Help win the next Blue Wave

By Heidi Rand

Deadline: Now & ongoing – We are the resistance, and hell yeah we can chew gum and walk at the same time! In fact, even as we work to impeach the Traitor-in-Chief and his evil minions (chewing them up & spitting them out), we’re also walking and knocking doors in our communities to register voters, Get Out the Vote (GOTV), and more!

But time is flying; the California Presidential Primary is March 3, 2020, and the Presidential election is November 3, 2020, not even 400 days from this writing. There are also countless elections nationwide that many groups are laser targeting. Indivisible East Bay members worked tirelessly to make the 2018 Blue Wave happen, and we’re busy planning for 2019 and 2020 canvassing trips, text and phone banks, postcard parties, and more! For now, please join us at these events:

  • Oct. 21, 6:45-8:45 PM: Popcorn & Postcarding in Oakland’s Glenview District. Join us in writing postcards for Reclaim Our Vote, the co-sponsored project of the NAACP, Black Voters Matter and others to do outreach to voters of color. RSVP for address.
  • Oct. 27, 1-3 PM: Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting, at Sports Basement, Berkeley. We’ve got a spooktacular AMM coming up! Bring all your ghoul-friends to hear updates and take action! Info & RSVP.
  • Nov. 5, 6:30-9:30 PM: Join Indivisible Berkeley, IEB, East Bay Activist Alliance & Swing Left East Bay at our Election Night Watch Party for Virginia elections. At Spats, Berkeley. No RSVP needed

And find many many more, organized by great local groups we work with (in random order). Find updated lists in the “Phone! Canvass! More!” section in our weekly newsletter.

1. East Bay Activist Alliance:

[I]s a coalition of elections activists located in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay region. We work to help elect Democrats all over the US, especially at the state level, particularly in areas that can flip red to blue.

The East Bay Activist Alliance is an affiliate of the Sister District Project.

2. Swing Left East Bay:

[I]s fighting to end the destructive policies of the Republican Party and Donald Trump by taking back the political levers of power.

We organize activities in the San Francisco East Bay with the goal of flipping Senate seats in Arizona and Colorado, holding congressional seats in California’s 10th and 21st districts that were won in 2018, and working on other elections as needed to have the greatest strategic impact.

3. Indivisible Berkeley:

[B]rings the Trump Resistance to 4000+ of our closest neighbors in Berkeley and surrounding communities.

Our mission is to resist the Trump agenda by engaging our elected officials at all levels of government and promote progressive and democratic values. Read our entire mission statement here.

4. Flip the West:

During the 2018 election, Flip the West, then known as Flip the 14, made more than 1.5 million voters with allied organizations and helped flip seven House seats in California. We’re now taking the fight to the U.S. Senate and White House.

Flip the West is working to strengthen the Resistance in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and Texas, while continuing our work in California. We organize meaningful volunteer opportunities to reach voters, recruit volunteers, and provide a number of services to Resistance organizations.

5. Democracy Action:

[Is] an independent group of volunteers dedicated to combating the dangerous Republican agenda and advancing Democrats nationally through local action.

6. Indivisible SF:

[B]elieves in an America that embodies equality, justice, and opportunity for all — a society in which the regressive and dangerous agenda led by Trump has no place.

We work to protect each other and the integrity of our democratic institutions from this agenda, support progressive policies, and hold our elected officials accountable to their constituents.

7. West County Organizing: phone and text banks for state and special elections in El Sobrante. Tuesdays, 1-3 PM, and  every Saturday in October through GOTV, from 11 AM- 1 PM. For info and list of all dates, contact Nancy Klein at 510-917-4045, or by email to nancyklein@westcountyorganizing.com

Whatever your skills or experience, no matter how much or how little time you have to give, everyone can do something, please help in any way you can! If you want to host your own event, or can help us organize ours, email info@indivisibleeb.org

 

Wave, photograph by Hippopx

Heidi Rand fights the evil empire with skills honed as a Ninth Circuit staff attorney and civil rights lawyer, using words to resist, and to inform and inspire others to take action. She also wields a mean camera and knitting needles, though not at the same time.

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!

GOTV workshop offers basic training for recruits

Deadline: today and every day until November 6 –

Our simple goal: encourage and train more people to get involved in phone banking and canvassing — especially critical as we shift to the final GOTV (Get Out The Vote) phase for the less-than-a-month-away midterm elections.

The problem? Many people are reluctant to volunteer for fear they don’t have the needed skills or knowledge.

The solution: offer a GOTV workshop to provide skills, practice, and motivation. So that’s exactly what Indivisible East Bay did — with generous assistance (and a free lunch and amazing snacks!) from Indivisible National — on October 14 at the El Cerrito Community Center. Without much time to plan and promote we were a tad nervous, but the well-oiled IEB machine went into high gear, the stars aligned and, other than the usual tech hiccups, by the time the event began all was well and the more than 50 attendees were ready for action!

Roll call

As we took our seats after lunch, Indivisible’s California State Director Zacharie Boisvert (the day’s moderator) got the ball rolling with an ice-breaker. At each table we all took a few minutes to say why the upcoming election was important to us. One person from every table later repeated their answer to the group, which effectively summarized how high the stakes are for the midterms, and got us all motivated to take to the streets … and phones.

Zacharie & Bobby (Indivisible National) and Nancy (IEB). Photo by Ted Landau
Zacharie & Bobby (Indivisible National) and Nancy (IEB). Photo by Ted Landau

Next up, Indivisible’s National Organizing Director Susannah Hook-Rodgers asked: “Let’s assume we win at least one house of Congress in November; what do we do next? What should be our highest priorities?” We had no trouble shouting out a long list of answers. At the top was protecting voting rights since everything else we hope to accomplish is in danger unless we ensure that all eligible citizens can exercise their right to vote. Other priorities: climate change, racial and economic inequality, preventing GOP efforts to dismantle government agencies, and campaign reform to limit dark money. We also agreed that we need to make Indivisible more inclusive — and National has to take the lead here by continuing to build ties with major groups around common interests.

All hands to battle stations

Which got us revved up for the main event: GOTV actions.

It’s called GOTV because during these final weeks before the election we pivot from trying to persuade undecided voters to making sure that likely supporters get out and vote! As for how best to accomplish this, the presentation showed that one-on-one interactions, canvassing and phone-banking, are much more effective than other voter contacts.

Zacharie and Indivisible National co-presenter Bobby Michaels went over a typical phone-banking script and explained how the precise language helps elicit a positive response. In fielding our questions about potential problems, the duo addressed many of our common concerns. For example, in response to the question “What if a respondent wants to know about a candidate’s positions and I’m not sure what they are,” Zacharie emphasized that we didn’t have to know everything and could refer people to a candidate’s website. He also reminded us that GOTV is focused on getting people to vote rather than discussing the issues. IEB’s outreach team co-lead Toni, who has been organizing phone banks into Nevada, noted that she always checks online for specifics about a candidate or district before making calls.

Finally, time for hands-on action! As a dry run we role-played phone calls in pairs — and then the real thing: an hour of live phone-banking to voters in CA-10. As usual with phone banks we ran into a lot of no-answers and disconnected phone numbers, the latter helps clean up the list. Most of us had a few great conversations with voters, and that’s what keeps us going!

gotv training 001 20181014_154956b 640

Next, Kook Huber of Team Blue Wave Contra Costa made a convincing plea for volunteers to canvass in the “very flippable” CA-21. Her inspiring presentation segued into our final request for everyone to sign up for canvassing and phone-banking opportunities in the (now only three) weeks ahead. Attendees left charged up and inspired about the critical importance of canvassing and phone banking, and about their own ability to join in — we were all ready to GOTV!

What to do if you missed the workshop

Couldn’t join us for the training? Don’t fret – you still can (and must!) join the GOTV effort. We list dozens of upcoming opportunities to canvass and phone bank on our calendar, and they all include mini-training sessions with experienced members who are ready to help you.

Canvassing with Very Cool People in Sanger

By Ted Lam, Fiona Woods, and Carl Mason

Six hours of driving and six hours of canvassing? Yes! And it was even more fun than we expected. We left Oakland before 5 AM on Saturday October 6, heading south toward Sanger, CA. Bagels, coffee, and great conversation made for a delightful three hour drive.  A millennial, a Gen Xer, and a baby boomer cruising toward the sunrise; intensely agreeing on politics while sharing music, pop culture, and social science insights.

Almost before we knew it we’d arrived in Sanger. While SwingLeft’s cheerful and super efficient organizers Stacey, Sharon and Norberto were giving us a quick update and walk through of the Political Data Inc. (PDI) app, who should show up but TJ Cox, the candidate we were there to canvass for! He spoke with us briefly and told us why he’s running for Congress: to help this neglected district get the attention and resources it deserves. CA-21 has a high poverty rate with many residents on Medicaid. TJ was especially proud that a foundation he started has built health clinics all over the valley, including the United Health Clinic in Sanger.  When we were out canvassing, many of the people we talked to were surprised and moved to find out that TJ was the force behind the Clinic’s creation.

IEB canvassing in Sanger for TJ Cox
Carl, Fiona and Ted canvassing in Sanger for TJ Cox (that’s TJ between Ted and Fiona)

You’d be shocked (not really!) to learn that David Valadao, the incumbent Republican Member of Congress against whom TJ is running, has voted with 45 over 98% of the time. Valadao has consistently voted against his district’s interests, including voting against the ACA, voting for cuts to Medicare, and failing to follow through with the discharge petition to protect DREAMers.

The three of us canvassed together from 9 AM to 3 in the afternoon, talking mainly to Democrats and to those who “declined to state” a preference on their voter registration. That’s because at this point in the election cycle, it’s much more about getting out the vote than persuading people to change their preference. While it was jarring to meet so many people who professed to have no knowledge of the election, it also felt productive. Nearly everyone was friendly and talking about TJ was easy. Perhaps we’re being overly optimistic, but we feel confident that we made a difference — that at least some of the people we spoke with will turn up at the polls because of us.

Lunch break! Ted, Carl and Fiona canvassing for TJ Cox in Sanger
Lunch break! Ted, Carl and Fiona canvassing for TJ Cox in Sanger

After lunch, the canvassing went a bit slower — not only because we were hauling around bellies full of excellent Mexican food, but because fewer people were home (or willing to answer the door). We left campaign literature with personalized post-it notes at every house. By day’s end, SwingLeft canvassers had knocked on 710 doors and had 174 targeted conversations — plus many more contacts with potential voters. Our trio even got three people to put up TJ Cox yard signs in very noticeable locations!

IEB canvasses for TJ Cox in Sanger, photo by Ted Lam
So inspiring when we spotted lawn signs for TJ Cox! Photo by Ted Lam

As the temperature approached 80 degrees (still unusually cool in the Valley), we wrapped it up, debriefed with the SwingLeft team, and headed for home. The drive back was even better than the drive out: after several weeks of the excruciating-to-watch Kavanaugh hearings, the satisfaction of having done something positive was cathartic.

You can make a difference too!

Can’t get out to canvass yourself? Donate to support one of the great groups listed above. You can even sponsor a canvasser in CA-21 by donating to Valley Forward, which helps employ people living in the district.

Read Ted’s recent article about why he spends his time canvassing, and his article about canvassing for TJ Cox in Mendota before the primary.

Call to Action at IEB All Members Meeting

Get out of your chair and do something! Now!

That’s the essential message of the July 29, 2018 Indivisible East Bay All Members Meeting.

Midterm elections are now less than 100 days away! And these aren’t just any old midterms. They will determine whether Trump’s abuses of power can continue to go unchecked — without any restraint from a spineless GOP-controlled Congress — or whether Democrats can take back at least one house and begin to apply some checks and balance to stop the crazy.

Not sure what you can do? No problem. Representatives from several groups stood before the IEB attendees to pitch for support and activism from our members.

Adena Ishii, President of League of Woman Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, started the ball rolling by reminding us that there is still much get-out-the-vote work to be done right here in our own backyard — where voter turnout among registered voters remains less than 40% for midterm elections! And that’s just registered voters; many potential voters still need to be registered.

Amy Golden from Swing Left East Bay asked volunteers to help with phone-banking and canvassing in critical California swing districts CD-10 and CD-21. See their events calendar and sign up!

Vivian Leal and Laynette Evans, visiting from Indivisible Northern Nevada, appealed for our help in the US Senate race targeting Senator Dean Heller, one of the most vulnerable Republican Senators. Opportunities include phone-banking in August and canvassing starting in September. There’s a Virtual Phone Bank on Sunday, Aug. 5; to volunteer for other opportunities sign up here

IEB’s powerhouse Linh Nguyen, who among her other hats co-leads the Judiciary and Senator Feinstein and Harris teams, spoke about issues that members are concerned about and working on:

  • Border separation: About 700 refugee children have not been reunited with their parents, and the administration does not have plans to reunify many of those. Of those children the administration says are “ineligible” for reunification, 431 have parents who are no longer in the U.S.  The administration did not get information regarding where the parents who were deported currently are, so there is no way to reunite the families.
  • SCOTUS: GOP Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Chuck Grassley has requested documents from only half of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s tenure in the White House.
  • Healthcare repeal 2.0: The House portion of Budget Resolution would make possible ACA repeal with ONLY 51 votes (again)! We are keeping an eye on this to see whether the Senate passes the same.

In a follow-up to the July 15 Indivisible webinar Fair and Secure Elections: What’s at Stake and How to Take Action, Melanie and Ion, co-leads of the IEB Voter Rights and Election Integrity team, explained the importance of taking action to secure our elections even as we participate in get out the vote efforts, canvassing, and other electoral work. Melanie and Ion, part of the Indivisible Safeguard Our Elections Working Group that  presented the webinar, explained that our election infrastructure is in terrible shape, struggling with vulnerable and hackable voting machines that too often provide no way to monitor their accuracy. The Voter Rights and Election Integrity team is seeking volunteers to help work on these issues. You can watch the recorded webinar at this link and if you have questions or would like to help, send the team an email.

IEB July 26 All Members Meeting

After the inspiring speakers the crowd was eager to hear about our upcoming events, which include:

  • August 12, 10 AM-noon: Indivisible We Write! IEB August postcard party, Sports Basement, Berkeley. Info & RSVP (free).
  • August 25, 2-4 PM: IEB Ale & Mail! No-host mingle & postcarding at Hop Yard Alehouse in Pleasanton. Info & RSVP.
  • August 26, 1-3 PM: IEB August All Members Meeting, Community room at Sports Basement, Berkeley. Info & RSVP. All welcome!

Finally, we broke into smaller groups. IEB Governance Committee member and Volunteer Coordinator Andrea led a packed breakout to introduce new members to the many ways they can work with Indivisible East Bay. IEB is always looking for volunteers who want to help organize events, research actions, and contribute to the newsletter. Email Andrea for more details. (And don’t forget the weekly action items in the newsletter!)

At another breakout several members sat down to take immediate direct action, writing 50 postcards in just a few minutes! We penned fifteen to our Members of Congress, asking them to support the PAVE Act to protect election security, and to oppose the asinine military parade. And twenty-four postcards are on their way to Democratic voters in New York, in support of Alessandra Biaggi, running for state senate. Want to learn more about postcard-ivism? Email Heidi.

Next month’s All Members Meeting will be at the Sports Basement in Berkeley on August 26, 1-3 PM. See you there!

Photographs by Andrea Lum and Heidi Rand