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)