This is America

On November 9 of last year, many Americans woke up to an America they did not recognize, did not know. Yesterday’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia are a grim reminder of the America that people of color in this country have always known, an America that has persisted despite hard-won civil rights gains, an America that is founded on white supremacy. The electoral college that propelled Trump to victory was created to bolster the federal power of agrarian, slaveholding states, and now we all have to live with the implications of that legacy. If we are horrified by the violence we saw yesterday, we must face it. If we want to create a country that is better than this, we must not turn away from the country we have. This is a moment to hold ourselves accountable. For those of us who are considered white, this is our mess to clean up. We can do better. We must do better.

Some of you have been fighting for racial justice a lot longer than I have, and to you, this is not news. Others might benefit from learning more about how systemic racism is built into the structure of our society, by design, and what we might to do dismantle structural racism and rebuild America. You should know that as a leader of our group, and as a person who benefits from white privilege, these lessons inform every action I take and every action I ask you to take. And although what we do in this group matters, the struggle for justice can’t be won through political and legislative action alone. As we were reminded yesterday, this is a culture war, and it will be fought in the streets and in living rooms as well as in congress and in the voting booth.

If you’re wrestling with strong feelings today, and you want to stand with vulnerable communities in Charlottesville and here in San Francisco, you can join a candlelight vigil tonight at 24th and Mission or City Hall.

At our next meeting, you’ll hear comments from Indivisible Charleston about how they are dealing with the repercussions of Charlottesville in their region. You’ll also get reports from our recent actions, including an informal conversation with Congresswoman Pelosi’s staff.

Meanwhile, it may be recess, but there’s plenty to do.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Black women make 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Call Senator Harris and thank her for crafting the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would end the pay gap for Black women. You can say “I’d like to thank Senator Harris for her work to create the Paycheck Fairness Act. As a constituent, I want her to know that I appreciate her standing up for Black women’s rights and for economic and racial justice.”
  • It’s already mid-August, and none of our MoCs have held a town hall yet. Call both senators and ask for a town hall in San Francisco. You can say “Hi. My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m with Stand Up San Francisco. We’re more than a week into the senator’s state work period and I’m concerned that I haven’t heard anything yet about her plan for a town hall. Please schedule a weekend town hall soon. I want to make plans to attend.”
  • Deadline 8/15: Say no to Exec Order 13795, “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which would potentially open up 4 national marine sanctuaries in California to oil and gas exploration. Make a comment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and tell them to protect our coastal ecosystems, local wildlife, and California’s economy (instructions and points to include).

Actions with other groups