California Calls

Dear allies, supporters and friends,

Since September 2009, the California Alliance has worked to create a new base of progressive power in our state. Our progress, and the collective victories of the movement, should give us good reason to be hopeful for the future.

We know that California is not defined by the problems we face. California stands for something more. It’s the dignity that comes from being able to find a good job to support your family. It’s the promise that every child — no matter what neighborhood they live in — will have access to a quality education. It’s the security that comes from knowing that our state’s natural beauty will be there for the next generation.

Making that dream a reality is our calling.

That’s why I am happy to announce our new name. The California Alliance is now California Calls: An Alliance to Renew the Dream.

We’re proud of what California Calls has accomplished. But we know that if we’re going to make changes to the way our state government works, we can’t do it alone. We need your help.

Today, we’re launching our new website. Will you respond to our call and spread the word to five of your colleagues?  If we can count on you, click here to visit our website.

Despite the significant challenges we face as a movement, the Alliance anchor organizations as well as our dynamic friends and allies around the state have achieved a great deal. In the past six months we have:

  • Contacted over 170,000 voters, 63% of whom voted in the November election.
  • Convened a coalition of community-based organizations, unions and advocates to more strategically build power and create a lasting partnerships for progressive change.
  • Updated the equation for buiding statewide power through training , coaching and regional strategy sessions.

California Calls is looking forward to working with you to renew the California Dream.


Anthony Thigpenn

Communications Structure

Finding Our (Collective) Voice and Making It Heard

Do you wonder why the catchwords and messages of the Right have such traction in the media marketplace, while progressive voices seemed to be drowned out?

The California Civil Rights Coalition is committed to finding effective, powerful, and creative ways to express our shared messages, and to developing vehicles to make sure our voices are heard.

We hope you will join us for the communications session of the Civil Rights State of the State where we will talk about our shared values and find practical ways to make our communications more effective. This session will be led by Claudia Pena, CCRC Coordinator; Bilen Mesfin, EJS Communications Consultant and Principal at Change Consulting, LLC; Keith Kamisugi, EJS Communications Director; Elaine Elinson, EJS Communications Consultant and former ACLU-NC Communications Director.

We have designed this session to be useful to many kinds of groups – from local, grassroots organizations who do not have communications staff, to larger groups with experience, national connections and resources to share.  But only your participation will make it really work!

Highlights include:

Identifying Opportunities and Challenges – A frank accounting from seasoned communications professionals about the benefits – and pitfalls – of doing joint media work.

Defining Our Common Values – We will begin the conversation in attempting to name the shared values that underlie all the work we do – whether in health care, immigration, education, race discrimination or LGBT rights – and explore the best ways to express those values.   We will look at how the messages and vocabulary of the right have seeped into the media and our daily dialogue – phrases like “birthright citizenship,” “illegal aliens,” “colorblind society,” and “special interest groups,”  — and how we can debunk them.

Staging a Press Conference – Dos and Don’ts – Here, you will have a chance to take an issue in the news (like the stonewalling that led to the collapse of the state budget talks or how proposed cuts affect your community) and work with others to determine the most effective messages, messengers and media strategy.

Finding Our Way Forward – We will begin finding the best ways for the Coalition to create a unified response around major issues, support organizations seeking to publicize their key issues, and figure out how to provide resources (like a handbook, training, etc.) to groups that do not have communications staff.