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.

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.[2]


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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]


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.[6]

Obama connection


Presidential visit

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

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.[7]

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".[8]


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.[9]

Allison friendship

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.”[10]

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.[11] 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."[12]

Political influence

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.[13]

LRS connections

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

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.[14]

Other key organizers, all friends of Phillips included Julie Martinez Ortega, Colin Cloud Hampson, Lisa Le and David Brown.[15]

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.

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. [17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

"A call to build an organization for the 1990s and beyond"

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.

Board of Education

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

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).[20]

Secretary of State Project

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

Democracy Alliance

Phillips serves on the Board of Directors for Democracy Alliance.[21]

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.[22]

Jenn Brown

Steven Phillips once employed Jenn Brown.

Progressive Majority

In 2011 Steven Phillips served on the board of Progressive Majority.[23]

Board of Directors as at Jan. 11, 2010:[24]

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.[25]

PowerPac+ Board of Directors

PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, as of 2014 included Steve Phillips, Founder and Chair - San Francisco, CA Founder and Chairman, PowerPAC+.[26]

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. [27]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.[28]

"Brown is the New White" fans


"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.

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.

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.

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.”[29]

External links


  1. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 67, 30 May 1990]
  6. Progressive majority BOD page, accessed July 1 2012
  7. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  8. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  9. [4]
  10. S Phillips Democracy in Color, A Day I Thought Would Never Come, Apr 13 2016
  11. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 25, 14 March 1990]
  12. Stanford Report, January 25, 2006Aurora Forum panelists examine campus, global legacy of anti-apartheid struggle BY BARBARA PALMER
  13. [5]
  14. [6]
  15. [Brown is the New White, Steve Phillips, page 16]
  16. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 64, 24 May 1990]
  17. [ Michael Friedly League has played little-known role in campus politics First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 63, 23 May 1990.]
  18. [The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 67, 30 May 1990]
  19. [7]
  20. Democracy Alliance, Phillips
  21. Leadership, Democracy Alliance
  22. [8]
  23. Progressive majority BOD page, accessed July 1 2012
  24. Progressive Majority website: Board
  25. Politico, Luján, of New Mexico, to chair DCCC By LAUREN FRENCH , ALEX ISENSTADT and KENNETH P. VOGEL 11/17/2014
  26. PowerPAC+ Board of Directors, accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
  27. Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015
  28. Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015
  29. SF Chronicle, Democrats should stop chasing white voters and embrace the future By Joe GarofoliDecember 15, 2016