IEB resists at worldONE Festival

Janis Hashe contributed to this article

(Mis)fortune cookies! Selfie-ready resistance picture frames! A DIY “Impeachment Tree”! Henry the Indivisi-bulldog! Indivisible East Bay’s booth at the July 4th El Cerrito/worldONE Fair had it all, and more! Check out this slideshow with great photos by Mary Martin DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography.

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A constant stream of people visited the booth, which was staffed by enthusiastic IEB and Indivisible Kensington members organized by IEB Governance Committee member and outreach team co-lead Toni. Biggest hit – everyone reading their (mis)fortunes from specially made cookies containing actual quotes from the Mueller Report. CA-11 team members Alice and Matt had the cookies made to order, after poring through the Report for quotes short enough to fit on the fortune slips! (Photos by Alice Towey).

These are the Mueller (mis)fortunes, which one did you get? (Or if you missed out, get one at our July 28 All Members Meeting, 1-3 PM, Sports Basement, Berkeley.) 

“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

“The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.”

“McGahn recalled the President telling him ‘Mueller has to go’ and ‘Call me back when you do it.'”

“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

“… several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals… “

“REDACTED”

Convinced by IEB member George to declaim their (mis)fortunes on camera, cookie readers included State Senator Nancy Skinner – watch the video! Skinner also posed for a photo with a picture frame reading “Persisting…and Resisting!” 

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
Senator Skinner with IEB members Denise & George, photo by Heidi Rand

Many fairgoers eagerly expressed their opinions by posting “leaves” (comments) on the Impeachment Tree board, created by IEB and Alameda4Impeachment (A4I) member Larry.

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
“Indivisible Tree”, photo by Heidi Rand

We also handed out several flyers asking people to take direct action to: 

  • Urge Governor Newson and Attorney General Becerra to enforce California’s sanctuary law (see our article to take the same action);
  • Ask their mayor to speak out against the administration’s anti-immigrant policies and ensure that no local funds or resources are used in cooperation with ICE/CBP raids (see our article to take the same action);
  • Help pressure corporations that are profiting from doing business with ICE and CBP in spite of human rights violations at immigrant detention centers (see our article to take the same action);
  • Make their voice heard on impeachment (see our article to take the same action).

Our booth was honored by visits from some notables – Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia expressed his support and enjoyed a (mis)fortune cookie. And the IEB July 4 Fair Judges awarded MOST notable appearance to Henry the Indivisi-bulldog, who was accompanied by his humans, Tom and CA-11 team co-lead Kristen. Henry graciously posed for paparazzi, who shot pix of him behind the very popular selfie-frames designed by CA-11 team member Janis, including “Persisting  . . . and Resisting!!” and “Make America Cake Again” which featured a cake illustration frosted with “Dump Trump 2020.” 

IEB booth at the El Cerrito worldONE July 4 Fair, photo by Heidi Rand
Henry, the Indivisi-bulldog, with Tom, photo by Heidi Rand

A fabulous time was had by all – check out George’s videos of visitors reading their Mueller (mis)fortunes, here, here, and here — and more photos by GC member Heidi in this slideshow:

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Janis Hashe is a freelance writer/editor/teacher/theatre person. She has been politically active in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chattanooga and now Richmond. Her deepest personal commitments include fighting climate change, ending factory farming and overturning Citizens United.

Photographs by Mary Martin DeShaw, Pro Bono Photo, Heidi Rand, and Alice Towey

 

 

 

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

Tell Big Business: No Cruelty for Profit!

By Alice Towey

It’s no secret that conditions at border detention facilities are dangerous and inhumane. Reports detail overcrowding, degrading treatment, and lack of access to food, sanitation, and medical treatment. The situation is even more dire for children who are separated from their families, locked in cages, and left without proper care. Denied basic essentials like soap and toothbrushes, these children are at risk of severe health issues, and may suffer lasting trauma as a result of their imprisonment. 

The conditions are shocking, but some CEOs can’t see past the chance to make a buck. Numerous companies have shown themselves willing to profit from human misery, continuing to do business with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in spite of the human rights violations. 

Fortunately, not everyone at these companies is willing to look the other way, and hundreds of employees have shown their moral courage by standing up for what’s right. On June 26, 2019, hundreds of employees of home furnishings company Wayfair staged a walkout to protest the company’s contract to furnish a youth detention center in Texas. Similarly, last year over 600 Salesforce employees signed a letter asking their CEO to “re-examine” the company’s contracts with CBP. 

It’s time for us to stand up as well, to tell the leadership of these companies that we see them and we will hold them accountable. Make no mistake – we want immigrant children to have beds, but we want them to have beds that aren’t in a cage. The end goal is to close the camps and release people who are exercising their basic human right (protected by international law) to seek asylum. Help apply pressure by letting these companies know that you’re watching and that you won’t tolerate their complicity in human rights abuses.

What to do:

Contact the companies doing business with ICE and CBP. Here are a sample message and below that, contacts for several corporations that have active contracts with ICE and CBP. Please email them to ask them to stop profiting from human misery. 

What to say: 

Please use as these message points but rewrite them, choose among them, reorder them to create your own message. Most companies discount or even disregard numerous emails that come in with the same or overly similar language.

If you email, be sure to include your name and your city and state.

  • I’m writing to ask that your company take immediate action to show its support for basic human rights. 
  • I understand that [COMPANY NAME] has active contracts with ICE and/or CBP, the two federal agencies involved in separating children from their families, terrorizing immigrant communities, and detaining people in inhumane conditions on the southern border. 
  • If your company has any involvement in enabling the US government to pursue a racist, inhumane policy to separate children from their parents and house them in what amount to cages and internment camps, I implore you to stop that involvement right now. 
  • At this moment in US history, we cannot rely on our elected representatives to do the right thing. 
  • Be a leader, take the moral high ground and lead the way. 
  • Don’t put profits over morality.
  • Please be on the right side of history and end your company’s involvement in these horrifying practices. 

Who’s making a buck off human misery:

Wayfair: In spite of the walkout mentioned above, Wayfair management insists it will fulfill a $200,000 order from BCFS, a government contractor that manages detention centers. 

Microsoft: ICE uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform for handling data. Microsoft had a $19.4 million contract with ICE as of 2018. 

Deloitte: $103 million in contracts with ICE, including $4 million which directly involve “detention compliance and removals.” 

Salesforce: CEO Marc Benioff apparently “struggled” with the decision to keep a contract with CBP, but keep it he did

General Dynamics: General Dynamics contracts with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In fiscal year 2017, General Dynamics had $15 billion in government contracts and had faced $280.3 million penalties for 23 misconduct cases since 1995. 

More ways you can help!

Want to do more? This July 3, 2019 Sludge article lists dozens of nonprofit shelters and some companies that are profiting from detaining and transporting migrant children – contact them as well.

Alice Towey is a Civil Engineer specializing in water resource management. She lives in El Cerrito, where she and her husband are active in Indivisible CA-11 United.

Photograph © Office of Inspector General Report July 2, 2019 “Management Alert – DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley (Redacted)”

IEB Comes Out for Pride 2019!

By Elizabeth Douglas

Indivisible East Bay proudly joined Indivisible San Francisco to march with the Resistance Contingent in the June 30 SF Pride Parade. Pride’s 2019 theme, “Generations of Resistance,” honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; our contingent was dedicated to honoring these revolutionary renegades for civil rights and justice for the LGBTQIA+ community.

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Many of your fave Bay Area resistance groups came out, including Alameda4Impeachment (A4I), and we all pushed the “Justice is Coming” message with calls for impeachment. The crowd was super eager to repeat our message throughout the whole long parade – we got loud enough that even Speaker Pelosi couldn’t deny the public groundswell!

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Whether you joined us or not, don’t miss more wonderful photos than we could fit into this article, all taken by Mary DeShaw, a volunteer photographer with Pro Bono Photography; and videographer Lis Cox’s videos, here and here.

This beautiful and joyful day was a welcome reminder that even in tumultuous times, if we come together as a community to fight injustice, love has the power to triumph and unify all.

Elizabeth Douglas is a mom, runner, and activist from Alameda. She is also a Climate Reality Leader (Seattle 2017) with a strong interest in protecting our ocean and corals.

All photographs by Mary Martin DeShaw, Pro Bono Photo

Tell our MoCs: support Medicare Negotiation legislation

Deadline: NOW! – Unless you’re a magical unicorn who never gets sick, and you’ve never seen any drug ads, you know: Prescription drug prices are crazy high in the United States. It isn’t just anecdotal opinion: they really are much higher in the U.S. than in other high-income countries, and Americans spend more on prescription drugs than residents of other countries. You might think that the government, as the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the world (through Medicare Part D), would use its bargaining power to get lower prices for patients. You’d be wrong: they are not allowed to do that.

Now, the Democrats have introduced the bicameral Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, a set of bills that would give Medicare the power it needs to effectively negotiate with drug companies and bring drug prices down. In the House, Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced H.R. 1046; as of this writing, Reps. Lee and DeSaulnier have cosponsored it, but Rep. Swalwell has not. In the Senate, Sherrod Brown introduced S. 377; as of this writing, neither Senator nor Feinstein nor Senator Harris has cosponsored.

What you can do:

1. For more information, read Indivisible National’s page about how the bill would work, why arbitration isn’t good enough, and more.

2. Call your Members of Congress and tell them to reject bills that use arbitration to bring down drug prices, and to cosponsor the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.

What to say to your Representative: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please reject bills that would use arbitration to bring down drug prices.

  • Do you live in CA-11 or CA-13, represented by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier or Rep. Barbara Lee? Say also: Thank you for cosponsoring H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.
  • Do you live in CA-15 (Rep. Eric Swalwell)? Say also: Please cosponsor H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.
  • 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

What to say to our Senators: 

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay.  Please reject bills that would use arbitration to bring down drug prices, and cosponsor S. 377, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

 

Money tablet” graphic by tOrange.biz 

 

 

 

 

IEB attends the CA Democratic Convention

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By Kristen Law

For the first time in over 20 years, the California Democratic Convention was held in San Francisco at the Moscone Center from May 31-June 2, 2019. The convention had both statewide and nationwide importance for the Democratic party: on a statewide level, the delegates had the task of choosing the next state party chair (after a series of lawsuits were filed against the party and the previous chair, Eric Bauman, for discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, and more). And nationwide, with California’s 2020 primary now on “Super Tuesday,” presidential candidates are taking California more seriously than in the past; and many candidates attended and spoke at the convention.

I had the good luck to attend as a delegate representing Region 5, since Representative Mark DeSaulnier appointed me to help promote progressive thinking in the state party. I had the opportunity to join thousands of other delegates and guests in caucus meetings, meetings with the candidates for the California Democratic Chair, and general sessions, including speeches from 14 Democratic presidential hopefuls; and to stand in a two-hour line to vote for the new chair of the California Democratic Party. I also got to hug “Auntie Maxine” Waters, which made the cost of admission and long lines worth it.

Rusty Hicks, a labor leader from Southern California, garnered 57% of the votes to become the new California Democratic Chair. I supported Kimberly Ellis, a local Bay Area activist, who finished second with 36%. Ellis would have been the first woman to lead the state party in more than 30 years and the first Black woman to chair the organization. She drove a progressive agenda and I heard rumors that the party establishment breathed a sigh of relief because of Ellis’ support of publicly financed elections.

It was exciting to have 14 presidential candidates address the delegates about their platforms and how to remove the current occupant from the White House. Overall the narrative was pushed further left than expected – perhaps because of California’s spot in the primaries. Hot topics in many of the speeches included climate change, women’s rights, health care for all, immigration, education, getting corrupt money out of politics and much more. John Delaney and John Hickenlooper were booed off stage.

We also heard from numerous Californian elected officials, including Governor Gavin Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and many more. Pelosi was met with shouts of “impeach” throughout her speech – shouts that got louder as she discussed the Mueller Report.

The convention was filled with progressive demonstrations and tabling. Two of my favorites: Planned Parenthood was promoting Project X, their campaign to protect and expand health care, and the Sex Workers Outreach Project asked for support on SB 233, the Immunity from Arrest Law.

Without multiple clones, it was impossible to get to every event – thankfully the California Democratic Party has posted videos and results online!

  • You can watch the General Session videos at this link.  
  • You can find the floor packet, resolutions passed, legislation endorsed, rules changes, and training materials at this link.

The next convention is just a little over five months away in Long Beach (November 15-17). I’ve been told that this one will be focused on endorsements; details coming soon!

 

Kristen Law loves her Richmond community and when she is not working as a Community Engagement Specialist or teaching and practicing yoga you can find her snuggling her pets, saving butterflies or testing vegan recipes. She was one of the founding members of Indivisible East Bay and co-leads the CA-11 team.

 

Building a Team to Secure Our Elections

By Haleh S

The security and integrity of U.S. elections has been heatedly discussed in public, and by the media and politicians, especially since our 2016 election. The terms election security and election integrity are often used interchangeably, with much of the recent focus on election security – generally referring to steps we take to protect voting machines from foreign or domestic hacking – because of Russia’s interference. Election integrity usually refers to preserving our democratic electoral processes, including voter registration, accessibility, ballot counting, vote audits, and generally protecting voter confidence in the system.

To ensure election integrity we must promote fair, credible, professional, and inclusive electoral processes. According to the Electoral Knowledge Network, without electoral integrity we can’t hold leaders and officials accountable to the public, and our confidence in election results is weakened. A 2016 Gallup poll revealed that only 35% of Americans were “very confident” that their vote would be counted accurately. Voter confidence in any democratic election process is one of the necessary elements of protecting the integrity of elections.

On May 19, 2019, the Secure Elections Network presented a webinar, “Making Connections: Working with Elections Officials for Common Goals,” featuring Tina Barton, the City Clerk of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and an election security advocate. Barton was appointed to Michigan’s Election Security Commission by the MI Secretary of State. The Commission, the first of its kind, was created in March 2019 to help boost voter confidence, increase turnout, and secure the integrity of elections against known and future threats such as hacking.

A passionate leader in protecting the electoral process, Barton wants to make the process fair and accessible to all eligible voters, and to increase voter confidence in elections. In her presentation, Barton highlighted current challenges with interactions between election officials and election advocates, and suggested ways to overcome them. We should benefit from each other’s strengths by collaborating, said Barton, stressing the importance of having a unified team of election officials and advocates to secure our 2020 and future elections. Her presentation featured Henry Ford’s motto: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success.” Some of her concrete suggestions were that officials and advocates communicate frequently to share information, work together to recognize and fix problems, present unified messaging on registration and voting, and hold events jointly.

In her “Open Letter to Advocates of All Things Election Related”, Barton encourages advocates and officials to work together to get correct information to voters. She’s also dedicated to stopping partisan interference and attacks on voter confidence, stating during the webinar that elections should be a nonpartisan battle ground.

We are not each other’s enemy

Barton noted that the majority of contacts between election officials and voting rights groups have been negative and adversarial. She believes that advocacy groups have the misconception that election officials and election workers seek to impede the process, and because of that election officials often feel they’re being attacked or are doing something wrong. Barton thinks these problems are often caused by lack of understanding of each other’s roles. She explained that in many small or rural municipalities, one official is responsible for a wide range of duties and responsibilities, with elections being only one. Often these officials lack the necessary technical knowledge about aspects of election security that advocates ask about. This misunderstanding often causes hostility between them, although in reality both sides want the same things — secure electoral processes.

Another cause of mistrust and confusion between advocacy groups and election workers is that every state’s election process and registration is different. For example, in some states — such as Barton’s (Michigan) — local officials run elections, whereas in other states county clerks do so. Barton also noted that most election officials’ main complaint is a lack of resources, including the scarcity of election workers who are knowledgeable about information technology (IT). In her community, most election workers are retired adults who have been out of the workforce for years. They work long hours on election days and a lot of expectations are placed on them, but they’re not IT experts and this is one cause of negative and adversary interactions between the election workers and poll monitors.

Let’s work together, not against each other

When asked by one of the Secure Elections Network members how to overcome the mistrust and open a dialogue with election officials, Barton suggested person-to-person, face-to-face introductions. She said that advocates should simply go meet the officials. She emphasized that one of the best ways to build trust is for advocates to start by asking how they can help. She believes that when we work together toward a shared cause, whether or not we have the same political views, we will respect one another more and help solve problems together rather than finger-pointing and blaming. She also noted that activist groups could help under-funded counties which don’t have the resources to hire enough election workers or hire workers who are IT knowledgeable. Every election official in the country needs help with setting up and explaining basic IT, and knowledgeable advocates who want to improve things can be of real use.

The Secure Elections Network is made up of leaders and members of several Indivisible groups nationwide, including Indivisible East Bay. For more info about the webinar, email stephanie.chaplin20@gmail.com. Watch “Building a Team To Secure Our Elections” webinar here. You can watch SEN’s past webinars here. And read our articles about prior webinars: Ballot Marking Devices 101 and Indivisible Webinar to Secure Our Elections  

If you want to learn more about the work that IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team is doing, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack.  For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Haleh S. is an Engineer turned Lawyer, turned Activist

 

Beach Bodies are IMPEACH Bodies

By Larry Baskett

Beach Impeach June 1 2019, photo by Stefan Ruenzel
Beach Impeach June 1 2019, photo by Stefan Ruenzel

On a typical cold, breezy June 1, Indivisible East Bay members were among the six hundred volunteers who formed a gigantic “IMPEACH” sign on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Indivisible San Francisco hosted the event, and participants came from every congressional district in the Bay Area (with a few from the Central Valley!). Many participants were from their own local Indivisible groups, and the effort was supported by many organizations including Indivisible National, Indivisible South Bay, Alameda4Impeachment (A4I), CREDO Action, MoveOn, SOS America, Need to Impeach, and By the People.

The event coincided with this year’s California Democratic Party convention (CADem) and with MoveOn’s “Big Ideas Forum” for presidential candidates across town; the organizers also had a plane flying a banner saying “SPKR PELOSI: IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY NOW” over downtown San Francisco!

In addition to looking great on the beach, we handed out congressional district-specific “call cards” with contact info for our Members of Congress, and with our request for the MoCs to cosponsor H.Res. 257 and open impeachment hearings. Read on to find out how you can do this and take other actions supporting an impeachment inquiry!

What you can do:

 

Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer from Berkeley who spent a year on staff at the California State Senate and who previously volunteered with Wolf PAC, the campaign finance reform organization.

“Beach Impeach June 1 2019”, photo by Stefan Ruenzel

Hunger Action Day 2019

By Ward Kanowsky

May 22, 2019 was Hunger Action Day, with over 400 advocates and community members from across California converging on the State Capitol in Sacramento for a day of meetings and joint action with our state legislators. The goal of Hunger Action Day is to make sure our elected officials know the reality of hunger and hardship in California, and to use their voices to help end it.

Indivisible East Bay member Ward Kanowsky attended the event along with several other representatives from the Alameda County Community Food Bank; IEB has been partnering with ACCFB for the past two years and this is the second year in a row IEB members have attended the event. Ward was part of two teams meeting with the staff of State Senator Steve Glazer (7th Senate District) and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (16th Assembly District) to discuss and ask for support on the following legislative priorities:

  • Increase state funding of Supplemental Security Income so the grant is above the federal poverty level: Budget ask and AB 1434
  • Protect adults harmed by the federal 3-month time limit to SNAP/CalFresh: AB 1022 (introduced by AD-15 Assemblymember Wicks)
  • End exclusion of taxpaying, immigrant workers with Individual Taxpayer IDs from the California Earned Income Tax Credit: Budget ask and AB 1593
  • Require preschool and child care meals: AB 842
  • Increase funding for the CalFood Program for California’s 41 food banks: Budget ask from California Hunger Action Coalition, of which ACCFB is a member.

Participants received some good news the following day — two of these bills, AB 1022 and AB 842 passed through the Assembly, their originating house, and moved on to the Senate.

ACCFB regularly participates in Hunger Action Day. One of ACCFB’s core values is that food is a basic human right, and this value was included in the message we delivered to legislators during meetings. The Food Bank serves one in five Alameda County residents; two-thirds of these are seniors and children. ACCFB works towards a stronger, more nourished Alameda County, where no one worries where their next meal will come from.

 

Ward Kanowsky is co-lead, with LeAnn Kanowsky, of the Indivisible East Bay CA-15 Team.

Photograph: ACCFB outside Senator Steve Glazer’s office on Hunger Action Day 2019, by Brittany Paris

Help asylum seekers stranded at the border

By Erica Etelson

Do you want to help the asylum seekers at the U.S. border? Al Otro Lado (“On the Other Side”) wants YOU to spend a work week volunteering to help asylum seekers at the border in Tijuana. People with legal or medical skills or who speak Spanish are particularly needed, but ANYONE who wants to lend a hand is welcome, and there are a number of English-speaking asylum seekers in addition to those who speak Spanish. Tens of thousands of refugees from all around the world pass through Tijuana, and volunteers are needed to inform people of their legal rights (don’t worry, you’ll get trained in how to do this) and in helping them prepare for their asylum interview, as well as helping with child care, food preparation, data entry, and working in the medical clinic.

Volunteers are asked to arrive on a Sunday afternoon and stay through the following Friday. If you want more information or a first-hand account of what volunteering is like, please contact ericaetelson@gmail.com and/or visit alotrolado.org and fill out the volunteer application with your available dates.

Supporting Criminal Justice Reform Bills in the California Legislature

By Toni Henle

Action Deadline: today and every day through May 30 –

On May 20, 2019, Indivisible East Bay members joined a large crowd at the State Capitol in Sacramento at the 2019 Quest4Democracy (Q4D) Advocacy Day. Q4D is a statewide coalition of grassroots groups supporting a platform of bills to improve access to employment, housing, and education for all Californians, and to restore civil and human rights for prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. Several of the bills supported by Q4D are on the Indivisible CA StateStrong list of priority bills for this legislative session, including ACA 6-Free the Vote, which would restore voting rights to approximately 50,000 people on parole in California who are currently prohibited by the State Constitution from voting, and AB 392, which clarifies that police should use deadly force only when there are no alternatives and requires de-escalation whenever possible. IEB strongly supports, and has written about, both ACA 6 and AB 392; see below for actions you can take to support these bills with your East Bay assembly members.

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The rally had many emotional high points, especially when family members who lost loved ones to police violence, including the mother of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man shot by police in Sacramento, spoke about unjust violence and their horrendous losses and led chants of “Remember their name…” And Assemblymember Rob Bonta, a co-author of ACA 6, said “The right to vote is the greatest anti-recidivism tool that we have.”

Before Lobby Day began, attendees received legislative advocacy training on the general mechanics of the California legislature and the specific bills the coalition is supporting. Then over 100 people spread out inside the Capitol to talk with elected representatives and their staffs in support of proposed legislation, while other supporters made phone calls from outside. IEB members met with groups organizing actions at the event, including All Of Us or None, Initiate Justice, Prisoners with Children, and many others.

IEB interviewed attendee Abdul Haqq Muhammad, Community Outreach Coordinator for Open Gate, an Oakland-based jail-to-college pipeline nonprofit. Muhammad explained that he wanted to make a difference in supporting Free the Vote for the 50,000 people on parole, including himself, who don’t have the right to vote. As he said:

The black and brown community has been sold a bill of goods that their vote doesn’t count, but if it didn’t, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep it from so many. If ACA 6 passes, it would give those of us on parole a voice to effect change, instead of the system affecting us. Voting is the first step in being a citizen.

IEB was approached by two young women from UC Riverside with their Underground Scholar Initiative. Bibiana and Jazmin came from the Inland Empire to lobby legislators “to shift the School-to-Prison pipeline to a Prison-to-School pipeline using higher education as an alternative to incarceration through recruitment, retention, and advocacy.” One of them told us that her brother was incarcerated when she was seven years old, and that has had a big impact on her life. We were moved by her personal story and how she was trying to do something meaningful while attending college.

What you can do:

Each legislative chamber must vote on bills and send them to the other chamber by May 31, meaning that floor votes can happen any time from now until then. So call your state assemblymember NOW!

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (AD-15):
    • supported AB 392 in the Public Safety Committee. Call to thank her and ask for her vote for AB 392 on the floor.
    • She doesn’t have a public position on ACA 6 and needs calls asking for her support.
    • District: 510-286-1400; Capitol: 916-319-2015
  • Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (AD 16):
    • supported AB 392 in the Public Safety Committee
    • supports ACA 6
    • Call to thank her and ask her to support both bills on the floor.
    • Capitol (handles legislative calls): 916-319-2016
  • Assemblymember Rob Bonta (AD-18):
    • has not yet taken a position on AB 392 and needs calls to support.
    • Is a co-author of ACA 6; thank him.
    • District: 510-286-1670; Capitol: 916-319-2018
  • Assemblymember Bill Quirk (AD-20):
    • needs calls on both AB 392 and ACA 6.
    • voted “aye” in public safety committee for AB 392; thank him and ask him to do so again in the Assembly.
    • District: 510-583-8818; Capitol: 916-319-2020

What to say:

For AB 392:

My name is ______, my zip code is _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to ask for (or: thank you for) your support on AB 392. We need this bill to update California’s use of force standard, to make sure that police officers avoid using deadly force whenever there are alternatives available to them. AB 392 is modeled after best practices across the country. This bill will save lives. “Yes” on AB 392!

For ACA 6:

My name is ______, my zip code is _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to ask for (or: thank you for) your support on ACA 6, the Free the Vote Act. ACA 6 restores the right to vote to about 50,000 Californians who are on parole. Taking away the right to vote from formerly incarcerated people is a form of voter suppression that dates back to Jim Crow laws. People on parole pay taxes; they should be able to vote and be full participants in our communities and democracy. Please vote “Yes” on ACA 6!

If you want to learn more about the work that IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team is doing, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack.  For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Toni Henle is retired after a career in policy work at non-profits focused on workforce development. She is a member of the IEB Governance Committee, co-lead of Outreach to Organizations and a member of the Indivisible CA-11 team.