Clone of Session Display

How Progressives Are Organizing in California


This panel will show how progressives are organizing in CA within the Democratic Party, through electoral campaigns, through micro-local city council district organizing and through issue based coalition organizing.
SATURDAY August 25, 2018 - 7:15pm to 8:45pm
Main Hall


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Lauren Steiner is a former cable television professional who became a grassroots activist and organizer while home raising two sons now 20 and 24. She was very involved with Occupy LA, started and ran Los Angeles for Bernie Sanders and was a delegate for him at the Democratic National Convention. She fights the privatization of public institutions and public goods. She fights against fracking, bad trade deals, education privatization and for a free and open internet and community choice energy programs. She plans protests and disruptions, organizes citizen lobby meetings with legislators, speaks at conferences, writes articles and livestreams protests and progressive events. She also hosts a twice weekly live show "The Robust Opposition" Sunday and Wednesday nights at 7 pm on her personal Facebook page. It covers local, state and national issues featuring interviews with activists, organizers, independent journalists, elected officials and progressive candidates.

Speaker 1

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Ground Game LA
Meghan Choi is a co-founder and board member of Ground Game LA, a grassroots community organization dedicated to civic engagement and advocacy that grew out of a campaign for city council in council district 13. During the campaign, she served as Outreach Director and ran the canvassing campaign for the district, increasing new voter turnout in a low turnout year. She has been working in coalition with local and national groups in LA to fight for immigrants rights and run education campaigns to non-impacted communities. Meghan coordinates the different divisions of Ground Game and has been trained as a legal observer by the National Lawyers Guild and police liaison by People’s Action for mass actions and protests. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and serves on the board of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council.

Speaker 2

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Community Coalition
The son of Mexican and Costa Rican immigrants who came to this country in 1962, Alberto Rentana graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science. As a student activist, he joined with other students across the country to organize campaigns to defend affirmative action, lower student fees, and advance racial justice. After UCLA, Alberto cut his teeth in community organizing at Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization based in South Los Angeles that engages and empowers residents to improve health, education, and public safety. At Community Coalition, Alberto further developed his organizing values: understanding that leadership development, building the power of collective action, and non-violence are core tenets to advancing social change. Alberto’s unwavering commitment to organizing began with South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA). For the next eleven years, Alberto continued organizing in different capacities, leading Community Coalition through major victories in advancing racial justice, economic justice, food justice, and education equity. From 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama administration in the U..S. Department of Education as Director of Community Outreach. During his time in D.C., he organized the Department’s first National Youth Summit. In 2011, Alberto returned to Community Coalition to lead its mass based civic engagement strategy to organize 40,000 African American and Latino voters in various campaigns from statewide initiatives to enrollment into Obamacare. Alberto also helped to build Community Coalition’s cultural arm by launching PowerFest—South Los Angeles’ premier political concert drawing thousands of South Los Angeles residents to a day of celebration and empowerment. After a rigorous national search, Alberto was selected to be President and CEO of Community Coalition effective July 1st, 2015.

Speaker 3

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Cal. Dem Party Progressive Caucus
Karen Bernal is a three term Chair of the CDP’s Progressive Caucus, as well as a member of the Party's Executive Board. She is also an appointed member of the Sacramento County Democratic Party, and Co-founder of the Wellstone Progressive Democrats of Sacramento County. Karen served as Co-Chair of California's Bernie delegation to the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia after volunteering for Bernie’s campaign in Sacramento and Las Vegas, and was a lead organizer in the last Assembly District Delegate elections where waves of progressives swept in statewide as new delegates to the California Democratic Party. In addition, she has held union organizing jobs, working for the California School Employees Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Karen considers herself a strategist, thinker and activist who fights for progressive causes both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

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Doug Applegate for Congress
Cody Petterson is a member of both the San Diego County and California Democratic Party Central Committees. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California San Diego and spent two years in the Peruvian highlands studying land reform, municipal politics, and ethnic conflict. He helped organize Progressive Slates in all seven of San Diego County's Assembly Districts and served as San Diego County whip coordinator for Kimberly Ellis's run for California Democratic Party Chair. In 2017 he set aside his non-profit work to manage the congressional campaign of Colonel Douglas Applegate against Darrell Issa in the California 49th.

Speaker 5