White Supremacists, In Berkeley? Noooooo!!

As mentioned in last week’s newsletter and blog post, Indivisible East Bay decided to endorse the Bay Area Rally Against Hate, scheduled for Sunday August 27 from 10:30-12:30 pm at the UC Berkeley Crescent Lawn, near Addison and Oxford. The Rally was planned as a peaceful counter-protest to a white nationalist group’s posting on social media about an event called “No To Marxism,” scheduled for Sunday at MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley from 1:00-5:00 pm. “No To Marxism” did not seek a permit, and none has been granted.

Many of us watched the special Berkeley City Council meeting last Friday, at which the Council and public aired concerns regarding the planned white nationalist event and counter protests. The Council passed an ordinance giving the City Manager power to issue temporary regulations of unpermitted protests.  While Saturday’s massive counter-protest in Boston shows that counter-demos can be effective and peaceful, the City of Berkeley is encouraging people to “stay away from conflict” and it’s uncertain how many people will turn out on Sunday.

Many of you have been asking us about IEB’s participation in Sunday’s events. After much discussion among ourselves, and considering what other groups and organizations are planning, we’re offering our members the following information.

At the time of this post, individual members of several local Indivisible groups, including Indivisible East Bay, Indivisible El Sobrante, Poinsett Indivisible, and ReSisterhood do not feel they can “stay away” when white supremacists and Nazis invade our town. Many of us plan to attend the Rally Against Hate, which we note has been endorsed by more than a hundred groups and organizations.

Crescent Lawn UCB

We invite Indivisible East Bay members to join us; however, each individual must consider what level of risk they can tolerate, as it’s possible there could be violence or aggression even at the counter-protest. If you do want to gather with us, we’ll meet at 10:15 am at the top of the “crescent” of the Crescent Lawn, near the concrete walls. Once the counter-rally ends at 12:30, IEB’s participation for the afternoon will be over. While some groups are planning to march to the white nationalist rally, the IEB group is not doing so although obviously each member will make their own decision.

And if you’d like to join us on Sunday, here are some suggestions:

  • Wear your IEB or Resist shirts!
  • Make handheld signs  or use cardboard tubes as poles
  • Come with a buddy, or make new friends there to hang out with. Watch their back and they’ll watch yours. Share phone numbers
  • Engage with other Indivisibles, resistance groups and allies
  • Bring sunscreen, water, and energy bars
  • Consider whether to bring children and pets
  • Establish an exit route and/or emergency meeting area north of campus
  • Be aware of conditions around you and understand that the situation is unpredictable and safety cannot be guaranteed

Again, we all have different comfort levels and there’s no guilt if you decide to stay away. Some IEB members are choosing other ways to protest:

  • Download and read the Southern Poverty Law Center’s excellent guide: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide
  • Attend a Day of Service and Solidarity with Urban Tilth at the North Richmond Farm on August 26 from 10 am to 1 pm
  • Create Resist signs for windows
  • Amplify our voice by retweeting and/or sharing on Facebook any IEB social media posts that day. Follow our public FB page and our twitter account, and help us push out our postings, including those with hashtags #IEBUnitedAgainstH8 or #IEBResists
  • Finally, the local interfaith community has taken a leading role in organizing to counter the alt-right, white supremacist and anti-Semitic gathering. Several different faith groups and congregations are planning to participate in various actions. Many of them will gather on Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, between 12:15 and 13:30 pm. See details here if you’re interested in joining with them

As the situation will likely change leading up to Sunday morning, please email info@indivisibleeb.org with “Resisting” in the subject line to stay updated on IEB’s plans.

Stay Woke and Wake Some People up!

Rep. Barbara Lee always brings together a great panel for her town halls. She took the stage at her town hall: “What Do You Have To Lose? The Impacts of Trump on African Americans” Wednesday evening with Urban League President Marc Morial, BART director Lateefah Simon, and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. Angela Glover Blackwell of PolicyLink moderated the conversation which touched on voting rights, health care, the war on drugs, housing and displacement, income gaps, education, and more.

To her CA-13 constituents Rep. Lee said, “this district is leading the resistance.” And to Republicans in Washington she said, “No way you’re going to take us back. We’re gonna fight, we’re gonna resist, and we’re gonna move forward.”

IMG_1314The group focused on resisting the Trump agenda on a state and local level–which fits in nicely with some of the expansions into that arena Indivisible EB has begun. For example, the panel agreed that in spite of the constant depressing news coming out of Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department, most criminal justice takes place at a state and county level. And we well know that a there is plenty of room for criminal justice reform in California. In fact, Tony Thurmond brought up his own bill to tax private prisons in the state and give that money to pre-K and after school programs that have been shown to reduce incarceration rates for participants. He also mentioned a bill by another local, Rob Bonta, reforming California’s bail system; if this bill passes, as well as doing a lot of good locally, it has the potential to be a success story Senator Harris can point to as she fights for her bail reform bill in the Senate.

A loud and persistent heckler who said she’d voted for Trump interrupted the conversation a couple of times, but was drowned out when Tony Thurmond led the crowd in a chant of “Barbara Lee speaks for me.”

The event also contained a strong message about unity and intersectionality–broadening the movement, finding common ground among the many people threatened by the actions of our federal government. Barbara Lee urged everyone in the audience to reach out to less politically active members of their families and communities.

And each member of the panel used Barbara Lee’s campaign slogan, “stay woke” at least once. But Marc Morial took it a step further saying, “While we must stay woke, we also have to wake some people up.”

Union City Town Hall with Rep. Eric Swalwell

IEB members were among an estimated 250 people at a very energized and broad-ranging Town Hall with Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) on August 5, 2017. Rep. Swalwell began with a rousing speech in defense of democracy and the middle class for about 20 minutes, then responded very thoroughly for nearly an hour and a half to questions on subjects ranging from the environment to immigration to healthcare to why Democrats are not standing up more strongly for the middle class, and why sometimes Corporate Democrats appear just like a watered-down version of Republicans.  

IEB at Swalwell town hall 8.17

IEB members meet other activists at Rep. Eric Swalwell’s Union City town hall

Swalwell repeatedly turned the issues to how important it was to stay participating, keep resisting, and not getting tired. He seemed to channel the best of all those who have fought to improve our nation over the decades; indeed, many in the audience prefaced their remarks by saying: “We’re so proud of who you have become, and what you are doing in this role.”

Swalwell emphasized over and over that we must get to the bottom of the issue of Russia meddling in our election system and subverting our entire democracy, through both ways we already know of such as the spread of fake news and others we may not yet be aware of. One of the audience’s loudest cheers was to Swalwell’s remark, in response to a question: “And this is not a President who has the right to lecture anyone else on morals.” One of our IEB participants asked a question about Swalwell’s support of HR 1697, a bill opposing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; he also expressed concern about what Congress could do about the possibility of Trump firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to which Swalwell responded that he feels that Congress takes this very seriously and that both parties are working to keep the checks in place, to function as the “guardrail” of democracy. We fervently hope that he is right.

 

#ResistEngageAct in CA-11

Resistance Fair

Had Mitch McConnell and his cronies succeeded in jamming skinny repeal of our healthcare through the Senate on July 28, the mood would have been more gloomy at Saturday’s Resistance Fair sponsored by Mark DeSaulnier for Congress in conjunction with Indivisible East Bay’s CA-11 United Team.

Resistance Fair

But fresh on the heels of the Resistance’s victory in holding all Democrats and Independents in line, and swaying the critical three Republicans to vote thumbs DOWN, more than 400 people were energized and eager to hear the rallying speeches of Representative DeSaulnier and Jeremy Haile, co-author of the Indivisible Guide.

Resistance Fair
CA-11 United organizers Kristen and Tom, with speaker Jeremy Haile. Photo by Melanie Bryson

Missed it? You can view DeSaulnier’s informative and motivating Powerpoint program, video of Jeremy Haile’s speech, and their Q&A with the audience. (Thanks to Erik Stallman for posting the videos on youtube). IEB member Mel live-tweeted an excellent series of photos with highlights from Haile’s memorable quotes, including: “Trump promised health care repeal would be FIRST thing, and THAT did NOT happen!!” and “You are doing something historic. If we continue working together, we will win.” And our proud Congressman tweeted a video clip of the audience doing a spirited “CALIFORNIA 11” cheer!

Resistance Fair cheer

The Resistance Fair portion of the day was like an in-person Tinder meetup for the crowd (swiping left of course) to mix n’ match, talk to, sign up for info, and find where everyone fit in to become active with the 40 advocacy, electoral and resistance groups who had tables full of flyers, petitions, political swag, and more!

Resistance Fair booths

The tablers also mingled, and coalition-building was thick in the air. Since California District 11 stretches from Richmond to Brentwood, the Fair reunited far-flung friends and enabled new cross-pollination among allies. Organizations focused on the widely diverse issues in our broad progressive movement showed up, including several Indivisible and Democratic Party groups, advocates for civil and criminal rights, racial, gender and LGBTQIA equity,  immigration, youth, and many more.

Resistance fair tables

Trying to figure out where YOU fit to #ResistEngageAct against Trump and the Republican agenda, and to persist in advancing progressive values?

By Heidi Rand

 

Checking in with State Senator Wieckowski

Last week saw the passage of AB 398, the compromise cap-and-trade bill, which prevented the much more progressive SB 775 from working its way through the legislature.The author of SB 775, State Senator Bob Wieckowski (SD-10, Fremont), spoke at an event in San Francisco hosted by the Universal Income Project on Tuesday evening. Members from IEB as well as our friends at CA StateStrong & Indivisible SF attended the event to express our support for SB 775 and our disappointment that the Senator (and most other Democrats) voted for AB 398.

Senator Wieckowski responded that AB 398 is mediocre, that he had a hard time casting his vote, and that his staff supported a no vote, but that he was “definitely feeling the heat” from Jerry Brown, who designed the current cap & trade system protected by AB 398 and considers it his “baby.” Wieckowski also talked about the role of SB 1, the gas tax bill that was passed earlier this year, implying that some legislators feel paralyzed in passing any more legislation that could be perceived as a tax this year. He said if he could do it again, he would come out louder and earlier in support of SB 775. We told him he could and should let the grassroots help him in his efforts to pass progressive environmental legislation.

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On a positive note, Senator Wieckowski talked at length about SB 775 and his continuing desire to overhaul and improve the entire system. When we asked whether there was any path forward to implement the good parts of SB 775, he said the current bill just punts the responsibility of the entire program to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – so in theory, there’s nothing prohibiting more legislation that would direct CARB to implement some of SB 775’s features (for instance, not allowing rollover carbon emission allowances). Senator Wieckowski seems quite knowledgeable about environmental matters and concerned about other environmental issues, including decarbonizing the grid and promoting the use of clean vehicles. Overall, perhaps the most optimistic takeaway is that we have found an opportunity to work with a legislator who is not used to working with the grassroots but is open to our input, our help, and our support for pushing the environmental needle left. So let’s keep showing up!

By Jiggy of CAStateStrong

United We Stand: Resistance Fair July 29th

We the People

Together we shall stand indivisible!

Join Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA District 11), Indivisible Guide co-author Jeremy Haile, and activists from more than 30 groups at a Resistance Fair on Saturday, July 29th at Diablo Valley College Commons Area, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, California.

Congressman DeSaulnier and special guest Jeremy Haile will speak from 10 to 11 am. Please RSVP for this part of the program. It’s free, but registration is required due to limited seating.

The Resistance Fair will be held from 10 am to 12 pm (free, no RSVP needed). Meet representatives from more than 30 advocacy and electoral groups who’re organizing on many different issues in our broad progressive movement. Make connections, network, ask questions and find out how you can help!

DeSaulnier Resistance Fair

Some of the groups who’ll be there:

  • ACLU
  • Indivisible East Bay
  • Indivisible East Contra Costa County
  • Indivisible 4C
  • Swing Left
  • Working America, Central Valley
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Healthy Richmond
  • ​​Organizing for Action Contra Costa
  • Empathy Tent
  • Women’s March Walnut Creek
  • CA Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA)
  • CC County Action Team
  • Contra Costa Progressives
  • Health Care for All, Contra Costa County
  • Together We Will Contra Costa (TWWCC)
  • Lamorinda Dem Club
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Rainbow Street
  • Move to Amend
  • San Ramon Valley Democratic Club
  • Diablo Valley Democrats
  • ICCCC
  • Maplight
  • End Poverty in Contra Costa County
  • SURJ Bay Area

The Resistance Fair is hosted by DeSaulnier for Congress in conjunction with Indivisible CA-11 United. Park in Lot 8 off Golf Club Rd.

Any questions? Contact indivisibleca11@gmail.com

 

IEB Attends Single Payer Healthcare Town Hall

On Saturday, July 9, IEB and Indivisible SF members attended a Single Payer Town Hall in Larkspur on the subject of Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California (HC) Act, also known as single-payer healthcare. The Town Hall was hosted by State Senators Mike McGuire (SD 2) and Ricardo Lara (SD 33), State Assemblymember Marc Levine (AD 10), and Larkspur Supervisor Judy Arnold; a panel of experts included local physicians, the President of the California Nurses Association, Deborah Burger, and the Executive Director of the California Alliance for Retired Americans, Jodi Reid.  

In his opening remarks, Senator Lara, one of the authors of the bill (the other is Senator Toni Atkins, SD 39), shared three basic tenets of universal health care: (1) health care is a human right, (2) everyone gets to pick healthcare providers of their own choice and (3) care is determined by the patients and their health care provider. Senator Lara was clear that universal health care would be good for Californians: it would cover all residents, including those currently un- or under-insured, and would save the state about $37 billion a year.

After opening remarks from the hosts and the panel, the floor was opened up to questions from the lively and knowledgeable audience of about 300-400 local residents, and some who came from as far away as the South Bay. Questions were wide-ranging and included hot topics such as the role of Medicare (Healthy California will act as supplemental insurance for Medicare recipients); how will we pay for it (about 70% of funds will come from existing federal, state and private resources); and mental health coverage (Healthy California will fully cover all necessary mental health care needs). One major concern of the audience was the fate of the bill now that Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (AD 63) has held the bill in the Assembly Rules Committee, claiming that the bill is “woefully inadequate.” Assemblymember Levine reminded the audience that the authors of the bill can add an urgency clause at any time to avoid the restrictions imposed by the legislative timetable and keep the bill from dying in committee.

The panelists continued to answer audience questions well past the planned two hour debate to accommodate all who wished to be heard.

Watch the California State Democrats’ video of the Town Hall.

Barbara Lee and Keith Ellison Discuss the Democratic Party

On Saturday, June 24, Indivisible East Bay and Indivisible Lake Merritt volunteers helped host a political forum with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and DNC Deputy Chair Congressman Keith Ellison, moderated by Van Jones. Despite some technical difficulties with the live stream, much of the day was captured on video here and here.

Topics included the importance of African American voters to the Democratic Party, election strategy, and who could win the presidency in 2020.

Report from a State Reps Town Hall

By Anne Spevack

On Saturday, June 17th, Indivisible East Bay members attended a Legislative town hall with state Senator Nancy Skinner and state Assembly members Rob Bonta and Tony Thurmond. These three legislators have been leaders in sponsoring and supporting progressive legislation in Sacramento. They spoke on Saturday about their efforts to protect immigrants, reform our criminal justice system, and expand access to education and healthcare in spite of strong opposition by the current President’s administration. Here are a few key takeaways about current California politics and legislation:

  • Although Democrats have a majority in both houses, not all democrats are made the same. The state Senate is more progressive than Assembly right now, so although we may have seen progressive bills like Single Payer healthcare pass the senate, they will have a harder time getting enough votes in the Assembly.
  • Governor Brown is also not necessarily a supporter of the most progressive legislation. He is cautious, and keeps his opinions quiet until bills have made some significant progress in the legislature.
  • The Sanctuary State bill is moving forward, and our representatives are optimistic, but the hard selling point will be public safety.  There is evidence that that sanctuary policies can actually increase public safety due to decreased fear of police and other reasons, but we need to be getting the word out about that. The Governor has expressed concern about the effect of sanctuary policies on public safety.
  • The legislature just passed a budget. They repeatedly brought up good things that got more money, but still not enough, in this budget. Everything’s a compromise, even in blue California. For example, in the new budget, California has the highest education investment per pupil in a decade, though our representatives were quick to point out they still think it isn’t enough
  • California is a leader nationally on both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ policies–we spearheaded mass incarceration policies like three strikes and minimum sentencing. We are also spearheading the dismantling of these policies, but it’s important to recognize our mistakes and role in the current culture of criminal justice.
  • Bail reform has gotten some airtime in the legislature this year, but it has not yet been successful. We need more people in the assembly floor speaking out in support of bail reform.
  • Single payer passed the Senate, but faces big hurdles in the Assembly. The recent financial analysis doesn’t account for all costs, and no dedicated funding source has been identified yet. There are a lot of people who are holding out their votes until this happens, and it does need to happen. Our representatives were hopeful but not very optimistic about its chances this year. Representatives from SEIU spoke up saying that they thought there were a few key votes that could be influenced if we could get more of their constituents to call.

Town Hall With Our State Reps

Spend time with State Reps Bonta, Skinner and Thurmond and spread the Indivisible East Bay message!

“I Defend California’s Values” Town Hall Resource Fair 

RSVP for the event here.

Saturday, June 17, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Cesar Chavez Education Center

2825 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

RSVP if you can help, to Outreach co-lead Nick Travaglini: ieb.outreach@gmail.com

Description of the task(s) needed:
Set up and help table at the town hall’s Resource Fair, promoting Indivisible East Bay (and Indivisible generally) and recruiting them to join and register for our newsletter.