Purple America Resource Guide

The Purple America issue of YES! spotlights Americans who are reaching across the political divide to address the issues that matter to us all—like families, jobs, health care, democracy, and the environment.

In this guide you will find resources to help you start dialogue across political lines; find shared values; and take action to build a common America. You’ll also find resources for promoting a people’s agenda, and pursuing reforms that a majority of Americans want, like universal health care and affordable housing.


:: Start Dialogue
:: Reach Out Across Diverse Faiths
:: Create Media that Red and Blue Americans Can Trust
:: Promote a People’s Political Agenda


:: Support Health Care for All
:: Safeguard our Civil Rights
:: Support Worker-Friendly and Worker-Owned Businesses
:: Make Housing Affordable and End Homelessness
:: Protect the Right to Vote





Check out this section for resources on connecting with allies and building a people’s movement.

Talking heads graphics, Alex mathers, istock

Start a Dialogue

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) conducts grassroots campaigns on voter registration and education, election reform, and city council redistricting, and promotes ballot initiatives to empower low- and moderate-income families. www.acorn.org

The Center for Nonviolent Communication offers training, consulting, and tools for resolving conflicts peacefully. www.cnvc.org

Everyday Democracy helps people think, talk and work together to solve problems. The group aims to bring all kinds of people into discussions about public life, and is helping people connect dialogue to real solutions. www.everyday-democracy.org

From the Four Directions provides coaching, networking, and resources for citizen leaders to start conversation circles. www.fromthefourdirections.org

The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation offers a wealth of information and tools to help people engage in powerful, lively, and thoughtful dialogue and conversations about issues that matter to them. Their website provides a beginner’s toolkit for dialogue and deliberation.

Wisdom Circles provides resources to help small groups have meaningful discussions. www.wisdomcircle.org


College student house builders, photo by Charlene Shepard and Chris Garrison

Reach Out Across Diverse Faiths

Creation Care, published by The Evangelical Environmental Network, is a resource for evangelical Christians interested in working to protect the environment. www.creationcare.org

Muslims for Progressive Values offers discussion groups, meetups, position papers, and other resources on Islam and progressive social views. www.mpvusa.org

The Network of Spiritual Progressives, a project of the Tikkun Community, is an interfaith group that provides resources for progressive people of faith to fight for social justice and environmental protection. www.spiritualprogressives.org

The Progressive Jewish Alliance organizes Jewish people to work for economic and social justice. Causes include criminal justice reform, living wage campaigns, and Muslim-Jewish dialogue. www.pjalliance.org

Soulforce is a progressive faith group that uses education and nonviolent direct action to overcome homophobia in Christian churches. The Equality Ride, a tour of LGBT youth hosting conversations at conservative campuses around the country, is part of Soulforce. Read more about the Equality Ride in LGBT Road Trip Breaks Through Stereotypes in the Fall 2008 issue of YES! www.soulforce.org, www.soulforce.org/equalityride

Sojourners is a Christian organization that works for social justice. www.sojo.net

Megaphone. YES! magazine graphic

Create Media that Red and Blue Americans Can Trust

FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, is a national media watchdog group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship. www.fair.org

NewsTrust is a nonpartisan website that aggregates news articles and rates them on their journalistic quality. www.newstrust.net

Live From Main Street is a series of five town hall events hosted by radio journalist Laura Flanders, each held in a different city and focused on a key national issue. The project’s goal is to develop new ways for independent media to work collaboratively to inform and support the democratic process and bring the voices of everyday Americans into the current national election conversation. www.livefrommainstreet.com

The Pew Center for Civic Journalism helps print and broadcast news organizations reconnect to their communities and engage citizens in problem-solving dialogue and shares the results through outreach programs. www.pewcenter.org


Our Own Agenda. YES! magazine graphic
Explore the YES! Take on a People's Agenda

Promote a People’s Political Agenda

The Center for American Progress is a progressive think tank that provides reports and analysis on U.S. policy, domestic and foreign. www.americanprogress.org. It has a separate program for students called Campus Progress. www.campusprogress.org

Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action performs research on state-level U.S. democracy; builds coalitions among activists, advocates, and scholars; and tracks legislative developments and democratic reform efforts. Their website offers free access to Demos publications, bi-weekly e-mail issue briefings, and an extensive list of links to pro-democracy organizations in every state. www.demos-usa.org

The Progressive States Network lobbies for progressive legislation at the state level. The organization supports legislators working to implement policy changes like living wage ordinances and paid sick leave laws. www.progressivestates.org

The Working Families Party (WFP) is an independent political party in New York State that worksfor advances on issues like good schools and fair wages. The party exerts political influence, in part, through the state’s fusion voting system. Their website provides information on how to volunteer and join a local chapter. For more on the WFP, read Seeing Red & Feeling Blue in Purple America in the Fall 2008 issue of YES! www.workingfamiliesparty.org



Unsure how to go about campaigning for a specific political goal? Check out these groups that are pushing for everything from universal health care to better treatment of workers to mandatory paid vacations.

Cover of YES! magazine issue 39 :: Health Care For All
Dig deeper with our Health Care for All issue.

Support Healthcare For All

The American Medical Student Association rallies future doctors for universal health care. Their website offers educational resources with statistics, primers on different health care systems, action kits, and updates on developments in different states and Congress. www.amsa.org/uhc

Business Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare is an organization made up of business leaders across the nation that advocate for a single payer health care system. They provide links and documents to better educate the public about single payer.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is a health care union that advocates single-payer universal health care. www.calnurses.org

Health Care for All Colorado is a nonprofit organization that educates Colorado residents about a single-payer health care system. Dr. Rocky White, featured in the story Doctors’ Orders: Health Coverage for Everyone in the Fall 2008 issue of YES!, is on the organization’s board of directors. The group also provides links to other state-level organizations advocating single-payer health care. www.healthcareforallcolorado.org

Health Care for America NOW! advocates for universal health coverage in the U.S. (not single-payer). www.healthcareforamericanow.org

The Health Care Not Warfare campaign of the Progressive Democrats of America pressures Democratic legislators to work on resolving the health care crisis. www.pdamerica.org/

Physicians for a National Health Program is an organization of American physicians advocating for single-payer national health insurance. The group conducts research on the health crisis, plans forums, and advocates at town hall meetings, debates, and on television. www.pnhp.org

Republicans for Single-Payer Universal Healthcare supports Republicans in talking about single-payer universal healthcare with their friends, family, and fellow citizens at town hall meetings, caucuses, and online. www.republicansforsinglepayer.com

Small Business Majority is a national organization of small business owners who support progressive health care reform at the state level. www.smallbusinessmajority.org

Universal Healthcare Action Network is an advocacy group that supports grassroots organizing around universal, affordable health care in the U.S. www.uhcan.org


YES! Magazine's Declaration of Human Rights Poster

Safeguard our Civil Rights

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the premiere organization protecting civil liberties in the U.S. www.aclu.org

The ACLU's Prisoners' Rights Project works through the courts to protect the rights of incarcerated Americans. www.aclu.org/prison

The Center for Constitutional Rights is a legal and educational organization that defends and advances constitutional rights. Projects include litigation against supermax prisons, defense of immigrant rights, and fighting post-September 11 erosion of civil liberties. www.ccr-ny.org

The Electronic Frontier Foundation works to protect civil liberties in the digital world. http://www.eff.org/

Night of 1000 Conversations, a national event organized by the Rights Working Group and OneAmerica, engages people across the country in conversations about immigration and the Department of Homeland Security's violations of civil rights. www.nightof1000conversations.org, www.rightsworkinggroup.org

OneAmerica is a nonprofit that works to protect human and civil rights, especially rights of immigrants in the U.S. Pramila Jayapal, OneAmerica’s executive director, authored Immigrants & American-Born in the Fall 2008 issue of YES! www.weareoneamerica.org


worker at Argentinian worker owned factory
Worker-owned factories in Argentina are a living example of power-sharing and work without bosses.

Support Worker-Friendly and Worker-Owned Businesses

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a think tank that researches economic issues such as unemployment, taxes, and wages. EPI publishes The State of Working America every other year, a great resource for progressives who want to talk about economic problems and policies. www.epi.org

MomsRising is an organization that works for family-friendly legislation and workplace policies. It offers parenting advice, a mom blog, and excerpts from the book The Motherhood Manifesto, which empowers women to advocate for changes at home and in the work place. Nanette Fondas, author of Fairness for Working Parents in the Fall 2008 issue of YES!, is on the executive team of this organization. www.momsrising.org

The National Center for Employee Ownership provides information for employee-owned businesses. www.nceo.org

The National Cooperative Business Association is a membership organization that provides support for co-ops. www.ncba.coop

Take Back Your Time is a coalition that advocates changes to reduce the overwork of Americans, including policies like paid sick and maternity leave and mandatory paid vacations. www.timeday.org

Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES)
WAGES helps low-income women start and run eco-cleaning cooperatives. They provide a handy eco-cleaning tips, a list of cleaning chemicals to avoid, and advice on running a cooperative. For more information about co-ops and WAGES, read Create Your Own Workplace in the Fall 2008 issue of YES! www.wagescooperatives.org

USAction lobbies for progressive reforms, include affordable health care, fair taxes, economic justice, increased funding for education, and investment in clean energy. www.usaction.org

U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives provides information and support for members of worker cooperatives. www.usworker.coop


New Land Trust Homeowners, photo by Craig Line for Champlain Housing Trust

Make Housing Affordable and End Homelessness

The Black Family Land Trust provides educational, technical and financial services to protect African American land ownership in the South. www.bflt.org

Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) provides affordable and safe housing to low- and moderate-income families and individuals in Vermont’s Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Read about CHT in our story, Community Land Trust Keeps Prices Affordable, in the Fall 2008 issue of YES! www.champlainhousingtrust.org

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative is a nonprofit community planning and organizing body in Boston. DSNI collaborates with other organizations to build affordable housing units for residents, through innovative strategies like creating a community land trust. www.dsni.org

The International Alliance of Inhabitants’ Zero Eviction Campaign mobilizes and provides solidarity to organizations in several countries, such as Nigeria and Croatia, that are trying to stop evictions. www.habitants.org

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union is a multiracial organization of poor and homeless people fighting for economic justice in Philadelphia. www.kwru.org

National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness is made up of lawyers who work to end homelessness. www.nlchp.org

The National Low Income Housing Coalition works to make housing more affordable nationally for the lowest income households. www.nlihc.org

Right to the City is an alliance of organizations from cities across the U.S. and academics, lawyers, and researchers dedicated to stopping gentrification and the loss of public transportation, schools, affordable housing, and public spaces in cities. www.righttothecity.org

The Tenants Union of Washington State does education, leadership training, and community organizing for just housing policies. www.tenantsunion.org


YES! Magazine safeguard the vote email
12 Ways You Can Safeguard the Vote

Protect the Right to Vote

The ACLU's Voting Rights Project works through the courts to protect minorities’ right to vote. www.aclu.org/votingrights

The Alliance for Democracy's Honest and Clean Elections Campaign provides resources for campaign finance reform advocates. www.thealliancefordemocracy.org

Campaign Finance Reform, on the Public Agenda Online website, provides facts, public opinion data, policy news updates, competing perspectives, and comprehensive resource lists on the role of money in U.S. elections. www.publicagenda.org

FairVote offers an online library promoting instant runoff voting and forms of proportional representation; provides reports on all 50 states and information on pending legislation; and operates a full election consulting service to help groups select and implement electoral systems and technology. www.fairvote.org

Project Vote Smart provides information on over 13,000 elected offices and candidates locally and nationally. It offers candidates’ background information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finance information, and performance evaluations by various special interest groups; a toll-free Voter’s Research Hotline; and a Young Voters Program that allows voters to instantly compare candidates’ positions. www.vote-smart.org


Cover of A People´s History of the United States by Howard Zinn


If you prefer to read on paper and want to get deeper into the issues, check out this selection of titles.

A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, provides a comprehensive look at our country’s history from the perspectives of marginalized groups, such as poor people, women, Native Americans, African-Americans, and unionists. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2005.

Blue Grit, by Laura Flanders, examines how progressive Democrats are working to build a movement that pressures party leaders to listen to their grassroots constituents. Penguin Press, 2007.

Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements, by Bill Moyer, analyzes the evolution of social justice movements and the role activists play. The book draws on examples from five social justice movements. New Society Publishers, 2001.

Framing the Future: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People, by Bernie Horn, provides tools for progressives to frame issues and win votes. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008.

Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual: How to Rebuild Our Country So the Politics Aren't Broken and Politicians Aren't Fixed. This book offers views on how to implement progressive policy changes in the U.S. W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

We the People: A Call to Take Back America, by Thom Hartmann, is a graphic nonfiction book that looks at the erosion of democracy in our country due to the rise of corporate power, and offers steps for reclaiming people power. CoreWay Media, 2004.

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