Valerie Ervin

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Valerie Ervin

Valerie Ervin is Executive Director of the Participatory Democracy Project. Lives in Silver Spring, Maryland From Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She is Working Families, senior adviser under Director Dan Cantor.

Union background

At 16, Valerie Ervin became a United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) member when her mother—a labor leader in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico—signed her up for a job as a bagger at a local grocery store.

She became pregnant in her junior year at the University of New Mexico and quit college to work full time. Soon after her son, Solomon Ervin, was born, Ervin launched into a successful career as an elected member of UFCW Local 1564’s executive board. She eventually was recruited to become the assistant director of the Women’s Affairs Department at UFCW headquarters in Washington, DC. Ervin went on to work in the organizing departments at both the UFCW and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and she was a teaching fellow at the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations’ Organizing Institute. Ervin later became a member of the faculty and a dean of the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, which was renamed the National Labor College in 2004.[1]

Congressional run

Valerie Ervin was a 2016 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 8th Congressional District of Maryland. She withdrew from the race in September 2015 because of budget constraints.


Student politics


Valerie Ervin was involved in student politics in New Mexico.

One of my first forays into electoral politics! My crew, the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico, ran on a slate to take over the student government in 1978. I ran for student body president the following year. The hairstyle has changed, but not the passion for public service! — with Suzanne Cully, Ann Kelly and Joe Cicero.

Council politics


While teaching organizing at the George Meany Center, Valerie Ervin was approached to serve as chief of staff for Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal. During her tenure, she ran for the school board and won. Soon after, Thomas Perez, the current U.S. Secretary of Labor, encouraged her to run for his seat on the county council when he ran for Maryland Attorney General. Ervin won his seat and served on the council for seven years, including one year as its president.[2]

Raise Maryland


In 2013, Valerie Ervin and Jamie Raskin were involved in Raise Maryland.

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.

"My Friend Donna Edwards"

By Valerie Ervin, 2016;

When I woke up this morning and saw the cover of The Nation, a widely read progressive magazine, I knew something amazing and life altering and affirming was happening. My great friend and sister, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, in all of her power and irrepressible goodness and might, was on the cover. It was the first time during this year-long and difficult fight for a true representative government, that I shed tears of joy. Finally, the truth about the struggles of black women in politics, in culture, in the workplace and in America was on full display.

I’ve known Donna since I was 11 years old and she was 10. I can remember the first time I met the family down the street from my house on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As it turns out, our fathers had served together in Okinawa during the Korean War and were very good friends long before we were even born. Donna was very much like she is today- a really smart, tough, and bossy sister who was just like me, secretly her father’s favorite.
I could always feel Donna’s resoluteness. She wanted to be a pilot and serve her country. She was the Senior Class President at her high school. I knew back then that she was destined for great things. I am not surprised that she became the woman that God intended her to be. Strong, loving, passionate and caring for all people, especially those who struggled like she did.

You see, as a friend of mine used to say: “You see my glory, but don’t know my story.” Donna struggled to raise her son Jared, put food on the table, and make sure that her son had all he needed to succeed. She put him through college and she forged ahead building a career for herself as a lawyer, an advocate for battered women, and a fighter for the environment in her community. She didn’t do it for the applause or accolades. That’s just what we black women do. We do it all not because we can, but because we must. People are depending on us to succeed.
That is why I am so passionate about my support for Congresswoman Donna Edwards in her historic run for U.S. Senator from Maryland. She’s one of us. She knows our struggles because she has lived them. For all of us. She is the reason our ancestors fought, -and died, scrimped, saved- and prayed that someday she would arrive at her seat at the table.
Let’s do whatever we can do to get Donna over the finish line. It will be a race determined by turn-out and we know that black women have historically carried many other Democrats over the finish line. This time it is for one of our own! Getting Donna elected to the U.S. Senate means all of us win.

Valerie Ervin is the Co-chair of the national Working Families Party and the past Executive Director of the Participatory Democracy Project and the Center for Working Families. [3]

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those indicating interest in attending, on Facebook included Valerie Ervin.[4]

"Organizing Black Voters into a Radical Electoral Strategy”


38th Organization for Black Struggle/YCPD Anniversary Celebration

Valerie Ervin, Keynote Speaker “Organizing Black Voters into a Radical Electoral Strategy”

Sat. January 27, 2018 4 pm Omega Center 3900 Goodfellow Avenue.

Running for Maryland governor

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a “moderate,” died of a heart attack on May 10 2018. His running mate, former state Working Families Party chief Valerie Ervin, a more-progressive hopeful, took his spot. But the state didn’t order new ballots printed and it’s unclear whether Ervin can also take over Kamenentz’s campaign warchest, the largest among the hopefuls.[5]