In 2004, a number of SUNY New Paltz undergraduate students from the peace, fair trade,  environmental, and economic justice movements realized that the common barrier in all of our movements was the corrupting influence of big money in politics. We saw money in politics as a root cause behind the injustices we had each individually had been fighting for and came to the conclusion that more was to be gained by working together, than working on our respective causes individually. So we formed a chapter of Democracy Matters, a national organization dedicated to helping young people advocate for campaign-finance reform. Not wanting to abandon the front lines of our respective struggles, we felt satisfied that we could continue to support the movements we came from (peace, fair trade, environmental and economic justice) by revealing how the corrupting influence of campaign contributions made politicians subservient to the industries dictating the specific policies we opposed. This, while simultaneously paving the way for the systemic reform that would make all other reforms possible. It became clear to us that the problem of money in politics was much farther reaching than we had imagined – affecting tax rates, farming practices, consumer protections, banking regulations, drug prices, the criminal justice system, racial equality, student debt; the deeper we dug, the more we found. We were so encouraged by the fact that nearly every person we explained public financing to was supportive, so we decided to take part in the annual good government lobby day. We got all dressed up and hit the road for our capital: Albany, NY. Still believing we lived in some semblance of a democracy, we were very excited to make rational arguments to try to persuade the politicians to support this exceedingly popular reform. And then reality set in as the politician from the neighboring district basically laughed in our faces, he was like: “you kids want to get money out of politics, isn’t that nice, good for you, I love seeing young people involved, keep fighting!” And then proceeded to not support the legislation. After this wake up call, it all made perfect sense to us. Of course incumbent politicians didn’t want to support legislation that will provide adequate funding for challengers. They’re IN office because they probably CAN raise more money than the next guy. The last thing they want is a host of well-funded challengers, aka, more competitive elections. From that point onward our small group of mostly 18-23 yr olds vowed to never talk to another politician about getting money out of politics, until we had the power to hold them accountable. We started the Democracy Coffee campaign in order to raise the funds needed to expand our voter awareness campaign and to provide voters an easy way to exercise their democratic influence by voting with their dollars in an era where fundraising decides elections.