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