Wow, what a year it’s been at Rights & Democracy here in the Granite State.
We kicked off the year by rallying more than 100 members at the State House where they shared their personal stories publicly and asked our representatives to embrace our New Hampshire People’s Platform and pass bold legislation for health care for all, fair public education funding, moving to renewables as fast as possible to address the climate crisis, addressing the overdose crisis, and for common sense workers rights measures like a livable minimum wage and paid family and medical leave.
One of the most critical issues facing New Hampshire communities is education justice.
In 2018, we defeated the worst-in-the-nation school voucher bill and in 2019 we worked to protect and support our public schools. We formed a core Education Justice strategy team and organized around the state, hosting Education Funding Workshops and a powerful lobby day at the State House to get our Senators to onboard with a better budget for our schools. We also supported our leaders in Newport like Kathy Hubert to help pass a desperately needed school budget for the first time in 6 years by a mere 7 votes!
Despite the governor, our legislature passed a budget this year that brought millions in much needed funding to local schools, and moving forward we will continue to organize and fight for a permanent solution to our education funding crisis.
Universal health care – specifically Medicare for All – was a major focus of RAD this year. In coalition with our friends from NH Youth Movement and Democratic Socialists of America, we canvassed and collected more than 2,000 petition signatures in support of Medicare for All and drove hundreds of calls to Congressman Chris Pappas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster pushing them to cosponsor the bill in Congress.
We also organized a moving and informative Medicare for All Forum where local leaders shared their heartbreaking stories of struggle under our for-profit health care system, and compelling national leaders and scholars made the case for why we must move to a Medicare for All system as soon as possible.
On the local legislative level, we pushed for the passage of SB4, to codify protections for people with pre-existing conditions (aka almost everyone) on the state level. This was one of the few bills NOT vetoed by Governor Sununu this year. Yay!
In addition, we:
Worked in coalition to support the annual Women’s Marches in Concord (1000 people) and Portsmouth (700+ people).
Got serious about getting our progressive framework out into the national debate, training over 80 Granite Staters to ask direct and compelling questions of all the presidential candidates coming to our towns and cities. Due to our effective trainings, our work received national attention on NPR’s All Things Considered, and we continue to push many of the candidates on the issues that matter most to us and our communities; immigration, the climate crisis, education, health care, housing, and workers’ rights.
Connected our local leaders with national movements by sending more than 50 of our members to Washington DC & Detroit for massive conventions with our networks People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy. It was great to learn that we are not alone!
Fought the Climate by working with our allies 350 New Hampshire, Sunrise Movement, and the New Hampshire Youth Movement to co-host Green New Deal Town Halls in Keene and Hanover, and supported planning & turnout for the wave of climate strikes in over a dozen towns and cities this September. In late September, we joined with our allies to take part in the largest arrestable direct action in decades, where our own organizer Alissandra Rodriguez-Murray was one of the 67 people arrested at the Bow Coal Power Plant. This is the only remaining coal fired power plant left in the northeast, and we gotta shut it down!
Stopped hate in the Granite State thanks to our new Regional Sullivan County Organizer Ali Brokenshire. She stepped up quickly and powerfully in her new role this fall and within a week of working at RAD, she joined with allied organizations and local leaders to organize protests and drive calls against a planned GOP fundraiser featuring a notorious anti-Muslim bigot named Robert Spencer not once, but twice!
Held forums with presidential candidates where RAD leaders stepped up in a big way bravely sharing their stories and asking tough, nuanced questions of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Advance our Movement Politics by holding forums and endorsing candidates. Our new Manchester & Nashua Organizer Alissandra Rodriguez-Murray organized two well-attended and inspiring forums with Progressive Manchester leaders in October – one featuring local candidates for school board & alderman, and another focused on the housing crisis. We also endorsed two local candidates this fall – Mitch Greenwald, who unfortunately narrowly lost his race for Mayor of Keene, and Joyce Craig, who won reelection as Mayor of Manchester in a resounding victory over Victoria Sullivan!
Finally, and most importantly, all year we got out into the community and met people where they’re at; at their doors, at farmers markets, pride parades, festivals, wherever we could connect and talk.
This year we signed up 4000 new supporters through direct in-person outreach, and raised over $14,000 in small donations!
We also trained new leaders across the state in relational organizing, public speaking, giving powerful testimony, birddogging, and nonviolent direct action.
That was our work in 2019 and all thanks to your support. We have much more planned for 2020, and your support will help us achieve so much more in this important presidential election year.