Aimee Allison

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Aimee Allison


Aimee Allison is Senior Vice President of PowerPAC+, an organization dedicated to electing social justice champions by engaging multiracial voters. She hosts the Democracy in Color Podcast, joined by Tim Molina from Courage Campaign. She is best friends with Rosie Torres.

Interviewees

She has interviewed Michael Tubbs, Anna Tubbs, LaTosha Brown and Tory Gavito, Julie Kohler, Kevin de Leon, Rashida Tlaib, David Garcia, Ted Lieu, and Andrew Gillum.[1]

Background

Born in Ohio and raised in the industrial East Bay town of Antioch, Calif., Allison’s experiences as one of six kids in a biracial family — the daughter of a pioneering African-American plant pathologist and a white mother, a nurse practitioner and civil rights activist — helped forge her steely resolve to “be a bridge person … to have a heart for people who were different from me.”

After enlisting in the U.S. Army at age 17, Allison’s heartbreaking experiences providing medical care to veterans in the Palo Alto to VA shaped her political views. By the 1990s, Allison had become one of the first women of color to be honorably discharged as a conscientious objector. That decision cemented her belief in the critical importance of “strong moral leadership and political courage.”

But her great political awakening came watching political giants like then-presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson — “I was so inspired to see his multiracial organization … people who looked like me,’’ she said — as well as Reps. Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan and Barbara Lee, who took a landmark vote as the only House member against the authorization for use of force in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.[2]

"She is Co-Director of the Democracy in Color campaign. A political and communications strategist, she was a director at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women and led several sessions at the United Nations Commission on the status of women NGO conference.
"Aimee was an on-camera host for LinkTV, Comcast Newsmakers on CNN Headline News and host of the KPFA morning show. She has appeared as a political commentator on various media outlets including PBS, CBS, and Fox. Aimee has been published in Huffington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was awarded fellowships at the Women’s Media Center and the Knight Digital Media Center at U.C. Berkeley. Aimee serves on the corporate board of the YMCA of the East Bay. She is the author of Army of None (Seven Stories Press, 2007) and holds a MA and BA from Stanford University, where she recently was honored with an Award of Merit for her public service.
"She is former director of Media and Community Affairs at San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.
"Aimee Allison's new book about women of color in politics is due out in September 2016. Aimee lives in Oakland, California. [3]
"Aimee Allison is married to Aaron Baluyot, an immigrant from the Philippines.[4]

Stanford

Degrees

(A.B. 1991, A.M. 1993) Stanford University.

Slate of the Times

Stanford Daily, April 13, 1989

In 1989 Aimee Allison, served on the Stanford Council of Presidents, with Chin-Chin Chen, David Brown, Ingrid Nava. All were elected on the Slate of the Times ticket, which was supported by the Peoples Platform.

Supporting Louis Jackson

"In an effort to show nationwide student support for junior Louis Jackson, dozens of students across the country plan to dial the Santa Clara County district attorney Oct. 31 1989, the day before Jackson's next court hearing. Jackson faces six misdemeanor charges — including battery and inciting to riot — in connection with the May 15 takeover of University President Donald Kennedy's office. Supporters of Jackson feel he has been unfairly singled out for his participation in the takeover. The board of directors of the United States Student Association last week unanimously passed a resolution supporting Jackson and agreeing to participate in a nationwide call-in to the district attorney on Jackson's behalf. Based in New York, USSA is a national student lobbying organization which draws representives from student governments and student organizations at campuses across the country. Two Stanford students, former Council of Presidents member Stacey Leyton and current COP member Aimee Allison, are members of USSA's 51-person board of directors.
"At the recent board meeting, Leyton brought Jackson's case up in her report to the directors. She then yielded the floor to Allison, who relayed the specifics of Jackson's case to the board. According to USSA Vice President Julius Davis, board members were jarred by Allison's account. "People were amazed this is happening (to Jackson)," he said. "Students ought to be able to protest without the fear of being prosecuted. They have a right to speak their mind and be treated fairly." According to Allison, 35 of the board members are writing letters voicing concern about Jackson's treatment to University President Donald Kennedy. The letters should be arriving today or early next week, Allison said. Leyton said she hopes the letters, many of which are being written by student body presidents and chairs of student of color organizations, will make an impression on Kennedy.[5]

Anti Gulf war rally

After a relative lull this quarter, the Stanford antiwar movement will kick back into high gear January 15 1991 by staging a protest in White Plaza to rally opposition to American intervention in the Persian Gulf. The rally will begin with speeches at noon, followed by a march to an undisclosed location on campus where organizers will create a mock cemetery dramatizing the possible deaths of American soldiers. The rally will feature Aimee Allison, a member of last year's Council of Presidents who faces a possible deployment to Saudi Arabia. Allison is currently applying for conscientious objector status to fight the deployment.

A petition supporting Allison will be circulated at the rally, according to graduate student Kate Morris, an organizer of the protest. Ujamaa resident fellow Rachel Bagby will also read from the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born on this day in 1929. "We want to be able to make that connection" between King's birthday and the United Nations-sponsored deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait, Morris said.

Rev. Floyd Thompkins, associate dean of Memorial Church, and Rev. Byron Bland, director of Campus Ministries, will also speak at the rally. "I'm pretty sure it will be our largest rally," said junior Sherifa Edoga, one of the organizers.[6]

Old friends

Cory Booker, Steve Phillips and Aimee Allison all knew each other at Stanford University in the 1980s.[7]

PowerPac+ Board of Directors

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PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, as of 2014 included Aimee Allison- Oakland, CA Senior Vice President, PowerPAC+.[8]

Phillips friendship

Steven Phillips' college friend and current colleague Aimee Allison had accompanied him to Alabama in 1988.

She was there when Barack Obama visited Steven Phillips' home in April 2016;

On Friday, she sat with me and President Obama in our living room, sharing the moment and having a moment.

Maya Angelou had come to speak at Stanford when Aimee and I were students there in the 1980s, and she concluded her speech by reciting her poem, “Still I Rise.” Looking at the President — our nation’s first Black President — I thought that surely this is what Angelou meant when she wrote, “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”[9]

Unity connection

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Aimee Allison, an Army Reserve combat medic, and active in Stanford University's Ujamoa, African-American center, was interviewed alongside Wil Depusoy in the Unity Organizing Committee's Unity of February 18, 1991, regarding conscientious objection to the Gulf War.

Activism

Aimee Allison has lived in Oakland since 1991. She currently works as a training and development consultant for youth development nonprofits and other small businesses.

Aimee was a Conscientious Objector in the Persian Gulf War. Attracted by the army's offer of education, she enlisted as a combat medic in order to pay to attend Stanford. As an undergraduate she developed a strong commitment to pacifism while caring for veterans at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. Aimee says, "they were just pieces of people, fractions of body and mind. Many had been homeless. The VA hospital was overcrowded and they were getting really bad medical care. I was 18 and I was taking care of indigent older men. That's when I started questioning war."

For more than a dozen years Aimee has been a counselor to military personnel who are seeking CO status, a public speaker against war, and a nonviolence trainer. She has been featured in the documentary Blood Makes the Grass Grow. As the lead organizer for the Defense Committee of Stephen Funk, the first openly gay Conscientious Objector, Aimee worked closely with Out Against the War, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Against War, and Veterans for Peace.

She is the co-author with David Solnit of the book Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War and Build a Better World which was published in 2007 by Seven Stories Press. She's also a contributor to 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military.

Aimee spent four years as a high school Social Studies Teacher. As Latino Student Advisor during the campaign against the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, she supported a student walkout. Under pressure from her school administration, she left teaching to become a consultant on the uses of technology in the classroom. She has remained a consultant since the late 1990s.[10]

CAN

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field (CAN) and Aimee Allison brought delegates to their feet at the Campus Antiwar Network conference, Berkeley 2005.

Green Party

Aimee Allison was a Green Party of California candidate for the Oakland City Council's District Two in 2005, progressing to a runoff election with incumbent Council member Pat Kernighan.

May 17, 2005 didn't produce the results Oakland Greens and progressives were expecting or hoping for. Ms. Allison placed only fourth (garnering 14.2 percent of the vote) out of a field of eight candidates in the special election for the District 2 seat on the Oakland City Council.

The Council seat was won by Patricia Kernighan who had the backing of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and the local Democratic Party machine.

The special election was precipitated by the resignation of District 2 Council member Danny Wan. Mr. Wan, a Jerry Brown ally, left the Council to pursue more lucrative endeavors. Ms. Kernighan was a top aide in Mr. Wan's office.

Aimee Allison had burst onto Oakland's political scene seemingly out of no where only months ago. An African American woman, 35, with a winning smile, athletic figure, energetic manor, Ms. Allison's extremely articulate speeches are often delivered with great passion.

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Ms. Allison routinely introduced herself to constituents as a resister to the Gulf War of 1992. She was an Army medic in a unit that was re-deployed to Saudi Arabia. Ms. Allison refused to go and took a stand as a conscientious objector. The Army was displeased to say the least, but after due process gave Ms. Allison an Honorable Discharge on the grounds of conscientious objector.

Since 1992, Ms. Allison has continued to counsel war resisters who develop their consciousness while in the military. Gulf War resister, Stephen Funk, who served a term in military prison for his anti-war stand, was present at the election night party. Ms. Allison's attorney from 1992, Ann Fagan Ginger, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, was also there.

Clear class analysis, analysis of racism, of militarism, of the prison industrial complex, of the environmental crises, and other social change perspectives, often find there way into Ms. Allison's remarks. She can smoothly integrate such analysis with her life experiences as a mother, teacher, businesswoman, war resister and Black woman, in explaining her positions on the issues.

Ms. Allison's eloquence and charisma are of no surprise to those who know her. She used her Army grant to attend Stanford University, where she eventually was elected Student Body President.

If Ms. Allison is the perfect Green candidate for Oakland, she also arrived on the scene at a time when the Oakland Left, was ready to make a qualitative leap forward.

A number of key Left forces were important in laying the foundation which the talent-laden Allison campaign sunk its roots into. The campaign in 2004 of Wilson Riles, Jr. (who served thirteen years on the Oakland City Council), against Mayor Jerry Brown was critical. The Riles campaign united the Oakland Left against Jerry “Gentrification” Brown. Mr. Riles served on the Allison campaign Steering Committee.

Oakland's resurgent Tenant's Rights movement was also a key ingredient. Two years ago, tenants won a huge victory with the passage of a ballot measure called “Just Cause Eviction” by Oakland voters. Ms. Allison was the only candidate in this election who campaigned on strengthening rent control. Both Just Cause Oakland! and the Oakland Tenants Union endorsed Ms. Allison.

Years of perseverance and principled politics by the Oakland Greens was also crucial. Having supported Riles' campaign against Brown to the hilt, the Greens had already built an alliance with Riles and his supporters. Months after that election, Riles, who until then was a lifelong Democrat out of the progressive Ron Dellums camp, publicly switched his registration to Green.

When Aimee Allison stepped forward to run, Riles and other veteran leaders of the Oakland Left encouraged her to meet with the Oakland Green Party. All the ingredients came together and Ms. Allison announced that she had changed her registration from decline to state to Green Party.

Greens from around the region lent support to Ms. Allison, including former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Matt Gonzalez; former Green Party candidate for Governor of California, and recent running mate of Ralph Nader, Peter Camejo; former Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate and co-founder of Global Exchange, Medea Benjamin; and veteran Berkeley City Council member Dona Spring. Greens flocked to support the Allison campaign.

Greens were able to bring important campaign skills and experience into the Allison campaign. Ms. Allison's leadership, stands on the issues, and ability to build a multi-racial organization, made her a unifying figure for many Greens, progressive Democrats, independents, and even some radicals and revolutionaries.

By election day, just months after launching, the Allison campaign had grown dramatically and claimed to have mobilized more than three hundred volunteers. The campaign also raised enough money to field a professional grassroots campaign operation, with attractive literature and signs (even though much of the staff positions appeared to be filled by volunteers).

Ms. Allison received two important labor endorsements. The powerful and dynamic Oakland-based long shore union, ILWU Local 10, endorsed her and it was the first time it ever endorsed any Green Party candidate. The influential teachers union, OEA also endorsed Ms. Allison.

Many Left organizations supported Ms. Allison. The local Socialist Unity Network endorsed Ms. Allison, as did constituent organizations of SUN, locals of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, International Socialist Organization, Socialist Party USA, and Solidarity. SUN organized a house party, with significant support from the ISO, to raise funds for the Allison campaign.

In her concession speech, Ms. Allison declared, “...this campaign is about the next generation...to say the future rests with us, the people, and not with large developers...We see an alternative future and those of us who believe in it know it is possible.”

“What's happening on the national level is unacceptable. We won't accept Bush sucking resources out of our schools, our communities, and our hospitals. Here in Oakland we're not going to accept the consequences of the war...Martin Luther King said that the bombs dropped in Vietnam explode in our streets – it is so true here in Oakland...and Oakland can change and be a model,” concluded Ms. Allison. [11]Aimee Allison Campaign Takes Oakland Greens to New Level by Jonathan Nack (jonathan [at] eastbaynews.org) Sunday May 29th, 2005]</ref>

Socialist endorser

On Oct. 10, 2006 the Socialist Action Bookstore hosted a political debate with three candidates for the U.S. Senate seat in California.

Todd Chretien explained that “one of the key battles is destroying the hold of Democratic Party over the working class, students, and people in this country,” he has volunteered for the 2006 campaign of Aimee Allison. She is one of Chretien’s endorsers and Green Party candidate for Oakland City Council.

Allison’s website states that she “is a driving force in the Draft [Ron] Dellums movement,” which gathered “more than 8000 signatures in favor of his candidacy.” Ron Dellums was the 2006 Democratic Party mayoral candidate in Oakland.[12]

Service

Before her hosting work at KPFA, Allison worked as a host for Local Edition, Technology News, and Bay-TV, as well as contributing to films like the documentary A Question of Conscience. Her writings have been featured in a wide range of publications. Allison has also worked as an educator, counselor to military personnel seeking CO status, nonviolence trainer, organizational advisor, and nonprofit business consultant.

WAR AND PEACE ... Connecting the dots

PANEL: Wilson Riles, Jr., Jackie Cabasso, Aimee Allison, Andrew Lichterman. Think through the excuses this country uses to go to war and the role of the peace movement. Using a social, economic and political lens, we will dialogue around what strategies are needed to increase the effectiveness of the peace movement in ending war abroad and its damaging impacts at home. 1433 Webster St March 16, 2006.[13]

Bay Area New Priorities Campaign

Initiating signers, Bay Area New Priorities Campaign were;

"The 99% Spring"

Individuals and organizations supporting The 99% Spring, as of April 20, 2012, included Aimee Allison - RootsAction .[15]

Oakland Rising 5 year birthday party

June 2013 Oakland Rising poster; ·

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Our 5 year birthday party is just 10 days away! Do you have your ticket yet? — with Richard Raya, Nikki Fortunato Bas, Pamela Drake, Jahmese Kathleen Myres, Michael Riemenschneider, Andy Katz, Mimi Ho, Igor Tregub, Andy Kelley, Steven Pitts, Melanie Cervantes, Nicole Derse, Lailan Sandra Huen, Kim Carter Martinez, Nwamaka Agbo, Brooke Anderson, Mary Thomas, Kate O'Hara, Timmy Lu, Peggy Moore, Dani McClain, EO Okiwelu, Lanese Martin, Marc Philpart, Rebecca Saltzman, Alex T. Tom, Jose A. Dorado, Rachel Richman, Tonya Love, Sheryl Walton, Andrea Lee, Aimee Allison, Sharon Rose, Rebecca Kaplan, Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, Cole B. Cole, Jessamyn Sabbag, Malcolm Amado Uno, Phil Hutchings, Michelle Matos and Maria Poblet.

Facing Race 2014

After the Black President: Politics and the New Majority

Communities of color overwhelmingly backed the election of President Obama - and are the future of U.S. politics. Hear about the seismic demographics shifts behind a new and powerful electorate in the South and Southwest. This is the beginning of profound change. At the local, state and Congressional level, this new voting block is electing social justice champions to address the communities’ most pressing needs. Texas, California, Hawaii and New Mexico are majority people of color states. 24 states have enough people of color to make the difference. Speakers: Aimee Allison, Joaquin Guerra, Julie Martinez Ortega.[16]

Race Will Win the Race conference

PowerPAC+ June 25, 2014;

Today's the day! #WINin2014 Race Will Win the Race conference is finally here. Check out what's to come and join us on Twitter @PowerPAC_Plus using #WINin2014. — with Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, Trey Martinez Fischer, Representative Marcia Fudge and Mark Takano in Washington, District of Columbia.[17]

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Plus speakers Aimee Allison, Deepak Bhargava, Susan Sandler, Steve Phillips, Ingrid Nava, Andy Wong, Subodh Chandra, Linda Hammond-Darling, Alida Garcia, Julie Martinez Ortega.

Kamala Harris for Senate campaign kickoff event

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Steve Phillips April 1, 2015.

At kickoff event for California's next United States Senator, Kamala Harris! — with Eleni TK, Aimee Allison, Amy Chen, Michael Tubbs and Jill Habig at Delancey Street Foundation.

Democracy in Color podcast

The Democracy in Color podcast, hosted by Aimee Allison, features today’s best and brightest political political leaders, strategists and thinkers of the New American Majority. We’ve featured Senator Cory Booker; Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal; San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs; BART Director Lateefah Simon; writer Eric Liu; #Goodmuslimbadmuslim co-host Tanzila Ahmed; New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, and writers Rebecca Solnit and Jeff Chang, among many others. Ellen McGirt, editor of Fortune magazine’s raceAhead, calls it: "The smartest podcast on race I've found in ages. Listen and grow.".[18]

Launch of Democracy in Color

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Launch of Democracy in Color Loew's Hotel Philadelphia July 25 2016, at Democratic National Convention.

Steve Phillips July 28, 2016

Words can't convey the power of these women taking the stage and showing by word and symbol what the future looks like. — with Stacey Abrams, Nina Turner, Lucy Flores, Alida Garcia, Rida Hamida, Jane Kim and Aimee Allison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Old comrades book tour

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Julie Martinez Ortega. February 2, 2016 ·

It's launched! Great event this afternoon at Center for American Progress moderated by Maria Teresa Kumar. Tomorrow night I'll be joining Steve at the next stop in Baltimore at Red Emma's. #BrownIsTheNewWhite — with Aimee Allison, Steve Phillips and Sharline Chiang.

Left Coast Forum

She the People: The Heart of the Progressive Movement

Women of color are the core of the progressive movement as activists, culture makers, voters, and next generation political leadership. She the People imagines a politics that we have not yet seen - one that elevates and invests in women of color, America's most underrepresented and progressive group, to forge an intersectional political agenda that addresses the unfinished business of the left and prepares our movement for victory. She the People reimagines democracy, as women of color become the majority of all women and people of color in the U.S.

Aimee Allison Director of Democracy in Color, an organization that focuses on race, politics and the New American Majority that worked to elect President Barack Obama, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris, and other leaders who carry a social justice agenda.

Starting: Saturday, 4th of November 2017, 7:30PM Main Hall of LA Trade Technical College.[19]

Cuba

Aimee Allison spent a week in Cuba in the first half of 2018.[20]

References