BISC 2022: A Year in Review
BISC’s end of year video, “2022: A Year In Review,” is here! You can watch it now, plus check out the written version below:
I have been reflecting on 2022, trying to remember the start of the year and was met with a cloud of uncertainty not too different from 2021. This cloud of uncertainty amongst constant falling skies has been exhausting. Falling skies have a way of distracting us. Clouding our judgment. Pitting us against each other. Numbing us into despair. I don’t need to name the falling skies we are experiencing. We feel them every day in our personal and professional lives.
On one of my favorite podcasts, Vibe Check, co-host Saeed Jones shared a tweet from Reverend Solomon Missouri about falling skies. This is the part of the thread has been stuck in my mind:
“You are not in control of the sky. You are called to your work. The ‘falling sky’ does not exempt you from purpose. Your work is before you, do your work.”
That is exactly what BISC did in 2022. We supported ballot measure efforts to center equity, shift culture, and move us towards a just and joy-filled world. We are committed to our partners across the country who inspire us–they are our people. We are reimagining democracy and building community centered power rooted in the states. We have clarity of purpose because our strategic framework guides our path forward despite the falling skies around us. We did this while redefining what winning looks like.
BISC helped deliver some incredible victories in 2022. The campaigns where BISC played an active and impactful support role for our partners had a win rate of 86%.
We are incredibly proud of the work we did to support leaders run equitable and winning campaigns especially on reproductive rights. BISC believed it was a winning issue long before it was making headlines. We have been organizing and working closely with partners on the ground and in the reproductive freedom movement for years so we were ready when the Dobbs decision came down in June. We are so proud of their hard work and perseverance that changed the trajectory of this election in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont. Every victory was important but I want to take a moment to highlight Montana. Polling was against them every step of the way, but with BISC’s support through our Declaration of Equity and Accountability (DoE) state leaders built a new way of working together – one that moved away from traditional “win at all costs” mentality and into one where equity and sustainability were centered. Raise the Wage Nebraska and Abolish Slavery in Oregon were also DoE pilot states that were victorious on Election Day.
We faced a difficult 2022 legislative session where 58 bills were introduced to limit direct democracy and undermine the Will of the People. We successfully defeated many in the legislature as well as measures in Arkansas, Arizona and South Dakota. We are already busy defending direct democracy with partners in Ohio, Missouri and hope to restore direct democracy with our partners in Mississippi. We fought back and our groundbreaking defend direct democracy message research recently won an Expy award from the Analyst Institute.
During the November 2022 general election, ballot measures delivered on critical issues affecting our communities directly. Ballot measures transcend party lines and often receive higher vote percentages than candidates.Ballot measures are a tried and true way of bypassing partisan politics and turning People Power into policies that transcend divides and improve lives. This truly speaks to the unifying power of ballot measures. Now we must make sure they are implemented in the states.
One of my highlights of this year was re-emerging with our friends and partners at Road Ahead 2022 with care and compassion. It was wonderful to be with a beloved community after two years apart. In my welcome, I called on participants to make ballot measures love letters to our people. Through ballot measures, we have an opportunity to come together to build “tomorrow’s world” as Yuri Kochiyama called on us to do. We must pace ourselves in our journey towards liberation as John Lewis so often reminded us. We deserve an equitable and just world, but it will not happen “unless it first happens in our imagination” as Gloria Anzaldúa said. All of this is possible if we center our people, build collective power, and remember our purpose.
So as you wind down 2022, take a moment to reflect and celebrate everything you, your organization, and your community has accomplished. Rest and refill your well with the things you love and bring you joy. And as you ready for 2023, be guided by your purpose.
Chris Melody Fields Figueredo