Wow! What a year of organizing and winning for everyday Californians. This report contains dozens of successful organizing campaigns, policy fights, and infrastructure growth, but the reality is that ACCE members won so many more victories in 2023 than can fit in this brief summary. We took meaningful steps toward our north star of winning a housing system built on the value that everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. We began to organize around climate justice and pension divestment from Blackstone. We launched two new movements in Rise Up/Levantate CA and California Common Good, and we helped incubate Movement Legal (formally ACCE legal) to add to the state’s tenant movement infrastructure. Our staff and budget grew as we took on new challenges and issue areas, and we engaged in the struggle, together with allies at the local and state level, to create more alignment and capacity for our movements.
This year comes with its own challenges and opportunities that we are gearing up for. The national election gives us the chance to “campaignize” the election -putting our member’s issues and solutions front and center while exposing the money and agenda that big real estate and big oil are moving through our democratic processes. It also comes with the threat of a violent and bigoted base of anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-lgbtq+ individuals and groups being activated as the country battles between creating a true democracy and falling into fascism. All of that while we continue to make progress on creating a housing system that works for us all, and saving the planet from climate disaster. That may sound daunting, but what we at ACCE know is that the only thing that can save us, is US. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. So, we will roll up our sleeves and keep working to construct the California, the country, and the planet we deserve.
On a personal note, 2024 marks my 20th anniversary as an organizer, which both begs the question - when did I get so old? and generates a desire to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I can think of many successes and defeats, regrets and moments of pride, but when I put the last 20 years together, one thing that I can say for sure is that I have met the most dedicated, courageous, righteous, and special people in my life through my work at ACCE. Many of those people are ACCE members and staff, some are mentors, and some are allies and supporters. Every one of them has left a mark on me - made me wiser, more strategic, more caring, more steadfast. So, thank you all for how you have changed me, and for how you’ve changed the course of history! I’m still in this fight, in part, because of you, and I’ll keep fighting hasta la victoria.
With Love and Solidarity,
Christina Livingston, ACCE Institute Executive Director