On Thursday night, Sara Horan, Kathy Carter and myself had the opportunity of a lifetime. We joined the OFA 2019 Directions conference call expecting to hear of minor tweaks to the OFA Chapters & Issue Teams re: next year’s direction and how we would interface with Coalition Groups for continuied Electioneering interface in calendar year 2019.
We had received an email that a special guest would address us … so as we tuned in, we were delighted to have Katie Hogan .. head of OFA on the line and after a few glowing remarks about OFA’s adaption in 2018 to the electioneeering process and the successes of 2018, Katie introduced another special guest .. President Barack Obama .. Likewise he expressed respect and great appreciation for what OFA had accomplished over our short history … re-inventing ourselves around our issue teams and days of action and most recently on the Electioneering front .. intergrating with our Issue Teams and adapting to OFA outright support for candidates that supported our issues .. and the great job that we did in 2018 local and national elections .
As President Obama was acknowledging the great work of OFA .. there was an emerging challenge to his voice as he started talking about the Redistricting Problems across the US .. and the valuable work that A. G. Eric Holder and a small staff had done over the course of 2017.. and how this now had to be Priority One for himself, Eric Holder and the NDRC and OFA.
President Obama is asking OFA and it’s Chapters to re-invent themselves again in 2019 in the “all-in” most important structural fight of the decade on Redistricting by combining our forces with former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF).
For 2019 NWSOFA (as it is known now) will be integrating redistricting with everything we do .. every issue, every piece of electioneering .. much like we did with the “I will Vote” campaign and the Team 2018 local and national work with candidates at all levels. Actually more than “much like” but with the help and direction of the NRAF, Eric Holder and Barack and Michelle Obama. Starting in 2019 what we have done in the past will pale by what we will accomplish in 2019 and beyond.
Redistricting presents a chance to fundamentally reshape what is possible by restoring fairness to our democracy, accountability to our political leaders, and power to the will of the people. Across OFA’s core issues, it’s clear how sorely this shift is needed… OFA has been through many iterations and has continually adapted in pursuit of its fundamental goal to build a fairer, more representative, and more participatory democracy.
Given the unique opportunity that redistricting presents, this is a clear pivot point to ensure this once-in-a-decade opportunity gets the focus it demands. The results of the midterms – the prevailing gap between the distribution of votes and the distribution of power – only reinforces the importance of this strategic alignment. The partnership between our two groups made clear that our missions were aligning going into 2019, and we will be streamlining our organizations / our efficiency in tackling this colossal challenge together.
The next 3 months will mark a transition period, with OFA working to ensure that the Chapters and volunteers who have powered this grassroots movement have all necessary support as we move toward this new chapter. Additional programming announcements will be made in early 2019.
For now continue your issue team meetings .. using all the current tools you.. but expect to hear daily of new messaging and tools to do our new priority job.
Over the next three months we will learn more about the combining of OFA and NRAF forces and support teams .. expect great changes, expect small changes, expect some challenges, expect a new name, logo and banner .. expect more interaction with the President, Michelle and Eric Holder .. OFA will be re-invented as “those guardians of democracy”.
As President Obama says in his news release “ For more than a decade, through so many iterations, I couldn’t be prouder of what OFA has accomplished. Each time I’ve summoned you for new challenges, you’ve answered the call and exceeded all expectations. You have inspired me and reaffirmed my faith in America. So I’m turning to you again. I’m asking you to be those guardians of democracy — to fight alongside me as fellow citizens in the hard but rewarding pursuit of a more perfect union.”
Bill Davis, Sara Horan, and Kathy Carter
OFA Monthly Volunteer Call — registration link
On the first Monday of each month, this call is open to all volunteers and will serve as a place to get updates from OFA on our issues. Please join the call if you are interested in getting more information about the work we are doing to join the call.