Civic Engagement Program

KRC pursues an integrated civic engagement program by bringing its holistic model of organizing, which combines services, education, culture, organizing and advocacy, into civic engagement. KRC trains and involves its staff, board and members in its organizing work that encompasses both electoral and non-electoral cycles, including voter engagement, legislative visits to congress members on immigration reform, town halls, public testimony at hearings, rallies, assisting community members through social services, and educational workshops. Board, staff and volunteers are often directly impacted individuals who first met KRC because of a pressing need they had at the time, and participate and move the organization to address community issues.

KRC organizes community groups established on a permanent basis based on issue areas - seniors organized primarily around language access, immigrant college students on immigrant rights, parents and children - who were initially engaged because of the organizing work but also understand the importance of voter engagement to build long-term power. The most stable and longest lasting of these groups has been the seniors’ group, named “Community Health Promoters”. CHP worked on language access, immigrant rights, health care reform and immigrant inclusion, state budget and protection of health and social service programs, and redistricting. Every election cycle, CHP members got word out in the community to get the vote out by talking to their friends and apartment neighbors, distributing KRC voter guides, made media appearances, and participated in phone banking and precinct walking. Some CHP members are a figure of authority in their local communities where they are consulted on voting procedures by their peers. Four CHP members are also members of KRC’s Board of Directors.

KRC comes across hundreds, and some years thousands of voters, who have naturalized or registered to vote through KRC's outreach efforts, and then come back to KRC for assistance with voting and information about ballot initiatives. This base grows every year through workshops, registration drives and other outreach efforts, with a growing emphasis in Orange County.

Every year voter data and KRC membership and service data are cross-checked to find voters among members and keep track of voter activity. These voters are then given emphasis in KRC's voter activities - currently mailing, given the technical limitations surrounding phone banking - to ensure that those with most exposure to KRC will get the necessary stimulus to turn out to vote.

KRC then engages these voters for its community organizing campaign activities around the issues of immigration reform, health access and health reform, and low-income housing. This is a long term conceptualization only made possible with the establishment of directly accessible voter databases in 2006-2010, and while briefly interrupted due to provider data loss, KRC is committed to combining and building its election cycle and off-cycle community organizing capacity to create synergy between its service/organizing base and voter base.

KRC is part of the Language Accessibility Advisory Committee of the Community Election Working Grouip to help develop the new vote center model roll out in Orange County in 2018.