California Calls was formerly the California Alliance.
California Calls is a growing alliance of 31 grassroots, community-based organizations spanning urban, rural and suburban counties across the state.
We engage, educate and motivate new and infrequent voters among young people, from communities of color, and from poor and working class neighborhoods to make California’s electorate reflect our state’s diverse population.
Through our bottom-up approach, we are organizing voters most impacted by budget cuts and deteriorating public services in support of systemic, progressive solutions to our state’s fiscal crisis. Working together, and including those who are often left out of policy decisions, we believe we can reclaim the California Dream of equality, opportunity and prosperity for all Californians.
California Calls is implementing a 4-pronged approach to achieve our goals:
1. Build an alliance of powerful social justice organizations around the state. Our Strategy - Build an Alliance Through training and support, California Calls has strengthened the ability of 31 local organizations to engage and mobilize tens of thousands of residents in their neighborhoods. Our grassroots training and political education program sharpens the skills of over 2,500 neighborhood leaders who are the backbone of our civic engagement programs through their one-to-one contact with voters.
2. Utilize a state-of-the-art civic engagement system capable of reaching hundreds of thousands of voters. Our Strategy - CEP SystemCalifornia Calls has built a statewide technology infrastructure that includes a database of 1.6 million voters, 14 regional, computer-based phoning centers, and ongoing voter engagement and organizing programs in thousands of precincts across our 12 counties. We conduct 2 to 3 statewide civic engagement programs every year, with our local anchor organizations following up with voters throughout the year. The purpose of these programs is to reach out, engage, inform and motivate voters to consistently participate in elections and public policy debates.
3. Develop innovative strategic communications strategies that build understanding and motivate 1 million new and infrequent voters who support policy solutions that achieve the four strategic goals. Decades of ultra-conservative research, message “discipline” and media campaigns have poisoned public opinion about the importance of government in our lives. Unless we restore people’s faith in government—and our role to make it work for all people—winning long-term policy reform will be impossible. California Calls engages in research, field testing and the development of a new “story” that can counter the dominant anti-government narrative and messaging and expands support for a progressive vision of government.
4. Forge strategic collaborations with key statewide efforts. We know we can’t build power alone, and strategic collaborations with statewide partners—civil rights, labor, faith-based, human service and other groups– are a critical element to our strategy. Creating change will take many organizations working together on a statewide level over multiple years to build a movement and the collective strength we need to achieve our goals.
Staff & Leaders
- Anthony Thigpenn - Founder and President
- Sabrina Smith - Deputy Director
- Karla Zombro - Field Director
- Veronica Carrizales - Policy and Campaign Director
- Robyn Elliott - Director of Finance and Administration
- Michele Prichard - Senior Advisor
- Kevin Perez-Allen - Associate Director, Strategic Communications
- Victor Suarez - Strategic Communications Coordinator
- Lydia Avila - Associate Director, Organizing
- Amado Uno - Political Director, Million Voters Project (MVP)
- Kevin Cosney - Senior Organizing Manager
- James Woodson - Organizing Coordinator
- Marjon Kashani - Organizing Coordinator
- Brian Nguyen - Organizing Coordinator
- Gloria Gutierrez - Organizing Coordinator
- Edgar Beltran - Research and Policy Associate
- Melinda Hilyard-Ealy - Development Manager
- LaShawn White - Alliance & Logistics Manager
- Blanca Estela Delgado - Technology Coordinator
The California Calls Coordinating Committee is our highest decision-making body, made up of representatives from regional anchor groups, state anchor groups, and strategic partners. The Coordinating Committee meets once per quarter and oversees the Alliance’s goals, program plans, activities and budget.
- Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) – Statewide, LA, San Diego – Amy Schur, Maurice Weeks
- Alliance San Diego – Andrea Guerrero, Christopher Wilson
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) – Statewide Ally – Betty Hung
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) – Statewide Ally – Amado Uno
- California Federation of Teachers – Statewide Ally – Jessica Ulstad
- Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy – Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties – Cameron Yee, Lucas Zucker
- Community Coalition – Los Angeles –Joanne Kim, Alberto Retana
- Communities for a New California – Statewide, Fresno and Coachella Valley – Venise Curry
- Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) – Rev. Benjamin Briggs, Sam Casey
- Courage Campaign – Statewide Ally – Eddie Kurtz
- Dolores Huerta Foundation – Kern, Tulare Counties – Dolores Huerta, Camila Chavez
- Knotts Family & Parenting Institute – Gwen Knotts, Ed McField
- Inner City Struggle – Los Angeles – Henry Perez
- Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) – Statewide Ally – Patricia Castellanos
- Oakland Rising – Oakland/Alameda County – Jessamyn Sabbag
- San Francisco Rising Alliance – San Francisco County – Alex Tom, Chinese Progressive Association (San Francisco); Vanessa Moses, Causa Justa/Just Cause
- Strategic Concepts in Organizing Policy Education (SCOPE) – Los Angeles – Gloria Walton, Manisha Vaze
- Working Partnerships USA – San Jose/Santa Clara County – Derecka Mehrens, Maria Fernandez
California Calls December 6, 2017:
The California Calls alliance has BIG plans for 2018. We can't wait to tell you all about them. Join our email list to stay in the know: http://www.cacalls.org/sign-up/? — with Innercity Struggle, Jessamyn Sabbag, Monica Mariko Embrey, Karla Zombro, Sabrina Smith, Lucas Zucker, Kirk Samuels, Victor Suarez, Edgar Beltran, Lydia Avila, Tim Molina, Jessica Pace, Kevin Cosney, Community Coalition, Oakland Rising, San Francisco Rising Alliance, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education (SCOPE), Communities for a New California Action Fund, Working Partnerships USA, Courage Campaign, We Are California and ACCE Action.
Towards a National Strategy: Building Independent State Based Power
While the spirit of resistance is strong, inspiring, and seemingly more widespread than any we have seen in recent decades, we know that resistance alone is insufficient to reverse the grave threats we face as a nation.
Our movement’s responses have largely been about registering opposition to Trump, and slowing down or mitigating his agenda. Many continue to pursue a one-dimensional view of power: the election of progressive candidates. Without a focus on sustained, day-to-day, bottom-up organizing, this approach is insufficient to match the forces now in power.
Pushing back on the attacks at the federal level is critical, but we must also push forward through offensive battles that reflect our progressive values. Where we can move from defense to offense is at the local and state level. And, key to an effective national strategy is organized, grassroots organizing for state power.
California Calls has been a leader in the launch of a new state-based Power Caucus to explore new strategies to expand independent political power centered in states as the building blocks to a national strategy. Currently, 20 state-based efforts across 13 states, along with representatives from national networks and movement leaders, are active in the caucus.
Our goal is to develop a clear and collective understanding of what statewide governing power might look like and how it can be built, articulate an alternative vision to the Trump agenda and the dominant narrative of our time and strategize about how to influence the national landscape towards a strategic long-term state-based power building approach.