Citizen Action Weekly; Saturday, February 26th
Please make a donation to Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Saturday, February 26th
George Goehl: What I Love About the New Director of People’s Action
For those who believe the primary challenge is not that the choir is unorganized, but that the choir is too damn small, we bring good news! Our Board of Directors has chosen Sulma Arias to be the next director of People’s Action.
I’ve always kept a short list of my favorite organizers. When I think about who is on that list, two traits come to mind. They are people of deep integrity. You can feel their authenticity in every encounter. They are also natural organizers. They could one day wake up in any community – regardless of racial makeup, language, or geography – and they would figure out how to organize the people with the least. They are just that good at the craft of organizing.
Since I first witnessed her organizing in neighborhoods in Wichita or tiny Kansas towns like Liberal and Dodge City, Sulma Arias has been one of those organizers for me.
As if in a series of oil paintings about organizing, I remember Sulma in a room with dozens of immigrant members of the National People’s Action family. We were planning a big and risky action. While Sulma could easily have been the one in front of the room rallying the troops, she had prepared a member for that role.
Instead, she’s moving through the room, from table to table, huddled up with a handful of members at a time, a knee on the ground, listening, reflecting back, and sharing her take. Then off to another table, processing and bringing people along – the iterative work of developing leaders and building power. The exact kind of organizing that we need to model if we are in fact going to defeat fascism and build a multi-racial democracy.
I have spent 25 years in the People’s Action family, and nearly 15 years as Director of National People’s Action and People’s Action. With Sulma as the next Director I am certain this storied organization is in the best of hands.
Here’s my take on why Sulma is the perfect next Director of People’s Action.
- Sulma is one of the most inquisitive people I have ever known. Always hungry to learn and get sharper.
- She then turns that insight into vision. As just one example, she was tracking, naming, and taking on Trumpism years before it became a thing.
- She is an organizer. Not a progressive who appreciates organizing, but an honest-to-goodness organizer who can organize people, ideas, and money to win.
- She is willing to take great risk to deliver those wins, having literally gone toe to toe with powerful actors ranging from Kris Kobach to the CEO of Wells Fargo to Karl Rove.
- She is a campaigner – she has a track record of running strategic and hard-hitting campaigns at the local, state, and national level. Get ready for some winning people!
Meet the leader who will spur an organizing revival that reaches beyond the converted, and inspires new believers to join the fight. For People’s Action and for organizing, the best is yet to come.
George Goehl, out-going Executive Director, People’s Action
Citizen Action hosts media event with Congresswoman Gwen Moore and community and labor leaders. Highlights new federal investments in family supporting jobs.
This Wednesday, February 23rd, Citizen Citizen Action held a virtual community conversation with Congresswoman Gwen Moore to bring to light massive new federal investments in family supporting jobs in Milwaukee, and even bigger investments that are still on the table
This is a huge opportunity for Milwaukee, which has been devastated by the deindustrialization and low-road globalization of the past 40 years. For example, Milwaukee went from having the most prosperous African American communities in the U.S. to having the lowest annual incomes of any major city.
The largest federal job creation investments in decades have already passed in the infrastructure bill. In addition, even bigger investments are still on the table, as part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Many of these investments will also help Milwaukee reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transition to a green economy, a critical step in avoiding runaway climate change.
The passage of the half trillion dollars in climate investments in the Build Back Better agenda could fund the large-scale green transition plan that will be put forward later this Spring by the Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate & Economic Equity to use climate investments to spur large-scale job creation in economically marginalized communities.
Speakers included: U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore; Rafael Smith, Climate & Equity Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin; Jonathan Kowalski, Executive Director, Plumbing Mechanical and Sheet Metal Contractors’ Alliance; Julie Kersick, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute; Jack Schirpke, Vice President Environmental Services Division, Total Mechanical; Greg Neil, Blue/Green Alliance; and Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Meet Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s new intern, Laurel Masters
Hello! My name is Laurel Masters, and I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse majoring in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout my secondary education, I have been involved in various organizations on campus that have enhanced my growth as a student and leader. Some of these organizations are Alpha Phi Fraternity, Student Association, PSPAA (Political Science and Public Administration Association), and College Democrats. Some of the leadership positions I have had within these organizations are Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Vice President of Activities, and Student Court Justice/Student Conduct Committee.
I am so exceptionally grateful to have been elected or given these positions by my fellow peers and hope to incorporate what I have learned through these experiences with my mentorship at Citizen Action.
Early in High School, I was exposed to environmental issues through coursework and immediately became passionate about making a difference. Living in harmony with the environment that supplies us with plentiful resources is a world I will continue to fight and strive for. Some changes I have made within my life to aid myself and the environment is limiting my single-use waste by getting reusable products, not supporting factory farming by limiting my meat consumption and eliminating red meat from my diet, and buying local when possible. All of what I have learned from my environmental courses has led me to where I am today and what I am choosing to do with the rest of my life.
One of the main reasons I decided to go into Political Science was to have a focus on Environmental Policy. Due to this drive for change, I felt working with Citizen Action of Wisconsin would benefit my current knowledge and extend my growth as an environmental advocate.
Outside of my education I appreciate spending time with friends and family doing a variety of activities. I currently live with seven other women and our cat Snoopy, which makes life continuously stimulating. Some of the activities I enjoy are being outdoors on walks/hikes with friends, binge-watching true crime documentaries, hammocking, and finding new local shops to do work at.
I have always desired to work at a nonprofit and am appreciative to be given this opportunity through my education and Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Issues of environmental justice and climate change are topics that have driven my learning and work ethic to promote change over the last four years, and I am eager to be wrapping up my college career gaining real experience!
Listen to “The privilege of Ignorance” This is NOT that podcast
This week we talk a bit about that through a range of topics. From the State of the Tribes address in Wisconsin’s capital, to climate change, to the ongoing fight against teaching painful yet true U.S. history.
It’s true, sometimes ignorance is a privilege afforded to some, not all.
Citizen Action in the News
Citizen Action was in the media this week responding to two GOP bills designed to force working people, and people with disabilities, off BadgerCare coverage. See overage in the La Crosse Tribune
Citizen Action’s Robert Kraig was on the Jeff Santos Show for a full hour talking about the Ukraine crisis, the foreign policy strategy of the Biden Administration ,and its impact on Build Back Better. Listen here.
Robert Kraig’s Was on the Earl Ingram Show for the full hour to talk state and national politics. Listen here.
“State of the Educator” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast
We open the show with immediate reactions to the full scale invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, and the odd split on the conflict in the Trump-era GOP. Is the backing of Putin by Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump himself, and others the new normal in Republican foreign policy? We welcome new WEAC president Peggy Wirtz-Olsen for her first interview on Battleground Wisconsin to dig into what is behind the record number of teachers who want to leave their profession. Is conservative scapegoating of schools and educators making the professional unlivable? Turning to the State Legislature, we evaluate a series of historically bad bills that gut public education, expand a separate private education system, and break up Milwaukee Public Schools without any consultation from the parents and school board members of Milwaukee. Claire updates us on Senate Republican attacks on BadgerCare by GOP legislators. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and community and labor leaders continued a push for Build Back Better and the jobs it will create this week with a media event. Finally we close by encouraging our listeners to attend a Solidarity Rally @ Noon Saturday in support of UAW Oshkosh Co. workers’ effort to land the USPS truck contract, and introduce Sulma Arias, the new Executive Director of People’s Action.
Support the ‘Teaching Is a Profession’ Package to address the teacher shortage.