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Coordinator: Dave Claxton (202) 861-0222

CBTU has always been on the cutting edge of progressive politics in America. The Coalition's approach is built on forming flexible alliances with national and community-based allies to achieve common political goals. We know political leadership with a top-down command style can't sustain political movements in today's fluid culture. We and our coalition partners are developing a new, dynamic model for African American political participation.

The Political Empowerment Network (PEN) is CBTU's vehicle for political participation. The process goes beyond motivating voters to turnout on election day; it must also empower communities by tapping their strengths, responding to their local needs and allocating sufficient resources to maximize their participation. Through PEN, cadres of political activists in unions and communities across the nation can collaborate on creative, winning strategies and hold elected officials accountable to African American voters.

The long range goal of CBTU's political action program is to increase minority representation in Congress, among statewide officeholders, the elected judiciary, and on county commissions, in city halls and on local school boards. With increased political representation and sustained activism, we can leverage real control over political, economic and judicial decisions that directly impact African Americans and other minority communities.

Political Action

CBTU implements effective nonpartisan voter education and voter mobilization campaigns through the following coordinated activities:

  • Conducting voter registration drives
  • Educating voters through the distribution of leaflets, phone banks, or PSA's
  • Recruiting volunteers for political campaigns
  • Training union and community activists to plan and coordinate get-out-the-vote operations
  • Building progressive coalitions with churches, civil rights and social justice organizations, and community groups
  • Targeting key precincts, states or congressional districts with minority populations for non-partisan voter education and mobilization activity
  • Developing messages that will motivate minority voters to use their power on election day
  • Organizing town hall meetings or issue forums
  • Electing black trade unionists as delegates to the national nominating conventions of the major political parties
  • Encouraging more minority union activists to run for public office
  • Electing progressive candidates to public office


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