November AMM: potluck, postcards, more!

Event date: All Members Meeting Nov. 24

Don’t miss Indivisible East Bay’s November All Members Meeting! The party’s happening in the Community Room, on the first floor at Sports Basement, Berkeley, on Sunday, November 24, from 1 to 3 PM. And we do mean party — as is our tradition, we’ll have a potluck, so please bring food or drink to share if you can (though we’ll ask you to leave alcohol at home, as Sports Basement, our host, doesn’t allow it). If you plan to attend, please RSVP here. And bring friends — this is a fun, low-key way to introduce them to IEB! 

We’ll celebrate the good news out of the Virginia and Kentucky elections, recap our Virginia electoral work and strategy, and start to look ahead to our plans for the 2020 election. We’d love to hear your thoughts as we shape our plans and priorities on these topics. 

AMM 2020 electoral work survey, photo by Heidi Rand
AMM 2020 electoral work survey

And it wouldn’t be an AMM without direct action! We’ll write postcards for Reclaim Our Vote, a non-partisan organization working to register voters of color in states where voter suppression is high. Our cards will go to voters in Texas to remind them that their voter registrations may have lapsed. We’ll also write VoteForward letters to likely Democratic voters, including registration forms and short personal statements about why WE vote. And we’ll continue our work to create and record a model impeachment hearing  – more info on this here. This time, we’ll be holding a participatory side activity to act out and record parts of the hearing. If you’re interested in participating, bring a suit jacket, if you have one!

So: food, good fellowship, and action — what more could you want? Oh yeah, we’ll still have some IEB rainbow design t-shirts for purchase!

New IEB rainbow tshirts
IEB rainbow t-shirts

IEB’s All Members Meetings are on the fourth Sunday of every month unless a holiday interferes. Note we’re NOT having an AMM in December, but mark your calendar for the first one of ’20 — that’s January 26, 2020. In the meantime, please join us online where we do our planning and organizing — email info@indivisibleeb.org for an invite. 

Photographs by Heidi Rand

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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!

We Love Virginia Voters

Deadline: Tuesday, June 11 –

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

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

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

What you can do:

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

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

 

 

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

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

 

Activating East Bay Activists!

Indivisible East Bay governance committee members Liz and Ted joined Indivisible Berkeley and a dozen other local organizations at the East Bay Activist Alliance Reactivate Our Network event on May 19.

Among other presentations, a webinar described the work of Reclaim our Vote, a nonpartisan voter registration and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign that reaches out mainly to voters of color on “unregistered” and “inactive” lists in key voter-suppression states. ROV is directed by the Center for Common Ground, with help from the NAACP, Black Voters Matter and other organizations. Many Bay Area groups support these efforts and IEB is looking to get involved as well.

Liz and Ted made valuable contacts, including for one of IEB’s current projects, helping GOTV in the 2019 statewide elections in Virginia. The East Bay Activist Alliance is working with partners in Virginia Beach, an area of the state where Democrats could pick up two seats and the Alliance has strong relationships from the 2017 elections.

Some basics about 2019 VA elections:

  • A hundred percent of both upper and lower house seats are up for re-election.
  • We need to flip four seats to turn the state legislature from red to blue.
  • A blue legislature could fix gerrymandering in 2020 (after the Census) until 2030!
  • We’ll help build momentum in 2019 … because VA is critical in 2020, too!

IEB will be developing events this summer to support both ROV and through November 2019 to help flip the four VA seats. If you want to be a part of the action, contact us at info@indivisibleeb.org or via Slack at @Liz and @Ted Lam. Email andrea@indivisibleeb.org or via Slack at @andrea to get involved in ROV.

Georgia (and AL, KY, OH, TX …) On My Mind – and Out of My Uterus

It’s all over everywhere on social media: Women, leave Georgia. Leave Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Kentucky. And: No rights, no sex! We at Indivisible East Bay respectfully wish to say: that’s not a plan.

Running away, starting over, is only a fantasy for most women. Most women don’t have the privilege, or the money, or the support, to be able to pick up and leave their home state if it enacts legislation that deprives them of their reproductive rights. And if those with the means to leave do leave, then those left behind are the most vulnerable (and those who thought the restrictions were hunky dory to start with). As for “no rights, no sex”: it’s classic – literally – but we were under the impression that abstinence-only was a tool of the religious right, not the progressive left. Why should hetero women become celibate because they can’t get reproductive freedom? And please, let’s not forget our queer sisters – they need reproductive rights too, and you know that they’re in the crosshairs of the same folks behind the abortion bans.

And then there are calls to boycott. Boycotts are a powerful economic tool, but they’re also a double-edged sword. Don’t forget, industries in these states hire … women in these states. And people of color, and LGBTQI people … none of whom benefit from boycotts in the short term. These are the same people who are losing their rights – and possibly their health, or even risking their lives – because of these insane anti-choice bills. They don’t need to lose their financial well-being, too. Analogies to the grape boycotts of the 1960’s and 70’s aren’t accurate: the farmworkers’ union called for those boycotts. If women workers of Alabama, Georgia, etc., aren’t calling for boycotts now, please think twice before you do.

So, what’s best to do? Empowerment is more realistic and compassionate than telling people to move, less potentially harmful than boycotting, and a damn sight better than enforced chastity. And all told, helping our sisters is way better than telling them how to run their lives (which, after all, is what we’re fighting against, right?). In sum: Below are ways to respond to the abortion bans by supporting pro-women organizations that will fight for women’s rights and fight to get the controlling bastards out of power:

  • Take action to help disenfranchised and inactive voters in GA by signing up with Reclaim our Vote (ROV), a national group working with Black Voters Matter and NAACP. ROV focuses on empowering under-represented voters, particularly in communities of color. Email Andrea at andrea@indivisibleeb.org and sign up if you want to get involved with IEB efforts and/or sign up for one of ROV’s weekly Thursday Zoom orientations here.
  • Support Fair Fight in Georgia: through this ActBlue fundraiser, all donations during the month of May will be split evenly among “organizations that have been fighting and will continue to fight for reproductive rights.”
  • Here’s an amazing thread with lots of great organizations that provide abortion and health care for women in Georgia and throughout the southeast, women of color- and queer/trans/people of color-led organizations working to advance reproductive justice, organizations fighting for fair and honest elections, and more!
  • This site (which is regularly updated) can connect you with local, grassroots organizations in Ohio, Alabama, and throughout the Southeast that serve women; organizations fighting for Asian-Pacific Islander women, including transgender and non-binary folk; and ways to become a clinic escort at women’s health care clinics.

Do you know of more ways to help women in embattled states? Ways to support progressive candidates or get involved in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts? Support shelters? Help women’s groups that will take back the power? We want to hear from you! Email us at info@indivisibleeb.org!

Graphics: Soulless elephant by Mr Spark and uterus by Uterus Magna