From My Vote to Our Future

May 22, 2013

Changing the choices – who’s running for office and who’s winning elections – is one thing. One very important thing. But Wellstone Action is also focused on changing the electorate, ensuring that those who hold office are held accountable by a powerful, organized progressive movement.

One of our most successful partnerships in this effort is with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV), a nonprofit organization based in California whose mission is to build leadership and capacity within low-income immigrant communities around electoral organizing. MIV’s approach includes a focus on the short-term (increasing voter turnout and defeating antiimmigrant ballot initiatives), but they are also deeply grounded in the Wellstone model of movement-building, and are vigorously enacting a long-term strategy to catalyze their constituency and connect electoral work to the ongoing struggle for social justice.

MIV is wrestling with enormous questions: What is the future of immigration reform? How will immigrant communities shape policy decisions from the local to national level? And can California lead the nation in building and sustaining a powerful, progressive bloc of organized and mobilized immigrant voters? And they’ve turned to Wellstone Action to help build organizational capacity and gain the on-the-ground skills needed to advance this vision of building immigrant political power and representation, first in California, and then nationwide.

“MIV has really built up their muscle over the past 18 months, readying themselves to continue this amazing and important work, both in 2012 and beyond,” says Adriana Barboza, Wellstone Action’s Senior Trainer and Partnership Manager. “The training and support they’ve provided to immigrants-rights organizations across California is going to pay off – at the polls, to be sure, but also in building stronger organizations and creating better communities”.

Says MIV’s Executive Director, Aparna Shah, “We couldn’t have grown and evolved without Wellstone Action’s sophisticated thinking. What we’re hoping to build – our vision of immigrants standing side by side with other low-income communities of color saying this is what we believe, and this is how we’re going to exercise our power – Wellstone Action’s given us the tools to be faster, sharper, smarter. We are succeeding in advancing our communities’ vision and voice because we’re doing it the Wellstone Way”.