Justice Democrats Launched a ‘Movement School’ to Train Next Generation of Progressive Organizers


The political action committee made famous for helping progressives like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar win elections now has a “Movement School” intended to train the “next generation of progressive grassroots campaign staffers.”

The Movement School, described as the sister organization of the Justice Democrats PAC, trained 71 activists in 2019 in its campaign fellows program.

The group announced in a recent press release that it’s now accepting applications for its “2020 campaign fellows cohort.”

“Building a movement and cultivating leaders who will fight and organize for working class representatives at all levels of government takes a lot of best practices, learning, and reflections,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats and board member of the Movement School. “That’s why Movement School was created; instead of starting over from scratch every election cycle, up and coming leaders can study directly from the playbooks of the best and brightest.”

She touted the fact that each class of campaign fellows “will be at least 80 percent organizers of color, 80 percent from working class backgrounds, and 60 percent women.”

According to its website, the Movement School began as an “organic initiative among volunteers on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign to learn and connect.”

“In 2018 we ran a short series of best practice trainings that helped support thirteen campaigns in New York and around the country,” states the website. “This growing community of incredible, passionate supporters and partners laid the groundwork for Movement School’s ambitious plans in 2019 and 2020.”

The mission of the Movement School is to “cultivate leaders and organizers to fight on behalf of their working class communities by providing tools and resources to advocate for justice, achieve innovative, locally-driven solutions to key issues, and mobilize grassroots engagement in the democratic process.”

The fellows program is described as a 10-week “intensive campaign simulation, structured around training sessions and teamwork and led by mentors and speakers from among the best progressive organizers in the country.”

The training sessions are conducted remotely and focus on four key areas of “messaging and communications, finance and fundraising, field and data, and technology and digital.”

The Movement School also runs a program called “Reclaim NYCHA,” which stands for the New York City Housing Authority. This program is described as a “local approach to building power for marginalized communities” and a means of “amplifying political voice for public housing residents.”

Alumni of the program were tweeting their praise for the Movement School after it opened up its application process for the 2020 class.

“This is honestly one of the best training programs for progressives,” said one Movement School graduate. “Too often campaign training programs are only open to people who have money to blow or have great connections via their privilege.”

“Minnesota Organizers: applications are now open for the Movement School winter cohort! Easily one of the best campaign training programs that exists,” said a Minnesota alumna.

“Seriously, one of the best decisions I ever made was applying to be in the inaugural cohort of Movement School. If you’re a progressive who is committed to doing the work to make the world better, apply today. You won’t regret it,” said another graduate.

The Movement School claims to have trained activists from 30 states in 2019 and alumni now have leadership roles on the presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bernie Sanders Rally” by Richard Lopez. CC BY 2.0.







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