Final day of virtual Way Forward ends with message of hope

Way to Win
4 min readDec 1, 2020

On the third and final event of this year’s virtual Way Forward series, the agenda focused on the PAC strategy of supporting bold leaders, championing organizers and shaping the narrative. “The PAC dollars are the most flexible and valuable — the slingshot that will get us over the final line,” host Jenifer Fernandez Ancona said as she introduced the candidates and movement organizers who are using political dollars to consolidate power backed by powerful communities and ideas.

In the opening conversation between Jessica Byrd and Lauren Groh-Wargo, Lauren shared her experience managing Stacey Abrams’s 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race and planning for — and eventually implementing — “Scenario Z” of Stacey’s hotly contested race. Jessica, who worked alongside Lauren during the race, emphasized how the voter suppression issues in Georgia have now become part of the national conversation. This is where the Way to Win network of organizations and leaders is really valuable, Lauren said. “In partnership with all of the Way To Win organizations and leaders, we are building a connective issue to share information and to coordinate. To the fullest extent of the law, we are fighting for voters.”

In the next panel, national strategist Chris Cormier Maggiano moderated a conversation with down-ballot candidates who are expanding the electorate and activating their communities to vote across the ballot.

Coral Evans, who is running for Arizona House of Representative, spoke about the issues facing her state, such as the contracts with the private prison system that guarantee bed counts and the comparative underfunding for education. Monique Worrel, the Democratic candidate for Florida’s 9th Circuit State Attorney, shared that they were facing similar COVID-19 issues in Florida, where prison bed counts have to be maintained despite the compromised health of the inmates. The panelists spoke about these interconnected national issues and the need to work together strategically up and down the ballot to solve the problems.

Despite the challenges ahead, the theme of the Day 3 event was hope, so the panel closed with the panelists sharing their hopeful messages. Monique spoke about being inspired during the BLM protests, “I have seen the evolution of people who are now protesting. The expansion of the diversity of people who now get it and care about the issue of racial inequality and injustice.”

The next presentation by Maya Bordeau focused on how to communicate these progressive passions more effectively. With her background in psychology and marketingMaya shared communication techniques, such as finding a key image or metaphor as pithy and indelible as the MAGA slogan.

Arisha Hatch, Executive Director of Color of Change PAC, then moderated a discussion among movement leaders about how they are using political dollars to consolidate power. According to Michael Kieschnick of the Green Advocacy Project, “The Way to Lead PAC is a solution to a problem that has existed for a very long time.” He emphasized how the PAC enables a donor from California to support issues in Florida and Texas, and to know that the pipeline works.

Andrea Mercado of the New Florida Majority said PAC dollars are valuable for their bargaining power and flexibility. “In the state of Florida, we can’t talk about candidates on digital ads or radio or newspaper without a PAC,” she said.

The event wrapped up with a conversation between President Tory Gavito and Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock. The Reverend said that Georgia has changed a great deal since Stacey Abrams’s 2018 race. She lost by 55,000 votes and in this upcoming election, there are 750,000 new registered voters.

Concluding with the day’s theme, Tory said, “The new South gives me hope.”

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