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January 2011 eNewsletter

Inside this issue: Read “Movement Building Beyond Election Day” and download “Capitol Gains” tool; welcome new team members; upcoming events.

Dear friend,
President Obama's State of the Union address reminded us to be hopeful in times of great challenge. The best way to stay hopeful is to move into action. While our state legislatures are as divided as the U.S. Congress, our VOTE project groups and others are ensuring that the voices of those who are most often shut out of the public policy debate are heard loud and clear. In this issue we share with you a tool to clarify movement building goals within a legislative context. At the Center, we kicked off 2011 by welcoming two new members to our team!

In Solidarity,





 Nancy Haque, Building Political Power Director


Movement-Building Beyond Election Day


Capitol Gains

During every legislative cycle, organizers work tirelessly with constituents to further progressive policies. But what happens once the votes have been counted? Do grassroots activists go into hibernation when there isn’t a piece of legislation to support or rally against?

At the Center, the approach to our Building Political Power program uses movement-building in order to strategize beyond any single campaign. The centerpiece of this program is VOTE. Through VOTE (Voter Organizing Training and Empowerment), we work with groups across our region in order to solidify and integrate the movement-building component into the important social justice work that they do.

Sarah Howell, our very own trainer & organizer, has put together a chart to easily distinguish between traditional versus movement-building strategies during legislative campaigns. The “Capitol Gains: Traditional Vs. Movement Building Approach” tool highlights the ways in which organizations can use a movement-building approach to extend their work beyond Election Day.

Read on and download the tool...


Look who joined the Western States Center team!

The Center is excited to welcome Kawa Kuller and Amy Lam as new addition to our staff.

Kawa and Amy



Kawa and Amy.

"I first became familiar with the Center’s work as a teenager volunteering with Youth for Justice," said Kawa. "As a long-time admirer, I dreamed of someday working for the Center. With extraordinary co-workers and exciting programs, I couldn’t be happier as I settle in." 

Kawa is our new Events and Operations Coordinator and Amy is in a newly created position, Development and Communication Associate. Go to our staff page to read more about them.


Save the Date!


CSTI logo






Join us for CSTI on July 29-31, 2011 at Reed College, Portland, Oregon. More information to come! 


Upcoming Events

5th Annual Women's Policy Leadership Institute

January 28-29th in Helena, Montana.  

Our very own executive director, Kelley Weigel, will be featured as a keynote speaker at this event centered around policy. Kelley's keynote address is entitled "Looking Back to Move Forward," where she will provide analysis of recent events, thoughts on what we can learn from these experiences & where we go from here.

Click for more info.


Creating Change 2011

February 2nd-6th in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kelley and Kalpana Krishnamurthy, our Gender Justice Director, will head out to the mid-west to help lead the workshop: Steering Ourselves Towards Racial Justice: Organizing for LGBT Rights AND Racial Justice. Creating Change is the 23rd National Conference on LGBT Equality, bringing together more than 2,500 folks from across the country for organizing and skills-building event.

Click for more info.


Photo of the Month

Montana Jump



Montana organizers jump for joy at our VOTE convening in December.

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