Greetings from the New CPE Staff

Dear Friends,

We hope this message finds you holding strong during a hard and worrisome week. For organizations and communities in struggle against the violence of racism, capitalism, patriarchy, displacement, and war, whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s election, we knew we would need to regroup and fortify ourselves for the fight to come. Even with that, we find ourselves faced with a truly terrible outcome and concerned about what lies ahead.

But as George Jackson reminded us more than 40 years ago in Soledad Brother, “Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution.” It is with that sense of hope and inspiration that we begin work at the Center for Political Education (CPE).

We know that the Center’s commitment to educating organizations and movements, facilitating left strategy, debate, and movement building, and creating opportunities for cross-sector conversation and exchange has been a valuable asset in the Bay Area for nearly 20 years. We believe that CPE’s movement contributions are more important than ever as we enter into what will likely be a very difficult period. We hope that you agree and will help us re-imagine what the CPE could be and do.

As many of you have already heard, we have come on to coordinate a rebuilding project for the Center born of an assessment process that included input from over two-dozen former CPE staffers,collective members, and organizational friends and allies. The assessment resulted in a resounding consensus that an independent and radical political education space that draws together organizations and community members to broaden their understanding, deepen their analysis, and sharpen their work is an extremely valuable and impactful contribution to left movement building in the Bay Area.

The CPE has been an important anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, internationalist educational space. We are excited to continue the Center’s work to support organizations and community members in developing their understanding of the world they live in and the work they do, toward building bold, radical, and sustainable movements in the Bay Area.

Isaac comes to the CPE with experience that spans media and communications, publishing, anti-violence, labor, and anti-prison industrial complex organizing and advocacy. He also facilitated CPE’s recent assessment process. Rachel was a CPE collective member from 2002-2007 and brings experience working in movements against the prison industrial complex, the anti-violence movement, and for youth development. We know many of you and look forward to forging even stronger relationships. For those of you we have not yet met, we are excited to learn more about your work and priorities.

We understand that there is much to be done. We will begin our time at CPE by listening and learning about what you and your organizations are up to and what your movement education needs are. We aim to develop programing that will speak directly to opportunities and challenges facing movements in the Bay Area and will contribute to making them stronger and more impactful. The CPE will only be as strong as the organizations and movements that use it as a resource and we look forward to working with you to increasing its power and utility.

 

Ever forward,

Isaac Ontiveros              Rachel Herzing
           

News from the CPE

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Exciting news from the Center for Political Education!

After 18 years, the Center for Political Education recently took a moment to assess its role as a political education organization in service of movement building in the Bay Area, and to imagine what its next steps forward should be. During this period of assessment, a group of advisors made up of former CPE staffers, collective members, and from the Board of Directors of the Kendra Alexander Foundation (KAF), CPE’s fiscal sponsor, came together to help facilitate the Center moving toward the next phase of its development.

The CPE advisory group brought Isaac Ontiveros on as a short-term consultant to conduct an assessment based on feedback from the Center’s former staffers, members, funders and allies. Isaac worked with the advisory group to set up interviews and conversations with former CPE collective members and staff persons, along with CPE allies and partners from over the last 18 years. He then distilled their reflections and analysis into an understanding of the main strengths, weaknesses, and impacts of the Center’s work, and helped the advisory group to develop recommendations for the CPE’s work moving forward.

Responding to general enthusiasm for the Center to reignite its work, the CPE advisory group recommended that the Kendra Alexander Foundation fund an intensive two-year rebuild process for the Center. The rebuild would be driven by two full-time staff people who would focus on developing and implementing robust political education programming in tandem with reestablishing collaborative relationships with current, former, and potential allies. The staff will develop fundraising infrastructure that will help the Center become more financially self-sufficient, while also refreshing and extending CPEs communications and outreach tools and strategies, and widen and deepen the scope and impact of its work.

This past August, KAF approved and began to implement the CPE assessment advisory group’s recommendations. We are excited to announce that we have asked Isaac Ontiveros, who coordinated the Center’s assessment process, and Rachel Herzing, who was on the assessment advisory group and is a former CPE collective member, to lead the next phase of CPE’s work as its staff. We are pleased that they have agreed and look forward to Rachel and Isaac sharing a fuller introduction next month.

We encourage you to read the full report. You can access it here

Thanks to each of you for your ongoing commitment and investment in the Center and we look forward to working together to build strong and effective movements for transformation.

In solidarity,
Jason Ferreira and Michelle Foy, CPE assessment advisory members and former CPE collective members

Building powerful movements from below and the left through education, analysis, theory, and dialogue