Turning our outrage into coordinated political muscle

It was wonderful to see so many Stand Up SF members at Senator Harris’ Town Hall yesterday in Oakland. We took up an entire row! The event had the excitement of a two-way pep rally with both sides cheering the other on. We kept whipping out our ‘Agree!’ and ‘Thank You!’ signs, while our other signs lay unused in our laps. Senator Harris continued to stress that we have the power, and that we need to continue to take that power. She said this moment  is a time of inflection, it is challenging us to fight, to stand up. She also said:

“Let’s not throw up our hands when it’s time to roll up our sleeves.”


She talked about DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, being a battle the Senate will take up as soon as it is back in session. There are 220,000 Dreamers in CA, brought here when they were children, who know no other home. She urged us not to lose any steam on marching and shouting until everyone recognizes this truth:

Unless you are a native American, you are an immigrant.
We are all immigrants.

She urged us to keep fighting for all who suffer discrimination including immigrants and our transgender brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. She implored us to keep standing up for criminal justice reform, to rally against private prisons whose profits increase when the prison population increases, and to speak out against mandatory minimum sentences and bringing back the failed programs that treat drug use as a criminal problem vs. a public health problem.

She brought up climate change, and mentioned that the Environment and Public Works committee that she is part of actually asked its members whether science should be the basis of public policy. This simply confirmed for us that things are as bad as we already knew.

One audience member asked what can be done legislatively to create equity across public schools. She pointed out that schools are funded 90% by local property taxes, so the quality of the school is determined by the wealth of the neighborhood in which it sits. Senator Harris said she is very concerned about the direction DeVos is taking public education, and she is studying the inroads where she can take action. She said she believes there is a direct correlation between public education and public safety, that you have to pay on one side or the other. She also said that she expects the states will come up with some creative resources.

Another audience member pointed out that LGBTQ people have no Federal civil rights protection. Sen. Harris talked about S. 1006, the Equality Act, that she and Sen. Feinstein and 43 others have co-signed, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. But sadly, like many other Dem-sponsored bills, this bill has little chance of passage while Republicans remain in control of Congress.

Senator Harris also announced that she intends to co-sponsor the “Medicare for All” bill that Bernie Sanders is expected to release on Sept. 13.

She ended the event by asking us to re-dedicate ourselves to the fight ahead.

We need to continue to rise up together and block the worst from happening, like we did with the ACA repeal, while at the same time laying the groundwork in each flippable district so we can take back the House in 2018.

Mark your calendars for our September meeting!
Sunday, Sept 17th, 2-4pm
Noe Valley Library

For some inspiration, I leave you with this Rolling Stone article: How a New Generation of Progressive Activists Is Leading the Trump Resistance. The author describes how the election of Donald Trump “awoke a sleeping giant of progressive activism” and how groups like ours “have transformed their diffuse outrage into coordinated political muscle.“

Let’s continue to turn our outrage into coordinated political muscle.

Stand Up SF actions:

  • H.R.3003, No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would make it easier for the federal government to detain immigrants by forcing cities and localities to comply with ICE and federal immigration enforcement or risk losing federal funding. H.R.3004, Kate’s Law, would result in higher levels of incarceration for immigrants by dramatically increasing criminal sentencing for reentry cases. Call both Senators and tell them they must vote against these bills. “Hi, my name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling the senator to tell her our community is against the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” and “Kate’s Law” bills. These bills will terrorize our immigrant friends and families. This is not who we are.”
  • Demand that Congress convene an emergency session immediately to take action for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Call all three MoCs and say: “As a constituent, I urge you to reconvene Congress in emergency session immediately to take action for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Many thousands of people now need emergency assistance such as housing. FEMA has proposed that individual Americans privately fund Hurricane Harvey relief efforts themselves. This is unacceptable. Reconvene now to provide all needed relief, to prepare for future disasters, and to properly address climate change as the crisis that it is.”
  • Deadline 9/1: California is working toward the goal of 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025. As part of that, Senators will be debating four crucial bills (AB-193, AB-615, AB-964, and AB-1082) next week that would get more electric cars on the road while making sure they’re accessible to people of all incomes. Call Senator Wiener and tell him to vote YES on electric cars for everyone. (script)

Our eyes have been opened

Many of us have spent the week learning the subtleties of the white supremacy present here in our country. I myself learned that the bulk of  confederate statues were erected not right after the civil war to “preserve history,” but at times when Southern whites were engaged in vicious campaigns of dominance against blacks. The statues symbolize this white terror against blacks. I learned that at least some KKK leaders believe their organization is a “Christian group.” As the President of UT Austin said as he took down four confederate statues this week: Our eyes have been opened.

On a happy note, we hand-delivered the cards many of us got to sign thanking our Members of Congress for their tireless work to save our healthcare. Our MoCs were touched to get such a personal outpouring of appreciation. Congresswoman Pelosi spent several minutes with us, and had her staff take this photo.

Now let me turn to this weekend’s events. As you know, a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer is holding a “Freedom Rally” at Crissy Field on Saturday. The permit has been granted. Here are some things you should know:

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center says this group holds rallies to provoke violence.
  • The Anti-Defamation League says far-right groups target liberal cities for their events because they expect, and want, a confrontational response. Footage of their members being physically assaulted makes for great propaganda videos, and great recruitment. And, when their events gain strong media coverage, they tend to return.
  • The group has hired the Oath Keepers to “protect” them. Believe me, these are not folks you want to have over for dinner.
  • Sports Basement has announced it will close that day to protect employees and customers. Some other businesses in the Presidio will also be closed.
  • The permit conditions for the Patriot Prayer event prohibit weapons of any kind.
  • The Crissy Field location is under the jurisdiction of federal law. All event attendees are subject to federal law.
  • Advice excerpted from Southern Poverty Law Center’s Ten Ways to Fight Hate:

Do not attend a hate rally. As much as you might like to physically show your opposition to hate, confrontations serve only the perpetrators. Many communities facing a hate group rally have held alternative events at the same hour, some distance away, emphasizing strength in community and diversity.

We’ve been rounding up all the  peaceful rallies that are away from Crissy Field on our blog. There are many to choose from. (I will be at the Ocean Beach event, making a huge human heart banner that will be photographed from a helicopter overhead!)

If you decide to go to one of the events at Crissy Field, it might be good to review this Amnesty International 1-pager, Safety During Protests, as well as the National Park Service page of rules for the event.

Stand Up SF actions:

  • Seb Gorka, one of Trump’s top aides, is believed to be a member of a Hungarian Nazi organization. For five  months, three Senators have been asking whether Gorka is under investigation for falsifying his U.S. naturalization application by failing to disclose his membership in a neo-Nazi organization. Call all 3 Members of Congress and tell them enough is enough, we need answers on Gorka or we need him to leave.
  • Trump has nominated Sam Clovis to serve as the chief scientist for the US Department of Agriculture. But Clovis is a climate denier, not a scientist, and he has a well-documented history of racism and bigotry. The vote is likely to take place when the Senate gets back in session. Call Senators Feinstein and Harris and tell them: Vote NO on a climate-denier for a key science position.
  • Deadline Aug 30: The FCC has extended its deadline for public comments on net neutrality. Net neutrality is what stops internet service providers from controlling what we see and how fast we see it. It is critical for resistance efforts like ours. We’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment! Just go to this page. Even if you’ve submitted a comment in the past, you can submit another one. Please do! We need all voices.

Actions with other groups:

Peaceful events in SF this weekend: We can strong stand against racism AND stay safe

Peaceful events in support of diversity and equality are sprouting up in San Francisco in response to white supremacists coming to our city and holding a rally at Crissy Field. We are posting them here as we learn of them. You can take a stand against racism without having to face down white supremacists and put yourself in harm’s way. Let’s all make a strong stand and stay safe.

FRI – Noon-1:30, Polk St Steps, City Hall

San Francisco United Against Hate Rally. Community leaders, faith-based representatives, and local labor members will gather on the steps of City Hall to celebrate our values of compassion, love and inclusiveness. All who want to speak out against hateful, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic rhetoric and violent demonstrations are invited to attend this peaceful rally to stand up against hate in our City. Planned by Mayor Lee’s office.

FRI – 5:30-9, Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St

Interfaith Gathering Against Hate for the entire San Francisco Jewish and interfaith community, in response to the hate groups gathering on Sat at Crissy Field. This is not a reaction, not a confrontation, but a response of love, community, and diversity. Hosted in collaboration with the JCRC of SF, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, the Jewish Community Center of SF & the SF-based Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund

FRI – 6:30-8:30pm, Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny St

Antiracism vigil hosted by No More Exclusion. Program and candlelight vigil in solidarity with those who protested against white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va.

FRI – 7pm, Crissy Field East Beach

Anti-Hate Digital Light Vigil, hosted by Gays Without Borders, an organization committed to protecting the human rights of LGBTQI folks everywhere.  Real candles not allowed. Please bring battery operated candles, flashlights, cell phone flashlights, cell phone apps that look like candles, glow sticks, anything that lights up but isn’t fire. A grassroots community gathering designed to preemptively use this public land the night before the hate rally at the same location, show solidarity with all who oppose the Trump agenda.


SAT – 11-3, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

The Cutest Lil’ Counter Protest – A peaceful protest is for families and kids, to smother hate with as much love and cuteness as possible.

SAT – Noon, Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro & Market

Come Together March for Equality: March and rally in reaction to events in Charlottesville, Va., and to promote diversity and inclusion. Hosted by Juanita More and The Women’s March. Starts with a noon rally at Harvey Milk Plaza/Castro, followed by a march down Market Street to Civic Center. Open to everyone who believes in diversity, inclusivity, and the power of a free and equal democracy.

SAT –  Noon, Dolores Park

LovedUp Mobile Dance Rally.  Dance it out for about an hour at Dolores Park, then walk to join the Come Together group as they march to Civic Center to join the party in progress there. Dress in your amazing colorful best, BRING AN FM RADIO-playing boom box and tune into our FM signal. The more boomboxes the more music, the more counter-rally goodness. We’re talking a thousand or so happy people, with a sound system in everyone’s hands.

SAT – Noon-5, Civic Center

Peace, Music and Laughter with bands and comedians, described in this SFGate article.  Produced by Dawn Holliday and Audrey Joseph for the benefit of our community to celebrate an action against neo-nazis and white nationalists. Some of the acts will be Malo, Michael Franti, Marga Gomez, Brothers Comatose, DJ Brian Kent, BeBe Sweetbriar, Momma’s Boyz AND MC Ron Owens from KGO radio with comments by Kate Kendell and more to come.

SAT – 1pm, Ocean Beach (near Balboa)

World Record for Sand Angels –  A safe non-violent counter protest and attempt to break the Guinness world record of simultaneous mass sand angels of 1,387.

SAT – 2pm, Ocean Beach Stairwells 2-6 

Create a 100 foot Heart-Shaped Human Banner organized by Together We Will SF Bay Area. Wear red or pink if you can, but if you don’t have it don’t let that stop you from coming out! A helicopter will arrive to take photos at 3:30!

 


Other Resources

 

 

Let’s be outraged

We are all shocked and horrified by Trump’s response to the white supremacists that descended on Charlottesville last weekend. And we are saddened by another stark reminder that we have a president with no moral compass, and Americans are left with a huge void where we need moral leadership.

There seems to be a good deal of political fall-out from Trump’s response. To quote the Republican state senator of Oklahoma, David Holt:

The last year and especially the last few days have basically erased 15 years of efforts by Republicans to diversify the party.

And the mutiny of large corporation CEOs has been in the public eye for days. The risk of customer and shareholder blowback for being involved with Trump finally got too high for these folks. And speaking of the public eye, have you seen the magazine covers? The Economist shows Trump using a KKK hood as a megaphone, Time shows a Nazi salute draped in our flag.

The mother of Heather Heyers, the woman killed by a Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville, reminded us of something her daughter said on Facebook:

“Remember in your heart,
if you‘re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Let’s be outraged.

Much closer to home, a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer is holding a “Freedom Rally” at Crissy Field on Aug 26th. Although the group claims it is not about white supremacy, some of their previous rallies have drawn large audiences of white supremacists and white nationalists and resulted in violence. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, this group holds rallies as “an attempt to provoke black-clad ideologues on the left into acts of violence.”

The good news is the National Park Service is re-considering the permit for the event. So perhaps we will get lucky and it will be cancelled. The event purports to be about celebrating “freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism.” I suggest we all support these values privately, in our hearts, and avoid the event. Some local groups are considering hosting their own events that same day to celebrate values we all hold dear such as diversity, respect, and inclusion. This Facebook page is tracking peace events in other locations (NOT Crissy Field) around the city that day. We will keep you posted on events we hear about that will support our values and keep us safe.

We look forward to seeing you at our monthly meeting this Sunday! At this meeting we will devote time during the open forum to discuss what actions we can take now to fight racism, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds. This Guide from The Southern Poverty Law Center might be helpful for this: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. And we will talk about the events of August 26, how we might show support for our values while remaining safe.

One evening this past week we got together off-site and after hours with two members of Congresswoman Pelosi’s staff, Dan Bernal, Chief of Staff SF, and Alex Lazar, Sr. Congressional Aide SF. We covered subjects that were “bigger picture” than our usual issue-of-the-week topics.  We will hear what transpired at our Sunday meeting.

One of the items we discussed with Dan and Alex was fundraising. The Pelosi folks have had a lot of requests for a fundraising event for small donors. People want to give, but can’t afford the big ticket events. So the Pelosi team is hosting a $30 fundraising breakfast next week. We are all invited. Here are the details:


Team Pelosi Summer Breakfast

Wed, Aug 23

8:00-9:00 AM (Doors open at 7:30 AM)

Delancey Street Restaurant, 600 The Embarcadero

Individual Ticket: $30

Buy a ticket!


Stand Up SF actions:

  • What happened in Charlottesville was the inevitable result of the Trump administration’s agenda. By stoking hatred, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Steve Miller empowered the White Supremacists who took to the streets of Charlottesville with torches, guns, and pipes, chanting racist and anti-Jewish hatred, giving Nazi salutes, beating people of color, and killing Heather Heyer. Call all 3 Members of Congress and tell them: “Call on Trump to fire all members of his top circle who are tied to the White Nationalist and White Supremacist movement—including Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller.”
  • With Trump doubling down on his ongoing support for violent White Supremacists, we must do everything we can to protect immigrant communities and communities of color. Here in California, the California Values Act (SB 54) is a crucial “Sanctuary State” bill that will limit the ability of local and state law enforcement agencies to aid Trump’s deportation machine. The bill has already passed the State Senate and is making its way through the Assembly. But in recent weeks, Governor Brown has begun to waver in his support for the bill. Call Governor Brown (916-445-2841) and say, “I’m calling to ask Governor Brown to support the California Values Act, SB 54. We cannot use California’s resources to help the Trump administration deport our families and community members.”

Actions with other groups:

  • Thurs, Aug 24 7-9pm: Join San Francisco Progressive Democrats of America for an informed and engaging discussion of the People’s Budget—federal, state, and local. Details
  • Thurs Sept 7: Help Democracy Action register new citizens to vote. There’s no better way to celebrate our democracy than registering brand new citizens to vote as they exit their Naturalization Ceremony. Paramount Theater (2025 Broadway) in Oakland, just off 19th St. BART. Register

We can fight environmental rollbacks

While Congress has had trouble getting major legislation passed, Trump’s agencies have been successful at weakening protections on our environment. What can we do about that, when we don’t vote for the people who run these agencies? Trump’s agencies can rewrite regulations without Congress signing off, to let polluters off the hook and add big loopholes. And that’s exactly what they are doing.

First, a quick explainer: Congress makes the laws, but many of them require agencies to figure out how to meet the law. Agencies define the rules and who needs to follow them, and package this into a regulation. The agencies are also responsible for keeping their regulations updated against new threats (ex: taking into account a new pollution source like fracking).

The good news is that Trump’s regulations can be reversed by a future administration, as long as Congress doesn’t change the laws themselves. This is one place we come in. We need to make sure Congress doesn’t weaken environmental laws under Trump’s watch.

While some terrible environmental bills have passed the House, we expect most future environmental attacks in Congress will be hidden. They’ll lurk in spending bills, as riders on unrelated bills, and even in the upcoming infrastructure proposal. And then there’s Trump’s budget wishlist which slashes EPA funding by 1/3, eliminates over 50 EPA programs and does other terrible things outlined here.

We will be calling our Members of Congress at various critical points in time and reminding them: ZERO policy riders that weaken environmental laws in an infrastructure bill or other must-pass legislation like the budget.

We can also defend the environment by submitting comments to the agencies as they try to water down the protections that keep our air and water clean. Learn key tips on how to do that.


Mark your calendars for our August all-group meeting!
Sunday Aug 20th
2-4pm
Noe Valley Library
Register now!


Stand Up SF actions:

  • Call Senators Feinstein and Harris and urge them to reject S.951, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which changes long-standing rules on how federal agencies regulate everything from food safety to toxic chemicals to equipment failure at nuclear power plants—things that keep us all safe. Among a host of other terrible things, this bill would require agencies across the board to adopt regulations that are cheapest for corporations, rather than ones that maximize benefits to the American public. (more background & scripts)
  • Research has linked chlorpyrifos to nervous system damage, autism, ADHD, and lower IQs in young children whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy. S.1624, the Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017 would BAN chlorpyrifos, overriding EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to cancel the scheduled ban of the toxic pesticide. Call Sen Feinstein and ask her to support this bill.
  • The House is pushing a bill that would give greater control of California’s water to the Trump administration. The bill would prevent California from using new scientific data to manage our water supply, and would set us back decades, rolling back our progress in solving our water issues. It would bypass California’s water laws, flout the Endangered Species Act, and disregard some of our most critical environmental reviews. Sign Sen Feinstein’s petition to stop this bill.

Actions with other groups:

  • Mon 8/14, 6:30-8:30pm: Showing Up for Racial Justice SF general meeting. SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. Learn more and sign up.
  • Tue 8/15, noon: MoveOn is hosting a Resistance Recess Speak-Out at Sen. Feinstein’s office, with invited Senate staff. Open mic to share your personal stories, questions, demands and concerns. Bring cards and letters to
    Senator Feinstein that will be hand-delivered to staff. Get creative with signs. Musicians are encouraged to come. This is part of a National Action! Sign up.