By Ken Williams | Editor
A grass-roots political movement takes root
The 2016 presidential election results shook up a whole lot of Californians who believe in progressive politics, and has sparked grass-roots efforts designed to make a difference in future campaigns.
A group of parents and friends, most of whom live in the Uptown and Mid-City communities, have come together to form a nonprofit called Raise Progress with the slogan: “Advancing Change. Uplifting Communities. Promoting Hope.”
“We are teachers, social workers, small business owners, professionals and parents. We are united in our commitment to ensuring our children inherit a safe United States, firmly rooted in the principles of democracy, where justice prevails for all people,” the organization explains on its raiseprogress.org website.
“We advocate diversity and inclusion by partnering with at-risk communities, providing educational outreach to children and people of all ages, and organizing inspired and focused events.”
Raise Progress has set up its second fundraiser, called “Raise a Glass for Progress,” from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, at Solare Ristorante, located at 2820 Roosevelt Road in Liberty Station.
Tickets cost $75 for a tasting of wines from Italy, antipasti, music, a silent auction and speakers. Go to bit.ly/2mQHJbx to purchase tickets.
Here are five questions with two of the co-founders, Tom Wong and his wife, Rose Bloomberg-Rissman:
- What is Raise Progress, and why was it founded?
Raise Progress is a group started by families and friends who wanted to make more of a collective change after the 2016 elections. We have some members with no political experience and some who work in politics for a living, but everyone wanted to engage together to try to influence the outcome in a new way in the 2018 midterms. We are also working in our community, supporting local business that match our core values, and have members who are creating new ways to support refugee families in our community.
- What are the group’s core values?
- We believe in economic and racial justice.
- We believe in protecting human rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, disabled rights, and religious freedom.
- We believe diversity makes our country stronger and are committed to fighting the injustice refugees, immigrants, indigenous, and all marginalized people face.
- We believe climate change is real and support efforts to defend the environment.
- We believe black lives matter and in criminal justice reform.
- We believe in a woman’s right to choose and gender equality.
- We believe in LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.
- We believe in public education that supports all students.
- We believe in preventing gun violence through sensible gun safety programs, practices and policies.
- We believe in democracy and a fair, accessible, and inclusive voting system.
- Is this a grass-roots political movement, a community organization or something else?
We are first and foremost a group of like-minded friends who banded together to make a difference together. We have also formed a political action committee (PAC), which allows us the most flexibility to support candidates who align with our values, and help defeat those who don’t. We are a small part of a growing and important political movement in our country. One of the unique things about Raise Progress is that we have formalized our PAC status so that we can help with upcoming campaigns, and we have experts in local and national politics to help direct us.
- Who can join Raise Progress and what is expected of members?
We expect members to be passionate about making change, either through politics, fundraising or through work in our community. We have meetings every month or so, as well as fundraisers and community events. There are committees to join, and room for everyone!
- What do you like about living in North Park?
We moved to North Park five years ago. We had been told it was a small, walkable neighborhood that was great for growing families and we have found that to be true! We may want a bigger house someday, but we are waiting to find the right house in North Park. We don’t plan to leave this corner of San Diego ever!
To visit the nonprofit’s website, go to raiseprogress.org.
Sara is the editor of San Diego Uptown News.