Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, January 22nd

January 22nd 

Time for Action: What we can do RIGHT NOW to combat the climate crisis

Even with everything else going on our planet is still in crisis. Fighting the looming climate crisis requires action at the corporate, government, and personal levels. We need to act NOW to save our futures.

To that end Citizen Action of Wisconsin is hosting a very special, virtual event on Thursday Jan 28th at 7:00 PM to highlight actions that we all can take NOW to reduce carbon emissions and save money. 

We will be hearing from Citizen Action of Wisconsin members and allies about climate campaigns they are working on and learn about how to get involved. We will be sharing information about how homeowners can add solar panels to their homes at no up front cost. We will also be showcasing actions you can take to pressure those in power to take bold action on fighting climate change. Those who attend will even learn how to win a $25 gift card to the Driftless Cafe, Southwest Wisconsin’s finest farm to table restaurant. 

Please RSVP at this link for this very special event.  Stopping the climate crisis is going to take all of us working together. Join us and learn what you can do RIGHT NOW. Please share this far and wide to activate as many climate activists and concerned citizens as possible!

Welcome new Southeastern Wisconsin Cooperative Organizer, Barbara Cerda

Barbara Cerda is passionate about uplifting the Milwaukee community by participating in social justice movements, advocating for positive changes in her neighborhood, and most importantly, by serving others. She was born and raised on the south side and attended Milwaukee Public Schools. Barbara is a proud Alverno College Alumna and obtained her B.A. in Community Leadership and Development in December 2017. Most recently, she obtained a Non-Profit Board Leadership Certificate through the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Project LEAD (Leadership, Effectiveness, and Diversity) Program.

Before being hired as the Southeastern Wisconsin Cooperative Organizer. Barbara was a Lead Field Organizer for CAW. For as long as she can remember, she has attended protests advocating for immigrant and worker rights. In 2016, Barbara interned at The Reproductive Justice Collective and it was there that she discovered her passion for organizing. 

Barbara serves on the Board of Directors for Civitas Law Group, Inc. and is an Exhibit Curator/Lead Coordinator for the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, Inc./Mexican Fiesta. She is the founder of Barby The Book Fairy, which
is a program that focuses on providing empowering and culturally relevant literature to families in the Milwaukee community, particularly in area codes 53215 and 53204.

Barbara is a full-time mother to three brilliant and adventurous girls. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting, reading, and spending quality time with her friends and family. 

Rural Wisconsin needs your help to fight the climate crisis and grow in these uncertain times

Rural Wisconsinites have been suffering for too long.  Our small towns are shrinking.  Our small and medium sized farms are disappearing.  Our people are going without the broadband they need to compete and thrive.  Not enough young Wisconsin families are choosing to raise their families in Wisconsin’s rural areas.  Rural areas are suffering the real world effects of climate change in real time.  Scott Walker era politics and politicians have been tearing local control away from rural towns and counties.  Wisconsin’s elected leaders need to pass a 2021-2022 state budget that helps rural areas.  You can help RIGHT NOW by contacting elected leaders and demanding they fund programs that will help our struggling communities.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin is asking our elected leaders to include funding for local climate action plans, broadband expansion, support for our struggling farms, and so much more.  Wisconsin can’t allow our rural areas to be left behind! 

We are asking our leaders to fight for the following budgetary demands:

  • Investments to make rural small businesses, local rural factories, and small/medium sized farms competitive  through targeted grants and loans to underwrite family supporting jobs and reverse the “brain drain” by incentivizing people to stay in or move to rural communities across Wisconsin
  • Large scale investment into farmer led watershed groups with a focus on flood resilience 
  • Funding for rural communities to create and maintain local climate action plans that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, prepare for impact of extreme weather events (such as major flooding and drought)  and improve economic development without harming Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Restore DNR funding and authority to hold CAFOs to higher environmental standards and give counties the local authority to prevent new CAFOs or expansion of existing CAFOs
  • Invest to scale in local (and regional) food distribution models to dramatically and measurably lower rural carbon footprints and to support Wisconsin’s small and medium sized farms
  • Funding a study to establish how 100% broadband coverage across Wisconsin can be achieved by 2025 through nonprofit, local communication co-ops or  public broadband utilities 
  • Fund a study to establish how state government can dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing and family supporting jobs in rural Wisconsin

You can help RIGHT NOW by using this link to send an email to the Governor, Lt Governor and your state representatives and ask them to include our demands in the state budget.  No matter where we are, the color of our skin or how we pray all Wisconsinites rely on rural areas to put food on your table.  No matter where we are in the state we need to stand up and fight for rural areas in every way that we can.  Please contact your elected leaders right now and help protect our rural communities.


North Central Organizing Co-op Holds 4th Annual Regional Member Meeting!

Members and friends of the NC Organizing Co-op came together to celebrate their 4th year as a member based organization in Northern and Central Wisconsin! A lot was accomplished and the pandemic couldn’t slow us down! 

In 2020, members and staff from NCWI and the Driftless Co-op worked with the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Co-op Development Director to implement the Green Homes, Union Jobs (Green Homeowners United) campaign. This is the result of years of work that eventually led to green energy refinance loans becoming available to homeowners, with 15 or 30-year mortgages who are interested in refinancing their mortgage while also bundling in solar panels and other home energy upgrades. All homeowners can take advantage of this, but those with 15 and 30- year mortgages are the ones who are most likely to see monthly savings on their energy bills, that outweigh the costs of the home energy upgrades. 

Members of the NC Organizing Co-op were involved in every level of the 7th CD special election that happened as a result of former US Representative Sean Duffy stepping down from his post prematurely. NCWI Co-op member, and community leader, Tricia Zunker stepped up to run for this seat, both in the special election and in the general election. Co-op members were involved in helping her to announce her campaign, in campaign promotion, and in volunteering. 

The NCWI Organizing Co-op and the Western WI Co-op worked in coalition to develop and implement a people’s forum in Wausau and Rice Lake as Tricia faced a primary opponent, named Lawrence Dale These were member-led forums with questions based on the CAW Movement Politics Platform. NC Organizing Co-op members worked in coalition with Fair Maps WI and the Fair Maps coalition to continue the pursuit of getting counties and municipalities to pass Fair Maps resolutions and or referendums. The greatest achievement of this coalition was getting the Marathon County Board of Supervisors to pass a Fair Maps resolution by a 19-17 vote! This had been attempted in 2018 but was tabled indefinitely during that administration. 

By 2020, several County Board seats had been flipped, thanks in part, to NC Co-op members working in coalition with a candidate committee in Marathon County, to get new people elected. This is why the resolution was able to pass and illustrates the importance of our Movement Politics work and Co-Governance. The NC Organizing Co-op, via the Citizen Action of WI Education Fund, worked in coalition with the AAUW (American Association of University Women) to hold a people’s forum with former Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke and newly elected Mayor Katie Rosenberg at UW Stevens Point – Wausau. Members helped to develop the program and the questions. The event was so well attended that an overflow room had to be created for people to view it live on Wausau area Public Access. Mayor Rosenberg, whom we are lucky to call a Co-op member, ultimately won that election. 

NCWI Co-op members and friends worked in coalition with UU the Vote and the LWV to do voter registration events in Wausau and Rhinelander prior to the stay-at-home orders. The NC Steering Committee approved endorsing 17 candidates for the local Spring elections…15 of these candidates won their races, and another was eventually appointed to the Marathon County Board of Supervisors after the elections.

For the Fall elections, NCWI endorsed 9 candidates in state legislative races, in addition to Tricia Zunker for the 7th CD. 38 members/allies volunteered by writing postcards, doing contactless lit drops, texting and/or phone banking. On election day, 8 members/allies in the Wausau area helped with poll observing, handing out PPE, and roving observing.

The meeting ended with a Q&A section facilitated by Steering Committee member Scott Kirby. The guest was Kirk Bangstad, of the Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC! That was an exciting interview, and we look forward to working with Kirk, as we both share the goal of working to help candidates in NC Wisconsin and to increase organizing in these areas.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Organizing team was founded in February 2020 and is led by Zoe Roberts. Our approach to building the program combines a bold vision for structural reform with a pragmatic evidence-based approach to shifting voter behavior towards progressive candidates. In early February 2020, Citizen Action kicked off our Deep Canvass door field program. Following COVID-19 precautions to protect our team and community we took action and shifted to phone banking full time. The team covered four rural regions and small and medium metro areas of Wisconsin to talk to swing voters and motivate voters on the issues of health care prices/access and climate change/economic investment. The canvass engaged in long and sometimes difficult conversations on healthcare or candidates using a race/class/narrative (RCN) with these voters to disarm the racist tropes from the other side. At its peak, the phone canvass had in excess of fifty trained full-time callers.

Traditional campaigning allows for personal connections, putting a face to the issues and candidates but they were able to hold powerful conversations on the phones. The work we produce comes with emotional labor, we understand the strength it takes to make a difference. We built a supportive team and have bonds that will nourish us through the toughest days. Forever grateful.

We believe the deep canvass work we started in 2020 holds the key to meaningful and lasting change with moveable voters. We are committed to the model and look forward to returning to doors in 2021 if public health directives allow us. We will continue to have important conversations about race and immigration with the voters we need to build a permanent progressive majority for systemic change on health care, climate change, the economy, and structural racism.  

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Field Organizing team made 513,544 dials and completed 41,826 conversations on the phones. The impact we made is unmeasurable, we were a part of turning Wisconsin blue and electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Thank you for doing your part.

Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos show for 60 minutes to discuss progressive strategy for winning bold reform from the Biden Administration and the narrowly Democratic Congress. Listen here.

“46th President looks to future; Wauwatosa Police look to stone age.” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

We discuss the historic inaugural week of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden’s flurry of executive orders and an exciting new immigration bill. We look behind the organizing that resulted in changes to the Wisconsin COVID vaccination plan to include teachers, grocery workers, meat packers, and prisoners at the top of the list. A new COVID strain is spreading as Wisconsin reopens schools and the state does nothing. We welcome Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC owner Kirk Bangstad to discuss their campaign against Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Tom Tiffany for supporting for overturning the 2020 presidential election. Wisconsin Examiner journalist, Isiah Holmes, joins us to discuss his excellent reporting on Wauwatosa Police targeting protestors. We close with Markasa Tucker from the African-American Roundtable to discuss the Milwaukee Common Council reversing course and approving a federal grant for more police officers.

Listen Now – Episode #476
Download Mp3

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