The November Bistate Newsletter


Marching on Church Street in Burlington as part of our coalition to defend democracy.

RAD Leaders in Action

Tanya Vyhovsky, a core RAD leader, won a seat held by a Republican for three decades.
Taylor Small, another RAD champion, became the first elected openly transgender VT Legislator.
RAD leader and former organizer Jubilee McGill nearly beat an incumbent Republican in her VT State Rep race.
In Bennington, Vermont, RAD Member Leaders Vicki Lampron and Tom Haley were elected Justices of the Peace, and RAD member Dane Whitman won a tight race.
 Tony Labranche cinched his race for State Rep. as one of the youngest elected officials in US history in Amherst, NH.
 RAD field organizer and first time candidate Maria Perez won her race for State Rep. in NH!
RAD NH champions Joe Schapiro, Larry Welkowitz, Amanda Toll, and John Cloutier won! Long time RAD incumbents Sherry Frost and Sparky Von Plinsky also won contested races.
A number of our RAD VT champion incumbents also won contested races, including RAD co-founder Mari Cordes, Mary Howard, Stephanie Jerome, and Kevin “Coach” Christie, who helps lead the Social Equity Caucus.
 RAD champion Zoraya Hightower of the Burlington City Council & RAD NH Movement Politics Director Asma Elhuni spoke at the Montpelier Womxn & Femme March.

RAD in the Media

Hundreds gathered across the state for the “Protect the Results” rallies
RAD’s own Asma Elhuni called out the work that lies ahead in the wake of this historic win.
Here’s a fresh take on voting in this year’s election and our coalition work to count every vote.
Check out our electoral work in Vermont and New Hampshire.
The Burlington rally to demand every vote be counted had a huge turnout.

New Hampshire
Read about our pre-election protests – and why they’re increasingly relevant in the face of Sununu’s win.
Follow along live with NHPR’s post-election coalition actions and down ballot recounts.
Here’s a deeper look into the coalition building behind our Democracy Defenders work.
In Depth NH covered our State House rally of 150+ the day after the election, featuring RAD’s own Asma Elhuni.
MSN covered our coalition rallies to defend democracy at the State House.

In Case You Missed It…

At the NH State House to show solidarity and support for the counting of every vote, via RAD NH Instagram.
Awaiting the results at the Vermont State House, RAD staff and membership turned out to take collective action with our communities as part of Protect the Results and Defend Democracy, via RAD VT Instagram.
Andrew Yang joined us and RAD Endorsed Candidate Carlos Cardona on uniting rural progressives to and harness the energy of the movement, via RAD NH Twitter.
Celebrating the defeat of Trump and acknowledging those who made it possible, via RAD VT Twitter.

Dear RAD Sisters and Brothers,

Wow. I’m in awe, and joy, at what we made possible. The voters spoke in record numbers. Prominent in that record turnout were working class folks, people of color and women. This was not spontaneous, but the product of months and years of hard organizing by RAD and our sister organizations around the country.

The narrow electoral defeat of Trump feels like a massive weight has been taken off all of our shoulders. We should be rightly happy that our work played a vital role in defeating the existential threat that Trump represents to our communities, our democracy and the whole world. For this we should celebrate, and understand the work is far from over.

What’s next?

We need to take a clear-eyed look at the massive and systemic challenges that we face in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Then we need to take a hard look at RAD and if we are currently the kind of organization that can win profound change.

The Challenges: In our states and nationally we see deep division. Not the oft-cited Red vs. Blue, but rather, three roughly equally divided factions: One third fascist/nationalist, one third neoliberal (old school R’s and Corporate D’s) and one third progressive/social democratic. Unfortunately, fascists and neoliberals are closer to each other than they are to the progressive forces and RAD. In VT and NH, these two aligned to elect Sununu and Scott by wide margins. We face huge challenges at every level to enacting the kind of bold transformative agenda that this moment of economic, ecological, and civil rights crises – made worse by the pandemic – requires. A Biden/Harris administration will not deliver us from these crises, but will allow more space for us to organize for justice.

The Way Forward: The work we did during the election – face to face conversations, phone calls, and texting – ORGANIZING – works! We win when we talk to our neighbors and co-workers who agree with us but are not yet organized with us. The 800,000 new voters (black, brown and white, poor and working class women in the main), who delivered Georgia to Biden were not registered and moved into action by Stacy Abrams waving a magic wand. Hundreds of organizers, volunteers, and activists got up every day for months and years with one task in mind: register new voters and turn them out. This work is tedious, and brutally hard but. it. works. This is the work all of us at RAD must now commit to doing today and everyday going forward.

We cannot rely on the Biden administration to do all that is needed. We must keep – and turn – all our attention to organizing real power into many thousands of new RAD members.

How do we do this?

-We organize and build the power we need to win bold policies locally and nationally.

-The more voices in our movement, the stronger we are. The time is ripe to get people involved with RAD.

-Finally, we shift paradigms to create permanently organized communities that will sustain the changes we are working towards.

Let’s use this moment. Become a member of RAD today if you haven’t already, and join us for our annual Membership Assembly and Summit featuring keynote speaker and Squad member, Rashida Tlaib!

In solidarity, struggle, and strength,

Andrew Tripp, Founding Member of Rights & Democracy

2020 Membership Assembly

2020 marks RAD’s fifth year as an organization and despite the year’s turmoil, it has also been an opportunity for us to reflect on all of the work and support from everyone in the RAD community that has gotten us this far.

We want to celebrate five years of RAD with you – longtime members, supporters, and newcomers alike. This is the moment for us to organize, build power, and look towards how we will take the next steps together.

Join us for RAD’s 2020 Membership Assembly and 5th Anniversary Summit, a virtual event featuring keynote speaker, US Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib! Special guest Zephyr Teachout will also join us for the launch of our new Catalyst Leadership Initiative.


Following the event, we will host RAD Political Party, a fundraiser party featuring Jennifer Epps-Addison, President and Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, and Linda Sarsour, activist and author of the recently released book We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders.

Stories from the Field:
Deep Canvassing in New Hampshire

Before the pandemic, the best way to connect with voters was at their doorsteps. Now, volunteers and organizers engage in extended, empathetic conversations over the phone, with the goal of shifting beliefs and moving voters. Rolling Stone covered the deep canvassing work of our national ally People’s Action in July.

This month, we bring you snapshots of the work of our own deep canvassers, and how their conversations moved the needle during these elections.

“In the hour prior to polls closing, I was able to persuade an independent voter to vote for Biden and down ballot Democrats, shower, drive to her polling location, and cast a vote.” – Katy Allen

“I connected with so many people who were not aware of the candidates running in their district. I was able to get the names of state senators out to people who otherwise weren’t aware; I found being able to use humor with people provided relief around election/politics fatigue which encouraged more positive conversations with voters.” – Dögg Hugosdóttir

“One of my conversations started with the voter expecting me to be just another robot spam texter, but I quickly was able to build rapport and trust after we bonded for a good fifteen minutes over our love of True Crime documentaries. At the end of the conversation, we came full circle. The voter said thank you and that it was the best conversation they’d had thus far with someone canvassing – it was like talking to a normal person. They said they would get out to vote and even try to get their family out to vote as well!” – Chris Pierce

“When talking to voters about the State Senate, one voter knew Tom Sherman (NH State Senate, Democrat Dist. 24) as a friend, but they were a registered Republican. It was challenging for this voter to weigh their political views against their friendship. I helped them by reframing their conflict; ‘Is it more important to vote for a friend that they trust, or based on abstract political ideology?’ At the end of our conversation, they decided to vote for Tom.” – Sean Manion

Deep canvassing offers a wellspring of lessons on connection within crisis, and presents a pathway through our polarized political landscape into respect and understanding.

The Traverse & Rise Up!

This month was the second episode of The Traverse: Conversation & Connections, our new conversation series that explores everything from navigating the daily peaks and valleys of movement work to how we think about liberation. The Traverse is now a project of our sister organization, Rights & Democracy Institute, which you can follow on Facebook for the latest updates. This month, hosts Cathy Albisa & Kiah Morris speak with guests Julie Winn (VT Resistance Revival Chorus), Nick Charyk (activist and Western Terrestrials band leader), and Heather Stockwell (RAD movement artist) about why our movement must include art, culture and healing. Watch the episode here.

We also hosted a conversation featuring RAD Leaders and allies about a political phenomenon known as the moment of whirlwind. James Haslam and Asma Elhuni spoke with guests Griffin Sinclair Wingate and Alison Nihart for Rise Up! Building Movements & Winning Change, which you can watch here. Stay tuned for info about this month’s upcoming episodes!

Rights & Democracy Institute’s
2020 Human Rights Awards Celebration

We invite you to join our sister organization, Rights & Democracy Institute, for the 2020 Human Rights Awards Celebration, a virtual event to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by honoring leaders and organizations from New Hampshire, Vermont and beyond, whose work advances human rights and strengthens the foundations of our democracy.

We are pleased to announce we will be joined by special guests, Alicia Garza, organizer, political strategist, and author of the new book, The Purpose of Power, George Goehl, Executive Director, People’s Action, and a musical performance by Resistance Revival Chorus Vermont.

Tickets are $30 each and come with a special gift.