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Demos' 2023 Annual Report

Letter from Taifa


As I reflect on my first two years of leading Dēmos, I am so proud of what we have achieved for the people–the dēmos. From fighting voter suppression and expanding opportunities for voter registration at federal agencies, to uplifting the transformative work of state and grassroots organizers building power in our democracy, we have made our big ideas become reality. And, we have yet to scratch the surface of what is possible.

Following record voter turnout and significant pro-democracy wins in recent years, we are facing a new season of retaliation and intimidation. We see significant voter suppression, a host of new legislation and lawsuits intended to limit the power of Black and brown communities, and even the far right weaponizing the Supreme Court to maintain white supremacy and uphold racist, unjust systems. Fear is the root of these strategies. They are tactics and narratives that galvanize a fringe base of supporters, at the direction of politicians, corporations, and wealthy elites who see the rising multiracial electorate as a threat to their power.

We need to be explicit and bold in our commitment to build power with and for Black and brown communities.

Most recently, provocative lawsuits use SCOTUS’s recent affirmative action decision to intimidate and attack philanthropy and nonprofits committed to addressing structural racism. At Dēmos, we know that we cannot respond with fear of our own. Instead, we need to be explicit and bold in our commitment to build power with and for Black and brown communities. That is the only way to realize our vision for a just, inclusive, equitable society.

In the past year and a half, Dēmos has brought this courageous race-forward vision to our work. We developed and implemented a strategic plan and theory of change that roots our work in relationships with grassroots movement partners, so that the solutions we advance are people-centered and grounded in the real lived experiences of Black and brown families. We built clear and robust strategies to put our ideas into action to change the conditions and the systems that are not working. And we have served as convener, partner, thought leader, storyteller, and strategist in the movement for a just and multiracial democracy and economy.

I am delighted to share this report with you, which looks back on all we have accomplished since July 2022 and charts our vision and strategies for the future. Your support and partnership have been critical to this work. In the face of critical threats to our democracy and the progressive movement, I hope you will continue to stand with us as we work to dismantle the forces of white supremacy, promote people-centered policy solutions, and commit to building power for Black and brown communities. Let’s co-create the world we all deserve.

In solidarity,

Taifa Smith Butler