It’s been a year, NAL family. From the pandemic to the protests for racial justice to more politics as usual, 2020 has taken an exhaustive mental, emotional, and psychological toll on Black people, New Americans, and all people of color.
Yet in spite of everything, you never gave up. You kept on going—kept on organizing, protesting, volunteering, and voting—overcoming all odds to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy. You made all the difference in an unprecedented year, both for our democracy and our organization.
This week, we’re looking back at the year and calling out the amazing work you did as part of our movement! None of our top moments in the past 12 months below would’ve been possible without you. Thanks for helping shake up the status quo and change the face of leadership!
Winning an election, especially considering the barriers that people like us face to run and win, is no small feat. But this year we had 112 alumni run for office—and 63% of them won!
We’re so proud of these trailblazing leaders (you can see many of their faces below) who are ready to make a difference in their communities and will inspire others across the country to run, win, and lead. We can’t wait to see what they do in office! (Consider donating or spreading the word about our work so we can train even more bold, visionary leaders in 2021!)
We rolled with whatever 2020 brought our way and converted our Ready to Lead and Ready to Win trainings to virtual sessions! While a little different from our in-person trainings, we still loved seeing our newest NALpistas own their power and join our family of bold leaders.
One of our newest alums, Raie Gessesse, had this to say about the training:
“The most transformative part is that we are not learning how to run for office the way it has always been done. We are using our experience as New Americans to revolutionize what campaigning and serving in office means.”
This year, we launched not one but two new webinar series—one on campaigning during COVID and then our Tea on Democracy series, which covers key topics and current events from an immigrant perspective.
If you haven’t tuned in to get the tea on how to be an ally for refugees, immigrants, and all people like us; how to expand the electorate and mobilize BIPOC communities; or how our experiences as immigrants, people of color, and queer individuals drive political leadership and civic engagement (all conversations we’ve had within the last few months!), you’re definitely missing out. Catch up by watching some of the recordings on Facebook and then tune in for The Tea in 2021!
Although we’ve made progress in electing more people like us, we still have a long ways to go, especially in state legislatures. Here our some of our findings from the State of Representation 2020 report, released in July, on the current composition of state legislatures in the United States:
- New Americans are 25.7% of the population but only 3.5% of 7,383 state legislative seats
- New Americans are underrepresented in 46 of the 50 states
- Nine states have no New American state legislators
- Black New Americans only account for 0.5% of all state legislators
From showcasing our trainings to highlighting the accomplishments of New American elected officials to spotlighting our growing political power, we’re making sure that everyone knows that people like us are the future of our democracy and the antidote to the rising hate our country faces.
And the best news is that people are getting the message. In 2020, New American candidates won big on Election Day: Of the New American candidates we tracked across the country, 184 first and second generation Americans who ran for office in the general election won. That’s pretty significant.
If you believe our leaders should reflect the breadth, depth, and diversity of our nation, and if you love hearing about the New Americans and people of color who are rebuilding our democracy, please consider chipping in to power up our work or help us train even more bold leaders by spreading the word about our work!
Thank you, as always, for being a part of our movement to create a democracy that works for all of us.
Happy Holidays from your New American Leaders family, and we’ll see you in the new year! (We’ll be closed these next two weeks and will return on January 4th.)
The NAL Team