Come Rock the Congress With Us!

Deadline: register now for the Sept. 7 conference –

“Strength in Diversity, Power in Unity” — that’s the theme for the East Bay Rock the Congress conference, Saturday, September 7 at Berkeley City College, 2050 Center Street, Berkeley.

Join hundreds of local progressives, including Indivisible East Bay members — new and experienced, of all backgrounds and ages — for a day of thoughtful, challenging presentations and discussion about 2020’s crucial elections. IEB’s Nancy and Andrea will present a workshop to share lessons learned from the IEB Governance Committee June retreat — all are welcome!

Here’s what the RTC-EB organizers want to accomplish:

  • Engage new activists in an array of choices to become involved, tailored to individual interests, skills, and experience
  • Recharge seasoned activists, event organizers, and group leaders with opportunities to broaden the movement’s collective impact in 2020
  • Reinforce the importance of activism grounded in the strength of our diversity and the power of our unity

And here’s how they plan to do it:

Keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive breakouts featuring recognized leaders in electoral politics and issue-based advocacy; attendees will be able to:

  • Dive into activist groups’ national strategies to achieve victory in 2020
  • Explore regional and local grassroots initiatives: coalition-building to flip districts and protect them, updates on collaborative work in progress, youth activism, the latest technology for organizing, anti-oppression organizing, and more

 

Panelists and presenters from diverse organizations include the following leaders, and many more:

  • Aimee Allison, Founder and President of She the People
  • Kathryn Durham-Hammer, President, Diablo Valley Democratic Club and Lead, Indivisible ReSisters Walnut Creek
  • Demnlus Johnson, Councilmember, City of Richmond, CA
  • Shawn Kumagai, City Council Member, City of Dublin
  • Donald Lathbury, Communications Director and Strategist, Flip the West
  • Mallory Long, Training Director, All On The Line
  • Colleen McCarthy, Northern California Regional Field Director, Swing Left
  • Shawna McKnight, Public Affairs Officer, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
  • Raquel Ortega, Organizer, ACLU of Northern California
  • Tamisha Walker, Executive Director, Safe Return Project

Interactive breakouts include the following, and more:

  • <30, Leading Change
  • Adventures in Building and Sustaining Grassroots Groups
  • Border Crisis, Immigration Policy, and the 2020 Elections
  • Census 2020: Everyone Counts
  • Centering Community Care in Social and Racial Justice Advocacy
  • Exploring the Relationship between Grassroots Activism and the Democratic Party
  • Keeping Central Valley Blue
  • Out-of-State Electoral Strategies

Register here for the conference. A sliding scale donation of $25-$100 is requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. If the ticket fee represents a hardship, you can submit a request for sponsorship here.

Graphic by East Bay Rock the Congress

 

Fight DHS expanded “expedited removal” program

By Sylvia Chi

Deadline: Submit comment by September 23, 2019 –

In July 2019 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would expand the expedited removal program. Expedited removal is a fast track process that allows low-level immigration officers to quickly deport certain non citizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation. The expansion makes hundreds of thousands more people vulnerable to deportation without due process rights such as a hearing before a judge or the right to a lawyer. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that 260,000 to 440,000 undocumented immigrants are subject to expedited removal under this policy change. Previously, DHS could only use the expedited removal process for those detained within 100 miles of the border for less than two weeks; DHS now seeks to expand the program to apply to any undocumented person, regardless of location, who can’t prove they’ve been in the United States continuously for two years.

According to the Notice filed in the Federal Register, this expansion went into effect on July 23, 2019, and public comments on the change will be accepted through September 23, 2019. Read our instructions below on how to make your comments opposing this change.

What you can do:

Leave a comment on this form on the Federal Register website by September 23, 2019

What to say:

We’ve given some suggestions, but to make your comment as effective as possible, please write in your own voice and describe this policy’s effect on your own life and community. (Multiple comments with the same language may be discarded.) For more ideas, read the comments other people have filed.

  • I oppose the expansion of expedited removal.
  • Expedited removal violates the Fifth Amendment Due Process rights of people in the interior of the United States who have been living in the country for extended periods of time, who are entitled to meaningful process before removal from the country.
  • Expedited removal violates sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Administrative Procedure Act which provide that individuals have the right to counsel in removal proceedings and in compelled appearances before an agency.
  • Expanding expedited removal increases the likelihood of racial discrimination and abuses of power by immigration and border officials.
  • This expansion contributes to the Trump Administration’s campaign to marginalize immigrants and sow fear and confusion in the immigrant community.
  • This process increases the likelihood that a person who isn’t supposed to be subject to expedited removal, like a U.S. citizen, will be removed by mistake.

More information:

Unlike the normal deportation process, the expedited removal process does not allow for a hearing before an immigration judge, access to an attorney, or chance to appeal. Under expedited removal, you may be stopped and made subject to this process anywhere in the United States. Without the right to prepare and collect evidence, you must prove to the immigration officer’s “satisfaction” that you have been in the country for two years or otherwise have the legal right to be in the country. In effect, Americans – and especially, people of color – will be subject to “de facto pop-up trial[s]… using only the things in their pockets” as well as illegal stops by border officials. 

In the past, due to its abbreviated process and lack of accountability, the expedited removal process has been rife with errors, leading to the erroneous removal of U.S. citizens, green card holders, and others not eligible for expedited removal. Expedited removal also does not sufficiently protect asylum-seekers, since immigration officers have been known to improperly pressure individuals into withdrawing their asylum requests, or simply fail to ask if the individual fears persecution upon return to their home country. In addition, under expedited removal, immigration officers do not need to consider defenses against removal which would apply in immigration court.

The American Civil Liberties Union and American Immigration Council, on behalf of Make the Road New York and other organizations, have also sued to block the change. Even if the policy is blocked or rolled back, the proposal is still effective as another example of the Trump Administration’s campaign to spread fear among immigrant communities.

Sylvia Chi is an Oakland-based attorney and activist.

Photograph: Immigration Reform Leaders Arrested in Washington DC, by Nevele Otseog

Call in day: Voting Rights for People on Parole

Deadline: On Monday, August 19, 2019, make a call to make California a more democratic place –

California is one of a rapidly shrinking number of states that doesn’t allow people on parole to vote. Believe it or not, it’s actually in the state Constitution. Now ACA 6, the “Free the Vote Act,” would amend the California Constitution to remove that prohibition – and it’s coming up for a vote in the State Assembly the week of August 19. Tell your Assemblymember: Vote YES on ACA 6. Read on for a short call script and contact info; and below that, more info, talking points, a great toolkit to boost this on social media, and more resources.

What to do:

1. Call your state Assemblymember and tell them to vote YES on ACA 6.

What to say:

If your Assemblymember is Rob Bonta, he’s a coauthor of the bill; you don’t have to ask him to vote on it, but you should thank him:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _____________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Assemblymember Bonta for coauthoring ACA 6. Not allowing people on parole to vote is a form of voter suppression and it needs to end. California should leave Jim Crow behind. Many states restore the vote to people when they leave prison. We should too.

  • Rob Bonta: District: 510-286-1670; Capitol: 916-319-2018

If your Assemblymember is Buffy Wicks, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, or Bill Quirk, tell them:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _____________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want Assemblymember _______ to vote YES on ACA 6. Not allowing people on parole to vote is a form of voter suppression and it needs to end. California should leave Jim Crow behind. Many states restore the vote to people when they leave prison. We should too.

  • Buffy Wicks: District: 510-286-1400; Capitol: 916-319-2015
  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan: Capitol (handles legislative calls): 916-319-2016
  • Bill Quirk: Capitol: 916-319-2020; District 510-583-8818
  • Not sure who your Assemblymember is? Check here; or call 916-702-8820 and enter your zip code and you’ll be connected directly to your legislator.
  • Got California friends outside the East Bay? They can use this click-to-call page for a script and to be patched through to their Assemblymember; or they can call 916-702-8820 and enter their zip code to be connected directly to their legislator.

2. Spread it on social media

Here’s a cool social media toolkit all set up for you! Use it, pass it on, spread the word!

More info about why we need ACA 6:

Under the California Constitution and Elections Code, people on parole cannot vote. ACA 6 seeks to change that.

Parole is intended to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals back into the community. Nearly 50,000 Californians on parole pay taxes at the local, state, and federal levels. Allowing people to vote again after they have finished their prison sentence increases their feeling of connection to their community in a positive way. Voting “can play a major role in reducing recidivism.”

On the other hand: stripping the vote from felons comes from the Jim Crow era. It’s part of a whole fabric of voter suppression in minority and marginalized communities – restoring the vote needs to be part of destroying that fabric. Current state law allows some people on community supervision to vote, but since some individuals have been punished harshly – even jailed! – for trying in good faith to vote when they were not allowed to, some eligible voters will be deterred from going to the polls rather than take any chances. Ending disenfranchisement for people on parole would clarify voting rights for all formerly incarcerated people in California.

California is behind the times in not allowing people on parole to vote: As of 2020, in sixteen other states and the District of Columbia a person’s right to vote will be automatically restored after their release from prison, with more states considering eliminating their provisions against people on parole voting; in addition, two states (Maine and Vermont) don’t remove voting rights for people with convictions, even while they’re in prison. It’s too late for us to be a leader, but at least let’s not be the tail end of this trend toward justice.

More resources:

Photograph, “Felon voting rights” by Michael Fleshman

Take action to secure our elections

Deadline: call your MoCs, and register now for 8/20 webinar –

The evidence is clear: in 2016, Russia targeted voting systems in all 50 states and used social media to spread disinformation and disunity among the electorate. The entire national security community agrees that election interference in 2016 was only a preview of what’s to come – unless Congress acts to provide our states and counties with the money they need to secure our voting systems and make our most fundamental right as easy to exercise as possible.

The House rose to the challenge and passed H.R. 3351, a funding bill that would allocate $600 million to states and localities, so that they can protect voter data and replace paperless voting systems with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners. Yet the Senate has failed to move forward at all – thanks to Mitch McConnell, who has refused to allow any election security bills to even come up for a vote.

We have a chance to win that $600+ million to secure our elections by the the last day of September, which is the Congressional funding deadline. We recently wrote about how to address this funding with our own Members of Congress (you can still take that action, see #2, below). Now Public Citizen, in collaboration with the Mueller Book Club and several other elections groups across the country, are organizing much greater efforts to pressure Congress to fund secure elections. Election security is national security and the work to achieve it must be national as well. You can get informed and learn how to help by registering for the election security movement webinar call: “Secure the Vote: Holding Mitch McConnell and his Senate enablers accountable.”

What you can do:

1. Sign up to join the webinar call on Tuesday, August 20 at 5:30 PM, and then join in to take action!

2. Contact your Members of Congress to urge them to treat election security funding as a national security issue.

What to say if your representative is Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) or Barbara Lee (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. _________ for voting for $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like them to speak out publicly to persuade the public and their colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661

What to say if your representative is Eric Swalwell (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. Swalwell for his public efforts on election security. I’d like him to use his position on the Intelligence Committee to persuade his colleagues that voting for the $600 million for election security funded by H.R. 3351 is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What to say to our Senators:

  • To Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House Appropriations Committee has authorized $600 million for election security. I’d like the Senator to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to resist any attempts to remove election security money from the final budget, and also work to persuade her Senate colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • To Senator Kamala Harris, on the Senate Intelligence Committee (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House has voted to authorize $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like the Senator to work to persuade her colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

3. Spread the word to people in other states, particularly those whose Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee (they will decide if election security funding remains in the budget) or the Senate Intelligence Committee (they’re in the best position to understand the details of foreign interference in 2016 and 2018).

4. Watch for local events calling on the Senate to fund election security on Tuesday. Sept. 17 as part of the nationwide Secure Our Vote Day of Action. Nothing planned near you? Sign up to host one!

5. For more background and information, read our June 27, 2019 article, Election Security IS National Security. If you want to learn more about IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team, 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

Heidi Rand contributed to this article

Photograph “Moscow Mitch” by Becker1999 

It’s rain(bow)ing IEB t-shirts!

Resistance is beautiful! Celebrate Indivisible and the East Bay with our fabulous new rainbow logo t-shirt! Come get one (or more!) of the new t-shirts AND learn how to phone bank for Virginia at the Sunday, August 25 All Members Meeting.

Our glamorous U.S.-made shirts, produced by local union printer Alliance Graphics, come in two t-shirt colors, blue and black: both with the rainbow logo, both shirt colors available in unisex or women’s/fitted sizes from small to XXL. Of your suggested minimum $25 donation each, IEB will get around $5 — which we’ll use for meeting and event expenses, informational flyers, and more.

The AMM will be packed with presentations about how you can take action while wearing your new shirt:

  • Leanne Karns from Swing Left East Bay will talk about their strategy and how we can support them (hint: it involves Arizona and North Carolina). 
  • You’ll also learn about our “VA 2019” project, which has the goal to flip both of Virginia’s legislative houses to blue this November (we’re just a few seats away!) And our East Bay Activist Alliance allies will lead us in phone banking to flip Virginia’s houses. Don’t worry — we’ll show you what to do! Bring your phone, earbuds, laptop, ipad or other device, and we’ll practice calling friendly Dems around the Virginia Beach area to remind them to register to vote this November.  

But back to the the t-shirts! We’ll have limited quantities of each size and color, so to make sure you get the shirt you want, come to the Sunday August 25 AMM and donate using cash or online via our ActBlue fundraising page or by using the Cash app to $IndivisibleEB. If you need, we’ll walk you through the easy process to donate online using your phone.

We’ll also hold a breakout on impeachment, to bring you the latest information and highlight the national impeachment advocacy coalition’s calls to action, which include urging our Members of Congress to hold dedicated public hearings, to make sure investigations and potential articles of impeachment include high crimes and misdemeanors beyond the Mueller findings, to obtain a date certain before Thanksgiving for recorded votes on articles, and more. And speaking of Mueller — last but not least, get your Mueller (mis)fortune cookie (while they last) at the AMM!

We’re set to be in the upstairs mezzanine at the Berkeley Sports Basement (take stairs or elevator up), but if there’s a last minute change of room check for Indivisible East Bay or IEB on the chalk board at the entrance. Can’t make the AMM? Join us online where we do our planning and organizing— ask  info@indivisibleeb.org for an invite.

And mark your calendar for September 29, when we’ll hold the next AMM in Dublin! Special guests, tasty treats and saving democracy are on the menu–RSVP and info here!

Counter White Supremacists’ Terrorism

Even FBI agents are finally saying it: domestic terrorism poses “a threat to the American people and our democracy.” It isn’t news that there has for years been a “resurgence in radicalization and recruitment” in right-wing extremism. It also isn’t news that this cancer has metastasized wildly since the election of the Current Occupant of the White House, who told the world that he felt there was no threat from white nationalism after the Christchurch mosque massacre – the massacre that inspired the El Paso racist massacre just days ago. For years, the government has had their priorities exactly backwards, according to some experts: 

Citing figures from the Anti-Defamation League, [Rep. Jamie] Raskin noted that from 2009-2018, far-right extremism was responsible for 73% of extremist murders, while international terrorism was responsible for 23% of terrorism deaths. “The FBI has testified the bureau allocates its resources almost exactly backwards than the problem would suggest,” Raskin said. “Devoting 80% of field agents to stopping international terrorism including Islamic extremism and only 20% to stopping domestic terrorism including far right and white supremacist extremism.”

And it gets worse: 

The Trump administration has systematically cut back on resources used to address threats from domestic extremists even as the FBI has reported a 30-40% rise in domestic terrorism cases just since October.

What you can do:

Our government needs to put its resources in the right places: not toward putting kids in cages, but toward investigating and addressing the very real problem of white supremacist violence in this country. Tell our Members of Congress:

My name is ___________, my zip code is ___________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m worried about white supremacist violence in this country. In the most recent mass shootings by white supremacists, they published manifestos to spread their ideology. I want Senator/Representative ___________ to push for additional funding for the Countering Violent Extremism program to focus on white supremacists and their radicalization. I also hope Senator/Representative ______ will do everything possible to fight this administration’s support for racism and racist violence, including investigating political pressure on law enforcement to ignore white supremacist extremism.

  • 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

 

Bring Back the Senate for Gun Control

What a shame Congress can’t do anything to stop this country’s epidemic of mass shootings and deaths by white supremacist gun violence. Except, oh wait, they can. And they have. Or rather, they would. Except Mitch McConnell won’t let them.

The House of Representatives passed two gun control bills in February 2019: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks for private gun sales (think online sales and gun shows); and H.R. 1112, which would extend the waiting period from the background check system before a sale can proceed, from the current three days to ten days. Normally, the bills would now go to the Senate and be referred to the appropriate committees. Instead, McConnell placed them on the Senate calendar, which sounds good but isn’t, it actually means they’re just … sitting there, while more people die.

In addition, the Senate has before it S. 42, introduced in January 2019 and cosponsored by both Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, which would prohibit a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The bill is in the Judiciary Committee, which both of our Senators sit on – and which is chaired by Lindsey Graham, whose support for gun control is limited to talking about “red flag” laws, which allow local law enforcement officials to temporarily seize guns from people who may pose a risk to themselves or others.

Meanwhile, mass shootings go on. And on. And the Senate is in recess, with the GOP offering its usual thoughts and prayers.

Senators Feinstein and Harris have both called for the Senate to act:

The House has already passed a universal background check bill that would make it harder for dangerous people to buy guns. The Senate could return to Washington this week and vote on that bill, but Senate Republican leaders continue to say no.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, August 4, 2019 

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act passed the House in February—but it hasn’t even received a hearing in the Senate. It’s past time to take action. To Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, I say: have some courage. Let’s vote.

Sen. Kamala Harris, August 5, 2019 

Amen, and amen.

What you can do:

1. Call Sens. Feinstein and Harris. It may not seem like they need your call since they’re already doing the right thing, but remember: the NRA will always mobilize its membership and you can be sure that our Senators are hearing loud and clear from gun control opponents. They need to hear from US!

What to say:

My name is ____________, my zip code is _________ and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Senator _________ for supporting gun control legislation. The Senator is right: the Senate needs to reconvene, now, to vote on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112. Trump is cheering on white supremacist violence and Mitch McConnell is enabling it by refusing to let the Senate vote on these bills. Also, I hope the Senator will use her position on the Judiciary Committee to do everything possible to pass S. 42.

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

2. Support these organizations:

 

Graphic: “U.S. Senate To Increase Work Days” by Mike Licht

How to Support Asylum Seekers – Locally

We’ve heard much about the pressing needs of asylum seekers in places where they cross the border into the U.S. But there are less known needs that exist elsewhere – including in our own communities.

Indivisible East Bay recently heard from Theresa Gonzales, Executive Director of Centro Legal de la Raza, and Carolina Martin Ramos, Director of Programs and Advocacy, about the organization’s work and the immigration crisis that rarely makes the headlines. According to Carolina, the situation (like all politics) is local. Many detained children separated from their parents and asylum seekers traveling with caravans may present themselves to immigration officials at the border, and are initially processed at or near the border, but they don’t stay there. After they’re released to sponsors, bond out, or are paroled into the US, they’re most likely to travel to other parts of the country to reunite with family members or sponsors. 

And Oakland – and the San Francisco Bay Area generally – are destinations for many unaccompanied children and asylum seekers. In fact, according to Carolina, they’re more likely to have family members and sponsors here than in border cities like San Diego or El Paso. 

The heavy lifting in many migrants’ immigration cases or deportation proceedings thus happens not at the border but where they settle. They need long-term legal representation and resources there – and the burden of helping them falls on local organizations in those locations. Unfortunately, these local groups have limited resources to respond to the recent arrivals’ needs – they’ve already stretched their scant budgets working with long-time resident immigrant populations facing deportation. 

As Centro Legal de la Raza also points out: Because immigration proceedings are administrative and not criminal proceedings, asylum seekers are not guaranteed legal representation or other due process safeguards. Most, in fact, don’t have legal representation; in 2017, only about 30% were represented. Being without legal representation drastically lowers an asylum seeker’s chances of success: for example, 5% of those who won relief between 2007-2012 were without an attorney. Studies find that asylum seekers are anywhere from 24% more likely to 10.5 times more likely to be successful if they have legal representation. Very few organizations are prepared to offer legal representation to asylum seekers once they arrive at their destinations.

What you can do:

Local organizations helping asylum seekers need your support!

  • Centro Legal de la Raza is the leader in removal defense in California and is in the heart of the Fruitvale District of Oakland, where many asylum seekers and unaccompanied children are arriving. 
  • ACILEP, the Alameda County Rapid Response partnership, is a partnership of Centro Legal, Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Street Level Health Project, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), and Vietnamese Community Center of the East Bay. All ACILEP organizational partners are doing critical work and responding to immigration emergencies. 
  • Stand Together Contra Costa is a rapid response, legal services, and community education project supporting CoCo County immigrant families. It offers free legal clinics to provide immigrants with individualized legal consultations, advice on legal rights, and arranging referrals for pro-bono or low-cost legal services. Individuals who have been detained may be eligible to receive free legal representation to pursue bond or release, and more. Find out how to get involved.
  • In San Francisco, organizations like CARECEN, Catholic Charities, ICWC and Dolores Street Community Services are also responding to the needs of noncitizens.
  • Another way to help is to support local bond funds.
  • Cookies Not Cages! El Cerrito Progressives is raising funds to support the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC), which provides legal support for local immigrant minors here without their families. Thousands of unaccompanied minors are living in California, and hundreds attend local area schools. ECP is holding monthly bake sales at El Cerrito Plaza (near Trader Joe’s) during August, September, and October, on the third Saturday of the month; and at Kensington Farmers Market on the third Sunday of the month. If you’re interested in baking or staffing the table please contact Ada Fung at as.fung@gmail.com  Can’t make it? You can also donate at this gofundme fundraiser.
  • See more in our recent article, Show UP for Immigrant Justice.

Impeachment takes flight

Deadline: Now, while the iron is hot –

After running calls to action and articles for months asking you to urge our Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry (see the list at the end of this article), we’re happy to report, in Professor Laurence Tribe’s expert words, that the eagle has taken flight!

The House Judiciary Committee’s initiation of an impeachment inquiry was revealed publicly in the Committee’s July 26 court filing seeking the release of grand jury materials that were redacted in the Mueller Report. As of August 1, a majority of the House Democratic caucus, nearly 120 members, now support an impeachment inquiry, thanks to YOUR hard work! It’s a great start, but we must keep up the pressure – we must get louder than ever and ensure our lawmakers follow through. Also on August 1, Indivisible National, in coalition with Need to Impeach, MoveOn, and Stand Up America, launched Impeachment August, a broad campaign to help achieve what we’ve been working on: pressuring the House Democrats to vote for a formal impeachment inquiry.

What you can do:

All of our East Bay representatives have come out in support of impeachment, but that’s just the first step. We need them to support the proposed House Resolutions on impeachment: H.Res. 257, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s resolution to authorize an impeachment inquiry, and H.Res. 396, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s resolution which also includes potential articles of impeachment. So far, Rep. Barbara Lee has supported H. Res 257, but Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Eric Swalwell have not yet cosponsored either resolution. 

What to say:

If your Representative is Barbara Lee:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, so I thank Rep. Lee for cosponsoring House Resolution 257. I’m also asking her to please urge her colleagues to follow her lead in support of impeachment.

If your Representative is Mark DeSaulnier or Eric Swalwell:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Rep. ___ for speaking out in favor of an impeachment inquiry. I want the House to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, and urge him to please cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.

  • 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 else you can do:

  • Read the letter written by Free Speech for People, and cosigned by a broad coalition of groups (including Indivisible) to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter raises concerns about and makes recommendations regarding the Committee’s timeline, scope, and public strategy for the impeachment inquiry.
  • Attend town halls your Members of Congress schedule, and other public events at which they appear. Ask a question about impeachment, and ask them to cosponsor House Resolutions 257 and/or 396.
  • Sign up for, or organize, constituent meetings with your MoCs, assisted by national coordination from By the People.
  • Join the discussion on the #impeachment channel on Indivisible East Bay’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email info@IndivisibleEB.org
  • Call on the presidential candidates to speak out about impeachment. See our list of links to all of the candidates’ websites and social media accounts, in this article
  • Talk to your friends and relatives about impeachment. Not sure what to say? Get up to speed by reading our earlier articles, with background and more actions you can take on impeachment, investigations, and the Mueller Report:

Larry B contributed to this article

Photo “Bald eagle flying” by Skeeze

 

Oh SNAP – yes, again

Deadline: September 23 –

On July 24, 2019, the administration announced plans to disqualify three million Americans from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, informally known as food stamps) by taking away states’ ability to expand eligibility rules beyond Federal limits. SNAP is a crucial form of anti-poverty assistance here in California. The proposed rule change would disqualify millions of low-income recipients, and would worsen food security in the U.S., according to the USDA’s own analysis.

In this case, because the action is considered a rule change and not a law, we get to comment directly on the proposed change. The Food Research and Action Center has put together an easy form to submit comments on the rule. You can also comment directly on the Federal Register, but their website is difficult to use. Make sure to leave a comment by Monday, September 23. 

Here are some sample points you can mention, but be sure to use your own words and personalize your comments with why the SNAP program is important to your or your community, to make sure that each comment gets counted separately.

  • Cutting SNAP benefits takes food directly off of the tables of poor Americans
  • The USDA analysis found that the change would affect the food security and savings of Americans (More info here)
  • The current system supports working families who are just above the income limit for SNAP. Cutting this program discourages workers from taking a raise or increasing hours that would put them over the limit (More info here)
  • The proposed rule would require states to abide by an asset limit for eligibility,  which discourages families from saving money (More info here)
  • Making a rule change circumvents Congress, which has repeatedly rejected cuts to SNAP on a bipartisan basis (More info here)

For more background read our prior articles about SNAP: