Rallies, Rocking & Rainbows!

Yes, we put the East Bay into Indivisible East Bay this past weekend, with events in Hayward, Berkeley and Oakland all in one 48 hour period!

First up, on September 6, Cal State East Bay students and faculty rallied in downtown Hayward to #SaveIsabel. Dozens of students marched from the Hayward campus through the streets to City Hall, singing “Which Side Are You On?” At City Hall, City Councilmember Aisha Wahab emceed the event organized by the CSU East Bay Associated Students Incorporated, Students for Quality Education and political science professor Danvy Le, at which about 100 people gathered to hear stories about what it means to be a Dreamer and the importance of protecting rights for patients such as Isabel.

Rep. Swalwell speaking at Save Isabel rally, photo by Andrea Lum
Rep. Swalwell speaking at Save Isabel rally

CA-15 Representative Eric Swalwell addressed the crowd, expressing his strong support for Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s private bill HR 4225 requesting rescission of the original order terminating the Bueso family’s stay. The Hayward event followed an earlier rally for Isabel organized by the nurses and doctors of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

The next morning, members of Indivisible East Bay convened at Berkeley City College, joining over 150 other local activists at the East Bay Rock the Congress conference led by Ogie Strogatz and Kook Huber, both longtime allies of IEB and outstanding activist leaders. RtC gave attendees new ideas and perspectives to consider while doing the hard work of organizing. Aimee Alison, founder of She the People and Democracy in Color, groups dedicated to advancing people of color in politics, delivered an inspiring keynote reminding attendees that there is a path to the White House among voters of color if we do the work to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai – who readers of this blog may remember from his efforts to get Dublin to fly the rainbow flag for Pride – then facilitated a discussion of issue oriented and electoral focused organizations.

At Rock the Congress: Dublin City Councilmember Shawn Kumagai moderating discussion with activist leaders, photo by Andrea Lum
Shawn Kumagai moderating discussion with activist leaders

After lunch, attendees learned about Census 2020, how young people are leading change, and more. IEB Governance Committee members Nancy and Andrea presented a session on member engagement, otherwise known as “A bunch of randos walk into a protest.” 

Rock the Congress conference, photo by Andrea Lum

Click on the link in the schedule to learn more about the presenters for the jam-packed Rock the Congress conference.

IEB capped off the weekend by having a booth at the September 10 Oakland Pride Festival

Everyone enjoyed the excellent weather, reflected in the good mood and high energy of Pride attendees. Festival participants trickled in at first, but traffic picked up quickly and stayed strong for most of the festival’s duration. IEB’s booth was located on Franklin Street, the main thoroughfare of the festival, so we were able to catch a sizable portion of the crowd as they walked past our table. Our “Resist Trump!” whiteboard proved popular, attracting cheers, donations, and visitors who stopped by the table to see how they could get involved in our work.

IEB table at Oakland Pride, photo by Andrea Lum
IEB table at Oakland Pride,

Many had already heard of Indivisible and were familiar with its work. Some regular newsletter readers stopped by to say hello, along with folks who had attended past events and were looking to get re-engaged. We introduced Indivisible to a few new volunteers looking to get involved in activism for the first time. Many thanks to the IEB volunteers who showed up early and stayed late to spread the good word of resistance to the Pride-goers! 

If any of these activities sound like something you’d like to attend or help out with in the future, just send volunteer coordinator Andrea (andrea@indivisibleeb.org) an email to let her know. What a great weekend of good conversations, new newsletter signups, and high energy!

Photographs by Andrea Lum

August All Members Meeting: what we did on our summer vacation

By Ann G. Daniels

On August 25, an enthusiastic group gathered at Sports Basement Berkeley for the Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting, eager to hear about election activism, voting security, and impeachment – and to do some hands-on activism.

But first: we got our new beautiful rainbow logo t-shirts (union made of course), and a couple of IEB members displayed their handmade Blue Wave hats! 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Want to wear your very own IEB logo rainbow shirt, and perhaps make a donation to benefit IEB? Get them while they last at IEB events!

On to the amazing presentations: 

Leanne Karns from Swing Left East Bay talked about the organization’s well-thought-out electoral strategy, including great information (and cool graphics!) about where in the country an electoral win would make the most difference, and why they choose canvassing as the most effective strategy. 

Leanne Karns of Swing Left East Bay, at 082519 AMM
Leanne Karns, Swing Left East Bay

Holly Scheider, representing our allies at East Bay Activist Alliance, told us about the importance of the upcoming Virginia election. We’re just a few seats away from being able to flip both of the state’s legislative houses to blue in November, and EBAA is conducting a phonebanking campaign to remind people to register to vote. Why is it so important to get involved in a state election on the other side of the country, you may wonder? Gerrymandering in Virginia, like in much of the country, has been an enormous problem – it isn’t an exaggeration to say it’s one of the great voting rights challenges. With the upcoming 2020 census, it’s absolutely imperative to have a Democratic state legislature to stop Republican gerrymandering intended to permanently lock up districts and nullify blue votes. 

IEB member Larry gave a brief but info-full update on impeachment: what’s happening in DC, what activists are doing and how you can join in, including calling your Member of Congress and the House Judiciary Committee and spreading the word by talking about impeachment and helping us find venues to present our information and discussion session. And that’s just the short summary: read much more in our article.

IEB member Ion gave a great briefing on election security issues and the need to provide funding for our state and local governments to defend the foundation of our democracy. Read his article for lots of great info about the webinar presented by several major pro-democracy organizations, and find actions you can take to ensure we get that funding.

Ion's presentation about election security, AMM 082519
Ion’s presentation about election security

IEB member Joaninha presented an astonishing wealth of options for people looking for something easy to do right here in the East Bay: from postcard parties (with popcorn!) to chocolate and dim sum fundraisers and more. Hmm, is there a theme? Of course there is: go out and do something!

Joaninha & Paula presentation about postcarding and more, AMM 082519
Joaninha & Paula: postcarding & more

And then – we phonebanked! Veteran phonebankers got right to it and Holly and other experienced folks trained the newbies, and we called 228 voters in Virginia Beach! Out of those calls, four people said they would support the Democratic candidates, Alex Askew and Cheryl Turpin. And that’s why phonebanking is worthwhile. 

Phonebanking led by East Bay Activist Alliance, at 082519 AMM
Phonebanking led by East Bay Activist Alliance

Couldn’t make it to the AMM? Allergic to meetings? Join us online where we do our planning and organizing— ask  info@indivisibleeb.org for an invite.

Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.

 

Day of Action to Secure our Elections

Deadline: 9/17 Day of Action –

We’ve spoken before of the threat to our elections from foreign interference and the need to provide funding for our state and local governments to defend the foundation of our democracy. We aren’t the only ones deeply concerned: Several major pro-democracy organizations collaborated on a webinar and call to action to ensure we get that funding. They explained the problems, spoke to election security experts in both research and in government, and provided a concrete set of actions we can take in the next weeks, building up to a day of action on September 17.

Keep reading for a selection of actions you can take; and below that, info about what the webinar covered, with links to videos and other resources.

What you can do – Actions to Secure Our Elections

Whether you want to do something with other people, or make calls, or write letters, there’s an action for you among the actions to Secure Our Elections. And to make it easy, all the action links take you to easy-to-use forms that walk you through the process:

  1. Sign up to host or participate in a Secure Our Vote Day of Action on September 17. The goal is to reach out to Senators voting on election security funding in as many states as possible. If there’s a day of action near you, RSVP to join it. If not, they can help you organize one: click the red Click to Host button to find out how.
  2. Call your elected officials about election security funding, starting NOW, to build up pressure on them before September 17.
    • To call your Senators, use the hotline at 833-413-5906 – it walks you through all the steps and makes it very easy.
    • Call governors and state legislators to ask if they’ve used the money provided to their states for election security. They’re ultimately responsible for how the money is spent; and since they’re rarely held to account for this, enough calls will make them sit up and notice.
  3. Write a letter to the editor. Election security doesn’t get enough press, and when it does it gets lost in the noise. If the press believes this issue is gaining traction they will cover it more intensely before the deadline. Enter your zip code into the link, and the super-helpful tool will not only identify the newspapers in your area, it provides a template to write your letter!

And last but definitely not least: Pass this information onThese actions, like the problem they’re addressing, are national. Even deep red states have officials who care about their elections. Even deep blue states have officials who need to hear how important the issue is. The above tools are intended to make it as easy as possible for people to carry them out in any state. Let your family, friends, and contacts in other states know that they can participate and why they should and what they can do.

More info: the webinar and resources

The Election Security Movement webinar was organized by Public Citizen in collaboration with Mueller Book Club, People For The American Way, Stand Up America, Clean Elections Texas, Democracy 21, New American Leaders and Stand Up! For Democracy in DC.

The speakers:

  • Aquene Freechild of Public Citizen and Secure Our Vote led the call. She asked questions of the other speakers and summarized both the current security issues and the actions we can take.
    • Short video summarizing issues
    • video summarizing actions (relevant portion starts at 01:07:15; length, 1 minute)
  • Christine Wood of Public Citizen explained the Day of Action.
    • video (relevant portion:starts at 00:28:44; length, 16 ½ minutes)
  • Liz Wally of Clean Elections Texas spoke on how to contact Senators. Yes, even in Texas!
  • Harri Hursti, co-founder of the DEFCON Voting Village (which allows participants to try to hack into voting systems), spoke about actual vulnerabilities in voting systems. His messages were technical but very approachable.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:08:12; length, 23 minutes)
  • Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a longtime leader in calling for election security, explained how serious the threat is, and how to make our actions count. He emphasized that public officials respond to public pressure! Calling Senators is valuable whether they strongly agree, strongly disagree, or are neutral. He also stressed that election officials need about a year to get a new system in place, so the next few months will decide whether the 2020 elections are secure.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:51:10; length, 16 ½ minutes)


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

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

 

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!

Join IEB’s Q&A in Berkeley with Sen. Feinstein’s State Director

Please join Indivisible East Bay and our co-hosts, Indivisible Berkeley, for a Q&A discussion with Senator Feinstein’s State Director Jim Lazarus on Monday September 23 from 5:15 to 7:30 PM, at the Berkeley Public Library Main Branch.

The meeting is free and open to the public. RSVP is preferred, but not required. The Berkeley Main Library is at 2090 Kittredge Street (near downtown Berkeley BART, cross street is Shattuck Avenue). The meeting room is upstairs in the third floor administrative wing, and is accessible. Children are welcome.

Meeting with our Members of Congress’ staff in person is one of the most effective ways to influence our representatives. Staff have told us that they find these public meetings particularly helpful in their work of reporting back to the senator what her constituents want. So please come and bring your questions and concerns for Sen. Feinstein’s state director to answer and/or pass along to his boss.

IEB’s meetings with Members of Congress and their staff are run according to the Indivisible Guide, which tells us to treat our MoCs, their staff, and all event participants with civility and respect. We encourage people to be assertive and express your opinions – even your frustration, if that’s how you feel! – but please remember that these are intended to be venues for thoughtful discussion and community sharing. Tirades, hate speech, violent speech of any kind, and excessive profanity will not be tolerated. In addition, Congressional staff is not permitted to discuss electioneering, and it is our policy not to bring it up or ask questions they can’t answer. Anyone comfortable with this approach is welcome to come.

This meeting is scheduled in the evening, and in the East Bay rather than SF, to make it more accessible for working people and families. We really hope to see you there!

Read our article about IEB’s most recent meeting with Sen. Feinstein’s staff in June 2019, and our article about the last Q&A discussion we had in Oakland with Sen. Feinstein’s state director and field representative, in August 2018.

If you have questions, please email us at info@indivisibleeb.org

 

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: