The Weekly Update

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Encourage Your Friends to #ListenFirst on #ListenFirstFriday

Featured Blog Post: Young people aren’t the problem with civic participation. We’re the solution. Sign up for The Fulcrum; nonpartisan news coverage of the democracy reform movement! Because you are a Bridge Alliance supporter, I suspect you’re pretty good at listening to and understanding different perspectives (which is different from agreeing!). After all, nearly ⅓ of the Bridge Alliance is dedicated to bridging ideological divides. But, if you’re like me, your social media timelines are filled with angry rants about current events -- which is understandable given the toxicity of today’s politics.

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Grassroots Efforts Across the Nation

The Bridge Alliance approaches reform with a 10,000 foot perspective -- i.e. a nationwide, all-systems approach. However, that doesn’t mean that we ignore grassroots efforts. After all, most Bridge Alliance member organizations have some type of grassroots component, which take place at locales throughout the nation. For instance, from 2015-2018, Cities of Service’s “Love Your Block” provided technical assistance, funding, and volunteer services to six cities from coast to coast. The cities used these resources to revitalize lower income neighborhoods, with an emphasis on rejuvenating abandoned properties that had turned into hubs of illegal activities. Importantly, Americorps VISTA volunteers in each city reached out to underrepresented members of the community to ensure their voices were heard during planning and implementation. Cities of Service has been running this program since 2009 and has already chosen cities for its program through 2020.

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New Award to Honor (and Fund!) Reformers (Elections Update)

In case you didn’t know, there are a few important elections coming up next year. The results of those elections will go a long way toward determining your representatives for the next ten years. In other words, it’s critical that you have the opportunity to cast your vote and that your vote matters. To help make that happen, Bridge Alliance members RepresentUs and Unite America have teamed up with strategic partner NANR to present the first ever Accelerator Awards. The Accelerator Awards will offer recognition, funding, and strategic support to “reform campaigns that increase participation, competition, and accountability in our political system.”

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(One) America Declares Its Independence! And lots of opportunities to get involved.

First of all, we would like to congratulate Bridge Alliance member One America Movement for its new status as an independent non-profit organization. This is a significant step for an already powerful organization working towards building a society rooted in connections. You can learn more about their work on their website. Second, I was browsing through Member e-newsletters and was struck by the number of options that exist for people to get involved in the democracy reform movement. A sampling of these opportunities are laid out below in two categories: (1) events and (2) digital calls to action.

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Take a Hike! (We mean that in the best possible way)

The Bridge Alliance family would like to pay its respects to the friends and families of those who lost their lives in the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. We would also like to commemorate and thank the brave souls who put their lives on the line to save the lives of others. On August 6th of this year, activist Renaldo Pearson began a 50 day, 600 mile walk from Atlanta, GA to Washington, D.C. The trek, which is being sponsored by Democracy911, is part of the fight that RepresentUs is leading against corruption in our government. Once he arrives at the Capitol building, Renaldo will demand action from our nation’s leaders. You can follow Renaldo’s journey here. And if you are in the D.C. area and want to join Renaldo for the end of his walk on September 20th and 21st, you can do so by signing up here.

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Get Into the (Civic) Spirit! The Bridge Alliance Welcomes Another!

For me personally, it’s always exciting to hear that yet another respected organization has accepted its invitation to join the Bridge Alliance. It’s even more exciting when it’s an organization that I was already familiar with and admired. That has happened quite a few times since I joined the Bridge Alliance family a couple of years ago, and it happened again last week.

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Civvys Finalists! Two New Members! One Wants Your State to be More Like Oregon

A few years ago, my sister moved from New York City to Oregon with her husband and two children. As you can imagine, moving across the country was not easy. Moving is always inconvenient, and that inconvenience is multiplied several times when you are headed several hours by airplane away from your family. One thing that became more convenient? Voting. Washington is one of three states (along with Oregon and Arizona) that holds elections entirely by mail. And the National Vote at Home Institute -- the leading advocate for mail-in-voting and newest member of the Bridge Alliance family -- thinks you should have that same option.

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Bridge Alliance Members Are Working Hard To Keep YOU Informed

Without informed and engaged citizens like you, there is no democracy movement. From information and ideas comes action in the form of your vote, your thoughtful discussions, your activism and engagement in the democratic process.  Democracy is not a spectator sport! 

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Participatory Budgeting Gets An International Boost

The focus of the Bridge Alliance family is the United States. In fact, as you may have noticed, we rarely -- if ever -- talk about global affairs. This doesn’t mean that Bridge Alliance members limit their work to the USA (Charter for Compassion is active in almost 50 nations!), but when you open the Weekly Update, the overwhelming likelihood is that you’ll learn more about a domestic effort to get our nation back on track.

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Ballotpedia Joins the Bridge Alliance Family

We are excited to announce that the newest member of the Bridge Alliance family is Ballotpedia.  If you have never heard of Ballotpedia, we encourage you to check them out. Ballotpedia’s goal is to inform people about politics by providing accurate and objective information about politics at all levels of government. Moreover, they are firmly committed to neutrality. 

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