Laugh Out Loud on Aug. 17 with IEB

Have you heard the great news? Brian Copeland and Charlie Varon are turning up for Indivisible East Bay in a big way. They, like us all, have been quietly going insane while our country descends into chaos. Like true artists, they’ve channeled their frustration into a comedy, “The Great American Sh*t Show,” a series of monologues about their experience during the T#$%P era.

Smart, funny, provocative and at times, unexpectedly deeply moving, this is theater as a welcome dash of hope in dark times and a much needed call to arms. Created by three of the most accomplished solo theater artists in the Bay Area. GASS is four beautifully crafted and oh-so-timely monologues. This may be the perfect piece of theater for our times.  By Robert Hurwitt  – Former San Francisco Chronicle Theater Critic

The best part of the news? IEB will receive $20 for every ticket purchased in advance for the Saturday August 17, 7 PM show at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts  if you use the code “Indivisible.” Buy your tickets and choose the best seats here. You can read a description of the show here and listen to this recent KPFA interview with Brian and Charlie where they talk about how the monologues developed.

That’s $20 from each ticket for pens, postcards, booth fees, the newsletterwebsite and everything else that goes towards keeping the progressive heart of IEB alive. We try to keep costs down (thank you for free meeting space, Sports Basement!), so we’re very grateful to Brian and Charlie for thinking of us.

Wear your Indivisible East Bay or other resistance t-shirt and join us next month for this night of therapy! And if you can’t join us but want to give a little something, you can keep the resistance going right here.

 

photo by Susan Rutberg

Immigration Roundtable with Rep. Swalwell

On July 8, Andrea Lum and LeAnn Kanowsky of Indivisible East Bay attended CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell’s roundtable discussion on the situation at our border and immigration detention centers. Eden United Church of Christ hosted the event, and representatives from Indivisible Livermore, Tiburcio Vazquez Health Center, other religious organizations, and legal aid agencies who provide services to immigrants were invited to participate in the hour-long discussion. Swalwell’s goal was to share his recent experience visiting the detention centers, discuss how we can help those in need, and collect information to support legislation in Congress to improve treatment of those crossing the border and seeking asylum.

During Swalwell’s recent visit with several other members of Congress to Homestead detention center in Florida, officials refused to open, let alone distribute, boxes of donated soap and toothbrushes. He noted that no one from the delegation visit was allowed to enter the detention center, as the officials at Homestead cited a need for two weeks’ advance notice.

The legal aid advocates at the meeting confirmed that the situation at the border and at the detention centers is “chaotic” and that the attitude by the current administration has encouraged bad behavior by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Once detainees have established “credible fear” with CBP, the interview is supposed to end and ICE should be involved. However, the legal advocates stated that immigrants often report CBP continuing to probe for information, creating a hostile environment. In addition, indigenous immigrants who do not speak Spanish (such as Maya people from Guatemala and Honduras), are severely disadvantaged by a lack of translators and unaware of the need to assert fear as the first process of seeking asylum.

Swalwell said the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, will soon hold hearings on how to hold ICE and CBP officials accountable for the inhumane and criminal treatment of those in custody and stated that going forward, the next administration may need to completely remake ICE in order to clean up the “poisoned pool” of its employees.

When asked what we could do to help, Swalwell said that the upcoming Lights for Liberty events are important for boosting awareness. The following organizations are also worthy of support:

  • Immigrant Family Defense Fund: Legal and community resources for families in Alameda County public schools
  • The Florence Project: AZ legal service provider for adults and children
  • Keep Tuscon Together: AZ project that assists community members being deported
  • County Rapid Response Networks need our support, and we need to encourage our County Supervisors to commit to providing long term funding to these organizations.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we met an immigrant mother and her three children who are awaiting arrival of their father who is still in custody even though he won his asylum case. The administration is detaining him pending appeal, in spite of federal regulations which prohibit this.

Photograph (top) (c) Rep. Swalwell’s office, from December 2018 Town Hall

We Love Virginia Voters

Deadline: Tuesday, June 11 –

As you know, Indivisible East Bay has committed to help flip four seats in the Virginia state legislature from Republican to Democratic this fall. Before we get there, though, there’s a critical Democratic primary next Tuesday, June 11 in Virginia’s 35th Senate district, where newcomer Yasmine Taeb is taking on party leader Dick Saslaw. Among other major issues: the influence of Dominion Energy, with which Saslaw has ties, and the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, which Saslaw supports and Taeb opposes. Reclaim Our Vote has asked for our help in turning out the vote.

In partnership with the NAACP, Black Voters Matter, Mi Familia Vota and other organizations, ROV specifically reaches out to voters of color. For this phone bank campaign, the goal is to call this heavily Democratic non-white Hispanic and Asian district and encourage them to vote next Tuesday. In the last state election, fewer than 25,000 people voted out of more than 200,000 residents.

ROV is non-partisan and the calls to the Latino and Asian voters will inform them of the upcoming vote and let them know how the two candidates differ. No persuasion, just information.

What you can do:

This year, it’s crucial to remind Virginians that the SD-35 seat is worth voting for. ROV is asking you to commit to a total of 50 phone calls between today and next Tuesday’s election.  For more information and to get started, email rov@peopledemandingaction.org

And to receive latest updates on ROV postcard parties and phonebanking events, email andrea@indivisibleeb.org.

 

 

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

P.S. #44 was actually phonebanking in Virginia for this excellent photo!

 

April $hower$ Can Make it Rain

Thanks to the support of volunteers like you, Indivisibles across the country worked tirelessly to take back the House last November. This has allowed Democrats to use their new power in the majority to investigate the Trump administration’s corruption and push back on his racist border wall, all while advocating for democracy reform, a Green New Deal, protection for Dreamers and TPS recipients, and much more.

We run a lean Democracy machine here at Indivisible East Bay! We hold our meetings in free or low cost locations (shout-out to Sports Basement, the Finnish Hall, and Local Union 595), and we try to keep our postcard parties and other events economically accessible to all. But sometimes there are activities that are worth an investment —whether it’s tabling at a march or buying poster board, paints, and pens. So, every now and then we ask for a little help from our friends, to keep the pressure on, to continue to organize, build power, and fight back in 2019!

We’ve set a goal to raise $500 this month for upcoming actions, and Indivisible National has offered to match this goal, dollar for dollar — but only for support received in April. Help us reach our goal and meet this matching challenge by chipping in $20.19 (or an other amount) — your gift will go twice as far if you give today!

Here’s the link to make your donation — and thank you!

Your contribution will be directed to us through Indivisible Project, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, which are not deductible for federal income tax purposes as charitable contributions.

Photo of Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting by Heidi Rand

And then we were Two

Indivisible East Bay held its two year anniversary at our All Members Meeting on Sunday January 27, celebrating our successes and quickly diving into what comes next.

AMM, co-emcees Andrea and Ted
Co-emcees Andrea and Ted

To get us rolling, Governance Committee members Nick, Toni, and Linh outlined the importance of HR 1, also known as the For the People Act, and how we need to keep our Members of Congress focused on this important piece of legislation. As the first piece of business issued from the House, it puts to the forefront critical democratic reforms such as restoring the Voting Rights Act, reforming the campaign finance system, and keeping corruption out of the presidency.  Check this primer from Indivisible National and our IEB take on why it is so important and what we can do to keep momentum going.

AMM, Sunrise Movement presentation by Alex Morrison and Sylvia Chi
Sunrise Movement presentation by Alex Morrison and Sylvia Chi

Everyone heard the latest on the Green New Deal and the fantastic Sunrise Movement from two of its Bay Area members, Sylvia Chi and Alex Morrison. A youth-led movement (which also welcomes non-youths!), Sunrise aims to “stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” In a very short amount of time, Sunrise has successfully led campaigns to get fossil fuel money out of politics and endorsed 19 successful candidates in the 2018 midterms. The goal post-midterms is to pressure all members of Congress, Congressional candidates, and presidential candidates to support the Green New Deal. You can view their informative presentation here.

We then broke for breakouts and birthday cake, and engaged in one of our favorite activities–writing postcards! We wrote to support Nasreen Johnson, the only Democrat running for Fresno County Board of Supervisors. If you missed out, never fear–join our postcard party at Sports Basement on February 10!

AMM, writing postcards to voters
Writing postcards to voters

Next month, join us on February 24 in beautiful Dublin, for our first CA-15-located All Members Meeting!

 

 

Won’t you take me to Cat Town?

By Andrea Lum and Wesley Chang

Since October 2,  Indivisible East Bay has been fortunate enough to hold phone banking events at the unique space of Cat Town, near downtown Oakland. This quirky venue is part café and part cat shelter and is definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area, especially (maybe only?) if you like cats.

The partnership developed from a need to find a free, quiet space (check) that was friendly to our progressive activities (check check) and might have a pawsitive effect on nervous phone bankers (meow and check). We are so grateful that Cat Town generously volunteered their space for us to use. It’s become so popular, we have had to close the registration twice in the past month!

Phone banking with Indivisible East Bay
Calmer calling amidst kitties. photo by Wesley Chang

On October 17, it was among a clowder of playful and friendly (and a tad skittish) cats that a group of volunteers gathered for their weekly phone banking. As the cats napped, climbed, and scurried about, volunteers worked on their laptops and phones, reaching out to potential swing voters in Nevada ahead of the upcoming midterm elections. The roaming cats were certainly a welcome diversion during breaks.  We may have provided a diversion to them as well.

Phone banking with Indivisible East Bay
Multi-tasking is an essential component of phone banking. photo by Wesley Chang

Many thanks to Ann Dunn and all the staff at Cat Town for their generosity in letting Indivisible East Bay use their beautiful space. If you follow Cat Town on Instagram, you might just find your next feline soul mate!

And a huge thank you to Pro Bono Photo for arranging the services of cat whisperer and photographer Wesley Chang for the fantastic photos!

It’s your turn! Please join us — sign up for as many phone banks or other Get Out the Vote events as you can from now until November 6. See our “Volunteer to Flip the G-D- Congress” list and calendar, and find out what you can do on the critical Last Weekend.

 

On Trend and On Message!

Now, you can resist in style AND represent Indivisible East Bay! For a limited time only, a minimum donation of $25 each (non-tax deductible) gets you a fabulous IEB t-shirt to wear to your next march (even if it’s marching around your apartment).

Out of your $25 donation, IEB gets $5.38—and as with all donations to IEB through Act Blue, you’re contributing toward our meeting and event expenses such as booth fees, informational flyers, postcards, etc.

These glamorous U.S.-made shirts, produced by union shop Alliance Graphics, are 90% combined ringspun cotton and 10% polyester. Get one for yourself, and more for your friends!

All shirts are in the color and style shown above (or below, depending on what gizmo you’re viewing this article with), with the fabulous colorful IEB logo.

Order now:

  1. Make your donation of $25 or more per shirt through Act Blue
  2. Email Gina at treasurer@indivisibleeb.org (or on Slack: @gmc) with the receipt number
  3. Include whether you want the men or women’s t-shirt, and what size (see list below)
  4. Get your order in by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
  5. Pick up your shirt at the April 29 All Member Meeting!

Questions? Email andrea@indivisibleeb.org or on Slack: @andrea

Women’s: fits sizes

  • Small 2-4
  • Medium 6-8
  • Large 8-10
  • Extra large  XL 10-14
  • Double extra large  2XL 14-18

Men’s sizes: chest to fit

  • Small 34″-37″
  • Medium 38″-41″
  • Large 42″-45″
  • Extra large XL 46″-49″
  • Double extra large 2XL 50″-53″

Support IEB!

All Members Meeting: How to Flip Red Districts

At the February All Member Meeting, Indivisible East Bay members heard from representatives from two organizations working hard to get out the vote in not-too-faraway red districts. Kook Huber from Organizing for Action gave an impassioned rationale for what motivates her to get out the vote:

I am a first generation American. I am upset and angry every day when [the president] talks about immigrants and criminals all in one breath. He allowed white supremacists to talk about us, people of color, with hatred. That motivates me.

California is the key to flipping Congress blue, since Democrats only need to convert 24 out of the 60-70 districts in the United States considered flippable — and seven of those districts are in California. Indivisible East Bay has joined with the CD-21 Action Coalition, which Kook is spearheading. The coalition is focused on District 21 because it’s relatively close to the Bay Area, and because Hillary Clinton won it in 2016 by 15.5%, although David Valadao, the current Republican representative, beat the Democratic candidate by 13%.

Kook urged the audience to consider going to District 21 to canvass in person, or to join a phone bank – she emphasized that direct contact is best, with volunteers going door to door being the most effective way to get out the vote. Phone banking will be available in San Pablo and Walnut Creek, and the Coalition’s aim is to put together more volunteer opportunities—and to spread the word that Spanish speakers are particularly needed.

Several Indivisible East Bay members have also been working with Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO aimed at canvassing. Laura Jo Foo, a Working America coordinator, told us there are now nine paid staff in an office in Modesto helping train volunteers to canvass and knock on doors. Since last June, they’ve trained 300 volunteers, including folks from Indivisible, Our Revolution, and other organizations. The goal is to to talk to every person who answers their door in CA-21. While Laura Jo said Working America is non-partisan, at the primary level they support the labor-endorsed candidate. Laura Jo told us, “We engage in deep listening more than talking. We ask ‘what keeps you up at night and why’—that is our opportunity to do the education part.”

While their efforts in California are new, Working America has canvassed for 15 years in swing states. Out of 400 elections, they have a 70% win rate in close races. Laura Jo shared that efforts in CD-21 and CD-10 are critical and echoed what Kook said: the Bay Area is critical to flipping these nearby districts.

Ready to help? Here are some actions you can take:

  • Canvass with Working America AFL-CIO in Central Valley swing districts CA-10 (Modesto) and CA-21 (San Joaquin Valley). You’ll get excellent training and can then sign up for volunteer shifts.
  • Sign up here to help the CD-21 Action Coalition in ways other than canvassing – see their phone bank schedule and check out other volunteer opportunities.
  • Canvass in CA-21 with Swing Left East Bay. Check upcoming events and sign up to be trained & attend here.
  • Check out a wide variety of volunteer opportunities listed by Democracy Action.
  • See the “Phone & Text Banks” and “Help Us Flip This Thing” sections in our weekly newsletter. Don’t get the newsletter? Subscribe to it here.
  • Join the Elections channel on IEB’s Slack platform. Want an invite to join Slack? Please drop us a line at info@indivisibleeb.org 

Senate 2018 Race – Discuss!

At the October IEB All Member Meeting, members participated in a respectful and productive opening discussion about the 2018 Senate race. After folks called out issues important to them we all voted for our top three choices. Not surprisingly, people shared overwhelming concerns about healthcare, immigration, and voting rights.IEB AMM Senate DiscussionAmelia Cass, IEB’s Member of Congress lead and Senator Feinstein expert gave a synopsis of Feinstein’s positions on the top issues, and invited the audience to contribute their thoughts about California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Léon and other candidates.

Healthcare:

Senator Feinstein has said she favors universal healthcare, but has demurred on single payer, saying she’s not yet ready to commit. At a recent meeting with Senator Feinstein’s staff, IEB learned that implementation (funding, rollout, and transition to) of a single payer system is one of the problems preventing her endorsement, and that she has not yet seen a reasonable, feasible plan that would get California where it needs to go toward a fair healthcare system. In contrast, Kevin de Léon has stated that he supports CA healthcare for all, and in a tweet said that California should have two senators behind Health Care For All. Another candidate for the Senate seat, David Hildebrand, is a Democratic Socialist and self-described “Berniecrat” who is solidly behind single payer. At present, so early in the race, little is known about the other candidates.

One IEB member stated that “if you want single payer or medical care for all, young people need to be involved to create the economics to drive it forward.” Sharing her experience working on the California healthcare bill, another member described how difficult it was to balance moving forward on a bill and being able to explain everything that is going to happen with it.

Immigration:

The son of a single immigrant mother, Kevin de Léon was an author of SB 54, the California Sanctuary State bill. The bill went through several iterations before Governor Brown signed it, which some advocates believe severely weakened the bill.

Senator Feinstein has spoken out strongly in favor of the DREAM Act and other pro-immigration bills; however, she has hinted that she might accept additional border security measures and some are concerned that she might compromise more than may be necessary.

IEB Governance Committee member Katie added that if the final DREAM Act includes other legislation, it may be worth considering how Senator Feinstein votes, if not for a “clean DREAM Act” for which most immigrants’ rights groups have advocated. Candidates should be explicit in what they will and won’t accept. In contrast, Senator Kamala Harris has stated she won’t support any end-of-year spending package without a clean DREAM Act.

Members suggested that further discussions could separate immigration into two issues: comprehensive reform and a path to citizenship. Senators Harris and Feinstein have offered legislation that would protect undocumented farmworkers in California from deportation and create a path to citizenship.

Voting rights/gerrymandering:

Interestingly, California is one of the few states which has an independent, non-partisan commission draw its district lines, instituted by ballot proposition in 2011. At the national level, after the Supreme Court curtailed the federal Voting Rights Act, a critical tool to prevent discriminatory voting practices, several states have created serious obstacles to voting, including voter ID and registration restrictions, cutbacks on early voting, closing polling places in minority neighborhoods, and more. A member suggested examining the candidates’ opinions on the districting commission.

This was the first of what we’re sure will be several conversations about the 2018 Senate race. Future discussions will examine the remaining issues suggested during the meeting.

Votes for each suggested issue:

  1. Healthcare – 15
  2. Immigration – 15
  3. Voting rights/gerrymandering – 15
  4. Environment/climate change – 13
  5. Reproductive rights/women’s rights – 10
  6. Campaign donors/transparency – 10
  7. Judicial appointments – 8
  8. Public schools & charterization – 7
  9. Lobbying/corporate money – 5
  10. Racial justice – 5
  11. Impeachment – 5
  12. Criminal Justice – 3
  13. Labor – 3
  14. Second amendment – 2
  15. LGBTQIA+ rights – 2
  16. Accessibility to elected officials – 1
  17. Minimum wage – 1
  18. Disability rights – 1

Call to Restrict First Use of Nuclear Weapons

Seems obvious, right? With tiny tweeting hands on the trigger, the time is now to ramp up Senate support for S.200, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act, and H.R.669, the companion bill in the House of Representatives written by Rep Ted Lieu of California.  Both bills would ban a presidential nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. If it passes by a veto proof margin (i.e. doesn’t need POTUS signature to become law), soldiers or whoever are in command, can disobey and face no consequences, thanks to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Senator Feinstein and Representative Lee were early supporters of these bills. Please thank them and ask them to get their colleagues on board. Ask Senator Harris and Representatives DeSaulnier and Swalwell to support the legislation as well.

Tell your MoCs:  

My name is _____, I’m with Indivisible East Bay from [zip code]. I support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act and I want you to fight for its immediate passage. The President should not be able to launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. Thank you.”

And please encourage your friends and family in other states to get their MoCs to co-sponsor and fight for S.200/H.R.669. We must all work for this legislation as though our lives depended on it – because one day soon they might!

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (email)
(415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841

Sen. Kamala Harris (email)
(415) 355-9041 • 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

Are you on Twitter? Representative Ted Lieu is a master tweeter, follow and RT him: @tedlieu.