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CREDO Mobile Opens Online Platform To Enable Progressives To Self-Organize

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, August 21 2013

CREDO Mobile on Wednesday opened the doors to a new online organizing system that enables individuals to launch their own issue campaigns.

The move is the latest in a series from other similar organizations. The leaders of the groups hope that these new platforms will help them to both grow their lists of politically engaged individuals who might join other campaigns, and to expand their groups' impact by encouraging local activists to initiate campaigns in their own locales and areas of interest.

CREDO Mobile's Political Director Becky Bond pointed to a recent campaign by Manteca, California high school student Ashton Lee as an example of the kind of activism CREDO hope to foster: Issues that might not be broadly popular, but which resonate with specific pockets of progressive communities.

With the help of CREDO's organizers, Lee, a transgender activist, used the platform to eventually gather more than 6,000 signatures to support a California bill that mandates that schools must allow transgender students to participate in team sports and to use the school facilities of the gender to which they identify. Lee presented his stack of petitions to California Governor Jerry Brown at the end of July. Opponents of the measure also delivered their own petitions. Nevertheless, Brown signed the bill into law last Monday.

"We saw the issue pop up on the site, and the activist on his own may have been able to get a few hundred signatures from friends, and people that he knew," Bond said. "But we saw that action, and we thought: 'That's really important, and the bill has passed the legislature, and we think the governor should sign it. We know there are people on the [3.3 million strong] CREDO Action list who would want to help that campaign, and put their name on that petition, so that when he delivers it to the Governor's office, it'll not just be people that he knows, but there wil be thousands of people on it.'"

Bond distinguished CREDO's platform from others, such as Change.org's by saying that CREDO's is specifically designed to enable progressive activists to gather signatures to demonstrate widespread support for changes in legislation, rather than enabling individuals to start petitions about anything.

"Change.org has done an amazing job, especially with campaigns that are about an individual person who has been a victim of an injustice, but the vast majority of our campaigns are trying to change the laws, trying to bring structural changes in your city, your state, your country, and when we change a law, we don't just right an individual wrong, we change the structure of society to make a difference for everybody," she said.

What's also interesting about CREDO's new platform is that members of Congress have been using it in its test phase earlier this year. Reps. Mike Honda, (D-Calif.,) Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) have all used the platform to gather petitions to demonstrate popular support for their own legislative efforts in the House.