Emerge California’s signature program is a 6-month, intensive training program for Democratic women who are planning to run for elected office. We are intentional about recruiting Democratic women from groups that have been historically excluded from politics, including the New American Majority – Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and young and unmarried women. We seek to recruit and train leaders who reflect the communities they serve and have the life experiences that allow them to reimagine and rebuild our institutions in the fight for a just and equitable world.
The historic events of the past few years have shown us just how much leadership matters. The power to change our institutions – from creating new policies and overturning old ones, to fighting for budgets that reflect our priorities – exists in our city halls, on county boards and in statehouses across this country.
We need Democratic leaders in office who know that Black lives matter, science is real, and frontline workers have always been essential, and who embody the Democratic values of equity, liberty and economic justice. Emerge California trains Democratic women only, as we seek to bring the values of the Democratic Party to the halls of power.
• Training Women Leaders
“Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes…we must replace the old, negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive action affirming it.”
— The Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress
The world is finally recognizing what we’ve known all along: women know how to lead.
It has been women leaders in California, including Emerge California alumnae, and across the globe who have been recognized for leading their communities through crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their leadership is based on honesty, compassion, integrity, fact and science, on the desire to protect and serve the most vulnerable among them, and to prioritize what is right and moral above politics.
The outcomes show that when you elect women, you are electing leaders who are bringing their lived experiences to the dais with them as they vote, as well as a value set that prioritizes collaboration, innovation, community and the common good.
If we want to live in a world that gives everyone the opportunity to succeed and recognizes the humanity of each and every one of us, we must elect more women.
• Building a Reflective Leadership
“When women are at the table, everybody eats.”
— Former California Acting Lieutenant Governor and Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers
If we want elected leaders to reimagine and rebuild our institutions in a way that builds a just and equitable world, we must support and elect leaders who have the life experiences that allow them to do this.
As we fight for justice for Black Americans, we must elect more Black women to office. As San Francisco Mayor London Breed put it:
“We are here to take our experiences, our strength and everything that we represent, and use that to make different and better decisions, so that we can change the outcome of what’s actually happening with Black people, not just in San Francisco, but all over this country.”
We must also elect more women who belong to the New American Majority – Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, young and unmarried women, and women who reflect the communities they serve, in order to create, change and reverse policies that do not serve all Californians. In short, if we want our institutions and policies to change, we must change our policymakers.
In California, often considered the nation’s leader when it comes to Democratic values, women hold only 32% of the seats in the State Legislature. The percentage of New American Majority women who hold elected office is even smaller.
This means that the decisions that are impacting our lives on a daily basis are being made by the status quo.
To disrupt the status quo, we need Democratic women who reflect their communities to bring their life experience to elected office. Only then will our policies reflect the diverse needs and values of all Californians.
Emerge California’s signature training equips leaders with the resources, knowledge, connections and community of support necessary for a successful campaign for office. Since 2002, we have recruited, trained and supported over 800 Democratic women across California. When Emerge California alums run for office, they win nearly 70% of the time.
Today, more than 180 alums serve in elected office, including Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. During the 2020 Election Year, we saw more than 200 Emerge California alums on the ballot.