Power infusion for Gamaliel network

Posted by: Gordon on 6/22/2014

Gamaliel at Boehner office

Gamaliel at House Speaker John Boehner's office, Thursday June 19. See more pictures from the event here.

Thirteen states got a power infusion this past weekend as 110 leaders and organizers – 63 trainees and 50 youth and adults from Minnesota’s Asamblea de Derechos Civiles -- returned home from workshops, meetings, and an action on U.S. Rep. John Boehner in Washington, D.C.

Beginning with a deep reflection on the intersection of race and power, leaders and organizers from across the network immersed themselves in the attitudes and disciplines of community organizing to enhance their visions and expand capacities for themselves and their organizations individually and collectively.

Leaders made some 35 visits on Capitol Hill and at the White House Thursday. This included a group meeting with leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus: U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Barbara Lee, D-Cal., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. Pledging to work closely with Gamaliel and other labor and organizing groups in a better-coordinated “inside-outside game,” Ellison and colleagues heard from Gamaliel on transportation and jobs, immigration reform, education, and criminal justice.

As a result of the meeting, their caucus of nearly 70 members of Congress will vote next week on sending a letter to President Obama urging him to update federal regulations to improve access to jobs for women, people of color and lower-income people among other planned collaborative actions.

Meanwhile, on the same afternoon that House Republicans voted to replace their Whip after Rep. Eric Cantor’s recent election loss, we took the action to the locked—but occupied—office of House Speaker John Boehner, where pastors prayed that he would at long last see the light on immigration reform, and left candles and a clock on his doorstep to remind him that just 9 days remained until the deadline for moving legislation forward this session.

Ntosake, Gamaliel’s long-running women’s leadership-development program, also hosted a special session at the Capitol Visitor’s Center, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, at which women leaders included Carolyn Jacobson from Coalition of Labor Union Women, U.S. Rep. Linda Meric of 9to5, Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., Izzy Santa of the Republican National CommitteeFeminist Majority President Ellie Smeal and others spoke.

Guest presenters also led sessions, ranging from Auburn Theological Seminary, Amalgamated Transit Workers Union, and American Federation of Teachers to TASH--a national disability rights organization--and Acting Undersecretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation Peter Rogoff.

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