over the course of the past year, UVI has shown up in a powerful way.
Here are a few highlights:
Long dismissed as rural, too conservative, lacking electoral numbers or the ability to sway our elected officials especially at the congressional level, characterized as either a white flight state or a flyover state, to elevate Idaho has not been an easy lift – and it has been decades in the making.
UVI is a prominent member of several national campaigns advancing federal including Healthcare for ALL, Make Medicines Work, The PA National Cohort of Rural Organizing, Movement Politics - building base for the progressive movement, and The Federal Policy Brain Trust.
We are also in deep partnership with of anti-hate networks combating rising White Nationalism in partnership with Western States Center and The Southern Poverty Law Center and Bend the Arc, among others to meet the moment and forge a better way forward together.
GRATIITUDE FOR THE TESTIMONIALS
“UVI is putting Idaho on the Social Justice Map” – R. Craig, Citizen Action Wisconsin
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.
“I was lucky and very grateful to have Adrienne join the program of a convening I planned for a wide range of professionals working to track, respond to, and prevent hate and extremism in the United States. Her clear, compelling presentation about the process and critical importance of deep canvassing sparked a lively audience discussion and led to some of the key recommendations that emerged from the event, including: to create systemic change, we need to invest in organizing for the long-term, based on issues and shared values, and create a movement that delivers messaging and organizing to all people – urban, suburban, and rural communities. Adrienne brings a deep commitment and generous spirit to her work – and is just a joy to know!”-Libby McInerny, Strategic Partnerships: Media | Social Justice Projects
Boise State University launched the Marilyn Shuler Activist Certification Program We were proud not only provide workshops and critical resources for faculty, but also to present to classes of participants during their course study. “I attended a UVI training, it was the most impactful professional development experience I have had in 15 years! Adrienne tailored the training to be an exact match for the kind of work my colleague and I are preparing to do, making it spot-on valuable. Her knowledge and preparation were impressive and motivating. She has a power and unique combination of skills: great teaching ability AND extensive grassroots organizing experience. Not everyone who is a great community organizer is also a great teacher. I have found myself using strategies in a myriad of settings since the training. I recommend the experience highly for folks who are committed to social justice work in their communities.” – Dr. Sara Fry
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. "Over the past two weeks we've had the privilege of sharing The Niceties with schools around the valley. After each performance, students have had the chance to talk about the show and it's complex themes in discussions with our actors, as well as special guests from with partners of United Vision for Idaho, including Western States Center and Southern Poverty Law Center. We've been blown away by the conversation these incredible students have been having with us" -Scott Palmer, SVMOA
"We have had such rich discussions and have made so many connections to what we have looked at in class." - Raul V., Social Studies Teacher at Wood River Middle School.
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 “Your session was one of the most moving and inspiring experiences our community has had in the wake of all the political and social turmoil of recent years, and especially, recent weeks. No one wanted it to end." - Rabbi Adina Lewittes
We made a serious financial investment to transition 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 tailored technology 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.
We overhauled our website to provide critical resources to mutual aid and emergent support offered by partners and trusted sources, including free and discounted mental health services that we contracted.
We offered tools to navigate stimulus relief, and a multitude of opportunities and pathways for folks to engage on their most important issues at the state and federal level.
With 177 volunteers from Idaho, and thousands more from across the country who understand our futures are collectively bound, reached out to genuinely ask, “how are you and your family doing?” Perhaps you got a text message? If you did, there was another person on the end of that exchange that dedicated hours of their week for months to have conversations with people across our state.
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.
“I'm amazed by what your organization is doing, especially in a state as red as Idaho. Combining your bold agenda with the reach, expertise and volunteer support of People's Action feels like a powerful tandem. While many campaigns seem to ask a lot of straight forward or yes/no questions, your campaign is asking how people feel, which I think is important. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but your campaign showed me how text-banking can create the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation if the responses are rooted in compassion.” -Texting Volunteer
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.
Remarkably, while this kind of digital outreach typically has a 20 -30% opt out rate, because of our unique and authentic approach 99% of Idahoans chose to continue and deepen their conversations with our team. It underscored what we already knew; people are craving deeper connections that help make meaning out of their struggle and move from what hurts, to what would help, to how can I help others.
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.
Not only did Idahoans take part in reaching out across our state, but also participated in outreach to Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan – collectively reaching 58 Million people across this country. Idahoans are continuing to do their part in Georgia, so that we have a chance to win real improvements in people’s lives.
Several articles were published uplifting our rural report and the unique struggle facing rural communities.
Don't Give up Rural Idaho to White Supremacy, Anti-democratic Forces - Idaho Statesman
In the Struggle for Racial and Economic Justice, Don't Forget Rural America - Non-profit Quarterly
This Election Is About Who You Are - Medium
We Could Win the Election but Lost the War If we Don't Orient Differently - Roddenberry Foundation
Where Eagles Dare: Progressives have made a huge push into America's rural communities Idaho Press – Boise Weekly
In Presidential Forums Idaho delegations have represented the state in forums that have asked the hard questions of candidates vying for the highest office in the nation and the world.
Board member, Adam Thompson gained a great deal of publicity when he held then candidate Yang accountable on his climate platform. Later he was praised for his questioning of Senator Sanders about the ways that young people and a disengaged public who face growing threats of discrimination could have their voices heard in a Biden administration.
Under a growing Republican trifecta, and the growing influence of far-right extremist factions that your voices, values and needs go unheard and unmet, rightly so. Too often our state advocacy is necessarily defensive. This year will be no different. We know there will be significant defensive fights to protect the dignity, civil rights and promise that every Idahoan deserves – and we will be there working with state partners to do what we do so well; to stop the greatest threats we face from the Idaho legislature.
Protecting the Medicaid Funding-
We are working with our partners at Close the Gap, Idaho to ensure that Idahoans get and keep the coverage they need. Thanks to Medicaid, thousands of Idaho families are receiving the care they need during these unprecedented times, including care for chronic conditions, regular diagnostic and preventive screenings, mental health services, and coronavirus testing and treatment. Despite the raging public health crisis and economic downtown, Idaho leaders are proposing cuts to Medicaid during the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session. We are demanding Governor Little to prioritize health coverage during the pandemic and to fully fund Medicaid. You can add your name to the petition here.
Protecting the Integrity of the US Constitution – Most years efforts are made driven and funded by the Koch Brothers and ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council) policy manufacturer for far-right legislation that they introduce in Republican controlled state legislatures to codify draconian policies. Calls for a Constitutional Convention, often guised as a call for a federal balanced budget are not new to Idaho. We can expect that another attempt will be made this year. Idaho has long been a target as efforts to secure a number of states would trigger a new Constitutional Convention. The only and original took place in 1787. Such an event would place the constitution and the entire bill of rights on the table for dissection or scraping, and redrafting.
Growing Threat of White Nationalist Groups, in particular Amund Bundy – Perhaps the greatest threat we face in Idaho is the growing number of White Nationalist groups that have expanded their territory in the goal of securing the state as the new Aryan nation. With actors associated with these groups occupying seats in the Idaho legislature, including the office of Lieutenant governor their influence is increasing at the highest levels of state government. Bearing witness to the effectiveness of their hate-filled rhetoric and social and political analysis that is infiltrating small towns and media through our rural organizing, we firmly believe this is the greatest threat facing us as a state. For the past several years, we have invested in the work of dismantling and combatting the acceleration of White Nationalism. We work intimately with Western States Center, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Bend the Arc and many others including national and international experts and leaders across the broader movement to co-create, develop and implement strategies to combat and defeat this assault on our democracy.
IDAHO HAS A PLACE AT THE TABLE of Federal Policy and Political Action
The Biden-Harris transition team has privately acknowledged that this election was delivered by the efforts of grassroots organizations, including People’s Action our parent organization.
We fundamentally understand that our collective futures are bound together, and real change means that NO ONE should be less or more free based on their state borders – real change means structural federal policy change. That’s why we will always be the organization that fiercely defends you, organizes across our state to usher in a new future, and advocates at the federal level to make sure you are truly represented.
Since the election, we have been in deep conversations with the Biden-Harris transition teams to secure appointments, make our policy demands clear and negotiate advisory teams to the administration. We are fighting hard to ensure that the incoming administration is listening to Idaho – and they are listening.
One of our foremost priorities is making sure that Idahoans issues have a seat at the governing table despite our representation. Much our potential hinges on the results of the Georgia Senate runoff election, however we are in deep collaboration and negotiation with congressional members to advance what we believe is most possible under the incoming administration.
Our primary federal campaigns in the administration’s first 100 days and beyond include:
1. Provide COVID Relief that Meets the Scale of the Crisis and Addresses the Disproportionate Harm to Black, Indigenous, people of color and other vulnerable communities starting with the 140 million poor and low-income people and those left out of previous packages.
· Put Money in People’s Pockets, without regard to immigration or any other status:
o Provide $2,000 monthly stimulus checks
o Continue expanded unemployment benefits
o Provide rent and mortgage assistance to stop evictions and keep people in their home
o Raising the minimum wage to at least $15
o Cancel up to $50,000 in student debt and freeze payments
o Fully fund and provide universal access to social safety net programs
· Protect Essential Workers and Expand the Workforce:
o Provide hazard pay, strong workplace health and safety protections, paid leave and necessary equipment to frontline workers, including family physicians and others excluded
o Provide a roadmap to citizenship for all essential workers
o Create 600,000 long-term care and 300,00 childcare jobs to care for seniors, children and others
· Defeat the Virus and Prepare for Universal Vaccination:
o Ensure direct, equitable distribution of free vaccines, treatment and testing for everyone, regardless of race, geographic, immigration, economic, gender or any other status
o Ensure robust protections for people in congregate settings, such as schools, nursing homes, and prisons, jails, and detention facilities
o Collect accurate disaggregated data by race, socioeconomic status, occupation and geography to inform all efforts and reach all communities
o Create 100,000 new public health jobs to ensure effective contact tracing and response
o Support domestic manufacturing through the Defense Production Act to replenish supplies
o Fund global efforts for universal vaccine access
2. Put People Back to Work, Give Workers More Power, and Transform to a Clean Renewable Energy Economy.
o Expand collective bargaining, the right to unionize and workplace democracy in all policies
o Invest in a bold green infrastructure package that prioritizes frontline communities, advances clean renewable energy and public transit, fixes roads and bridges, provides job training and re-training and rebuilds communities with new and better schools, water and sanitation systems and universal broadband
o Dramatically curtail air, water, land, and climate pollution, and promote a just worker transition
o Create resilience jobs to help communities prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters
o Build a strong families infrastructure package by investing in the caregiving economy, public education, and universal childcare with 300,000 childcare jobs and providing equal pay, living wages and benefits to childcare, public education and domestic workers
o Renegotiate and negotiate fair trade policies that protect domestic manufacturing, and strengthen worker power and environmental protections everywhere
3. Ensure Health Care for Everyone by taking important steps to expand healthcare and make equitable investments into public health infrastructure as we work towards Medicare for All, and Make Medicines Work.
o Automatically enroll anyone who loses their job into Medicare
o Expand traditional Medicare to lower the eligibility age to 50 and cover all children up to age 25
o Lower prescription drug prices through direct negotiating of critical drugs across all payers
o Increase funding for community health centers, behavioral health providers, Indian Health Service and Urban Indian Health Care Centers, and rural hospitals
o Protect access to all health and reproductive services for women and the trans community
o Ensure that mental health and substance use treatment is provided at no out of pocket cost
4. Defend and Expand Voting Rights, Strengthen Democracy and End Corruption to return the vote and voice back to the people.
o Protect the right to vote by passing a broad and comprehensive voting rights bill that eliminates barriers to voting, in particular for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color, disabled people, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and others
o Provide statehood to more than 700,000 people living in the District of Columbia
o End corruption and the dominance of big money and corporate interests by eliminating secret corporate spending in elections, implementing a public campaign finance system, and strengthening lobbying and ethics laws for members of Congress and outside groups
o UVI and People’s Action have called on the administration to 1) assemble an advisory committee made up of individuals that have been organizing and combatting extremist hate groups, tracking acceleration, and mounting effective on the ground efforts; 2) Reprioritize FBI designations of domestic terrorism, empower and fund the agencies efforts; 3)Roll back the monopolies of media that were ushered in under Clinton that deregulated media and undercut the power of the Federal Communications Commission; 4) strict classifications of news versus entertainment that allows much of what is reported to falsely couch broadcasts as trusted, reliable and verifiable news; 5)To invest in a pro-democracy public education campaign to effectively message and counter the anti-government campaigns being lodged by the far right and extremist groups.
5. Dismantle Racism, White Supremacy and Inequality in All Institutions to create justice, ensure equality and opportunity for all and end the racial wealth gap.
o Establish a truth commission and a commission to study and develop reparations
o Ensure non-discrimination protections for BIPOC and LGBTQ people across the board
o Pass a comprehensive policing reform bill to ensure that policing reflects community values and upholds civil rights, demilitarize the police and invest more resources in communities
o Reduce criminalization and incarceration through sentencing reform, legalizing cannabis, expunging records and providing restorative justice
o Create a just immigration system by passing a roadmap to freedom that ensures fairness, citizenship, family unity, ends the criminalization of immigrants for profit, creates humane alternatives to detention and deportation, and upholds protections for people seeking safety
o Fully meet and fund all trust obligations to Tribal Nations and communities
o Prevent gun violence, including by keeping guns out of the wrong hands and ban semi-automatic weapons
6. End Endless Wars and Invest in Diplomacy and Peace to stop massively increasing Pentagon budgets that fuel wars and sap communities of vital investments in education, housing and more.
o Repeal old authorizations for use of military force, require Congressional approval for all wars and acts of war, and end the U.S. wars in Yemen and Afghanistan including air and drone wars
o Cut Pentagon spending by at least 10% while maintaining support for personnel and families
o Invest in diplomacy, development, peace building, and education through grassroots-fueled aid
o Roll back executive powers to enact unilateral sanctions and end military aid to repressive regimes
7. End Corporate Greed and Corporate Monopolies to end poverty and stop poor and working people from getting poorer while huge corporations and the wealthiest get wealthier.
o Strengthen and expanding antitrust laws to end monopolistic practices, protect consumer interests, and guarantee fair markets to ensure equal footing for small businesses
o Restructure our tax system to reward labor and make the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street pay their fair share
o Implement standards for large corporations receiving aid, subsidies and government contracts, including maintaining good U.S. jobs with benefits, narrow gaps between CEO and worker pay, and ensuring gender and racial diversity in top management
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
The Corporate Plot to Upend Democracy The Report out today - Exposing Corporate $$$ to upend our democracy and derail our collective future:
We are people fighting for our lives and a better future. We are fighting for:
increasing taxes for corporations and the ultra-rich;
lowering drug prices;
providing affordable healthcare;
investing in public and affordable housing;
tackling climate change; and
providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.
But corporations are working hard to derail critical provisions in the $3.5