The best is truly yet to come.

Dear friend,

Back in the spring when I announced that I would step down as the founding executive director of Rights & Democracy, I said that the best is yet to come. I am happy to report that I am now certain that will be the case.

From the impact of the pandemic, to attacks on women’s reproductive health, to the escalating climate crisis, if you are reading this I don’t have to tell you how important civic organizations like ours are at this moment. 

During my time leading this multi-issue organization, we have helped thousands of people take action on voting rights, economic justice, racial justice, and advancing just climate, housing, health care, and education policies. In 2022, we will have the strongest staff team to date and our work advancing human rights and a multiracial democracy is only growing stronger. 

Issue advocacy has been the main focus of RDI up until this year. But in 2021, RDI built a full program for Leadership Education to also cultivate a new generation of leaders and organizers for our movement. This work includes:

  • The Catalyst Leadership Program to develop and support a new generation of policy makers from the most impacted communities across New Hampshire and Vermont, who are committed to a bold agenda for economic, racial and climate justice.
  • Race Class Academy: As corporate elites with politicians in their pockets exploit racist rhetoric to divide and distract, we need leaders in our communities to help bring people together. This series is an introduction to how we can overcome divide-and-conquer politics and build cross-racial and cross-class solidarity.
  • Organizers Cohort: An initiative for emerging leaders seeking to build their community organizing skills within a learning community, where they deepen their political analysis, hone organizing skills, and apply learnings to real world projects.
  • Powerbuilders Series: A monthly drop-in training series that offers opportunities for the public to develop organizing skills.
  • Digital Action Team: During the pandemic, we found that many people were eager to help create change from home. This team of grassroots volunteer leaders is trained for rapid response digital action through text banking, social media engagement, and organizing platforms.

We are investing in leadership education because we know that to create the change we need, we must win tangible change in the day-to-day lives of our neighbors. To make this happen, we need a new generation of leaders equipped with the tools to step into public roles in our communities.

We cannot do this work without your support. I hope you will consider making a special end of the year tax-deductible contribution of $100, $25, $10, or whatever you can afford to help us continue this work for the long haul.

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I deeply appreciate everyone who has donated and rolled up your sleeves with us to advance our movement for human rights and a strong multiracial democracy where everyone can thrive.


James Haslam

PS: I wasn’t sure at the time exactly what I would do next when I made the announcement about my transition, but I am thrilled now to know I will be able to help lead an important national initiative AND be able to continue to work for Rights & Democracy. Stay tuned for a big update in January about this and RDI’s new leadership.


When we all come together, we can win the change our communities need. Support Rights & Democracy Institute and join us!