The Coffee Party is a democracy movement that began on Facebook, powered by volunteers and small donations from every-day Americans; not by oil barons, corporate lobbyists, or partisan think tanks. Thus, we are able to advocate for the interests of the American people without having our objectives, and the notions on which they are based, governed by powerful interests that already have too much influence in Washington.
We are a non-partisan, fact-based, solutions-oriented network determined to have an impact in our nation's deliberative process. Recognizing that many Americans are searching for a way to participate in our political process without adhering to any partisan or ideological framework, our aim is to provide a gathering place and a method for those who might not otherwise have a voice in our democracy. These are the voices we value most.
2010 Video Time Line
2011 Video Time Line
Top 10 Accomplishments of 2011
Catching up with Coffee Party
(collection of early essays & videos)
Our Top Tier social media platforms are:
- FB page (426 K fans)
- Coffee Party USA Twitter (13.3 K followers)
- Coffee Party News (477 K hits on Scoop-it)
- CoffeePartyUSA.com (front page of website)
- Coffee Party Radio (100 K listens, currently 5 shows per week)
More social media platforms are:
- Elizabeth Warren FB page (26 K fans)
- Enough is Enough FB page (10 K fans)
- YouTube channel (164 videos, 955 K views)
- Eric Byler Twitter 1.1 K followers
- Enough March Twitter 1.3 K followers
- Annabel Park Twitter 2.2 K followers
- Blog (posts that appear on our website here, but not on front page)
- Jeanene Louden's Minutes from Coffee Party Board of Directors Meetings
Building a Sustainable Movement
When a movement is truly of, for, and by the People, billionaire sponsorship is not required. We have four paid staffers in the Coffee Party. The rest of us are volunteers. And all of our methods of networking and communication are freely available on the Internet.
Americans are longing for an energetic, non-partisan, and solutions-oriented approach to political discourse and civic participation. The Coffee Party is a rare achievement of all three ideals. That is why our unplanned, all-volunteer movement went viral so quickly, attracting more than 414,000 participants on Facebook where our on-going virtual town hall included 417 million post views in 2011.
Our message of civility and trans-partisan dialog has allowed us to create an email network of over 100,000. Our YouTube channel has attracted more than 955,000 viewers.
We are trans-partisan, but being trans-partisan does not mean we will not take positions. It means that Coffee Party members will arrive at positions based on principles and facts; not based on party affiliation and ideology. It takes more time, it requires more work and more discipline. But it is what our country needs. Too many Americans simply adopt the rhetoric, and thus the agenda, of institutions wealthy enough to afford the communication tools to reach them. A nation that is self-governed calls upon its citizens to make judgments and decisions for themselves. Thanks to new technology available on the Internet, we believe that Americans can meet the challenges of self-governance in the 21st century by becoming active citizens rather than periodic consumers of partisan entertainment.
What ails our democracy, and what will cure it?
We believe that powerful special interests are employing deliberate tactics to divide and distract the American public, making us more susceptible to ill-considered proposals. Political discussions are subjected to a perpetual cacophony of misinformation designed to breed cultural resentment, and sound policy decisions are undermined by the temptation of our elected leaders to play to this noise instead of the substance of a debate. The ugliness on television, on talk radio, and on blogs and conspiracy emails is alienating to the vast majority of Americans. Alienation breeds apathy. It shrinks participation, and leaves our democracy vulnerable to manipulation by the very special interests who fund and produce this alienation.
We need to learn to recognize and actively resist these tactics. We need to have a good understanding of Constitution and American history, and not allow the Constitution to be appropriated by vocal minorities seeking to advance a narrow, radical agenda. This is why we like to quote the Founding Fathers, Declaration of Independence, and other founding documents. The values and ideals that inspired this country belong to us all; not just those who have the money and the motive to game the system. The only cure for the ailments of partisanship, special interest manipulation, and divisive tactics is active citizenship and informed participation from the American public.
Founders of the Coffee Party:
Annabel was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to America when she was nine years old with her family. She grew up in Texas and Maryland. She studied philosophy at Boston University on a Melville Scholarship and political theory at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar.
Annabel and Coffee Party co-founder Eric Byler directed the award-winning film 9500 Liberty, a documentary about the immigration culture war of Prince William County, Virginia, 2007-2008. 9500 Liberty chronicles the only eight weeks in American history when an Arizona-style immigration law was actually implemented, and the surprising grassroots movement that rose up to repeal it.
During the past four years of strictly volunteer civic engagement, Annabel has coordinated the historic grassroots campaign for H.Res.121 (the “Comfort Women” resolution) in which the U.S. House of Representatives addressed the trafficking of girls into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army during WWII, produced the viral YouTube video “Si Se Puede Cambiar” in support of Barack Obama’s presidential primary bid, and coordinated the grassroots volunteer campaign Real Virginians for Webb in support of Jim Webb’s 2006 Senate campaign.
Annabel’s life experiences include working with inner city children, management consulting, writing and directing theater, and combining new media and active citizenship.
Eric was nominated for a 2003 Independent Spirit Award for his debut feature film Charlotte Sometimes, hailed by Roger Ebert as a breakthrough for Asian American filmmakers. He and his partner Annabel Park founded Coffee Party USA in 2010, soon after the debut of their award-winning film 9500 Liberty, which documents the only 8 weeks in U.S. history when an Arizona-style immigration law was actually implemented. A proud member of the Directors Guild of America, Eric has won 16 film festival awards for his 5 films, which also include Americanese and Tre. Eric and Annabel have also teamed on hundreds of web videos, including dozens for Coffee Party USA, reaching millions of Americans.
Read Eric Byler's essay about film and politics.