Steven Phillips

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Steven Phillips


Steven C. Phillips is an attorney and political organizer in San Francisco. He is the President and Founder of in 2003. In 1992 Phillips married Susan Sandler the daughter of Herb Sandler and Marion Sandler.

He grew up in Cleveland Heights Ohio, He is the son of Dr. James L. Phillips and Doris C. Phillips.[1]

Steven Phillips has written nearly 100 columns and essays that have been published in newspapers across the country including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Village Voice, the San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has appeared on the Today show, MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams, Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, and KTVU’s Mornings on Two. He has served as a commentator on BayTV and been a guest on KQED’s Forum as well as appearing on KGO Radio and BBC radio. He has also given presentations at colleges across the country including Stanford Law School, Baylor College of Medicine, and Tufts University.

Steve’s work with non-profit organizations includes founding Justice Matters, an education reform and leadership development organization, and serving on the Board of Directors of Progressive Majority, the Democracy Alliance, and the American Conservatory Theater.

Herb Sandler and Marion Sandler sent their son-in-law Steven Phillips as their representative to the October 2005 meeting of the Democracy Alliance at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta, Georgia.[2]

In 2003, Steve founded, a statewide social justice organization working to champion democracy and justice in California. PowerPAC has organized grassroots support in several state and local campaigns and helps to identify, support, and connect individuals and organizations with a passion for justice and a commitment to work together to build progressive political power. In 2007, he founded Vote Hope, a political action committee dedicated to supporting candidates that are committed to a social justice policy agenda.

Co-founder and Board President of AJWI, Steven Phillips has worked more than 25 years as an education reformer, attorney and elected official.[3]


Steven Phillips grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his mother was a public school teacher and his father was a physician. He attended Stanford University, where he majored in English and Afro-American Studies and was active in the student government, the Black Student Union, and the Free South Africa Movement. He also helped build a coalition of students, faculty and staff that pushed Stanford to make major changes in innovations in multi-cultural curriculum and student services for students of color.[4]

Steven Phillips continued his public service after graduating from college, devoting his early professional and political life to the issue of education. For four years he worked for the public interest law firm Public Advocates, Inc. as the coordinator of an education reform project that linked low-performing schools with business and local community groups. In 1992, at the age of 28, Steve successfully ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Education, and he became the youngest elected official in the history of San Francisco.

Steve served on the School Board for eight years including one year as President of the Board. His accomplishments on the Board include saving the early childhood education program that serves 4,000 San Francisco children, reducing class sizes in grades K-2, and making San Francisco the first school district in the country to incorporate books by writers of color into the required literature curriculum.

Steve attended Hastings College of the Law, and, in 1997, he opened the Law Offices of Steven Phillips where he practiced civil rights and employment discrimination law. As an attorney, Steve successfully litigated against a broad number of entities ranging from municipalities to multi-million dollar corporations including two settlements for $525,000.[5]

His law partner was Emi Gusukuma.

Ray Cochran

Steven Phillips is the nephew of journalist Ray Cochran.

Although my uncle was selected as Ohio’s best college journalist and graduated from the prestigious Columbia school of journalism in the 1950s, he died penniless and unemployed.
Despite the fact that he was a talented young reporter on the White House beat, the white journalists at The Washington Star shunned and ridiculed him. When he tried to start his own newspaper, that aspiring black journalist could not find anyone to invest in his dream, so the paper folded, his dream died, and his spirit was broken. Twenty years later, unable to obtain adequate medical care, he died of cancer at the age of 56 – a casualty of the American Dream.[6]


Steven Phillips' has been an advocate for civil rights and education since his undergraduate years at Stanford, where he helped build a coalition of students, faculty and staff that pushed Stanford to make major changes in innovations in multi-cultural curriculum and student services for students of color. Phillips continued his public service after graduating from college, initially by working with a public interest law firm, Public Advocates, and later by running for the San Francisco Board of Education at the age of 28. As a School Board Member-including a year as President-Phillips was instrumental in saving an early childhood education program, reducing class sizes, and making San Francisco the first school district in the country to incorporate books by writers of color into the required literature curriculum. After earning his law degree from Hastings College, Phillips started his own firm where he practiced civil rights and employment discrimination law. He has written nearly 100 columns and essays published in newspapers across the country, has appeared on multiple cable television shows, and has served as a commentator on BayTV and been a guest on KQED's Forum as well as appearing on KGO Radio and BBC radio.[7]

Opposing CBest

WHY DO SOME minority teachers oppose the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), which ensures that new teachers have attained 10th-grade proficiency in reading, writing and math?

Journalist Debra J. Saunders called San Francisco school board president Steve Phillips and board member Dr. Leland Yee for an answer to that question after they wrote to The Chronicle opposing CBEST. Phillips and Yee support the class-action lawsuit filed by the Oakland Alliance of Black Educators, Association of Mexican-American Educators and California Association for Asian- Pacific Bilingual Education that seeks to gut CBEST on the basis that the test is racist. The California Teachers Association supports the lawsuit.

Yee, who is a school psychologist, has taken CBEST and passed. Did you come across any questions that were racist? I asked him. "No, I didn't see anything racist," he answered.

If he could not point to anything in the test that showed any bias, why did he think the test is racist?

Yee offered two reasons. First: the fact that the pass ratios were different by ethnic group -- that is, 80 percent of whites, versus 35 percent of African Americans, 51 percent of Latinos and 59 percent of Asians who take the test for the first time. Second: There had been no "validity test."

Yee and Phillips both told the reporter that they do not want to lower standards. They only want to get rid of an "unfair" test. [8]

Obama connection

Electing Obama

Steve Phillips played a major role in the election of Barack Obama.

Barack Obama said those words when he secured the nomination on June 3, and he was right. The moment we are in is an incredible opportunity to change this country for the long term, and now is the time for us to seize it. We must harness the electricity in the air in cities and towns and states all across this country into sophisticated, coordinated, unstoppable progressive change.
Contrary to earlier reports about the demise of independent efforts this cycle, the work in 2008 will be robust, vibrant, and more coordinated than ever before. In 2008, the progressive movement is taking on an unprecedented collaboration of grassroots groups to raise $100 million that will mobilize millions of new voters and engage them in effective organizations that will be around long after November 4.
Major donors across the country are as inspired as everyone else about this important moment, and significant investments are being made to make the most of this opportunity. In addition to widespread non-partisan work, many of these efforts will support progressive candidates up and down the ticket, helping elect Barack Obama, picking up Senate seats, flipping state legislatures and permanently reshaping the electoral landscape in key states across the country.

The Democratic primaries illustrated our country’s hunger for a progressive agenda as millions of new and previously disengaged voters expressed their desire for change at the polls. Young people and African Americans and Latinos voted in record numbers across the country (1 million new Latino voters turned out in California alone.)

PowerPAC, an organization whose primary purpose is to advocate for social justice policies and increase voter participation for people of color, was fortunate to participate in this historic moment. We were the first group on the air in South Carolina in January with get-out-the-vote radio ads targeting African American voters. We partnered with churches, labor and community-based organizations to increase Black voter turnout in 14 states with a focus on the South, including Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland and Virginia. In California and Texas, we contacted over one million Latino voters to make sure that they were educated and prepared to make their votes count.

Following our successful work in the primaries, PowerPAC is moving to expand our efforts and collaborate with other independent grassroots groups to build a permanent progressive infrastructure that will not only have a tangible impact on this campaign cycle, but will continue to work for positive change long after the last campaign posters have come down.
The work we will do in states across the country will also impact statewide Senate races, as well as local and regional candidate and issue campaigns down the ballot that have direct impact on people’s daily lives.

Through an effort dubbed the Jimmie Lee Jackson Project, PowerPAC will collaborate with groups like the NAACP, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the Pushback Network, and others to coordinate non-partisan registration, education, and mobilization efforts of African American voters during the General Election. Jimmie Lee Jackson was a 24-year-old civil rights demonstrator whose death at the hands of Alabama State Troopers led to the Selma-Montgomery march and passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Our coordinated Black voter drive will register and mobilize one million new Black voters through a $10 million, multi-state mobilization in states such as Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia.
PowerPAC will also collaborate with the major grassroots mobilization efforts led by America Votes and its 30-plus partner organizations, representing the largest progressive issue-based organizations in the country. In a national collaborative table and a series of collaborative tables in 14 states, these groups are dividing up constituencies and coordinating communication and mobilization efforts to educate voters about the national and down-ticket races.

Working from a common voter file, long-standing groups like the Sierra Club will contact 700,000 members and other voters concerned about environmental issues; the Campaign for Community Change will organize immigrant advocates and workers; Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood will carry the message to female voters; and the United States Student Association, Young Democrats of America and League of Young Voters will mobilize the millennial generation.
A confluence of factors has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reorder priorities and reshape public policy for decades to come. To seize this opportunity, progressive leaders, donors, and activists alike all must rise to the challenge.
In his victory speech on June 3rd, Senator Obama closed by saying, “Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless.” In order to convey that message to future generations, we need a massive mobilization now of Americans from all backgrounds who hunger for change. At PowerPAC, we are proud to join with our allies to do our part to make the most of this historic moment.[9]

Presidential visit

Steve Phillips, on a vist from President Barack Obama, circa April 2016.

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With my voice almost breaking and my hands trembling much more than I thought they would, I said to the 25 guests gathered in my living room last Friday, “It is one of the great honors of my life to welcome to our home the President of the United States.”
My grandfather, Rev. A.R. Cochran, who started out working in a Cleveland peanut factory and went on serve as a pastor in the Church of God.
When my grandfather moved from Meridian, Mississippi to Cleveland, Ohio during World War I and then swept floors in a peanut factory, I’m sure he could not have imagined that his grandson would someday have the opportunity to welcome the President of the United States to his home. When my parents were denied buying a house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1964 because they were Black, they could not have known that their struggles would help shape their son’s book about race and politics, which he would then place in the hands of the Black man who was now the leader of the free world.
Obama came to California last week on a fundraising swing. A few weeks prior, some of our friends at the Democratic National Committee had asked me and my wife if we would host a roundtable discussion for the President with some progressive Bay Area donors (my wife’s first response was “the president of what?”). Once we understood that they meant the President, we enthusiastically agreed and reached out to invite several friends and colleagues who shared our passion for sustaining and growing the participation of the “Obama coalition” — people of color and progressive whites — in the 2016 election.
In many ways, I felt my life coming full circle from nine years ago. In 2007, I had traveled across the country raising millions of dollars to register and mobilize voters of color, and PowerPAC, the social justice organization I helped found, conducted the largest independent effort in support of then-Senator Obama in the 2008 primaries. Now, Obama was coming to my house.
In introducing and welcoming the President last week, I shared the story of how my parents battled racial discrimination as they sought to buy a home and secure a toehold in the middle class, and I explained that the reason my wife and I went all in for Obama in 2007 was because we recognized that his campaign was an extension of the Civil Rights Movement and, indeed, of the centuries-long struggle for justice and equality in America.
I explained to our guests that researching and writing my book, Brown is the New White, had provided me the opportunity to listen to Obama’s speeches again. The very first words of his 2008 Iowa victory speech — “They said this day would never come” — so inspired me that I used them as the title of my book’s opening chapter to help situate that specific electoral moment in the country’s larger historical context.
And then there were those unmistakable historical allusions in his speeches that had touched my soul and further fueled my motivation to work for social change. Obama’s famous New Hampshire primary “Yes We Can” speech paid homage to those three words “whispered by slaves and abolitionists.” His 2008 Grant Park victory speech in Chicago concluded by featuring the story of 106-year-old African American Ann Nixon Cooper whose lifetime had spanned myriad changes in America and who “was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, and a bridge in Selma.” The President nodded as I recounted the references. I had heard correctly; the echoes of civil rights history had indeed reverberated throughout his campaign speeches.[10]

Child of the Civil Rights Movement

Born in 1964 and a beneficiary of the Fair Housing movement, I was immersed from a young age in the milieu of the movement. After getting the house they wanted (and the house I grew up in) by turning to a white housing rights lawyer, Byron Krantz, to buy our home and deed it over to my parents, my mother still slept in her clothes after we moved in because she was afraid our house might get firebombed.

Steven Phillips decided at a young age "to make doing my part to carry on and advance the struggle for justice and equality my life’s work". In college, he majored in African and Afro-American Studies so that he could study why racial and economic inequality exists and what could be done about it.

In 1988, I helped organize a delegation of students to travel to the Black-belt South to register voters and support local leaders fighting against voter suppression.

We went to Selma, Alabama where we listened to those who had worked side-by-side with Martin Luther King and other leaders, walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where some of the seminal struggles for voting rights took place, and visited the gravesite of Jimmie Lee Jackson, the 26-year-old Alabama activist who was shot and killed by a police officer after a 1965 voting rights rally as Jackson sought to shield his mother from the blows of the police batons.

Phillips worked in Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns and came to see the electoral promise and potential of connecting the energy of people struggling for equality and inclusion to a political campaign for the country’s highest office. During Jackson’s presidential campaigns in the 1980s, he "had the privilege of learning from contemporaries of Dr. King, colleagues of Fannie Lou Hamer, and Rosa Parks herself".[11]

Team Team, 2021:

Publisher and Executive Director Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano

Board of Directors Lauren Veasey, Maisie Chin, Steve Phillips

Team Support Sharline Chiang[12]


Steven Phillips (A.B. 1986 Stanford University), active in the Black Student Union as a student and an organizer in the Free South Africa Movement.[13]

The Stanford Daily

The three at-large members of The Stanford Daily's editorial board for the September 28 1984 volume were Martin Boles, Clint Highfill and Steven Phillips.

Allison friendship

Old friends

Cory Booker, Steve Phillips and Aimee Allison all knew each other at Stanford University in the 1980s.[14]

Steven Phillips' college friend and current colleague Aimee Allison had accompanied him to Alabama in 1988.

She was there when Barack Obama visited Steven Phillips' home in April 2016;

On Friday, she sat with me and President Obama in our living room, sharing the moment and having a moment.

Maya Angelou had come to speak at Stanford when Aimee and I were students there in the 1980s, and she concluded her speech by reciting her poem, “Still I Rise.” Looking at the President — our nation’s first Black President — I thought that surely this is what Angelou meant when she wrote, “I am the dream and the hope of the slave.”[15]

Alabama event


According to Danzy Senna, Stanford Daily Editorial staff;

Nine Stanford students joined leaders from across the nation last week in Selma, Ala., to re-enact and commemorate a 1965 voting rights march and discuss the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. The Stanford group, calling itself "Project Democracy II," went to record the history of the original march, called "Bloody Sunday" because it ended in bloodshed and violence, but in the process found a new chapter of history being written before its eyes. "I was figuring we'd meet some of our civil rights heroes, we'd sing some freedom songs and that would be it," said senior Stephen Ostrander, "but right away we realized that the struggle was still going on." The group found that the newest emphasis in the civil rights movement is on educational rights.

Present were Lyzette Settle, Dana Johnson, Kimera Koff, Jay Tucker and Michelle Graves marching behind a Black Student Union banner.[16] As well as Steve Phillips, Canetta Ivy, and Christy Brady.

Leaders of the week long event included Jesse Jackson, Rose Sanders, Hosea Williams, Coretta Scott King and Rep. John Lewis.

Stanford South Africa panel

During her first year at Stanford, Amanda Kemp was struck by something then-President Donald Kennedy said during a speech to the freshman class: "Question authority."

That advice was among the things that inspired her to join with hundreds of other students in sit-ins outside of Kennedy's office in the spring of 1985, as part of a campaign to pressure the university to divest itself of stock in companies doing business with the apartheid regime in South Africa, Kemp said on Saturday afternoon. She appeared with Kennedy as part of a panel that discussed the legacy of the anti-apartheid movement on the Stanford campus and elsewhere.

The discussion was part of "Celebrating South African Freedom: A Symposium on the International Campaign to End Apartheid," organized by the Aurora Forum, January 2006. Along with Kemp, a founding member of the Stanford Students Out of South Africa and now a visiting professor of American studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., other alumni panelists included lawyer Steven Phillips, a student activist and SOSA and Black Student Union leader at the time of the 1985 sit-ins, who now works as a political organizer, and Jory Steele, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California in San Francisco. After her graduation from Stanford in 1993, Steele traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship and later worked for political organizations there.

Also taking part in Saturday's panel was South African activist and lawyer Albie Sachs, a longtime member of the African National Congress who lost an arm and the sight in one eye in 1988 in a car bomb attack by South African agents. Sachs, appointed in 1994 to the South African Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela, was the author of a case decided in December that declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in South Africa.

The symposium also included the premiere of a segment of the film series Have You Heard from Johannesburg?, produced by Connie Field of Clarity Films. The segment documented the growth of the anti-apartheid movement in the United States in Washington, D.C., and on campuses, including Stanford, against the backdrop of violence in South Africa. After a projector failed in Kresge Auditorium during the last minutes of the 90-minute film, Field spoke with the audience about making and funding the film series, which is still in production.

'A tiny acorn grew into a huge tree'The campus movement in support of the Free South Africa campaign was the largest student movement in Stanford's history, involving hundreds of students over a period of years, panelists said. The international anti-apartheid movement is notable for the fact that it mobilized people in every major country in the world to act, said Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute.

"I saw a tiny little acorn grow into a huge tree," said Sachs, who was arrested and imprisoned for his political activities in South Africa before going into exile in the 1960s. In exile, Sachs worked internationally to mobilize resistance to the South African government. In the early years, "the anti-apartheid movement was just another issue," he said. "But, eventually it became a clear moral question that caused all sorts of people to stand up and ask themselves, 'What does it mean to be a human being?'"

For Phillips, who after leaving Stanford served on the San Francisco Board of Education as the youngest person elected to office in that city, a visit to the Stanford campus by Bishop Desmond Tutu showed him the power of what he called "morality plus organization."

From Tutu, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the liberation struggle in South Africa, Phillips saw "the explosive power of making a stand on social justice," he said. "Rooting yourself in the struggle of disenfranchised people working for justice is a force unto itself."

Some panelists said the sense of the interrelationship of all humanity—encapsulated in the South African expression ubuntu—was among the chief lessons to be learned from the anti-apartheid struggle. From "Question authority" she's moved to "Question individuality," Kemp said. "What I think is important is interconnectedness." Kemp said that, as a student activist, she was supported and nurtured by the generation who engaged in the civil rights struggles in the 1960s and regaled her with stories of their transformative experiences. "They taught me to think critically and engage," she said.

After the symposium, junior Mark Liu asked Kemp for her advice in strengthening current student organizing efforts. First, she would see about getting Liu an invitation to dinner with herself and other panelists, Kemp said. "Don't get discouraged," Kemp added. "Nurture yourself. Bring in people who can sustain you."[17]

Free South Africa


Steve Phillips January 14, 2014 near Washington ·

In the 1980s I spent many years helping build the Free South Africa Movement and supporting the African National Congress when it was considered a terrorist org. Ebrahim Rasool was an ANC leader and went to prison as part of the liberation struggle. Today he is the South African Ambassador to the US, and I was inspired by a stimulating dinner at his residence tonight.



(Stanford and South Africa)


Speakers: Donna Anderson, Prof. James Gibbs, Steven Phillips, Prof. Joel Samoff and an African Students' Representative.

Come and hear the review of the Presidents effort.

On the Black Student Union

On April 5, 1968, Stanford's black students ignited a fire that would burn relentlessly through two decades of shifting public sentiment. Following the shocking assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the newly established Black Student Union held a rally in White Plaza. As then-BSU co-chair Kenny Washington spoke, 40 black students banded together on stage and set fire to an American flag. Washington explained to the racially mixed crowd, "This burning flag may mean a lot to you, but it doesn't mean much to us. The fact that we are Americans is only incidental to us. The burning flag is incidental to us. We are primarily human beings." Nearly 20 years after Martin Luther King's death, the fire burns strong for Stanford's BSU. Through times of civil unrest, legal conservatism and widespread apathy, the BSU has maintained its boldness and its dream. "We are here to continue the unfinished business of the 19605," said Steve Phillips, 1984-86 BSU chair. "We stand on that history, we learn from it, and we're inspired by it." Amanda Kemp, last year's BSU chair, said that unlike many similar institutions in the country, Stanford's BSU has "an uninterrupted history of 20 years of struggle" against the status quo.

The BSU first introduced itself to the Stanford community in October 1967. Ted Spearman, senior press representative for the group, explained in an Oct. 19 Daily article that the BSU planned to focus its attention on countering apathy. "Stanford is just as hostile to black people as the rest of the country, perhaps more hostile because of its apathy. Apathy is the worst form of hostility," he said. Six months later, student behavior in response to King's death illustrated the extent of such apathy. Although many students mourned King, others expressed indifference. An April 5, 1968, Daily article reported: "One fellow at Kappa Alpha, where drinks and music created a lively atmosphere, said, 'I'm not concerned at all. I'm never upset at anything, and why should I worry? I live in Montana.' " The BSU, however, answered apathy with activism. Just hours after the flag-burning rally at White Plaza, 70 members of the BSU stormed onto the stage of Memorial Auditorium and surrounded then-Provost Richard Lyman, demanding 10 points of specific reform on minority admissions and employment at Stanford and funding for the BSU.

'It isn't just a fight for black people. The BSU is a catalyst for justice overall on this campus.' — Amanda Kemp

The BSU "never made an explicit threat of direct action but it was clear that ... they were in a position to create a lot of upheaval," said Lyman, who is currently president of the Rockefeller Foundation and was Stanford president from 1970-80. Seven hours later, after the administration responded in an open meeting at Tresidder Union, Washington shouted to the assembled crowd, "All our demands have been met!" "The BSU showed a very astute sense of how to play their cards and just how far to go in support of these demands," Lyman reflected. "Almost overnight, [the BSU] became a very prominent part of the campus action." Leo Bazile, 1968-70 BSU cochair and now an Oakland city councilmember, described the climate of the Stanford black student movement during his leadership as a "very volatile environment. Everybody was questioning tradition and values. People coincided in many cases and diverged in others." "The primary point of coming together was around questioning of institutional racism," Bazile said.

The 1970s were a time of 'backward political motion. People got afraid and people got comfortable...' — Keith Archuleta

One of the 1968 demands called for the admission of 10 minority students who do not meet the minimal academic requirements. As promised, this demand was fulfilled, and by 1971, nine of these 10 students were enrolled and in good academic standing, according to a Febuary 1971 Daily article. Improvement of minority enrollment has remained a vital issue for the BSU. "For 80 years, Stanford did not admit students of color to the University," Phillips said. "It took the assassination of King and the uproar that followed to change the situation."

With the change in the political climate, the government began to challenge the progress of the civil rights movement, according to 1977-78 BSU Chair Keith Archuleta. Archuleta said the challenge included the National Guard's attack at Kent State and increased intelligence gathering on black liberation organizations by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and the CIA. Another obstacle, according to Archuleta, was the Supreme Court's ruling in Bakke v. University of California that nationally instituted what he calls "reverseracism." This "conservative backlash" induced a retreat from the progressive rights movement both at Stanford and across the nation, he argued.

Quietly resisting conformity, Stanford's BSU nearly slipped away into non-existence, according to Archuleta. Archuleta described the era of his leadership as a time of "backward political motion. People got afraid and people got comfortable — blacks included." According to Phillips, the BSU probably would not have survived "if it hadn't been for Keith (Archuleta) in '75." Archuleta continues to be an active voice at Stanford. He is currently director of Black Community Services Center, assistant dean of Student Affairs and a resident fellow at Mirrielees House.

Concerns of the BSU during the 70s included divestment in South Africa, development of an AfroAmerican studies department, the establishment of a black theme house and learning assistance center and revising the Western Civilization requirement which, as Archuleta described, came back in 1980 under the disguise of Western Culture.

Since its inception, the BSU has also been a source of cultural and community outreach programs. Poet Amiri Baraka was one of many speakers brought to Stanford by the BSU in the early 19705, Kemp said. She cited tutoring, talent shows and the 1970 founding of a black student newspaper, The Colonist, (which later became the The Real News) as further cultural structures fostered by the BSU. Many of the programs for which the BSU fought over the years have benefited other minority groups and the campus at large. The learning assistance center, housed in Sweet Hall, for example, came about because of the BSU demands, Archuleta said. The BSU was also instrumental in last spring's formation of the Rainbow Agenda, a coalition of people of color committed to the fight against institutional racism, according to Kemp. "It isn't just a fight for black people," she said. "The BSU is a catalyst for justice overall on this campus." "Just about every aspect of this campus related or committed to diversity is linked in some way to the BSU," Phillips said. The progress of the BSU had come full circle as the "conservative" flickering fire of the '70s sparked new rage in the early '80s.[18]

Political influence

2002 Assembly run


In March 2002 District 13 winner is poised -- along with Democrat John Laird of Santa Cruz, who won his primary yesterday -- to become the first gay man in the California Legislature.

Whether Mark Leno or Harry Britt wins, the district sends another liberal gay Democrat to the Assembly to replace Carole Migden, who was termed out and ran for the state Board of Equalization.

Migden, who used to be Leno's mentor, backed Britt, setting up a hot and vituperative race in San Francisco's liberal and diverse eastern half.

Britt challenged Leno from the left, attempting to push forward the progressive insurgency that captured a majority on the Board of Supervisors last November. While the more moderate Leno had the support of most of San Francisco's Democratic elected officials, from Sen. Dianne Feinstein on down, Britt commanded the backing of big labor and tenant groups.

The race split the gay community, which has long supported both men, and gave an opening to Holli Thier, a progressive lesbian and former Democratic Central Committee member, and former school board member Steve Phillips. With Mayor Willie Brown backing Phillips, the race tested old loyalties and new alliances.

Britt had to struggle to overcome the perception that in coming out of retirement from elective politics he was an honored but out-of-touch relic from the pioneering days of the gay rights struggle. He retired as a supervisor in 1992 after 14 years.

Leno had to overcome anger that he had changed long-held positions to curry progressive favor and move out of the shadow of the increasingly unpopular mayor.

Both Phillips and Thier were running far behind in early returns.[19]

Top 50 influencers

Steven Phillips is author of the New York Times and Washington Post bestselling Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. In 1992 he became the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco and went on to serve as president of the Board of Education. He is co-founder of PowerPAC+, a social justice organization dedicated to building a multiracial political coalition. PowerPAC+ conducted the largest independent voter mobilization efforts backing Barack Obama, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. In 2014, he co-authored the first-ever audit of Democratic Party spending and was named one of “America’s Top 50 Influencers” by Campaigns and Elections magazine. He has appeared on multiple national radio and television networks including NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and TV One. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Hastings College of the Law.[20]

Color of math

Steve Phillips address to the City Club of Cleveland January 10, 2014.[21]

The 2010 census confirmed that there has been a profound demographic revolution in America over the past 30 years. Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and mixed-race Americans are now 36% of the population.
Now you might look at those numbers and think, "well the percentage of Whites has shrunk, but they're still the majority, 64%." That would be correct. Good arithmetic. Which brings us to another very important, yet historically neglected and overlooked minority group in America -- progressive whites.
Progressive whites are the Rodney Dangerfield of American politics. They just don’t get any respect. They are frequently dismissed or belittled as irrelevant tree huggers or vegetarians, or both.
But if we look back historically, we will see that the role of progressive whites in American social change has been both heroic and vilified. From the abolitionists and John Brown at Harper’s Ferry in 1859 to those who gave their lives in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement– people such as Rev. James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo in Selma, Alabama, or Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman in Mississippi, progressive whites have a long and proud tradition of rejecting their privilege, refusing to stand idly by, and courageously standing with disenfranchised and oppressed people in the struggle for justice, equality, and democracy. This tradition has touched and improved my own life, dating back to 1964 when my parents couldn’t buy the home they wanted on Dartmoor Rd in Cleveland Heights because they were Black. But a progressive White lawyer named Byron Krantz bought the house for them and deeded it over to my parents, securing what became the childhood home I grew up in.
In terms of U.S. politics, people have always thought that there were too few progressive whites to matter. But with the growth of the Latino, Black, and Asian populations, that is no longer the case. The closest statistical measure we have for political ideology in this country is the Presidential exit poll. Going back to Jimmy Carter’s election, we see that anywhere from 34% to 48% of whites have voted for the Democratic candidate for President (in some years, that was a more brave act than others). That’s an average of 41% of Whites voting Democratic. And, so, back to our arithmetic, 64% of the country is White, and 41% of those Whites are progressive, that means that progressive Whites make up 26% of the entire country. If you add that 26% to the 36% who are people of color, you get 62%, a clear majority of the United States.
Now, the other response I hear when we do these numbers is that not all people of color are progressive. Believe me, I know. I often shake my head wondering what some of these conservative people of color are thinking. But, back to exit polls, the data shows that the vast majority of people of color vote Democrat. In the last election, 80% of people of color voted Democratic. 80% of the entire People of Color population is 29% of the entire country’s population. If you add that 29% to the 26% of the country that are the white progressives, you get 55%. 29% + 26% = 55%. That is the new majority in America.
This demographic and mathematical theorem has now been tested and proven twice at the national level in the 2008 election and 2012 re-election of President Obama.
The Census Data has also given us a geographic map that shows that the future of U.S. politics is in the South and the Southwest. The new political battleground states are the old slave-holding states in the South and the Southwest, land that used to be Mexico and that we now call Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.
Two last numbers I’ll throw at you — 19 and 24. 19% of voters of color is the threshold for whether a coalition of people of color and progressive whites can win an election. In the 2010 Republican tidal wave, three states withstood the wave and re-elected Democrats to the U.S. Senate – Colorado, California, and Nevada. All three Dems who won those elections lost the White vote, but they were able to prevail because there were enough people of color in the mix. Colorado had 19% of its voters as people of color (CA and Nev had more), so we use 19% as the benchmark.
This is where the picture starts to come most sharply into focus. There are 24 states in America that will soon have 19% voters of color, and those states are overwhelmingly in the South and Southwest. Arizona, Georgia, and Texas are the new battleground states. Yes, Texas. One of the most important races in America this year is Wendy Davis’s race for Governor of Texas. If the Democrats take Texas, it will cut the legs out of the conservative political machine and make it nearly impossible for a Republican to win the White House for the next 20 years. Georgia, which Barack Obama only lost by 6 percentage points, without even contesting the race, represents the Democrats’ best chance to pick up a seat in the U.S. Senate this year as Michelle Nunn runs for the seat her father once held. These 24 states have 351 electoral votes, you need 270 to win the White House, and 303 Congressional seats, where 218 is the magic number. The 24 New Majority states have the power to elect the next President and secure control of Congress. As Jesse Jackson used to say, “the hands that once picked cotton and lettuce can now pick Presidents, Senators, and Governors.”
And so, if Democrats were smart, they would be massively investing in communities of color in the South and Southwest. Conservatives have done the math, and it is no accident that they are massively investing in efforts to restrict voting rights. While Obama’s campaign did spend considerable resources mobilizing and turning out new majority voters in NC, VA, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado for several months in 2012 (with the results to show for it) there is no lasting strategy, program or leadership pipeline carried out by the Democrats. Apparently too many Democrats have trouble with math, and there is a shocking underinvestment in the communities of color as too many campaigns continue to chase the ever-shrinking bloc of moderate white voters instead of building up the coalition of the future.,,
Let me close with the good news that you have nothing to fear. You know that people of color like good food. You know we make good music and culture. It turns out that many of us are smart and sociable and share the same values as you. In fact, those of us who come from communities and families that have faced discrimination and oppression are often the most hopeful and idealistic of all. In Dr. King’s famous speech, he said, “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
So, if you’re worried, put aside your fears and let’s work together to build a better America. If you’re a progressive White, your time has finally come (as my friend Van Jones says, if Blacks don’t vote, Greens don’t win). And if you’re a person of color, let’s grasp the role of responsibility that history has presented us. The Bible says that the rejected stone will be the cornerstone of the new order. Let’s use that cornerstone to build a new social structure in America. A structure we can all be proud of. A structure of opportunity, equality, democracy, and justice for all.

Seeking White House position


A January 9 2009 email from Steve Phillips to John Podesta;

Hi John - When you asked me a couple months ago whether I wanted to go into the administration, and I said no, I didn't know what I now know. Having interacted with folks on these personnel issues for the next two months, I have a much better appreciation for the importance of a consistent presence among the decision-makers. Plus, the work we've done identifying thousands of talented diverse candidates is only now set to really be useful, just as the transition work starts to wind down. I've talked it over with Susan, and we're agreed it makes sense for me to try to get on the official team at White House Personnel. With the diversity groundwork we've laid, plus ten years as an employment lawyer, I could make a big difference as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel.

Do you have time to discuss today or tomorrow? I could really use your guidance on this.

Promoting Maxwell


Steve Phillips tried to advocate for Mary Beth Maxwell to get the Labor Secretary job in the Obama Administration.

"Closed door meetings"

Aimee Allison wrote February 6 2015.[22]

This week, PowerPAC+ Chair Steve Phillips is in Washington D.C. working with the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Congressman G.K. Butterfield, the new chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Together we are crafting some exciting plans to address party diversity issues in 2015. Our aim is a party that effectively engages communities of color and wins elections. No more losses like in 2014.

From Politico.[23]

The party has broad room for growth. PowerPAC+, a Democratic group, released a report this year that found that less than 2 percent of the money the Democratic Party spent during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles went to firms owned by minorities — just $8.7 million of $514 million spent. The report examined expenditures from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee...
Black lawmakers raised the issue of minority contractors with DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján on Wednesday during a closed-door meeting, and it is expected to be a topic during a Congressional Black Caucus members-only meeting Thursday with DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
More than a dozen lawmakers and political consultants interviewed said they’ve seen a noticeable difference at the DCCC since Luján was tapped to lead the House-focused campaign committee. The New Mexico Democrat railed against the lack of Latino consultants when he was in the rank and file.
The DCCC hasn’t yet inked new contracts with 2016 vendors, but Luján told lawmakers during a private meeting in Philadelphia last week that increasing the number of minority-owned firms with contracts at the committee would be a top priority ahead of the next election. There are plans to model a program off the DNC’s 2012 national political convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, which made minority contracting a high priority.
“Just beginning the second month of my first quarter here and I’m proud of the diverse staff we’re building this cycle,” Luján said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my Democratic colleagues and our allies to put the majority in play in 2016 and do it with a team that truly represents the electorate...”
The contracting issue has been a thorn between the campaign committees and minority lawmakers for decades. Last May, Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), then the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she had been urging the DCCC to improve its contracting numbers but met with resistance.
“We’ve met and repeatedly requested the DCCC’s diversity goals in writing and have yet to receive them. It is clear to me they have no desire to address this issue,” Fudge said at the time.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the current chairman of the CBC, praised Luján’s “vision of having a diverse DCCC.” The North Carolina Democrat added that the DCCC will build a database of minority vendors using data that the party had used in Charlotte.


Jesse Jackson brought Steve Phillips into politics.[24]

Steve Phillips was a delegate to Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 campaigns, and took a year off from college to serve as the California student coordinator of his 1988 campaign.[25]


Funding Ferguson

Steve Phillips donated to a St. Louis nonprofit group called the Organization for Black Struggle that helped organize 2014 Black Lives Matter-related protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police killing of a black teenager named Michael Brown. And Phillips and his wife, Democracy Alliance board member Susan Sandler, are in discussions about funding other groups involved in the movement.[26]

Infuence on Obama's election


Steve Phillips August 10, 2013

Honored to be on panel at Chinese Historical Society commemoration of March on Washington — with Francis Wong and Jon Jang at 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

Jon Jang Steve, you and I were one of the few I know that share how the Jesse Jackson Rainbow Coalition had an impact on the election of President Obama.

Moderator Doug Chan, and the CHSA staff Gerard Veronica Sese, Chris Heins, Nolan Chow, Johnson Zheng, Amy Lam.[27]

Phillips on Obama and the Rainbow

Excerpted from "Brown is the New White".

Before Barack Obama went to law school, before Spike Lee made his first movie, before Shonda Rhimes could even dream of writing television shows featuring actors of color, a forty-two-year-old Black civil rights leader shook up the political system by running for president of the United States of America. To get from Martin in 1968 to Barack in 2008, we needed Jesse in 1984 and 1988.
It was during the presidential elections of the 1980s that the seeds planted in the 1960s began to sprout and become visible in national politics. Jackson was fond of saying, “When the old minorities come together, they form a new majority.” The potential of this prophecy came into sharp focus in the 1988 campaign as Jackson won the presidential primaries in eleven states, led the race for the Democratic nomination near the halfway point, and finished as the Democratic runner-up with the most votes in history up to that time.
The key to Jackson’s success—and Obama’s electoral victories twenty years later—was the power of connecting the energy of people of color and progressive Whites seeking justice, equality, and social change to a political campaign for elected office. I’ll always remember how the Jackson for President campaign organized a march with Latino farmworkers in Delano, California, that culminated in Jesse kneeling and praying with Cesar Chavez, who was on a hunger strike at the time. I witnessed Asian Americans across the country thanking Jackson for being the only presidential candidate to call for justice for Vincent Chin, who was killed in a hate crime. I walked my first picket lines with members of the Rainbow Coalition standing in solidarity with the Watsonville cannery strikers and saw those formerly disempowered workers, who were mostly Latinas, become effective political organizers. And I learned about courage and compassion watching Jackson visit and comfort gay people suffering from AIDS, at a time when their plight was unrecognized and their humanity disrespected.
As a result of these types of efforts, millions of people of color and progressive Whites were inspired to register to vote and turn out at the polls in 1984. Two years later, large and enthusiastic voting by people of color helped Democrats win closely contested U.S. Senate races in the heavily Black and Latino Southern and Southwestern states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, and North Carolina, capturing control of the Senate from the Republicans. Because the embryonic New American Majority had begun to flex its power in this fashion, when Ronald Reagan nominated radical right-wing judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987, the Democrats were able to defeat the pick, forcing Reagan to put forward the more moderate Anthony Kennedy. Twenty-eight years later, in 2015, Kennedy provided the swing vote that established marriage equality as the law of the land.
Although I have many criticisms of Democratic politics over the past several years, I have loved having Barack Obama as my president. From providing health care to all Americans to working to bring undocumented immigrants into the American family to saving the U.S. economy from collapse and creating millions of jobs to reestablishing U.S. respectability and relationships with countries around the globe, to the incalculable positive impact on American children in allowing them to see a Black First Family in the White House for eight years, America and the world are better places because Barack Obama became president of the United States.
Yet despite meaningful and significant progress in the public policy realm, Democrats and progressives have failed to maximize the opportunity to build and secure a lasting multiracial political majority for positive social change by investing in, strengthening, and solidifying the communities that comprised the Obama coalition. As a result, we are at risk of losing the advantage the demographic revolution has presented us, and of losing the chance to move toward becoming a more just and equitable society.
Most leaders of the Democratic Party still operate under the mistaken belief that Republicans took control of Congress because White swing voters switched their allegiances to the Republican Party, resulting in the crushing losses in the midterm elections of 2010 and 2014. The real problem in those races was lack of turnout of the Democratic base, but that analysis has not been done by the Party higher-ups, and hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted in the futile pursuit of winning back White swing voters when a permanent progressive governing coalition could be established by investing those same millions in organizing the diverse communities that make up the New American Majority.


LRS connections

Steven Phillips was very close to the League of Revolutionary Struggle.

"Palled around with...communists"


"The Progressive Case for Cory Booker". Posted by Steve Phillips, Political Intelligence, on December 20, 2012.[29]

Every progressive person in America should support Cory Booker’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Lest there be any confusion on the Left, allow me to make the case for why this needs to be a priority for all progressive-minded people.
First, let me make clear that I come out of the Left. I've studied Marx, Mao, and Lenin. In college, I organized solidarity efforts for freedom struggles in South Africa and Nicaragua, and I palled around with folks who considered themselves communists and revolutionaries (the non-violent type), and I did my research paper on the Black Panther Party (just so we’re clear, I also had Republican friends -- I’m talking about you, Hank LaBrun). My political baptism was the Jesse Jackson 1984 Presidential campaign, and I've drawn my inspiration from Malcolm, Martin, and Mandela rather than Democratic Party triumvarite of Kennedy, Carter and Clinton.

Unity interview


In May 1985 the League of Revolutionary Struggle newspaper Unity published a supplement on the university South African divestment movement.

They profiled the activities of several campus groups involved in the campaign.

Stanford University activists interviewed were all members of Stanford Out of South Africa (SOSA).;

Said Steve Phillips;

“some of the people who have played roles in organizing SOSA have been folks who’ve worked with UNITY and take a Marxist-Leninist perspective…It’s really exciting to see the principles of Marxism-Leninism being successful and making a difference.”

March on Sacramento

Along with Andrew Wong, Steven Phillips was a principal organizer of the April 1987 March on Sacramento that drew 8,000 people to Sacramento to support expanded educational opportunities for students of color. The March on Sacramento was the largest post-Vietnam rally in the State Capitol.[30]

Other key organizers, all friends of Phillips included Julie Martinez Ortega, Colin Cloud Hampson, Lisa Le and David Brown.[31]

"Education: Taking Action for Our Future"

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis will not appear at a student-sponsored education conference this Saturday, but his stepson, John Dukakis, will join presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson at the event, conference organizers said May 9 1988. Jackson is scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. Saturday in White Plaza, while John Dukakis will speak at Memorial Auditorium that morning at a separate session of the conference. The 28-year-old Dukakis, son of Kitty Dukakis and her first husband, John Chaffetz, is a coordinator of Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign.

The one-day conference, "Education: Taking Action for Our Future," is being sponsored by minority student and student government groups from around the state. Tickets for the event are $2 each and will be on sale in White Plaza Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m. Participants in the conference will present the speakers with an "educational bill of rights to influence the direction of education over the next four years," said senior Vivian Wu, a member of the Asian American Student Association. Last month, members of MEChA, a Chicano-Latino student group; the African/Black Student Statewide Alliance and the Asian/Pacific Islander Student Union wrote agendas highlighting their educational concerns.

Members of all three student networks are working to draft one agenda that draws from the three already written. Members of MEChA, A/BSSA, and the A/PSU will ratify the educational bill and present it to statewide student government organizations in hopes of getting their endorsements. Elsa Tsutaoka, one of the conference organizers, said that the concept behind the event is that "education is a right for all, not a privilege. It is a human right that any just society provides and is necessary for progress." Students hope to apply this concept to issues in education such as admissions, curriculum and financial aid. The groups also support changes in universities' core curriculum "that reflect all groups that contribute to American culture," according to Tsutaoka. She

added that a university's "curriculum should be relevant to current demographics," and noted that the "lack of ethnic studies is a hole in education." The students would like "admissions opened up so more people have access," Tsutaoka said. She said one way to implement this would be for "the University of California and California State University systems to accept the top third of every class from each high school instead of the top third of students overall." Tsutaoka, a 1987 Stanford graduate and a member of AASA, said that AASA voted to endorse Jackson's candidacy. The educational conference is the second event the three minority networks have done together. Last April, they joined in a march on the state capitol in Sacramento to protest proposed budget cuts in education and to highlight issues in education. Jackson participated in that March. MEChA, A/BSSA, and the A/PSU are the statewide umbrella groups for the Stanford MEChA group, the Black Student Union and the Asian American Student Association, respectively.[32]

"It can serve as a rallying point because right now there's no other alternative in education," said Steve Phillips, former chair of the Black Student Union at Stanford and one of the students who helped draft the document. Authored by student leaders statewide, the bill lists 11 general demands that call for a restructuring of the U.S. educational system. The demands range from the practical — increasing federal spending for education and hiring more and better teachers — to the controversial — strengthening bilingual education and expanding ethnic studies in all schools. The idea for the bill came last fall from a meeting of the statewide MEChA network. a Chicano/Latino student association, and soon spread to two other statewide networks. Three California student alliances, representing the University of California system, the California State University system and an association of community colleges from around the state, subsequently joined the movement and participated in the conference.[33]

Comrade's wedding


Erich Nakano, Michael Schmitz and Steve Phillips attended Kathleen Coll's wedding to Alejandro Sweet-Cordero.

LRS membership accusation

According to an article in the May 23 1990 Stanford Daily, six prominent campus activists were members of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.


The group was defended, in a letter to the paper two days later by a group of eight other campus activist;

Richard Suh says, in the May 23 Daily, that League of Revolutionary Struggle members "are leading progressive politics on campus . . . because they are the best and the hardest workers." He and others "who asked not to be identified" then "charge" that Elsa Tsutaoka, Stacey Leyton, David Brown, Gina Hernandez, Steven Phillips and Ingrid Nava are members of this League (presumably because they are some of the best and hardest workers on campus). All six deny being members of such a group, which the author then uses to imply that they must in fact be members, since the organization is supposedly secretive. The absurdity of such reasoning is apparent, but what concerns us is that irresponsible charges that have serious and detrimental implications for individuals' lives are being published on the basis of rumor and innuendo. Those "accused" by this article deserve our respect and support because of their being the "best and hardest workers."
The "infiltration" of Stanford by these six hard workers has given us the leaders of Stanford's anti-Apartheid and pro-CIV movements, the coordinator of the 1987 You Can Make A Difference Conference, three student body presidents, a Phi Beta Kappa in history, fighters for the expansion of the Asian American Activities Center and El Centro Chicano, key volunteers and speakers on the 1987 and 1990 YCMAD Conferences, an RA, members of the varsity track and swim teams, a dancer in Ballet Folklorico and much much more. The Daily has come right out and said that Stanford students are too stupid to think for themselves. The League of Revolutionary Struggle has been running things all along, using students for its own ends. But we, those who should know, assert that Stanford students are not dupes and that progressive student politics on campus are decidedly democratic. When a particular plan of action is proposed by any student, others weigh their options and then agree on a path of action.
It is ironic that the six community members you name have themselves been some of the staunchest advocates of democratic processes. Just out of curiosity, what is wrong with being a Marxist-Leninist? Last time we checked, it was still legal in this country to hold any political beliefs or belong to any organization without alerting the media. Stanford should ask itself why radicals feel the need to avoid explicit mention of their politics. It is easy to get tagged as a radical at this university and have one's ideas and actions written off. To avoid censure you keep your head down and keep your criticism in the mainstream. The odd thing is that many of us are in agreement with Marxists and even that blacks, Latinos, women, homosexuals and many others are oppressed or at least suffer the effects of past oppression? We may disagree with the League's ultimate goals or projects, but is it impossible to work with them where we do agree? (If indeed we could really find them.) The need to avoid this kind of red-baiting will lead student groups to ask radical members to leave in order to avoid trouble. This process can only lead to the stifling of discussion and the weakening of student groups by throwing out "the best and hardest workers." How long before we start hearing that familiar old question before we can participate in student politics: Are you now or have you ever been ...


WE, AS STAFF PERSONS of color at The Stanford Daily, strongly condemn The Daily’s treatment of the May 18 article on the poster attacking Gordon Chang. We also condemn the sidebar article on the League of Revolutionary Struggle – which we feel was irresponsibly reported – and the nature of the subsequent coverage...

Moreover, the allegations are a direct attack on the self-determination of students of color, on the integrity of student of color groups and on the more than 20-year legacy of struggle, sacrifice and positive change that students of color have built on this campus.

The May 18 article offered no objective information about student of color groups, the United Farm Workers, Amiri Baraka or any other of the supposed League affiliates listed. As a matter of fact, in a journalistic style we have never seen before at The Daily, the article offered not a single named source for its allegations.

Furthermore, The Daily’s May 22 editorial was painfully hypocritical. On the one hand, the editorial criticized and condemned the “McCarthy-esque” poster. On the other hand, The Daily reprinted the flyer in full, advertising the slander to the community.

We feel The Daily’s article on the flyer actually supported the flyer by misrepresenting the Asian-American studies campaign, saying that “several student organizations worked last year to gain a tenure-track professorship for Chang .. although the campaign never called for the hiring of a particular individual. And The Daily legitimized the flyer’s racist and McCarthyistic accusations with the sidebar, twice as long as the actual flyer article, about “a highly secretive nationwide organization ... that focuses on people of color groups for its mass support,” and other allegations which we feel were inflammatory and under-lyingly racist. These Daily articles were themselves McCarthyistic...

We, as a group, have discussed possible paths of action, including mass resignation as a form of protest. Many of us no longer want to be associated with a paper like The Daily. However, we realize that it is important that we stay at The Daily and fight to make The Daily reflective of all people, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We hope that one day students of color will be more than tokens at The Daily.

Canvassing with comrades


Steve Phillips 1990 near San Francisco, CA. ·

TOO GOOD TO HOLD UNTIL THURSDAY!!! #throwbackmonday #1990precinctwalking #mabeltengforcommunitycollegeboard #califstudentsforjessejacksontshirt! #thosewerethedays — with Elsa Tsutaoka, Derek Miyahara and Valerie Mih.

The Stanford Daily

As of May 1989;

Kathy Lachenauer Editor in Chief, Barrett Heywood Business Manager, Susan McKean and Lorl Silver Managing Editors, Mark Rogowsky Executive Editor, Chris Munoz Advertising Manager, Tim Marklein and Eric Young News Editors, Eric Jones and Frank Quaratiello News Production Editors, Elizabeth Howton and Bobby Landon Editorial Page Editors, Amy Rosenfeld and John Wagner Features Editors, David Earnest and Robert Pardlngton Sports Editors, Michael Topolovac Managing Photography Editor, Ken Beer, Kal Keasey, Damlan Marhefka and April Pearson Photography Editors, Andrew Berkowitz Entertainment Editor, Gene Anaya Assistant Entertainment Editor, Joe Rellly and Nancy Wallace World & Nation Editors, Jock Friedly Science Editor, Leslie Telcholz Books Editor, Mark Tompkins Graphics Editor Ann Marsh, Steve Phillips and Elsa Tsutaoka Multicultural Editors.[35]

Radical friends


Steven Phillips has youthful connections to League of Revolutionary Struggle affiliates Stacey Leyton and Elsa Tsutaoka.

Recruited Ingrid Nava/denial

Although there is no indication that she joined the League, COP member Ingrid Nava, who was recently re-elected to a second term, was heavily recruited by the League of Revolutionary Struggle, beginning at the end of last summer, according to a number of students. Nava refused to return numerous phone calls.

At the end of last summer, Nava lived briefly at a house on Bryant Street in Palo Alto known sarcastically by some progressive students as the “Revolutionary Hotel,” where recruitment for the League has occurred, according to sources who say they have been recruited.

Elsa Tsutaoka and Steven Phillips, a former BSU chair and current Daily multicultural editor who has allegedly recruited for the League, currently live in the house. Phillips recruited Nava beginning in September, according to a student who was also recruited by the League.

Phillips said he had no knowledge of the League’s involvement at Stanford and has not recruited for the organization. [36]

No denial

Steve Phillips , multicultural editor at The Stanford Daily, did not deny League of Revolutionary Struggle membership in a .The Stanford Daily column of 30 May 1990, in reply to recent accusations that he was indeed a member. He admitted addressing events sponsored by the Student Unity Network.[37]

Jackson delegate


In 1988 Steve Phillips was a Jesse Jackson delegate from Stanford University. He was featured in the League of Revolutionary Struggle's Unity of October 10 1988.

Unity article on Mandela

Unity July 9, 1990

In 1990 Steven C. Phillips, 1984 - 1986 chair of Stanford University's Black Student Union, and co-chair of California Black/African Student Statewide Alliance 1987 - 1990, contributed an article on Nelson Mandela to the July 9, 1990 issue of Unity.

"Justice and Hope"

Steven Phillips wrote Justice and Hope: Past Reflections and Future Visions of the Stanford Black Student Union 1967-1989, in 1990.

Writing Justice and Hope has been a humbling and daunting exercise. Many, many people helped, and this is indeed a collective work. I am grateful to the many Black faculty and staff members who provided valuable advice, support and direction: James L. Gibbs, St. Clair Drake, Kennell Jackson, Clayborne Carson, Keith Archuleta, Michael Jackson, Michael Britt, Dandre Desandies, Hank Organ, and Rachel Bagby.
As I sought to forge one document from various strands of folklore, scraps of paper, and scattered publications, I relied heavily on several important resources. The previous editors and staff members left us a valuable legacy. and i urge any students interested in writing to revive and rebuild that vital institution. Similarly, The Stanford Daily, and Contour Report provided helpful glimpses into the past that I have incorporated into this work. Joyce King, Robert Bacon and the other BSU members who wrote Black 70 produced a scholarly and beautiful document that both provided a wealth of information and challenged the to make this publication reflect the same high standards of excellence. Louis Jackson, director of the Ujamaa Archives, provided me access to Black 70 and other publications. Lewie Ford's The Black Power Imperative, a media chronology of the history of Black student activism highlighted many key events that I tried to include and develop. Thorn Massey's articles on "Being Black at Stanford" in The Stamford Magazine provided a valuable overview plus important details and facts.
I also made extensive use of the Stanford Libraries. At the various stages of production, a whole host of peeple contributed. I hope I don't leave anybody out, but here goes. My thanks go out to the following people: Lisa Fitts, Audrey Jawando, Bacardi Jackson, and Drew Dixon helped give shape to Justice and Hope when it was still a vague and unformed idea. Toni Long demonstrated for me the true power of PageMaker. David Porter clarified important facts and provided historical information. Frederick Sparks helped with fundraising and monitoring the budget. Lyzettc Settle added critical comments and an extremely thorough and detailed revision of the text. Danzy Senna, Joy St. John, Stacey Leyton, Raoul Mowatt, Valerie Mih, Hillary Skillings, Judy Wu, Quynh Tran, and Cheryl Taylor meticulously proofread the final drafts. Elsa Tsutaoka gave advice on design, layout and cutting photos. MEChA loaned us its layout equipment The staff in the ASSU Business Office always cheerfully facilitated financial transactions and questions.
Barbara Smith and the BCSC staff provided institutional support in countless little yet important ways. Damian Marheflra of The Stanford Dolly took time out from studying for finals to shoot half-tones. The staff of Getting Together Publications taught me how to sire and crop photos and helped shoot half-tones. The people in Graphic Services at University Art were extremely fast, accommodating and cheerful. And George McKinney, a remarkable freshman and the midwife of Justice and Hope, gave himself a crash course in layout and production and stayed up with me listening to Ray Taliafero on the radio while we layed out the pages in our final seventy-two hour no-slecp whirlwind that brought the project to completion Three Black staff members played especially pivotal roles during Fall quarter of 1989. Floyd Thompkins, with a few well-chosen words, helped me understand my changing role on this campus and set me on the path to the final completion of this document. Faye McNair-Knox, who has a history of keeping me on track and headed in the right direction, provided candid and constructive criticism. Something told me to run a draft by her before we went to press, and, sure enough, she had suggestions that were extremely helpful.

I owe special thanks to Keith Archuleta—my critic, counselor, fellow freedom fighter, and friend. Whether I was developing the concept devising the plan, dissecting the drafts, or discussing the points, he saw me through from start to finish and helped me realize a dream. I am grateful to the entire staff of the CPPC. In particular, Anne Greenblatt displayed considerable understanding and support. Virgina Malt shared her genius for design, and James Patterson was, well, James—- one of the friendliest and most encouraging people I know. My largest debt is to the Black Student Union- I am grateful to Mary Dillard and the 1988-89 officers and Calvin Joel Martin and the 1989-90 officers for their patience, support, and assistance. They demonstrated remarkable understanding as production schedules changed, deadlines moved, and the imperative of making history delayed the efforts to record history. Through it all. we persevered, and now, at last, it's done. My final thank-you goes out to all the members of the Black Student Union—past and present—who made the history recorded in these pages. Keep up the struggle.[38]

"A call to build an organization for the 1990s..."

Unity, January 28 1991, issued a statement "A call to build an organization for the 1990s and beyond" on pages 4 to 6.

This group was a split in the League of Revolutionary Struggle which soon became the Unity Organizing Committee.

Those listed as supporters of the call included Steven C. Phillips. writer, education activist San Francisco. .

Unity articles

November 261990.PNG

Steven Phillips contributed an article to the November 26 1990, February 1992 issues of Unity, and several other occasions.

Old comrades


Steve Phillips October 1, 2017,

So it turns out Oaktown, its lake and especially its sunsets are pretty cool. And lifelong friendships are especially cool. — with Stacey Leyton, Pierre Barolette, Gina Moreno-John and Michael Schmitz at Lake Merritt.

Board of Education

In 1992, at 28, Phillips ran for and won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Education.

Hewitt connection

Sharen Hewitt helped Steven Phillips run his campaigns for office.[39]

Legal career

Phillips attended Hastings College of the Law. In 1997, he opened the Law Offices of Steve Phillips (civil rights and employment discrimination law).[40]

Secretary of State Project

Phillips donated $2,500 to the Secretary of State Project in 2008. He is listed as an attorney.

Democracy Alliance

Democracy Alliance first meeting

According to New York Times reporter Matt Bai, Peter Lewis, along with Democratic donors George Soros, Herb Sandler and Marion Sandler, established America Votes "to coordinate various get-out-the-vote drives during the 2004 election." The Sandlers also sent their son-in-law Steven Phillips as their representative to the October 2005 meeting of the Democracy Alliance at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta, Georgia.[41]

Miami meeting

A secretive network of left-wing billionaires and their political operatives descended on the luxurious Biltmore Hotel in Miami over the mid weekend of May 13, 14, 2012, to discuss strategy for the coming elections.

The location of the conference had been kept a closely guarded secret by the members and guests of Democracy Alliance (DA), a collection of ultra-wealthy liberal donors formed in 2005, and was reported in a Washington Free Beacon exclusive.

DA board members such as Steve Phillips, Donald Sussman, and Kelly Craighead, each with connections to major left-leaning political organizations, were in attendance.

Phillips, who serves as secretary for the DA, oversees a number of political action committees such as PAC+, which focuses on Latino voters, and, a “statewide social justice organization working with community organizations and activists to build political power in California.”

Sussman, a hedge-fund manager who invests in Chinese companies, is married to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) and currently serves on the board of Center for American Progress.

Another prominent hedge fund manager, Thomas E. Steyer of Farallon Capital Management, also sits on Center for American Progress’s board.

Democracy Alliance board

Circa 2012-2016 Steve Phillips served on the Board of Directors for Democracy Alliance.[42]

2016 Democracy Alliance Santa Monica meeting

April 2016 Some of the biggest donors on the left huddled behind closed doors with liberal politicians including Nancy Pelosi to strategize about electing Democrats and confirming Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but they also discussed ways to use Hollywood to advance their causes.

The occasion was the annual spring investment conference of the Democracy Alliance, which officially kicks off at the tony Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California.

The agenda also showed a particular focus on the California liberal donor community’s efforts to prepare for an impending upheaval in their state.

“As we approach the end of the Senator Boxer, Governor Brown, and Democratic Party Chair Burton era of California politics, a number of progressive policy, labor, and donor leaders have been strategizing together on how to win targeted candidate and initiative elections in 2016 and beyond, as well as policy battles in Sacramento,” read the description of a Saturday session called the California Donor Summit. It is sponsored by some of the biggest names in California progressive donor circles, including San Francisco real estate developer Wayne Jordan and his wife Quinn Delaney, Cookie Parker and Democracy Alliance board member Susan Sandler and her husband Steve Phillips.[43]

Vote Hope

In 2007 and 2008 Andy Wong worked with Steven Phillips and Benjamin Jealous to implement an 18 state initiative under Vote Hope that increased communities of color participation in state primaries and the federal general election in 2008.[44]

Jenn Brown

Steven Phillips employed Jenn Brown in Vote Hope.

Progressive Majority

In 2011 Steve Phillips served on the board of Progressive Majority.[45]

Board of Directors as at Jan. 11, 2010:[46]

"Plotting to... turn Texas Blue"


Steve Phillips May 15, 2013.

Excited to be plotting and planning with great folks about how to turn Texas Blue and hearing results of Julie Martinez Ortega poll of Texas voters! — with Julie Martinez Ortega, Lorena Chambers, Joaquin Guerra, Eddy Morales and Jenn Brown at Four Seasons Hotel Austin.

Local Progress


Steve Phillips October 26, 2013.

At Local Progress, convening (national network of progressive local elected officials). San Fran is in the house! — with John Avalos and Eric Mar at Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill.

ProgressNow To: Date: 2008-04-29 18:29

Subject: Do you want to discuss any of these states?

Dear Board, Investors and Progressive Partner Organizations,

Great news! We are proud to announce our newest advisors below. I've also included the most recent successes in each of our state partner organizations.

Please let me know if you'd like to discuss any ProgressNow partner states: California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Washington or Wisconsin.

I'd also like your advice on any of these states: Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon or Pennsylvania.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.


Mike (303) 931-4547 cell

P.S. Let me know if you wish to discuss our plans around the August convention in Denver (the Pepsi Center is four blocks from our office).

P.P.S. Below is an updated list of our advisors (if you would like to be added let me know)

National Board of Directors: Wes Boyd, Martin Collier, Rob McKay, Doug Phelps, Jared Polis, Deborah Rappaport, Bill Roberts, Jeff Rusnak, Anne Summers, Ted Trimpa (Chair) and Joe Zimlich (We recently lost one of our cherished board members-- Adam Solomon-- who went out of his way to help so many of us and so many progressive causes. Our deepest condolences to his entire family. Adam's passing is a true loss and we will miss him.)

Advisors Include: Alexandra Acker, Karen Ackerman, Jennifer Ancona, Adam Bink, Kafi Blumenfield, Bill Budinger, Marc Buell, Anne Bartley, Patricia Bauman, Jeff Blum, Heather Booth, Robert Borosage, David Brock, Anna Burger, Steve Cobble, Noey Congdon, David Donnelly, Cathy Duvall, Christian Ettinger, Patricia Evert, Kirstin Falk, Ricki Feller, David Friedman, Meg Gage, Beth Ganz, Chris Gates, James Golin, Ellen Golumbek, Ken Grossinger, Jill Hanauer, Honorable Gary Hart, Jerry Hauser, Bracken Hendricks, Norton Kalishman, Craig Kaplan, Paul Lhevine, Paul Loeb, Mark Lotwis, John Luongo, Mike Lux, Awilda Marquez, Matt MacWilliams, Tony Masarro, Peter Murray, Sandy Newman, Eli Pariser, Steve Phillips, Drummond Pike, John Podesta, Mike Podhorzer, Zach Pollet, Carl Pope, Rachel Pritzker, Andrew Rasiej, Cecile Richards, Will Robinson, Robin Rorapaugh, Donald Ross, Ron Rowell, Catalina Ruiz-Healy, Laura Quinn, Marsha Scott, Steve Silberstein, David Sirota, Frank Smith, Greg Speed, Steve Shapiro, Rob Stein, John Stocks, Valerie Tarico, Betsy Taylor, Roy Temple, Lisa Turner, Michael Vachon, Phil Villers, Antha Williams, Al Yates, Jon Youngdahl, David Zwick.

ProgressNow affiliate organizations have already launched in nine states and we hope to expand to twenty-five states by 2012.

Clinton connection


Steve Phillips October 24, 2013, at Center for American Progress.

How many days until 2016? #notdonemakinghistory — in Washington, District of Columbia.

US Senate Hearing


Backing Lujan

November 2014 New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan was tapped to serve as the next chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced.

Luján, who was 42 years old and completing his third term in the House, would succeed New York Rep. Steve Israel, who was departing the committee after two cycles. Influential liberals, including union leaders and wealthy donors, reacted with a mix of surprise and mild approval to the Luján pick, which came after many of them had quietly mounted a campaign to pressure Pelosi to select Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, a favorite of the party’s progressive wing.

Before making her announcement, Pelosi was believed to have been considering several other members for the post, including Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, and Edwards. Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was also seen as a possible pick.

About 20 members of the Democracy Alliance club of rich liberal donors, which met this past week in Washington, had sent a letter Sunday to Pelosi urging her to consider Edwards, suggesting she has the necessary “strong progressive values.”

The signees included Boston billionaire investor Vin Ryan, Florida entrepreneur Chris Findlater and husband-and-wife San Francisco mega-donors Susan Sandler and Steve Phillips.

After Luján’s selection, PCCC co-founder Adam Green praised Pelosi for “rejecting the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party” and said the group hoped to partner with Luján in “recruiting economic populist candidates.”

Phillips , the mega-donor from San Francisco, also signaled his approval, telling POLITICO that the pick would help Democrats with young voters and Latinos, especially in the Southwest. “That’s the future of the party,” he said.[47]



June 2014, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, members of the Democracy Alliance major liberal donor club and a grand dame of Democratic operatives are among those pressuring the deepest pocketed organs of the party to send more work to political consulting firms owned by minorities.

“There is a racket. Everybody inside the Beltway is already connected, so it’s always been difficult to expand opportunities for women and minorities to have a seat at the table,” said the trailblazing Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in recent months has quietly urged Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel to contract with more minority owned consulting firms. But she hasn’t been pleased with the DCCC’s response, telling POLITICO, “we’ve met and repeatedly requested the DCCC’s diversity goals in writing and have yet to receive them. It is clear to me they have no desire to address this issue.”

Recently at a private meeting of the Democracy Alliance in Chicago, mega-donor Steve Phillips announced that he had launched an audit of top Democratic committees’ consulting contracts to minority firms.

He voiced frustration that a relatively small slice of the record-breaking sums spent in 2012 went to minority-owned firms, according to a source familiar with Phillips’ remarks.

“It’s not just about trying to steer dollars to the community,” said the source. “He’s trying to tap the expertise of minority-owned firms that may have better skills at reaching important minority voting demographics.”

Phillips , a San Francisco lawyer and activist, was traveling home from the conference and unavailable for comment, according to a representative. And press was barred from the panel where he made his announcement – which, according to a Democracy Alliance agenda, dealt with “how to engage and mobilize the Rising American Electorate (RAE) for victory in 2014 and organize a New Majority to advance our agenda in 2016 and beyond.” At least one other donor expressed support for Phillips’ initiative during the panel, said the source.

Currently, there are no hard data to back up the concerns raised by Phillips, Brazile and Fudge, and that is the point of the audit. It will be funded by Phillips and his wife Susan Sandler – who donated a combined $250,000 to liberal candidates and committees since 2011 (and likely much more to non-disclosing groups). And it will be carried out under the auspices of PowerPAC+, a PAC founded and chaired by Phillips , who quietly engineered an $11-million outside spending effort boosting then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

PowerPAC+ spent $220,000 last year boosting minority candidates including Cory Booker and bills itself as dedicated to building “the political power of America’s multiracial majority.”

The plan is for PowerPAC+ to do a similar audit every cycle to keep attention on the issue. The findings of the first audit, which will examine spending in the 2010 and 2012 cycles, will be presented at a Washington conference PowerPAC+ intends to host in June called “Race Will Win the Race,” Phillips said during the Democracy Alliance panel, according to the source.

It will examine the spending of the DNC, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (to which Phillips recently donated $30,000), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Governors Association and the super PACs Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC.

The Congressional Black Caucus has been working with the DNC for years on boosting minority contracting. Fudge praised the party committee’s efforts on the issue, explaining that “in 2012, the DNC exceeded diversity contracting goals as agreed upon by the CBC and the DNC. The current issue is the lack of diversity contracting by the DCCC.”[48]

Speaking in Cleveland


Steve Phillips January 10, 2014;

Truly had one of the more moving experiences of my life today. To be able to return to the city where I grew up, be the featured speaker at the city's preeminent civic institution, and share that moment with so many family members, childhood friends, parents of childhood friends, and former schoolmates was very, very significant. Thank you so much everyone who attended, sent your parents, and/or and helped make it happen. #grateful #touched — with Lonnie Lumumba Turner, Meena Morey Chandra, Scott Leland Hamilton, Georgianna Perara Kates, George Sherman Hawkins, Harriet Hawkins, Eric D. Hamilton, Dale Kates, Robert Hawkins, Subodh Chandra, Africa Turner, James Phillips and Janis Carol Cochran.

Surina Khan event

Steve Phillips September 8, 2014 near San Francisco, CA ·


Joining Gretchen Sandler at her welcome event for Surina Khan as she starts her tenure as CEO of the California Women's Foundation. #newera — with Pam David.

Santa Monica founding

From the founding of PAC+! This event was hosted in Santa Monica by Beth Broderick, Carol Coote, Nancy Stephens, Sara Nichols, Yolanda (Cookie) Parker, Steve Phillips, Ana Grande, Marcelo Gaete, & Greg Akili. Steve Phillips shares the plans for PAC+, a new national social justice political action committee with chapters in 15 states across the country.

This event was an advance preview of the strategic goals and targeting that PAC+ will be pursuing in 2012 and over the next ten years.[49]

PowerPac+ Board of Directors

PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, as of 2014 included Steve Phillips, Founder and Chair - San Francisco, CA Founder and Chairman, PowerPAC+.[50]

Founders and Staff

Inclusv Founders and Staff.

Southern Elections Fund

Southern Elections Fund, as of January 3, 2018;[52][53]


Ear to the Ground Project

Ear to the Ground Project;

We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:

Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Steven Phillips was among those on the list. [54]Ear to the Ground Project was financially supported by the Center for Third World Organizing, the Movement Strategy Center, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, the Common Counsel Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, Steven Phillips and Susan Sandler, Quinn Delaney, and Connie Cagampang Heller & Jonathan Cagampang Heller.[55]

"Brown is the New White"


"Brown is the New White" fans


Steve Phillips has personally given copies of his book "Brown is the New White" to Barack Obama (when the president visited his home in San Francisco) and to Nancy Pelosi.

"Brown is the New White" event

February 4, 2016 -mImpact Hub Oakland 2323 Broadway, Oakland CA

Please join us for an evening celebrating Steven Phillips's new book Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Created a New American Majority.

The event also features Marcus Shelby, John Santos with Manuel Constancio and Jose Roberto Hernandez, Aya de Leon (Poetry for the People); DJ Davey D from Hard Knock Radio; PolicyLink President and CEO, Angela Glover Blackwell; SF Supervisor Jane Kim; Mobilize the Immigrant Vote’s Jidan Koon, Ashara Ekundayo, music and more!

Co-presented by Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, Impact Hub Oakland, Bay Localize, Green for All, PolicyLink, and the Rosenberg Foundation.

Old comrades book tour


Julie Martinez Ortega. February 2, 2016 ·

It's launched! Great event this afternoon at Center for American Progress moderated by Maria Teresa Kumar. Tomorrow night I'll be joining Steve at the next stop in Baltimore at Red Emma's. #BrownIsTheNewWhite — with Aimee Allison, Steve Phillips and Sharline Chiang.

"New American Majority"

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Steve Phillips at Red Emma's

Steve Phillips at Red Emma's February 3, 2016 - 7:30 p.m. Red Emma's Bookstore; 30 W. North Avenue, Baltimore MD.

Civil rights lawyer and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Steve Phillips will discuss his new book Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. A panel discussion with Delegate Cory McCray of Baltimore City, founder of the American Majority Policy Research Institute, Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega, former Washington Post reporter Miranda Spivack, and Valerie Ervin and Charly Carter of Working Families will follow.

Browning the Democratic party

Democrats should stop their endless worrying about how to get working-class white people to vote for them and start talking about a bigger problem: the “near-apartheid state of the Democratic Party,” as Steven Phillips describes it.

According to Phillips. Roughly 46 percent of Democratic voters are people of color. Yet with the exception of Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the New Mexico Democrat who leads the party campaign arm for House candidates, nearly every top leader of the party-related institutions and outside groups that controlled $1.5 billion in political spending this cycle is white. That roster includes the leaders of outside groups like Priorities USA and Next Generation, led by San Franciscan Tom Steyer.

Why race matters: because Democrats left a lot of black and brown votes on the table in November. Clinton’s share of African American votes was five percentage points lower than that of President Obama in 2012 — a difference that could have helped in longtime blue states like Wisconsin, which she lost by 22,748 votes.

And while Phillips acknowledged that the leaders of party organizations are good people, many don’t have the cultural literacy to connect with people of color. They don’t travel in the same social circles.

The future needs to be different, so here’s how to change things:

In February, there will be a high-profile election for the next DNC chair, and two high-profile people of color — Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who was to announce his candidacy Thursday — are running.

Phillips, through Democracy in Color, will be involved in that race but he’s also digging deeper. He’s been pushing Democrats to hire people of color as the executive directors of their top campaign organizations.

Already, there has been some success: recently Lujan hired Dan Sena to be executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — the first Latino to serve in that position.

In business terms, this is a growth opportunity — the growth opportunity — for the party. Every day, 7,000 people of color are added to the population, compared with 1,000 whites. A majority of eligible voters in Texas will be people of color in two years. In 2022, the same will happen in Arizona. Spending an inordinate amount of time chasing white votes is fighting the last war.

Maybe if more people of color run the day-to-day operations of party institutions, Democrats will devote more resources to grassroots outreach and fewer to expensive TV commercials. Nothing says “out of touch” like political commercials to a generation that doesn’t watch TV.

Phillips fumed that when Democrats tried to win Arizona this year, their plan was to spent $2 million on TV advertising. Clinton lost the state by fewer than 90,000 votes — while 900,000 Latinos there didn’t vote. That $2 million, Phillips said, could have paid for thousands of organizers who could have brought 200,000 Latino voters to the polls.

“All this money gets spent (by the party), and there’s never a report,” Phillips said. After the Republicans lost the White House in 2012, it produced a 102-page “autopsy” called the Growth & Opportunity Project. It was a tough look at what Republicans needed to do to win back the presidency — like reach out to people of color, women and young voters. OK, so Donald Trump ignored all those suggestions and still won, but at least the party’s attempt at introspection was there.

In 2014, Phillips audited what the DNC spent on outside consultants and found and found that 97 percent of the spending went to political firms led by whites.

“People tend to hire people who are like themselves,” he said.

One person on Phillips’ short list to be a party chair is an Oakland resident: Addisu Demissie, who was the campaign manager for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s successful campaign.

Phillips says it is important to remember that even though Trump won the Electoral College tally, Clinton won 2.8 million more votes. That, Phillips recently wrote on Medium, shows that “there is clearly a majority for Democrats to attract without having to resort to Trump-like tactics of coddling the racial resentment of some white voters.”[56]

"Move Left, Democrats"


Livefreesotu watch party


Michael McBride, January 14, 2016;

Deeply grateful to all our amazing friends who joined our #livefreesotu watch party & discussion. It was a small cross section of the diversity in our faith & liberation movements but the conversation was rich, challenging, nuanced & unfiltered. Hopefully this will be the first of many conversations and inspire the rich and diverse voices across the country to create our own narrative, content & s... — with Rahiel Tesfamariam, Barack Obama, Osagyefo Sekou, Gabriel Salguero, Alexie Torres-Fleming, Davey D. Cook, Onleilove Alston, Dante Barry, Tory Russell, Dara Silverman, Traci Blackmon, Ify Ike, Steve Phillips, Rosa Clemente, Bakari Kitwana and Linda Sarsour.

Keith Ellison friend


Steve Phillips is a friend of Keith Ellison.

Supporting Jones and Abrams

Stacey Abrams is vying to become the first African American governor in Georgia and some influential donors are putting their money where their mouths are—to the tune of $2.5 million

Donors are stepping up to support the former House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District in hopes of seizing the Republican Party’s stronghold over the state.

San Francisco-based philanthropist, Susan Sandler is spending $1 million to help boost Abrams’ Democratic campaign, according to USA Today. Sandler has also recruited other big donors and has commitments for another $1 million.

The Democrats believe that the red Southern state could turn blue given what happened in Alabama. Seeing Doug Jones lay the groundwork for flipping states and turning deep-red Alabama blue and becoming the first Democrat elected to the Senate in the state in 25 years means anything is possible.

“The upset election of Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race in December gave a glimpse of a new electoral equation,” Sandler wrote in the memo. “If we elect Stacey, we will show that we know how to win in the South without compromising our principles and beliefs.”

And she knows what she’s talking about.

Sandler and her husband Steve Phillips helped fuel the large voter turnout in the Alabama Senate race. They plan to use the same strategies: a mix of door-to-door outreach, phone calls and advertising to turn the tide on the Georgia governor race.

African Americans make up about 30% of the electorate in Georgia. Sandler and Phillips want some 80,000 black voters to back Abrams in the primary. They plan to hire 250 to help them push the campaign.[57]

Brown is the New White:... a New American Majority


Ford Foundation, Published on Apr 15, 2016

On April 6, 2016 the Ford Foundation hosted a discussion "Brown is the New White: Changing Demographics and a New American Majority" with civil rights lawyer, political leader, and author Steve Phillips about how America's shifting racial demographic landscape and its underlying disconnects are shaping this polarized election season.

Van Jones moderated Deepa Iyer, Ian Haney-Lopez, and Tamara (a Republican) were also participants.

Van Jones revealed that he had known Steve Phillips as an activist in the 1980s. Also when he served on the San Francisco School Board in the early 1990s.[58]

2016 Spirit of Courage Awards

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On November 17, 2016, Courage Campaign hosted the Sixth Annual Spirit of Courage Awards at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, to honor two courageous champions and inspiring leaders -- State Senator Holly Mitchell and author and activist Steve Phillips.

From live mariachi in the courtyard to rousing speeches and lively conversation, the evening brought together hundreds of Courage Campaign members, partners and friends, reminding us all that the shock of the election would not diminish our courage and commitment to fight for a more progressive California and country.

Senator Mitchell, whose 30th Senate District stretches from Culver City to South Los Angeles, was celebrated for her skill and determination as a legislator, and her unparalleled record fighting for policies that alleviate poverty, roll back the War on Drugs, and bring justice for the most vulnerable Californians. The award was presented by her constituents, with a special video greeting from Congresswoman Karen Bass.

Steve Phillips was honored for his visionary and innovative leadership as the founder of PowerPAC+ and Democracy in Color, and New York TImes-bestselling author of Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created A New American Majority. His award was presented by Jane Kim, who currently serves on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was the first Korean-American elected official in San Francisco. [59]

Midwest Academy award


Midwest Academy December 13, 2017 ·

Midwest Academy is so honored to give Steve Phillips, Founder of Democracy in Color an award TONIGHT as he was one of the architects of the victory in Alabama.

We are also excited to honor Senator Sherrod Brown, Jessica Pierce of the Movement Voter Project, and President Leo Gerard of the United Steelworkers!

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The Sandler Phillips Center

December 2017, two major Democratic donors, the husband-and-wife team of Steve Phillips and Susan Sandler, unveiled a new data and political analysis clearinghouse to help other wealthy Democrats figure out how to get the most bang for the millions of dollars they will plow into next year’s midterm elections.

The Sandler Phillips Center is akin to a “financial advisory" firm for politics, Phillips said, that will dig into voting patterns and demographic data and vet on-the-ground activists to help guide investments of liberal political money to federal and state races where it can make a difference.

It also is conducting post-election autopsies to help the party, and its donors, learn from their missteps.

In the 2016 races, Democrats spent “hundreds of millions of dollars … to disastrous results,” Phillips said Wednesday in an interview with USA TODAY. “It’s sort of surprising how little quality information there is that donors get and ask for before cutting big checks."

A key goal of the new operation: Driving turnout among the coalition of voters — minorities, young people and college-educated whites — that twice elected President Barack Obama to help flip control of Congress to Democrats next year and seize governors’ mansions.

In a report making recommendations for 2018, they are calling for early investments in voter mobilization.

Phillips said his team already deployed their research in Alabama where they convened a conference call that connected roughly 40 Democratic donors with several local groups working to drive black voter turnout ahead of Tuesday's special election. In a two-week period, the team helped direct about $500,000 from those out-of-state donors to the groups working in Alabama, he said.

Exit polls show black turnout surged on Tuesday, and 96% of African-American voters in Alabama backed the winner, Democrat Doug Jones.

Voter data from other key races in 2017 reveal an "enthusiasm gap" between the parties with Democrats who voted in 2016 turning up at higher rates than Republicans in this year's contests, Phillips said.

"If that replicates itself, we can take back the Congress," Phillips said.

Democrats must flip 24 House seats to win that chamber. They also face a daunting Senate map with 10 Democratic incumbents on the ballot in states that Trump won.

In 2018, the center plans to target several Senate races — Arizona, Nevada and Texas — and between 47 and 66 House districts in its efforts to win the majority in Congress.

It also wants to help Democrats oust Republican governors in blue states, such as Illinois and Maryland. In addition, the couple has launched a Georgia-specific political operation with plans to spend between $10 million and $15 million to help elect Democrat Stacey Abrams as the nation’s first female black governor and the state's first black chief executive.

The new center — and its recommendations for the 2018 elections — will be unveiled Thursday to donors in the Democracy Alliance, an influential coalition of the Democratic Party’s biggest givers. Its founders include billionaire financier George Soros.

Phillips and Sandler, San Francisco-area philanthropists, have been big players in Democratic politics for years. Sandler sits on the Democracy Alliance’s board. Her parents' savings-and-loans fortune has helped bankroll Democratic candidates and causes, including the Center for American Progress, a prominent liberal think tank in Washington.

Phillips, a lawyer and author, deployed his own political group, PowerPAC, to mobilize voters to back Obama in his successful 2008 battle against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. The group also conducted voter turnout efforts to aid Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.[60]

On Texas

Steve Phillips in USA Today March 7, 2018;[61]

Democratic enthusiasm in Texas mirrors that seen in elections last year when Democrats scored statewide victories in deep-red Alabama and the swing state of Virginia, said Steve Phillips, a a San Francisco-based lawyer and author who is a major Democratic donor.
“If these trends continue in terms of the percentage of differences in turnout that we saw in Texas and as we’ve seen throughout much of 2017, Democrats will take back the House, and there’s a strong possibility they’ll take back the Senate,” he said.

Sandler Phillips Center Leadership

April 25 2018;

Optimism for 2020

Steve Phillips is with Andrew Gillum. November 17 at 5:06 PM.


Some (rather lengthy) perspective and thoughts now that the Florida gubernatorial election has come to a (admittedly disappointing) conclusion:

•In the entire history of the United States of America, just two African Americans have been elected governor (Doug Wilder in VA in '89 and Deval Patrick in MA in '06);

•This year we had THREE Black gubernatorial nominees. Two of them, Andrew and Stacey, together, came within 0.8% of winning. 92k votes out of 14 *million* cast;

•Completely overlooked is that we elected three Black Lieutenant Governors this year (Garlin Gilchrist II in MI, Mandela Barnes in WI, and Juliana Stratton in Ill) and they join VA LG Justin Fairfax in their roles;

•Also overlooked is the victory of Michelle Lujan Grisham as Governor of New Mexico and the objectively strong performances by David Garcia in Arizona and Lupe Valdez in Texas (both of whom significantly increased turnout over 2014 numbers);

•Andrew, Stacey, and Ben all dramatically increased Democratic turnout, with Andrew increasing turnout by 1.2 million Democrats, and Stacey becoming the top Democratic vote-getter in the history of Georgia;

•We have set the table for winning the White House and Senate in 2020 (winnable Senate races in AZ & TX (Go Beto!)) by attracting, training and elevating 1000s of volunteers, activists, organizers, and operatives, and we should absolutely win Florida, Georgia, and Arizona in 2020;

•Andrew is just 39 years old, Stacey 44, Ben 45. Having known all of them for a decade, I am blown away by how far we have come. The future is wide open, and the sky is the limit politically. Each of their states will be meaningfully younger, more diverse -- and more Democratic -- in 2022, and all of them are now positioned to be the *next* governors of their respective states;

•Freedom is a constant struggle, y'all. We are all walking down paths cleared by folks such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, and Jesse Jackson, and others, and we made HUGE progress this year. Both in terms of taking back Congress so we can save our democracy (and possibly the planet) and also advancing the centuries-long struggle for justice and equality in this country.

•I am WAY more energized and optimistic than I am disappointed. I now believe more than ever that the future belongs to us. Let's rest up and then get back to work.


External links


  1. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  2. The Argument: Billionaries, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics
  3. [1]
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 67, 30 May 1990]
  7. Progressive majority BOD page, accessed July 1 2012
  8. [ Gate DEBRA J. SAUNDERS -- Beware Educrats Questioning Validity By Debra J. Saunders Published 4:00 am PST, Friday, February 23, 1996]
  9. HuffPo, THE BLOG 06/17/2008 02:25 am ET
  10. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  11. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  12. [4]
  13. [5]
  14. Democracy in Color, S1E14 Senator Cory Booker: Making Our Future This Election
  15. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  16. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 25, 14 March 1990]
  17. Stanford Report, January 25, 2006Aurora Forum panelists examine campus, global legacy of anti-apartheid struggle BY BARBARA PALMER
  18. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 193, Issue 16, 23 February 1988]
  19. [ Gate, Leno declares victory over Britt for Assembly Carol Ness, Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writers Published 4:00 am PST, Wednesday, March 6, 2002]
  20. [6]
  21. [ PowerPAC+Brown is the New White Posted by Steve Phillips on January 10, 2014]
  22. PowerPAC+Top Democratic Leadership Responds to PowerPAC+ Diversity Push Posted by Aimee Allison on February 06, 2015
  23. [, Polotico,Minority groups: Dems still falling short in consultants' diversity Campaign arms like the DNC and DCCC ‘can’t just keep hiring friends over and over again,’ some Democrats say. By LAUREN FRENCH and ANNA PALMER 02/05/2015 ]
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