For Immediate Release

Bruce Mirken, 415-846-7758
Abel Haptegeorgis, 510-910-2672
Communities Against Prop. 23

Voters of Color Crucial to Prop. 23 Outcome

Massive Effort to Reach Latino, Asian, African-American Voters May Have Turned Tide Against 23 & 26; Victory Party Tonight at The New Parish in Oakland

tonight’s results spell defeat for Proposition 23, as recent polls
suggest, much credit may belong to a massive grassroots effort to
educate voters of color about Propositions 23 and 26 through
door-knocking, phone calls, direct mail, radio ads and ethnic media
outreach. The campaign was mounted by Communities United Against the Dirty Energy Proposition, a coalition of over 130 organizations representing low-income communities and people of color in California.

Early polling showed that many of
California’s ethnic minority communities were more supportive of Prop.
23 than white voters, but polls released in late October showed a marked
shift against the initiative. Less polling has been done about Prop.
26, but Communities United incorporated strong anti-26 messages into its
efforts during the campaign’s final weeks.
“We knew from the start that our
communities could be the key swing votes,” said Communities United
campaign manager Ian Kim. “We mounted a massive effort to educate
Californians of color, and all signs are that it made a big difference.”
Among other things, Communities United:
  • Raised over $1.1 million dollars specifically to reach voters of color and low-income communities.
  • Had over 250,000 one-on-one conversations with voters through door-knocking and phone-banking.
  • Sent direct mail pieces in English, Spanish and Chinese to over 280,000 households of color.
  • Blanketed the airwaves of Spanish
    language radio, particularly in southern California, with a $200,000 ad
    campaign in the last two weeks of the campaign. The spots featured the
    voices of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and human rights legend
    Dolores Huerta.
  • Enlisted Huerta and two other human rights legends, Van Jones and Pam Tau Lee, as high-profile endorsers.
  • Mounted high-visibility events,
    including a dramatic protest at Tesoro’s Wilmington refinery that gave
    local residents affected by the pollution from the Tesoro and Valero
    refineries a media platform to address the harm Prop. 23 would do to
    their communities.
  • Inspired a solar-powered hip-hop tour, The Clean Energy Tour, that took a message of clean energy and voter empowerment to college campuses around California.
  • Created a popular hip-hop No on 23 anthem that helped generate buzz for the campaign.
The coalition had strong leadership
from an executive committee that consisted of the Asian Pacific
Environmental Network, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Ella
Baker Center for Human Rights, PowerPAC, and The Greenlining Institute.
Members of the news media are invited to Communities United’s election night victory party:
Communities United Victory Party (co-hosted with Oakland Rising)
Election Night, Nov. 2   8pm to midnight
The New Parish
579 18th Street (at San Pablo)
Oakland, CA 94612
Near BART 19th St. Oakland station

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