Millions of ballots. Decades of organizing.

Millions of voters delivered a decisive democratic future this November.

As CEJA Action reflects on the victories and losses of this year’s elections, we turn to the words of Guinean freedom fighter and anti-colonial leader Amilcar Cabral. Cabral reminds us that we are fighting for survival and liberation: “to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see [our] lives go forward, to guarantee the future of [our] children.”

No matter what politicians tell us, it’s clear that Black, indigenous, Latinx, AAPI, and working class frontline leaders delivered the final blow to the Trump administration this year.

Grassroots organizing by BIPOC leaders led to key victories in Maricopa County, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. In California, our beloved allies at the Million Voters Project led a vibrant, people-centered movement to take on Republicans, white supremacists, and corporations at the ballot box. CEJA members made thousands of calls and texts to ensure that our families, neighbors, and community members understood the key decisions to make on this year’s ballot and had a clear and easy pathway to vote in an increasingly challenging year.

Thanks to decades of work by frontline and migrant organizers, and tribal nations, working class, young folks, and voters of color turned out in record numbers to participate in a historic election.

“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”

-Amilcar Cabral

Proposition 15 was defeated, but the Schools and Communities First campaign confirmed that nearly half of California voters agree there is no place for unfair tax loopholes abused by corporate polluters like Chevron or Disney. Above all, California’s BIPOC led grassroots organizing efforts held their own against $500 million in big business spending against racial justice propositions on the California ballot.

Californians continued to affirm California’s criminal justice reforms with a Yes on Prop 17 and No on Prop 20 to restore returning citizens their right to vote while on parole. The defeat of Prop 20 is a resounding affirmation of voters’ 2016 decision to oppose harsh sentences and invest in support services to keep people out of jails.

In the California legislature, we defeated oil bankrolled candidates to send EJ Champions back to the Assembly and Senate. We celebrate four more years of Monique Limón’s environmental justice leadership and congratulate the election of experienced leaders John Laird and Susan Eggman to the Senate; the Assembly will continue to be led by social justice champions Eloise Gomez-Reyes, Dr. Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez. We welcome new Assemblymembers Alex Lee, Steve Bennett and Chris Ward and are excited to continue a legacy of strong partnership to continue to deliver innovative solutions and concrete victories for frontline communities.

Environmental justice communities seated progressive leaders in city council and county seats:

  • Bay Area – APEN Action worked to elect Carroll Fife a housing justice leader for Oakland City Council. CBE Action and APEN Action—campaigning in the shadow of the Richmond Chevron refinery—returned community leaders Melvin Willis, Gayle McLaughlin and Claudia Jimenez to the Richmond City Council
  • Central Valley- CRPE Action’s hard work sent Veronica Vazquez and Salvador Solario-Ruiz to Delano City Council, two progressive voices in the heart of Central Valley and Oil industry’s toughest stronghold
  • Central Coast – CAUSE Action Fund has secured a community victory by electing Carmen Ramirez to Ventura County’s Board of Supervisors
  • Los Angeles – CBE Action contributed to a broad racial and social justice coalition to elect Senator Holly Mitchell to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
  • San Diego – Environmental Health and Justice Campaign is sending Nora Vargas to San Diego’s Board of Supervisors. Assemblymember Todd Gloria, now as city Mayor, will continue to make strides for San Diego communities

It takes our collective power to defeat decades of violent lies, disinformation, and barriers to cast our votes. This year will be felt for generations. And without you, this would not be possible.

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