CEP grew out of a few emerging needs in the grassroots sector. As the infrastructure for grassroots people of color-led racial justice 501c3 organizations grew in the last 15 years, many developed robust year round organizing, policy and electoral infrastructure, what is commonly known as integrated voter engagement (IVE). In the second stage of integrated voter engagement (IVE 2.0), grassroots organizations have formed 501c4 organizations, won ballot measures and helped progressive candidates win elected office. Grassroots people of color-led racial justice organizations have become the tipping point in building short and long term power on a local level. With the increased local investments and electoral experiments, we see CEP providing the necessary leadership to develop and support IVE 2.0 in the next period.
In the era of Trumpism and the rise of white nationalism, we also believe that there must be healthy and vibrant regional movement ecosystems of leaders and c3/c4 organizations as we build towards our vision of a just inclusive multiracial society. This includes investing in a movement workforce development plan for the entire movement ecosystem - from leadership pathways for grassroots leaders, organizers and healers to executive directors and electeds, among other roles. We need people in the community and government who are prepared to govern in the 21st century.
As organizers, we are committed to the practice of “organizing ourselves out of our jobs'' for a more collaborative and interdependent movement ecosystem. We believe the field needs more practitioner-based capacity builders because there is already an abundance of wisdom from within. Therefore, we realize our work through many forms of deepening trust and relationships, sharing strategies, lessons and best practices, harnessing the wisdom of the leaders and communities and, most importantly, working together to build our collective power.Our approach to movement work is guided by the following principles:
CEP practitioners have decades of combined experience in grassroots organizing and power building, and our work is focused in the following areas: