The California Alliance has grown to include two new critically important regions of the state, called “shifting” regions. These are traditionally red counties where the demographics have significantly shifted with an influx of low income, working class and people of color residents, but the level of community-organizing infrastructure and civic engagement culture doesn’t yet match these changes.
1. The Inland Empire, the rapidly growing San Bernardino and Riverside counties have a population that now rivals the state of Oregon, with over 4 million people. This region spans 27,000 square miles and has undergone tremendous change in the last ten years. For example, in San Bernardino Democrats now outnumber Republicans as registered voters for the first time (40% to 37%), with Decline to State voters at 18%. In Riverside County the voter registration breakdown is 41% Republican, 37% Democrat, and 17% Decline to State. Over several months, California Alliance leaders met with local groups and unions in the Inland Empire in order to develop a joint power analysis and long term strategy.
Out of this exciting planning process, the Alliance has added two new anchor groups committed to transforming the electorate in this critical region. Six organizations came together to form a new regional coalition, Our Fair Share Inland Empire Coalition, that will anchor the Alliance’s civic engagement work in San Bernardino and Riverside: Libreria del Pueblo, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), LIUNA, and the Warehouse Workers United. Knotts Parenting and Family institute, a long-standing community organization working with pregnant and parenting teens, is the Alliance’s second anchor in the Inland Empire.
2. In Ventura County, the work of the Alliance will be anchored by Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE). CAUSE has worked with hundreds of community leaders and regional coalition partners in its long history of successful organizing, advocacy, leadership development and education for low-income residents. CAUSE was the organization that spearheaded successful living wage ordinances in four Ventura County cities and the county of Ventura.
CAUSE will first anchor the Alliance’s civic engagement organizing in Ventura and parts of Santa Barbara counties. CAUSE has plans to build a powerful civic engagement network in the 6 central coast counties that include Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
With these additions the California Alliance is now composed of 12 anchor groups, representing 20 individual organizations in 7 counties.