Next Up Action Fund’s Fall 2020 Endorsements

Next Up Action Fund has elected to endorse the following, and our endorsements from the primary carry over into the general election (listed below).

Endorsements from May Primary 2020 (Carried over). See Details on candidates below the bullet points.

Our endorsement committee was 9 people, including board members, students, and volunteers currently involved with the organization. Decisions were made based on questionnaire responses, interview responses, and the overarching goal to amplify and support young people in Oregon to be leaders in their community. We are particularly interested in races that include candidates and campaigns aligned with our values and are under 35 years old, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQIA+, disabled people, womxn, people who have low income, and people from under-served communities. We also only considered endorsements in the following geographic regions: Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Washington County, Marion County, and statewide races.

Why endorse the write-in campaign for Teressa Raiford? 

Next Up Action Fund builds political power with diverse young people to build a more just and equitable Oregon. Our organization’s leadership reflects a diverse group of people which includes many of the young Black and brown people protesting for justice.

Teressa Raiford has inspired many Black, Indigenous, and youth of color (BIPOC) to be the leaders of the write-in campaign; they are heavily involved in organizing, they are driving the messaging, art, and strategy. The time for action is now, and we will continue to stand with the many people in our base who are on the frontlines and supporting the write-in campaign.

We also chose to endorse Raiford in the May 2020 Primary Election. In her authentic grassroots activism and organizing at Don’t Shoot PDX, Teressa is a proven champion to give power back to the people. With a vision of rebuilding Portland through de-colonizing and anti-white supremacy culture, she has showcased that she is the fighter we need as Portland Mayor to tackle the issues of police brutality, the climate crisis, houselessness, renter’s rights, and equity pay for living wages. She understands how our marginalized communities are going to be disproportionately affected by these crises and will take the action to include them in the processes instead of leaving them behind which has been done for many generations.

As a long-time C4 organization that runs campaigns, field organizing, and recruits candidates, we understand that a write-in campaign for a general election during a Presidential election year is a major challenge. Our extended community includes people with a variety of positions on write-in campaigns ranging from those who have organized for national write-in campaigns, to people who think that a write-in campaign is a sure way to make the least favored candidate win. 

Looking exclusively at the viability and the choices presented to us, instead of the systems that present those choices while hiding radical possibilities, is behavior that bolsters white supremacy, keeps BIPOC out of elected office, and continues the cycle of putting off justice and settling for “good enough.”  To be clear, people of color are not a monolith and there are Black and brown folks in our organizational leadership who were not eager to make the move to endorse this write-in campaign. This weighed significantly in our organizational decision-making process. We contemplated, in an organizational context, what our goals are in endorsing Write In Teressa Raiford in the 2020 Mayoral race:

the system needs to change.

Electoral politics represent only one form of civic engagement. We can make it easier for Teressa Raiford and other leaders from marginalized communities to run for, and win, elected office by making radical changes to voting and elections in Oregon. As author and organizer, adrienne maree brown says, “All organizing is science fiction. We are bending the future, together into something we have never experienced.” With this endorsement, we say that another world and other systems are possible. For example, by getting rid of our inequitable “commission” form of city government and electing our City Council with more inclusive “ranked-choice voting.” In fact, Portlanders have an awesome opportunity to change how our city government works and how elections operate by applying to be on the city’s Charter Review Commission, a group that meets only once every decade to recommend big-picture changes to Portland’s charter (which is like the city’s Constitution). Applications are due September 14th and we hosted an event on 8/19/20 which explained what the commission does and how to engage with it. You can watch a recording here. Even if you do not serve on the commission, there will be many opportunities to engage, so stay tuned.