Moving Forward

December 20, 2008 -- Leslie Moody

Ready for Change?

As we stumble into this new era, it is clear to our movement - broadly defined - that we have been playing defense for far too long.  Over the years, many of our partners have achieved incredible victories for working families at the local and regional level, while our national partners monitored the attacks in Washington and calculated the toll on our country on a grand scale.  Now, facing an administration open to ideas and innovation, we have a unique opportunity to carry our local victories and innovation to the federal level.

Over the past 2 months, the challenge presented in such an opportunity has been made very real to us.  While the vision in DC may have changed, the structures surrounding the Capitol are very much the same.  The opportunity for a community voice in this administration is apparent, but involves breaking through the inside game and putting our communities and local innovations up front.

Surprisingly enough, the very first White House Task Force on Middle-Class Working Families did just that.  The Task Force heard powerful testimony from Cecilia Estolano, Director of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency and a key policy ally of both LAANE and our entire movement.  Cecilia highlighted the groundbreaking work in LA - through Construction Careers, Clean Trucks, and other land use and green jobs innovations at the local level - as a model for other cities and our nation as a whole.

We all know that innovation happens in cities.  We founded the Partnership with a goal of bubbling up this innovation - adding it up to create change in new cities or at the state or federal level.  We now find that our work has the hope to elevate job and environmental standards across industries: in ports, construction, emerging weatherization and other green growth sectors.  As a whole, we are on the cutting edge of creating a new middle class in this country.

Catapulting this local innovation and success upward is testament to our organizing and strength as a network - and to the leadership of public officials like Cecilia and Mayor Villaraigosa.  We applaud the Task Force for taking such a bold step in its first hearing, and look forward to sharing further innovations that our partners have played a key role in developing - Newark's weatherization program, possibly?


Leslie Moody

Partnership Executive Director