On behalf of the leadership team of Berks Stands Up, we are delighted to announce that the magnificent Celine Schrier is taking the reins as Berks Stands Up’s first paid organizer. Celine begins in her new role on February 3, 2021 as founder, Jane Palmer, steps away for a much-needed rest after four years at the helm.
Celine is smart, compassionate, warm and friendly, fully aligned with our values and political analysis, skilled in organizing and deeply invested in our community. She was our clear choice for the position, as she’s been active with Berks Stands Up for almost two years and has served as a member of the leadership team for a year, where she was instrumental in crafting our 2020 electoral program.
We have every confidence Celine will lead our group with grace, integrity and wisdom. We also know that she will need your continued support. Her position is part time, so she'll be reliant on our fantastic volunteer members to accomplish our shared goals. Our hope is to raise the additional funds needed to bring her on full-time position and to build up the power and capacity of our volunteer-led working groups.
As we continue to grow and learn under Celine’s leadership, you can expect to see additional changes in style and strategy along with a firm adherence to our mission. That mission is and always has been to make sure our government works for all of us, not just the privileged few. In the four years since our founding, we’ve learned a lot about what that means and adjusted our approach accordingly:
- At first we thought that lobbying would get us the change we need, but we learned that many of our elected officials truly don’t represent us. Pressure works, but only if the folks in elected office are willing to be responsive to the needs of their constituents.
- We started out as a predominantly white, suburban group energized by the egregious violence of the Trump administration, but we learned that greed and racism have corrupted our political system, rigged our economy, trashed our environment, and shredded our social fabric. Politics is broken, in other words, and it's up to us and the multi-racial, multigenerational, cross-class movement we’re part of to make this a place where all of us can thrive.
- We learned what Frederick Douglass knew in 1857, that if there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters… Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
We’ve done a lot in four years. We ousted a Congressman, saved Berks Heim from privatization, put our county, state and federal representatives on notice, and made a critical difference in delivering Pennsylvania for Joe Biden. We are excited for the promise of the new administration, but additional organizing still needs to be done. Under Celine’s leadership and with your support, Berks Stands Up will continue to build independent political power for regular people like you and me, and change what’s possible at every level of government.