After three long years of unforeseen challenges, including the global COVID-19 pandemic, our entire State Voices Network, with representation from all 25 State Tables, gathered to chart our course through 2024 and beyond.
At the 2023 Our Voices, Our Power State Voices Convening in Las Vegas, Nevada, we sang, we danced, we planned, and we built new relationships to help support each other’s work across our Network.
For more highlights and insights from the convening, check out the hashtag #OurVoicesOurPower on Twitter and Instagram!
This is a special convening because it is our first time gathering in-person as a full network since 2019.
This year has been all about reconnecting. From the State Director Retreat, to the Data Convening, to the first Southern Regional Convening, our network has been building meaningful relationships together.
As the largest nonpartisan civic engagement network in the country, we know it is only by strategizing and building together across the nation that we will be able to create a world where we can all thrive and live in our full dignity. Our network represents over $100M annually in impact. We have 25 State Tables, 9 Emerging Tables, and over 1,200 partner organizations across the country.
This event would not have been possible without the dedicated organizers of the convening planning group, especially Tierra Ragland and Zach Burgin, our fearless State Capacity Building Co-Directors. Thank you to everyone that attended and helped make our first in-person meeting a real homecoming.
We want to extend a special thank you to Silver State Voices, the Nevada State Table, for graciously hosting our State Voice Network and showing out with local eats and community traditions.
On the first day, a traditional dragon dance welcomed us to the space, setting the stage for four days of cultural reflection, strategic field planning, skill sharing, and relationship building.
State Voices was honored to receive a Proclamation of Recognition from the Clark County Board of County Commissioners. The work of our network does not go unnoticed. Our collective impact helps ensure communities are not left out of processes shaping our everyday lives.
As keynote speaker Kelley Robinson, the President of the Human Rights Campaign & Human Rights Campaign Foundation, said, “Change is not only possible, but it’s happening because of you.”
On the second day, we were joined by Maurice Mitchell, the National Director of the Working Families Party, and dove deep into the tangible ways our organizations can and must build resilience to face the challenges to come in 2024. Our work culture is our responsibility.
That’s why State Voices is committed to investing in internal political education training to build the grounded leadership we need across our Network to ensure our strategies move forward.
We were also joined by powerful Nevada advocates Bethany Khan with Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Sy Bernabei with Gender Justice NV, Athar Haseebullah with ACLU NV, Lorena Portillo with Clark County Registrar of Voters, and John Piro with Clark County Public Defenders. They shared their wisdom with us on workers’ justice, gender justice, and combatting policing and prisons.
On our third day, we were graced by our incredible keynote speaker Kelley Robinson, and on the fourth day, we focused on training and skills building.
We must create a world and a movement that is suitable for future generations. We need a ruthless discipline to do the organizing we know is most effective to change people’s lives. As Maurice Mitchell shared with us during the convening, “Activity that isn’t rooted in strategy or an ideological north star will ultimately reinforce the status quo.”
We must commit to learning all the ways, big and small, we can take solidarity from a word to practice.
Like Nevada advocate Bethany Khan with Culinary Workers Union Local 226 shared with us ways we can be in solidarity with hotel workers, like by requesting daily cleaning services. And Kelley Robinson shared, “Our movements are inextricably tied to each other, from LGBTQ+ justice, to feminism, to the civil rights movement. How do we create tailwinds for our movements that lift folks up along the way?”
We must continue our practice of solidarity, cross-state collaboration, and movement building. We must practice a culture of care where our organizations are strong and thriving, and workers are paid and treated with care and dignity. We must practice shared accountability.
Together we’re modeling the democracy we deserve, a future where all our voices are heard, every vote is counted, and all our needs are met.