Sarah Godlewski knew what she wanted to say; she just needed some help saying it. Last December, she attended an all-day op-ed writing workshop put on by the Progressive Media Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The co-founder of an impact investment venture, Godlewski was upset about a proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the state treasurer's office, which seemed likely to pass.
Launched by The Progressive in 1993, the Progressive Media Project trains dozens of people each year in the art of op-ed writing. It also makes op-eds available to newspapers across the country, through an arrangement with the Tribune News Service. In 2017, the project sent out seventy-one op-eds; so far this year, through the end of September, were well past sixty. These have reached a total of 2.5 million readers, based on the circulation of the papers. Many of our writers are black, Latinx, LGBTQ, Native American, or from other underrepresented groups.
After attending our workshop, Godlewski wrote a powerful op-ed urging that the treasurer's office be preserved as an instrument of fiscal accountability. More than a dozen Wisconsin papers picked it up. In April, Wisconsin voters soundly rejected the treasurer-elimination amendment.
Godlewski, whose op-ed and advocacy helped secure this result, then threw her hat into the ring for treasurer. In August, she won a three-way Democratic primary, besting a former, less-activist state treasurer. She now faces an uninspiring, nonincumbent Republican rival in November.
"Through my op-ed, I was able to raise awareness on a serious matter that had [previously gotten] minimal attention," Godlewski told us recently. "I would never have had this platform without the quality instruction, helpful coaching, and support of the amazing staff. I can accurately say, as a result of the Progressive Media Project, we preserved democracy in Wisconsin."
We are proud of this project and of Public School Shakedown, which tracks rightwing school privatization efforts. But our ability to continue these endeavors, and the other good work of The Progressive, is at risk. We are, not for the first time and perhaps not the last, in critical need of a cash infusion. The magazine is tens of thousands of dollars in debt; our income is not keeping up with our outgo. It's serious.
Keep that in mind as you read this issue, and as you check out...