connect / 2018

Resistance Squad: Amplifying the Power of Angelenos to Affect National Change

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Los Angeles LGBT Center

The Los Angeles LGBT Center will advance our mobilization and resistance squad to include 200 more members actively fighting against policy attacks that harm the well-being of people in Los Angeles.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

As Los Angeles, we are uniquely positioned to help improve the lives of millions of our neighbors while leading our state, changing a nation, and inspiring the world. Adding 200 new members to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s mobilization and resistance squad will help inspire and raise the collective voice of Los Angeles to fight back against direct policy and legislative attacks on our collective well-being and to advance the long-term work needed to build a more perfect union.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Voting rates

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
  • Leadership Development

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

As goes California, so goes the nation. In Los Angeles, we are uniquely positioned to improve the lives of millions of our neighbors while leading our state, changing a nation, and inspiring the world. But, there are no days off in a democracy. The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Resistance Squad will connect people from across Los Angeles’ diverse communities, giving them a place to channel frustration into action. From fighting back direct policy and legislative attacks on our collective well-being to doing the long-term work needed to move us towards a more perfect union, this expansion of the Center’s mobilization and resistance squad will connect people in the fight to protect, ensure, and advance equality.

Soon after the 2016 presidential election, we learned several things very quickly. Attacks on our community would be rooted in fear and bigotry at a level not seen in decades (and that our youngest LGBT generation has not experienced in their lifetimes). Attacks leveled against other vulnerable populations, including immigrants and people needing to access affordable health care, would also touch LGBT people who were part of those communities. There was an immediate need to band together in solidarity. People wanted, and needed, to DO something.

The Resistance Squad was formed to mobilize Angelenos in response to attacks by the new Administration. Now with LA2050, we will recruit and train 200 more volunteers in grassroots organizing to carry out effective phone banking, letter writing, social media and web-based mobilization campaigns, as well as demonstrations. Activations are designed to yield immediate results — ranging from a constituent in another state agreeing to call their congressional representative to affecting the outcome of a bill or policy.

As an organization and community rooted in activism and a decades-long battle for equality, fighting for justice and winning is what our community knows how to do. In fact, it’s one of the things we do best. Our goal is to build on this experience and empower Angelenos to lead social and political activations in their communities, and by so doing, amplify our collective voice so that politicians take notice.

Those who have joined the Resistance Squad come away feeling empowered:

“You hear all these terrible things on the news about our government and what they are allowing to happen and you can feel so powerless. It’s been really great coming here doing the phone banking and writing the letters and knowing that you’re actually making a positive impact on people’s lives and putting your money where your mouth is. Rolling up your sleeves and not just yelling at your Facebook friends.” - Laura Wu

“There was just this need I felt to do something other than crying into the wind. It’s been a very easy way to get involved and to feel like you’re doing something that benefits other people. You don’t feel like everyone’s got good intentions but nothing is really getting done.”

  • Jason Black

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

The Resistance Squad advances meaningful civic engagement by amplifying Angelenos’ collective voice to protect and advance the values we hold dear — freedom, equality, upward mobility, civil discourse, access to healthcare and quality education. These values are under siege by politicians at the national level who promote divisiveness, intolerance, and curtailment of civil liberties. The Trump Administration is making every attempt to diminish California’s political power. We must hit back, and the Resistance Squad connects and trains Angelenos in the art of effective community organizing and activism with the goal of making our collective voice more powerful and influential at the national level.

Strategies include power analysis (analysis of decision makers and best tactics to exert influence), storytelling, and how to organize letter-writing, phonebank, social media or web-based mobilization campaigns, public protests, legislative visits and more.

Activism comes with the risk of rejection and failure. By creating exciting and affirming group experiences focused on obtaining concrete results, the Resistance Squad leaves participants with a great sense of accomplishment and pride that keeps them motivated. Moreover, the Resistance Squad model grows the pool of volunteers and skilled team leaders, providing the structure and tools to sustain engagement, not only under this current federal administration, but indefinitely.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

The Resistance Squad will measure success based on the decisions that ultimately are made by targeted elected officials. In addition, the Resistance Squad will track:

1) The accuracy of our power analysis and mapping, aiming for 95% accuracy;

2) Number of active volunteers trained through peer-to-peer calling and social media with a goal of 200;

3) Number of Resistance Squad Leadership Council members recruited and trained with the goal of 50;

4) Growth rate of Resistance Squad volunteer pool tracked by our database with the goal of doubling over two years;

5) Retention rate of volunteers returning for new actions, with the goal of 80%; and

6) Number of commitments by constituents to engage elected officials, regardless of the policy vehicle, with the goal of 2,000 over the 2-year period.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

Our long-range vision is to create a strong community of activists that will be at the ready to mobilize and advocate for protection of civil liberties and a civil society that embraces diversity, equality and opportunity for all. We envision a continually growing community of politically educated activists that creates a welcoming and affirming place for LGBT advocates that want to learn and grow their skills as organizers to protect and expand the rights of the LGBT community. After five years, we hope to have thousands of trained organizers to fight against the attacks on LGBT people and to also lead change on a range of issues impacting communities across Los Angeles. A continuous cycle of activism will engage ever growing numbers of new volunteers, sustain our current ones, and develop a new generation of leaders that will keep the entire system activated.