We started in 2011 as a group of progressive organizers, meeting in living rooms, community centers and union halls, to discuss the need for a permanent progressive movement in the Commonwealth. We envisioned a grassroots force that would operate beyond a single election, making real change on Beacon Hill — and holding accountable the people we elect to bringing about progressive policy. By October, over 200 participated in our Kick Off.
It was clear progressives were ready to organize longer term, so we began building in earnest. We’ve reached out via social media, our networks and spread the word: organizers and liberals, gather round, join our email list, and let’s work together in trainings and conferences. We endorsed some candidates; progressives Mary Keefe, Ken Gordon and Aaron Vega won their seats. We organized around net metering, single payer and “three strikes.” And we started mapping out what we could achieve as a larger, better funded organization.
And finally we made it official. In January 2013, we incorporated and accelerated our efforts:
- We held our first Annual Conference.
- We published our first scorecard.
- We worked hard for progressive new revenue, live tweeting the disappointing results at the State House.
We began to be known — and sought out. We are now tracking key legislation and taking stands on a wide range of progressive issues. We’ve endorsed in three special election — Markey, Dorcena-Forry and Livingstone — all won! Activists started using our materials (Markey-Lynch comparison) and asked for more (Markey-Gomez comparison).
And we are continuing to push forward. You see, we hope that someday, very soon, we will have a large and growing membership base; all of whom are actively involved in advocating for progressive policy, electing progressive leaders and holding them accountable for their votes.
Now, as we transition toward that larger vision, we have hired staff: Ben Wright, our Campaigns Director, and now Shaina Kasper joins as our Field Organizer. Over the summer, we’ll be working with stipended interns.
These young people will help us move from an email list to a membership base — building our strength throughout the Commonwealth; engaging more people in the actions that make a difference at the State House.
- We have an election reform Lobby Day on July 17th – will you be there?
- We have a National Day of Action on the minimum wage on July 24th – will you take part?
From the start, we knew that being an effective change agent would require significant resources — organizers like Ben and Shaina, materials likely our nifty Action Magnet (to debut at the Mass Dems. Convention in Lowell), a voter file for canvasses and phone banks.
We also know that we want to be more than an organization with a big email list and a splashy twitter presence. We want committed, grassroots membership, invested in making the changes we need to make a more progressive Massachusetts.
That’s why we are now transitioning to a full membership organization.
Everyone will continue to have access to our materials via the web, email and social media. Dues-paying members, however, will help set the course for the organization. You will decide which candidates we endorse and what campaigns we prioritize. You will help elect and serve on our Board. In short, you will lead the organization forward.
We need your commitment as a progressive activist to help shape our movement. Let’s make it official: become a full member of Progressive Mass!