As I write this, police in Berkeley have deployed tear gas against counter-protesters who jumped the barricades in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, and many are fleeing the scene, while some exchange blows. Others are being arrested.
My emotions are mixed. I can understand why the people of Berkeley felt they had to defend their city against Nazis and the KKK, and I am angry that the police are responding with force. I am saddened that the clash of ideas so often leads to violence, even as I recognize the emotional and physical violence enacted by white supremacy, and wonder every day, every hour, how to stop it. I am annoyed that Patriot Prayer will no doubt spin this weekend’s events as an impingement of their First Amendment rights. And I am relieved to have had a peaceful, celebratory day in San Francisco yesterday myself.
Federal and local authorities bent over backwards to provide a peaceful environment for yesterday’s “free speech rally”, and Gibson responded by trying to move his event to Alamo Square Park. When that didn’t work, he retreated out of the city, ultimately holding a “press conference” in an obscure wooded area in Pacifica. San Franciscans rejoiced at driving hate from our city without exchange of blows. I squirmed a little internally as I always do when I find myself on the same side as the police.
Yesterday in San Francisco, it was almost possible to forget the events of Friday afternoon: Trump pardoning loathsome racist Joe Arpaio and banning transgender people from the military, and the southern US prepared for a massive hurricane just weeks after Trump rolled back flood protections. While rainbow flags flew among a predominantly-white crowd at SF City Hall, the nation took giant steps backward, enshrining institutional racism, homophobia, inequity, and insecurity. At least Sebastian Gorka is gone?
We’re sending a delegation to Senator Harris’ town hall this week, to demand that she continue to protect Americans from the worst depradations of this administration, and to ensure the Russia investigation continues unimpeded. If you’re registered to attend, you’ll be receiving talking points shortly.
Meanwhile, mark your calendar for our next general meeting, Sunday, September 17th at 2pm with special guest speaker Rafael Mandelman, President of San Francisco City College’s Board.
This week’s Stand Up SF actions
- Protect immigrant kids: Trump is threatening to rescind DACA. Call all three MoCs and thank them for co-sponsoring the DREAM Act to protect kids who have grown up in the US from being deported. Tell them how important this issue is to you and make sure they stand strong. (script and call tool)
- Stop fracking: The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on the withdrawal of fracking rules. Send a personal message to Secretary Zinke demanding that all protections against fracking are maintained.
- End lengthy and unfair drug sentences: Call California legislators and ask them support SB 180, the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement Act (RISE) Act. The RISE Act would repeal the three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions. (background and script)
Actions with other groups
- Help victims of Hurricaine Harvey. Here’s a list of local organizations who provide direct services in humanitarian crises.
- Tue 8/29: MoveOn is organizing a special Medicare for All Speak Out at Senator Feinstein’s office. Learn more and sign up.
- Protect voting rights! Let America Vote is organizing a campaign to protect the right to vote in every community. Sign up to help.