Speak out CA: we are a sanctuary

Deadline: NOW and ongoing – On the eve of launching his re-election campaign, the Threatener-In-Chief announced that the administration would “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

Leave aside for a moment that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may or may not have been about to launch such an effort; and that if they were, Trump just blew their cover. How would such an operation work? The answer, say people who’ve looked at ICE staffing, budget, and past history of deportations, is that ICE could not possibly achieve anything like this goal.

That’s not the end of the discussion, though. We need to make sure that Trump doesn’t try to commandeer state and local forces to assist any federal effort. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed, under SB 54, the California Values Act – also known as California’s “sanctuary state” law – “California has the right … to refrain from assisting” federal immigration authorities. Various cities and counties in the East Bay have also declared themselves to be sanctuary jurisdictions.

In other words: Trump can’t pull this off without help. Let’s make damn sure that California and the East Bay don’t provide the help to make it happen.


What you can do:

Tell our state and local elected officials you want them to stand by the sanctuary laws, and against the Trump administration’s storm trooper tactics.

On the state level, Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra have expressed support for the state’s sanctuary laws. Tell them you want them to issue a statement that California will continue to enforce its law and refuse to assist ICE/CBP enforcement.

  • Governor Gavin Newsom: email; 916-445-2841
  • Attorney General Xavier Becerra: attorneygeneral@doj.ca.gov; 800-952-5225 [select English or Spanish, then press 0]

Locally, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf made a name for herself by warning the city’s immigrant community about threatened raids in 2018, and has said she’ll “continue to stand for” Oakland’s values – although she hasn’t said what that means. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has also previously spoken out against Trump’s callous immigration policies. 

Tell them you want them to stand by what they’ve said and ensure that no local funds or resources are used in cooperation with ICE/CBP:

Don’t live in Oakland or Berkeley? Other East Bay locations are also sanctuary jurisdictions, or have local elected officials who’ve expressed strong opposition to the administration’s immigration enforcement. Wherever you live, tell your local government that you want them to speak out and to refuse to cooperate with the Administration’s anti-immigrant, fear mongering policies.

Photograph, “California Governor Signs ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill“, by Marco Verch

Make the candidates speak out

Deadline: through June 26, and even after – Do you have a favorite Presidential candidate yet? Do you know where the candidates stand on the big issues – and if you do, do you know it from their own statements?

Many of the candidates, to our dismay, haven’t taken a stand or enunciated a plan on some of the major issues facing us: climate change, endless war, women’s or LGBTQ+ rights, and more. We know: you’d probably vote for Godzilla over the Current Occupant. But we’re betting you’d rather make a more refined decision.


What you can do:

Let’s call (or email, or tweet, or your platform of choice) them on it.

Step one: Check what they say – or don’t say.

Below you’ll find a list of some of our top priorities – not meant to be exclusive! – and a list of the candidates’ websites. Do some cross-referencing. Start with your own favorite candidate, if you have one, and move on to others from there: What do the candidates say about your key issues, in how much detail, and how easy is it to find? A general rule for candidates’ sites: the easier something is to find on a site, the more important it is to the candidate.

Step two: Tell the candidates what you think.

To say what we all know: Candidates have been known to change their positions based on pressure. Are you pleased with the priority they’re giving your issues and what they’re saying? Thank them. Have they failed to address an issue? Demand that they address it, and tell them what you hope they’ll say. Have they taken a position you don’t like? Tell them. Especially tell the candidates if their position, or lack of a position, makes the difference between you supporting them, opposing them, or considering supporting someone else. After all, it’s all about getting your vote!

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them; we also list their campaigns’ facebook pages and twitter accounts.

Step three: Get your friends involved.

Got friends who don’t like the Current Occupant? Of course you do! Invite them to join you in the research. Encourage each other to speak up. You don’t even have to favor the same candidate to all support the work of pushing the candidates to take positions you want on the issues you care about.

And use your own social media. Try this cool tool from Indivisible National: you record a video telling the presidential candidates what you want to hear from the debate stage, and they’ll format and subtitle it and send you a link that you can spread by email and on your social media.

Step four: Let us know how it’s going!

We’d like to know who you’ve contacted on what issues, and if you hear back from them. Email us at info@indivisibleeb.org


Our (non-exclusive) list of priority issues, in alphabetical order:

  • Climate change
  • Cybersecurity
  • Economic justice
  • Education
  • Election security
  • Endless war
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Impeachment
  • Incarceration
  • Judiciary
  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • Reproductive rights
  • Science and technology
  • Social justice
  • Voters’ rights
  • Women’s rights


The
candidates, in alphabetical order (their names are links to their campaign websites).

 

Graphic “Debate picture” by Blok Glo

 

 

IEB needs YOU to volunteer!

Updated June 20

Everything got you down? Join the club. No, literally – join us! Come on out and spend some quality time with your fellow ticked-off resisters. We are terrific company, and together we make a difference!

Here are a couple of FUN opportunities in early summer 2019:

Pride!

This is the real thing, folks, SF Pride Parade! June 30 in, of course, San Francisco. We’re joining forces with other Indivisibles, to make it even greater. Join our contingent at 10 AM, at the intersection of Steuart St. and Don Chee Way. Wear your Indivisible East Bay t-shirts if you’ve got ’em! Here’s the Eventbrite page with the info – and watch the IEB newsletter and our facebook page for more details as we get them.

We need people to:

  • Hold the Indivisible banner in shifts
  • Carry Justice Is Coming banners in shifts
  • Act as monitors
  • Bring signs!

To help out, or for more info, email us at info@indivisibleeb.org and/or join the #ieb-pride-2019 channel on Slack.

Celebrate the Fourth the IEB way!

Show your resistance colors by volunteering at Indivisible East Bay’s booth at the fun-tastic City of El Cerrito/worldOne Fourth of July Festival on Thursday, July 4, 2019, 10 AM to 6 PM. All you need is a basic familiarity with Indivisible and a friendly smile, and our experienced IEB members will help you with anything else. Non-El Cerrito folks welcome, kids welcome, friends welcome, folks with disabilities welcome (the event is wheelchair accessible) – you get the idea, everyone is welcome. We especially need volunteers between noon and 4 PM. To sign up for shifts or if you have questions, email Outreach co-lead Toni at tonihenle@gmail.com or message her on IEB’s Slack: @toni_henle. Read more (and see great photos from last year!) at our article.

 

Summer Impeachment Pop-Up [see our article about this great event!]

Pitch in to help IEB and co-hosts Alameda4Impeachment at our Impeach Trump event in Oakland on Sat. June 15, 1-3 PM, on the plaza outside 1301 Clay St., Oakland. We’re planning a fun, creative and family-friendly event to inspire, inform, and activate people to urge the House to open an impeachment inquiry.

  • Help us unload and set up in 30-minute shifts from 11 am until 1 pm; and clean up & tear down at 3 pm.
  • Spread the word on social media – follow IEB on facebook and share our event. On twitter, follow A4I and IEB — and RT our posts. At the event, post your great photos of the activities with the hashtag #ImpeachTrump. Also tag @IndivisibleEB 
  • Feed the resistance: bring some peaches to share as snacks! 

To help out, or for more info, email us at alameda4impeachment@gmail.com and/or join the #impeachment channel on Slack.

Photograph of IEB’s July 4th booth by Heidi Rand

No two ways about it: watch the debates!

Deadline: June 26 (but get your RSVPs and party invites out earlier) –

There are so many Democratic presidential candidates, the Democratic National Committee is limiting the first debates to a “mere” 20 of them over two nights, based on requirements that are even stricter than their original winnowing criteria. As of this writing, it looks like those 20 candidates are – in alphabetical order – Bennet, Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, De Blasio, Delaney, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Ryan, Sanders, Swalwell, Warren, Williamson, and Yang.

Go to a debate watch party!

Do you think politics are more fun with a crowd? Then get a ticket for one of these debate watch parties! But act fast – tickets are going like hotcakes!

  • IEB Debate Watch, First night (June 26): Join IEB to watch the first debate at the Side Room at the Rialto Cinema, 10070 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, Wednesday, June 26 at 5 PM. You can get yummy food and drink (including beer & wine) from their cafe and watch with great company! Space is limited to 20 guests, and some tickets are already claimed, so be sure to sign up (and if you’ve signed up and can’t make it, please let us know; there will be people who’ll want your seat). Email info@indivisibleeb.org with any questions. FREE. Please note: this event is for Weds. June 26 only. 
  • Everett & Jones, Jack London Square, First night (June 26): Join Swing Left East Bay at E&J BBQ, 126 Broadway, Oakland, Wednesday, June 26, 6 PM (but they advise early arrival). RSVP here but please note: RSVP’ing does not guarantee you a seat. FREE. Please note: this event is for Weds. June 26 only. 
  • The New Parkway Theater, June 26 AND June 27 (BOTH NIGHTS): The New Parkway features food and drink and couches or cafe tables. Buy tickets for June 26 (first night) or June 27 (second night) or both! $7 regular, $6 students/seniors. 474 24th Street, Oakland.

Watch on your own/host your own party

Can’t make it to a party? Don’t like crowds? Prefer your own food? You can watch or stream live on June 26 and 27, 6-8 PM Pacific Time. Or invite friends over and have your own debate watch party! Here’s a great resource from Indy National.

Take the pledge

No matter who you watch with – or even if you watch by yourself – don’t forget to take the Indivisible Pledge. And make sure all your friends take it too:

  • Make the primary constructive.
  • Rally behind the winner.
  • Do the work to defeat Trump.

Scroll down on that page to see if your favorite candidate has taken the pledge – if they haven’t, tell them they need to!

Ask a questionIndivisible Pledge

Want to participate in the debates? Yes, you can! NBC News, which is broadcasting the debates, is asking: “Do you have a question for the 2020 candidates? What would you ask at the first debate?” Send them a question on their website and they might choose it and ask it at one of the two debates.

Don’t let them make the poor poorer

Action deadline: June 21, 2019 –

Scroogy McScroogeface never gets tired of thinking of ways to make the poor more miserable, more hungry, or just plain poorer. The latest from the Administration That Decency Forgot: changing the way the poverty line – which is used to determine who qualifies for benefits like food aid, health care, Head Start, and more – is adjusted annually for inflation. Need we say, the change would not be more generous to those in need. In fact, it looks like over time, millions of people could lose benefits they need to survive. Analysts say the proposed change is economically unjustifiable. We say it’s rotten through and through.

What you can do:

You have until Friday June 21, 2019 to submit comments. You have several options:

  • Submit your comments online on the Office of Management and Budget’s website form. Note that on this website you do NOT have to provide your name or contact info, so if you want to talk about something personal anonymously, you can do that. You also have the option to submit a comment for someone else – you can tell the story of someone who needed government benefits to live, for example.
  • You can also use this form on the Federal Register website to submit comments. Note that this doesn’t appear to offer the option of anonymity.
  • You can fax comments to Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget, 202-395-7245.
  • You can email comments to Statistical_Directives@omb.eop.gov with the subject line “Directive No. 14”

For more info and ideas about what to say, here’s a good, straightforward summary of what the proposal does and the problems with it. If you want lots more information, the Coalition for Human Needs offers a general comment guide and extensive background information, comment guides and further resources.

Next Stop Hunger Games?

Deadline: yes, right now – How many things are wrong with this picture? The administration continues to detain migrants and refuse to let them apply for asylum; takes children away from their parents and leaves them in vans in a Texas parking lot for nearly two days; allows the border patrol to confiscate migrant kids’ medicine; and now says there are so many kids in detention it can’t afford to take care of them, so it’s going to cut back on – or just completely cutactivities for unaccompanied children “that are not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety.” That includes things most humane people consider necessary, like legal aid, and others you could make a good case for, like English classes and recreation. Presumably the plan now is to let the kids sit in cages (or vans?) until it’s time for them to go by themselves to court, where they can’t speak or understand the language. Or maybe we’re headed straight for the Hunger Games?

To quote Rep. Barbara Lee:

By defunding English classes and legal aid, this administration is depriving child migrants of tools that are critical for navigating their asylum cases. But cutting recreation on top of that? This is cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

Rep. DeSaulnier has also criticized the administration’s heartless treatment of the children in U.S. custody; and Senator Feinstein has introduced a bill, which Sen. Harris has cosponsored, to protect immigrant children.


What you can do:

Call your Members of Congress NOW and tell them to scream bloody murder about this inhumane treatment of small, defenseless human beings, and to continue to do everything they can as legislators to protect all those crossing our borders.

What to say:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want ____ to do everything in his/her power to keep this administration from spending my money to militarize the border, separate families, and treat migrants in custody inhumanely. The decision to cut services for unaccompanied minors is just the latest outrage. This needs to stop.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

 

“Abandoned soccer ball at refugee camp”, photo by Max Pixel

Join IEB for Pride 2019 – and other ways to show support

Emeryville event Dublin pride flag

We really didn’t think that in the East Bay, in 2019, the rainbow flag would be controversial. So when Shawn Kumagai, the first out gay Dublin City Council member, proposed that Dublin join numerous other East Bay cities (and also other much less obvious places) in flying the Pride flag in support of Pride Month, it was kind of a shock when town residents went on the record with ignorant and bigoted statements. And even more of a shock when the City Council caved to them, voting 3-2 against the rainbow flag for fear that it would be a “slippery slope” if they showed support for the LGBTQI community.

Indivisible East Bay has criticized Dublin for its cowardice and lack of compassion, and asked Representative Eric Swalwell to specifically call out his home town of Dublin for its shameful decision. Swalwell has declared support for the LGBTQI community and said he would have voted to display the rainbow flag had he still been on the Dublin City Council. He also tweeted a photo of his own rainbow flag at his Congressional office – but has not overtly criticized the City Council vote against the flag, nor commented on the bigoted, hateful comments made against Councilmember Kumagai’s proposal and the LGBTQI community.

Now, Dublin City Council member Arun Goel, who voted against flying the flag, seems to have changed his mind. A new vote will be held on June 4; if Goel votes in favor of the flag, as he now indicates he’ll do, the vote will be 3-2 in favor. As of this writing, the two others who voted against the proposal – Mayor David Haubert and Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Melissa Hernandez – have not indicated a change of heart.

What you can do:

1. Join IEB at the SF Pride March!

Who says activism can’t be a fabulously good time! Indivisible East Bay will join the Indivisible contingent that Indivisible SF is organizing to march in the Pride Parade on June 30th at 10:30 am. Wear your IEB shirt! Early word is we’ll be right near the front, behind the Dykes on Bikes. Here’s the Eventbrite page with the details – as we get more info we’ll update this article and put it into the IEB newsletter and on our facebook page. Want to help organize? Email us at info@indivisibleeb.org and/or join the #ieb-pride-2019 channel on Slack.

2. More events!

  • Yes, Dublin, people do so want Pride flags: Saturday, June 1, 2019 at noon, bring your own flag to the Pride Flag Display at Dublin Civic Center, 100 Civic Plaza.
  • On June 8, Emeryville will celebrate with “Gotta Give Them Hope” – Solidarity Pride Flag Raising for Dublin, with Dublin City Council member Shawn Kumagai. June 8, noon at Emeryville Town Hall. Info here. (See more below, under Emeryville)
  • On Sunday June 2, join the fifth year anniversary Richmond Pride event: “Remembering history! Making history!” The event will be held at Marina Bay Park in Richmond, at the corner of Regatta Blvd and Melville Square, from 10 AM to 3 PM.

    Richmond Pride

3. Talk to your town!

  • Do you live in Dublin and want to have your say? Tell your City Council member – and tell Mayor Haubert and Vice Mayor Hernandez – what you think of the decision to cave to anti-LGBTQI bigotry. And sign this petition from Change.org.
  • El Cerrito issued a proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month in the city. Tell your local rep you like that!
  • In Emeryville, council member John J. Bauters is giving feedback to Dublin’s Mayor and Vice Mayor, the remaining two “no” votes. He’s also proposed that Emeryville fly an extra rainbow flag (you know, the one that isn’t going up in Dublin) at the June 8 “Gotta Give Them Hope” event; he says the city council, which needs to approve the proposal, has been “extremely supportive” of these issues in the past. If you live in Emeryville, tell your city council member you want them to show Dublin how it’s done.

Georgia (and AL, KY, OH, TX …) On My Mind – and Out of My Uterus

It’s all over everywhere on social media: Women, leave Georgia. Leave Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Kentucky. And: No rights, no sex! We at Indivisible East Bay respectfully wish to say: that’s not a plan.

Running away, starting over, is only a fantasy for most women. Most women don’t have the privilege, or the money, or the support, to be able to pick up and leave their home state if it enacts legislation that deprives them of their reproductive rights. And if those with the means to leave do leave, then those left behind are the most vulnerable (and those who thought the restrictions were hunky dory to start with). As for “no rights, no sex”: it’s classic – literally – but we were under the impression that abstinence-only was a tool of the religious right, not the progressive left. Why should hetero women become celibate because they can’t get reproductive freedom? And please, let’s not forget our queer sisters – they need reproductive rights too, and you know that they’re in the crosshairs of the same folks behind the abortion bans.

And then there are calls to boycott. Boycotts are a powerful economic tool, but they’re also a double-edged sword. Don’t forget, industries in these states hire … women in these states. And people of color, and LGBTQI people … none of whom benefit from boycotts in the short term. These are the same people who are losing their rights – and possibly their health, or even risking their lives – because of these insane anti-choice bills. They don’t need to lose their financial well-being, too. Analogies to the grape boycotts of the 1960’s and 70’s aren’t accurate: the farmworkers’ union called for those boycotts. If women workers of Alabama, Georgia, etc., aren’t calling for boycotts now, please think twice before you do.

So, what’s best to do? Empowerment is more realistic and compassionate than telling people to move, less potentially harmful than boycotting, and a damn sight better than enforced chastity. And all told, helping our sisters is way better than telling them how to run their lives (which, after all, is what we’re fighting against, right?). In sum: Below are ways to respond to the abortion bans by supporting pro-women organizations that will fight for women’s rights and fight to get the controlling bastards out of power:

  • Take action to help disenfranchised and inactive voters in GA by signing up with Reclaim our Vote (ROV), a national group working with Black Voters Matter and NAACP. ROV focuses on empowering under-represented voters, particularly in communities of color. Email Andrea at andrea@indivisibleeb.org and sign up if you want to get involved with IEB efforts and/or sign up for one of ROV’s weekly Thursday Zoom orientations here.
  • Support Fair Fight in Georgia: through this ActBlue fundraiser, all donations during the month of May will be split evenly among “organizations that have been fighting and will continue to fight for reproductive rights.”
  • Here’s an amazing thread with lots of great organizations that provide abortion and health care for women in Georgia and throughout the southeast, women of color- and queer/trans/people of color-led organizations working to advance reproductive justice, organizations fighting for fair and honest elections, and more!
  • This site (which is regularly updated) can connect you with local, grassroots organizations in Ohio, Alabama, and throughout the Southeast that serve women; organizations fighting for Asian-Pacific Islander women, including transgender and non-binary folk; and ways to become a clinic escort at women’s health care clinics.

Do you know of more ways to help women in embattled states? Ways to support progressive candidates or get involved in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts? Support shelters? Help women’s groups that will take back the power? We want to hear from you! Email us at info@indivisibleeb.org!

Graphics: Soulless elephant by Mr Spark and uterus by Uterus Magna 

 

Charter law reform: Get Buffy and Becky on Board

By Emily Filloy

Deadline:  Immediate and ongoing –

Four charter law reform bills currently are moving through the California legislature: AB 1505, 1506, 1507, and SB 756 would stop rampant charter school proliferation that comes at the expense of public schools and local control. All are supported by East Bay representatives Assemblymember Rob Bonta and State Senator Nancy Skinner. But our newly elected Assemblymembers, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (AD-16) and Buffy WIcks (AD-15) are still on the fence. Wicks ran as a strong supporter of public schools, but the charter school issue was a point of contention during the election, and she hasn’t committed to common-sense reforms that will at least give our democratically governed public schools a fighting chance against the billionaire-backed privatizers. We need to push Rebecca and Buffy off the fence!

Two actions are needed:

  1. If your Assemblymember is Buffy Wicks or Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, contact her to urge her to support the charter reform package. Read on for more info on the bills, a call script, and contact info.
  2. Sign and circulate the CharterLawReform.com petition. This petition demands four fundamental changes to state charter law that would go a long way to leveling the playing field. The beauty of this petition is that when you enter your address, it automatically sends your state reps a notice that you support their efforts to reform the Charter School Act.

We previously asked for your support for this package of bills. Things have evolved—read on for the latest:

AB 1505—Our Dream Bill: AB 1505 and 1508 were combined to create one bill that would enact the most needed reforms. AB 1505 now allows districts to deny a charter petition if the new charter school would have a negative fiscal, academic, or facilities impact on the district. It also eliminates charter operators’ ability to appeal to the county and then the State Board of Education if a district says no. These two reforms recognize the adverse impact charters have in heavily targeted cities and also return local control to our school districts. The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and is now in the Appropriations Committee, where we expect a decision on May 16. If it passes out of Appropriations, 1505 will go to the Assembly for a floor vote. It will be highly contested.

AB 1506 would impose a cap at the number of charters operating statewide—1,323 right now—and a new charter could only open if one closes. The bill also establishes a cap in each individual district. The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and is now in the Appropriations Committee, where we expect a decision on May 16. If it passes out of Appropriations, 1506 will go to the Assembly for a floor vote. It will be highly contested.

AB 1507 would end the ability of a district to authorize a charter school and then place it in another district. The bill has passed out of the Assembly Education Committee.

SB 756 would establish a 5-year moratorium on all new charters statewide unless the reforms in the three bills above are enacted before 2020. The bill has passed out of the Senate Education Committee.

What You Can Do:

1. If your Assemblymember is Buffy Wicks or Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, please tell her to support AB 1505, 1506, 1507, and SB 756.

What to Say:

My name is___________.  My zip code is_________. I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m urging Assemblymember _____  to support AB 1505, 1506, 1507, and SB 756. This package of bills is essential to holding charter schools accountable to local communities and ensuring that charter proliferation won’t destabilize another school district. Can I count on Assemblymember _____ to support these bills?

  • Buffy Wicks: 510-286-1400; email
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan: 925-328-1515; email

2. Sign and circulate the CharterLawReform.com petition.

 

Emily Filloy is a retired OUSD teacher whose grown children are graduates of Oakland Unified School District. She and other educators started Educators for Democratic Schools to fight for the survival of public education.

Mueller Mad Libs

Ah, the Barr version of the Mueller Report – so many redactions, it looks like Sarah Huckabee Sanders wearing her Hamburglar outfit, and does as much to raise our confidence … Do you wonder what’s behind all those impenetrable Barr’s bars? Wonder no longer, all is revealed – gather your friends round and create your own Mueller Mad Libs!

Here are four selections expertly curated by Indivisible East Bay’s encryption and grammar nerdery team. Please share and enjoy! Also: check out our action article, “We See Through Barr’s Transparency.” And don’t forget to contact your members of Congress – and spread the word!