Melissa Michelson, Maria Estrada, and Pat Harris
Saturday, 10 a.m. t0 11:15 a.m.
The political revolution is alive and well within the California Democratic Party, no thanks to corporate, establishment Democrats. The Democratic Party is not progressive, so why do Berniecrats stay in the party and what effect is their work having on the greater progressive movement? You will hear from a former Bernie Sanders delegate who started the first Bernie-Sanders-inspired, chartered Democratic club in LA County, called Feel the Bern Democratic Club, Los Angeles; a progressive candidate that ran for the election for senate seat in California in June 2018; and a progressive Berniecrat who is currently running to represent Assembly District 63 on a pro-SB 562 platform. They will share their perspectives and experiences as progressives in the party and will answer questions from the audience.
Melissa Michelson has been a community activist and organizer for many years, but her activist awakening came when she heard about Bernie Sanders and became a “Super Volunteer” for the Sanders presidential campaign and later an elected national Sanders delegate and whip for the SoCal delegation. As one of the 1,900 delegates in Philadelphia at the 2016 Democratic Convention, she witnessed with horror and experienced first hand the corporate Democratic machine. Following her experience at the DNC, she left the Democratic Party, but soon reentered to get involved with the progressive revolution occurring within the Party. Since then, she organized in California Assembly District 49 for the ADEM elections in January 2017, during which Berniecrats swept one-third of the elected seats in California, and in March 2017 she started the Feel the Bern Democratic Club, the first Bernie Sanders-inspired Democratic club for Berniecrat progressives. She is a community college instructor, union member and faculty senate officer, and on her ‘free time’ she organizes the San Gabriel Valley Progressive Alliance, is involved in Public Bank LA, the Bernie Sanders Brigade, and is president of Feel the Bern Democratic Club, LA.
Maria Estrada is one of the founding members of Compton for Bernie, she is on the board of the Native Women’s Unity Association, was a state delegate in the 64th district and is a corporate free candidate for State Assembly in the 63rd district. She is a mother, a grandmother and an activist and believes that the people of this state of the country are not being served by their government.
Pat Harris grew up in a middle-class family in a small farming community in Arkansas. His father was an industrial engineer at the local shoe factory and his mother was an eighth-grade history teacher. Pat graduated from the University of Arkansas where he was awarded the J. William Fulbright Award as the outstanding history student at the University. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a Rhodes Scholar state finalist. In 1993, he graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. Upon graduating from law school, Pat turned down a number of lucrative law firm offers to take a job in the Nashville Public Defender’s Office. In 1995, he moved to Los Angeles where he began a 23-year career as a criminal defense and civil rights attorney. Over the past decade, he has been repeatedly honored as one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the country. Throughout his career, he has taken on some of the most powerful entities in the country including Pfizer, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a number of large insurance agencies. He has never backed down from fighting for those without a voice. Pat is the author of two books: The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk, a biography of Susan McDougal that spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list; and Mistrial, a critical look inside the criminal justice system, voted the grand prize winner at the Los Angeles Book Festival. Pat lives in Studio City with his wife Carol Welsman, a world-class jazz singer and pianist. They have two dogs, Lucy and Boomer, and are dedicated animal rights advocates