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.

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