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Gordon Whitman
Gordon Whitman is Director of Policy for PICO National Network. PICO is a non-partisan national network of fifty-three faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities. PICO helps engage ordinary people in public life through grassroots community organizing. With more than 1,000 member institutions (including congregations from more than 40 different faith traditions) representing 1.2 million families in 150 cities and 17 states, as well as a growing international effort, PICO is one of the largest and most-diverse community-organizing efforts in the United States. PICO has active national campaigns focused on health reform, bank accountability, immigration reform and youth employment and violence prevention.

As a community organizer, legal services lawyer and strategist, Gordon has helped working families build strong and effective community organizations for 18 years. In 2005, he went to work for PICO to help the network open a Washington, DC office and develop a national organizing program to influence federal policy to better meet the needs of working families. Gordon was the lead organizer on PICO's Cover All Children campaign that helped win health coverage for four million uninsured children as part of the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. He guided PICO’s work on national health reform, helping to coordinate a grassroots campaign to make reform more affordable to lower-income families. Since 2008 he has worked with a team of PICO grassroots leaders and staff to press big banks, the Obama Administration and Congress to do more to stop preventable foreclosures and help communities devastated by the financial crisis recover.

Gordon began organizing in Philadelphia in 1992 as the co-founder of the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project, where he directed successful organizing campaigns to improve low-performing public schools, reverse bank redlining and revitalize housing in urban neighborhoods. He served as Director of Research for Democracy and the Associate Director of the Center for Public Policy at Temple University, where he conducted research projects on racial and socio-economic disparities in access to high quality teachers; economic models for eliminating blight and revitalizing neighborhoods; the impact of suburban sprawl on faith institutions; and teacher and parent attitudes toward school governance and decision-making. He was also the founding organizer of Flint Area Congregations Together, a PICO affiliate in Flint, Michigan.

A lawyer, he is the author of Making Accountability Work in the New York University Review of Law and Social Change (2003), Teaching Inequality: The Problem of Public School Tracking in Harvard Law Review (1987) and policy studies on U.S. school reform, urban credit markets, housing policy and international education reform. He has taught the History and Theory of Community Organizing as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and has a BA in Urban Studies and History from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Entries by Gordon Whitman

It's About Us, Not Him

(3) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 1:54 PM

It wasn't until I saw the picture of Pope Francis through the window of his plane, preparing to depart, that it sunk in how hard the man had worked during his brief trip to the United States. Of course, with all the people wanting to meet him, and hear their...

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Five Things President Obama Could Do to Stop the Killing

(15) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 10:03 AM

If my son - who is 14 years old, has Autism and is hearing impaired - were African-American I would be worried every time he left the house to walk to school or the library, worried that he'd have a failed encounter with a teacher, school administrator or police officer...

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The Way Forward in Ferguson Is Led by Young People

(0) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 4:16 PM

For 84 days, young people from St. Louis have put their lives on the line in often late-night standoffs with the police to protest the killing of Michael Brown. Many first met during the hours that Michael lay bleeding on Canfield Drive and the days of protests that followed.

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We Don't Need to Live in a Society Where Race Limits Any Child's Destiny

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 2:04 AM

As a parent of 13-year-old twins, one with special needs, I often feel like my life is held together by duct tape, as I struggle to pay my bills, be a good father and husband, and make the most of my time on this earth. Despite the pressures that I...

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Why Is the Federal Government Orphaning Children?

(9) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 9:16 AM

In June 2011, under pressure from immigrant organizations in the wake of the collapse of the last round of immigration reform legislation, President Obama announced a new policy designed to prevent the deportation of parents of U.S. citizen children and other immigrants who posed no threat to the...

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Denham's Decision Shows Why Citizenship Will Ultimately Win Out

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 10:26 AM

Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) shook up the immigration debate on Sunday with an interview on Univision, during which he announced his decision to become the first Republican to join 185 Democrats in co-sponsoring legislation that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.


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Immigrants Take Big Risks to Get Their Stories Out

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 1:29 PM

Last year the Federal Government deported 409,849 people, including 83,846 parents of U.S. citizen children. With the government breaking apart families at a rate unseen in American history, many parents and children are in a day-to-day struggle to hold their families together.

Millions of people like

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Use Immigration Bill Savings to Lower Costs for Families

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2013 | 4:00 PM

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) -- the ultimate non-partisan referee on the costs and benefits of federal legislation -- said that the Senate immigration bill would reduce the federal deficit by a whopping $875 billion over twenty years.

That big number adds momentum to...

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How Many Could Be Left Out of Immigration Reform?

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 5:29 PM

Over the past two weeks, immigrant families and members of their congregations have begun to hold daily prayer vigils at Congressional district offices across the U.S., in some cases inside the offices themselves. Why? One goal is to bring members of Congress face-to-face with undocumented immigrants, including many...

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President Obama: Don't Delay Citizenship Another Generation

(9) Comments | Posted February 17, 2013 | 5:20 PM

This weekend we learned that the White House is writing its own immigration reform bill. This is one more piece of good news for the 11 million people in our country who live in daily fear of detention and deportation.

However, according to USA...

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Choose Citizenship

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2013 | 4:51 PM

The latest sign of how fast U.S. immigration politics are changing came last week from House Republican leadership.

On Thursday, in her speech nominating John Boehner as Speaker, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference surprised some people when she said that immigration...

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An Immigration Gift That Keeps on Giving

(18) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 11:49 AM

When Mitt Romney stuck his foot back in his mouth last week, saying that President Obama won re-election by giving a big gift to Latino voters, he got at least part of the story right. No doubt that the President's decision to offer DREAM Act eligible immigrant youth...

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Clinton Makes the "Heart Case" for Medicaid

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 3:40 PM

One of the amazing things about Bill Clinton's tour de force last night at the Democratic Convention was his decision to put Medicaid at the heart of his speech. No piece of the safety net is more at-risk of devastation from federal budget cuts than Medicaid, but many politicians have...

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Governors Who Refuse Medicaid Expansion Put Politics Ahead of People

(3) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 11:01 AM

Those of us who are mere mortals have to take into account the consequences of our decisions. Not so for the U.S. Supreme Court.

While progressives cheered and conservatives railed against the Supreme Court's surprising health care decision, the real world consequences of the ruling for people...

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Fed Up With Big Banks

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 11:17 AM

Yesterday, on the same day, city councils in New York and Los Angeles passed laws designed to move public dollars into banks that lend locally and act responsibly. Dozens more cities and towns are poised to follow suit.

City Responsible Banking ordinances add firepower to a growing grassroots movement to...

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Six Things Every Sane Person Should Know About the Healthcare Debate

(60) Comments | Posted March 29, 2012 | 5:09 PM

With all of the silly signs outside the Supreme Court and philosophizing inside, it can be easy to miss how catastrophic it would be for the country if the justices strike down the Affordable Care Act. While still a work-in-progress, the new health law is almost certainly the last best...

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Clock Ticks for DeMarco

(7) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 1:15 PM

"The dog ate my homework" probably won't work as an excuse for Ed DeMarco, the embattled acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

DeMarco is overdue on his promise to tell the White House and Congress whether he will reverse his stubborn opposition to principal reduction -- a practice...

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Time for New Leadership at Fannie and Freddie: Obama Should Side With Homeowners Over Wall Street

(9) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 12:46 PM

Even with Friday's good job numbers, the United States faces high long-term unemployment for years to come unless something changes soon. With Congress unable to do anything more ambitious than ban its members from insider trading, the last best hope for getting Americans back to work is to...

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Cry Baby: Bank of America's CEO Incensed by Criticism

(16) Comments | Posted October 27, 2011 | 7:02 PM

Bloomberg News reported today that Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is rather upset by all the bad things people are saying about his bank: "I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether it's volunteer hours, charitable...

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Hard to Believe, but Treasury May Actually Fine Banks

(1) Comments | Posted June 9, 2011 | 11:19 AM

The Washington Post is reporting that the Treasury will announce that it is withholding payments from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase for failing to meet the basic requirements of the federal foreclosure prevention program.

For more than two years these big banks have strung homeowners...

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