The Resistance Defined 2017 and is Showing Us The Way Forward

Rep. Pramila Jayapal

U.S. Representative, Washington’s 7th Distric

It is January 2, 2018 and I am filled with gratitude ― for all of you who have worked so hard and put yourselves on the line for what we all want. I am grateful to the Dreamers, the immigrants and the workers, to the womxn who marched and the black and brown activists across the country who stood up in the most painful of circumstances. I’m grateful for the teachers who teach out of pure love and the educators in our homes, workplaces and communities. I’m grateful to our young people who refuse to be told they are too idealistic and are constantly challenging us to evolve. I’m grateful to those who love who they want to love and demand that love be recognized, and I’m grateful to those who challenge gender identity and stretch all of us in the best of ways.

I’m grateful to the business leaders who know that there is more to running a business than profit for shareholders and growth for growth’s sake, and to the innovators and creators who constantly find bits of light from dark corners waiting to be illuminated. I’m grateful to our judges and our courts who have been a ballast of sorts this past year. I’m grateful to the human rights and economic justice warriors in countries around the world who understand that ours is a global struggle for peace and justice, not an us-versus-them isolationist’s mission. I’m grateful to those who have resisted and those who have loved, to those who have cried and then gotten back on their feet because they knew there was no other choice.

I’m grateful to the grandparents, the elders and the wise ones ― and to those who take care of them. I’m grateful for our First Nations people who continue to be deeply generous despite hundreds of years of trauma foisted upon them, and who still challenge us to make the connections between earth and livelihood, inspiring movements for life. I’m grateful for the oceans, rivers, streams, mountains and forests that envelop us with love, beauty and serenity, generously giving us the resources we need and showering us with new energy to breathe.

I am grateful for my family, friends and all those who send constant love and support ― you are my energy and my hope. You teach me, love me even when I’m wrong, and let me ride the challenges and come out whole. I’m grateful for music, art and creativity; for books and literature; for travel and deeper understanding of the world. I’m grateful to the unsung heroes and heroines that we don’t even know about, people who are saving the world one small piece at a time. I’m grateful that human beings have the capacity for rebirth and resilience, for compassion and for vision.

I want for 2018 to be filled with justice, peace and love. There is so much mean-spiritedness and hate in the world, and it is easy to get wrapped up in our anger ― at the world, at injustice and at those who hate. Anger has its place. In organizing, it is gold to tap into anger. But anger alone can never take us where we need to go if it is not at the same time transformed into determination for a different way. We have to bring forth the passion for what we truly believe in ― justice, peace and love ― and follow that course.

We have to be firm and resolute about who we are and stay big-hearted and generous, even in the worst of situations. We have to call people in just as we call them out, give them a place to stand in the circle of hope. We have to recognize pain for what it is ― it is not the purview of any one group, everyone feels it and it is real. The hierarchy of oppression helps no-one and keeps us divided, but seeing our struggles as connected and giving voice to each other keeps us united. We have to remember that disagreeing with people is fine; it is dehumanizing people that is not and when that happens, we have to be ready to speak up. Compromise for compromise sake is never good, unless it is grounded in principles. Principled compromise is always good, and for that we must know what the core value is and work to get there together.

We are best when we allow ourselves to touch our own and each other’s hearts in the work we do, whatever it may be. We can never be afraid to stand up for what is right, no matter what others may say. And sometimes if that means taking a lonely road, if what we are standing for is true, then perhaps moonlight or sunshine will light our way and make it less lonely. Perhaps birds will join us on that path, and slowly, others will too.

Standing up for things when everyone else already is doing so is not really courageous. Real courage comes when we stand for things that aren’t popular yet, and make them so. Real courage is saying things that others may not want to hear ― perhaps that we ourselves don’t want to hear ― but doing it in a way that people CAN hear. In Emily Dickinson’s words, “Tell the truth but tell it slant.” We are best when we remember that human beings can change ― all of us! ― and that there are few people who are only good or only bad. Give us the wisdom and compassion to allow for nuance, holding two seemingly contradictory truths at once.

We have work to do this year. To put forward that vision of what we know is right: healthcare for all, education for all, good-paying jobs that give us all dignity of self, environmental justice, workers rights, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, civil rights, democracy reform, equal treatment for all regardless of any identification, living wages and retirement security.

Really, what this is all about is investing in us, regular folks, people who wake up every day and go about their work ― whether in their homes, or offices, or forests or small towns, steel mills or coal mines, rural or urban. It’s about leveling the playing field and giving people the respect they deserve to know that they have a fair shot, that they’ll be able to put food on the table, have a roof over their heads, send their kids to get a good education and retire with some security. That they won’t be one health care crisis away from bankruptcy, and that they will know that if their car breaks down, they can fix it instead of losing their job because they couldn’t get to work. It’s about respecting who we each are and what we bring. It’s about confronting racism and sexism and the refusals to recognize everyone’s value that stops the playing fields from being level. It’s about recognizing the reality of the black mothers and fathers who worry that their sons and daughters may not come home. It’s about every member of the trans community being able to live freely without fear of prejudice and violence. It’s about finding real economic solutions for white rural families who feel forgotten and left behind.

It’s about dignity and respect and love ― even when someone is different from what we know. That’s some of what we’re fighting for, that’s our proposition agenda that we need to put front and center even as we launch our resistance.

So, this year, I wish for all of us that deep sense of knowing at this consequential time in our history that we are doing everything we can to protect our democracy, to make it real for people here and around the world, to stand for peace and shun war, to place our trust and faith in the many and not the few, and to love as much as we possibly can. To resistance, to opposition and to proposition...to believing that another world IS possible and we are the ones to make it so. Happy New Year!

WHAT A YEAR IT'S BEEN

You’ve done the unthinkable. You’ve forced more than a dozen high-profile, safe Republicans to retire because of your constant constituent pressure. You defeated the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Twice. You’ve supported progressives up and down the ballot in Virginia, Michigan, Washington, and Alabama. And you’ve won.  

Most importantly, you’ve created thousands of hyper-local movements across the country that have Republicans and the Trump Administration shaking in their boots.

None of this was imaginable on December 14, 2016 (exactly one year ago!) when we sat down to publish the Indivisible Guide. We were going through stages of grief like so many of you. Republicans were lining up behind the Trump Administration and some Democrats were talking about working with the Trump Administration as though it was a normal Republican Administration. But we, and millions of people across the country, knew nothing about a Trump Administration would be normal.

We heard from friends and family that they wanted to get politically active for the first time. They wanted to make change. They wanted to do whatever it would take to stop the worst parts of the Trump Administration. They wanted to fight back, but they didn’t know where to start.

As former Congressional staffers, we knew that a President’s ability to enact much of his or her agenda relies on whether or not Congress went along with it. And Congress is accountable to their constituents. So we wrote a practical, Civics 101-style document to help newcomers to activism realize their power and leverage in our political system. We called it the Indivisible Guide.

We put the Guide online and went to bed one year ago thinking we’d done a good thing… and maybe a few people would find it useful.

Within days, tens of thousands of people downloaded the Guide and read it. You showed up at town halls with and without your members of Congress. You started making phone calls. You visited their district offices. You put up missing posters (and milk cartons!) with your MoCs’ photos. You took control of the narrative and made sure your elected officials knew they were accountable to you. 6,000 of you even took the Guide and started your own Indivisible Groups and ground the Republicans’ agenda to a halt, while fighting for bold, progressive values.

One year ago, we didn't set out to tell people to have hope. We set out to tell people they have power. And with that power, you gave an entire country hope and showed them resisting the Trump agenda was possible.

Today’s the first anniversary of this movement and we’re celebrating you. We have a lot of fun things in store on Facebook and Twitter to show our gratitude, and we can’t wait for you to see them. But first, we want to share a message and a video we made to commemorate the brilliant work you’ve done this year. Watch now:

This is how it starts. This is how we win. We started with a pretty specific goal: local, defensive congressional advocacy to stop Trump’s agenda. But what we’ve seen around the country is something even more powerful. You’re building a foundational, progressive infrastructure at the community level.

Thank you for everything you’ve done to build this movement. We can’t wait to work with you and take this energy and passion into 2018 as we take back the House (and maybe even the Senate!).

In solidarity,

Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin
Co-Executive Directors

P.S. This movement is built by you. It’s also fueled by you. We’re committed to being accountable to the tens of thousands of people in this movement, not corporations or political parties. Grassroots donations (like the ones we ask for in emails) are our single largest source of funding. So if you can, consider becoming a monthly, sustaining donor to carry our work all the way through 2018. You can also make a one-time donation here.

Participate in our Democratic Strategy Group's DNC survey!

Could today be any sweeter? What an overwhelmingly gratifying victory last night! Thanks to each and everyone of you who called, texted and wrote postcards to the voters in Alabama. YOU made this happen! And now we have the vital momentum we need to knock the hell out of the GOP in 2018.

But we can't let up for even a day. Even though the blue wave has gained such momentum, there is a long path to victory in 2018 with many challenges ahead. We must stay at the top of our game. We need to be clear with our messaging and smart with our strategy. That's why Indivisible Marin's Democratic Strategy Working Group is launching a survey to give the Democratic Party feedback from its grassroots base.

This hard-working group spent a significant amount of time researching and analyzing the Democratic landscape, and decided that providing feedback to the Democratic National Committee from a national sample of grassroots political activists would be a major step in the right direction. They are piloting the survey with members of Indivisible Marin and Indivisible San Francisco, and will then work out any possible kinks discovered in the survey design before rolling out the plan to chapters nationwide with the support and assistance of Indivisible National. The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous. Please be a part of this important project by taking the survey today. If not today, then enter a reminder in your calendar to complete it by Monday. Use this excellent opportunity to make your voice heard!

CLICK HERE TO TELL THE DNC WHAT YOU THINK!

 

Our Job For The Next 3 Days

First, listen to this segment of Pod Save America starting at the 18 minute mark. The hosts, very well-connected political pundits, make a case for why we can stop the tax bill if two things happen:

1) We get Jones elected to the Senate, and then

2) We lobby Susan Collins to flip her tax vote back to NO if her amendments are dropped in conference. 

The podcast hosts indicate a likelihood that her amendments will be dropped, which means she may change her vote.

The bottomline is that if we have Jones' new YES vote, Collins' reinstated YES vote and Corker’s existing YES vote, we stop the tax bill.

Operating by the logic above, we have a very obvious two-part strategy:

1) We focus ALL of our energy until 12/12 on campaigning and donating to Doug Jones. 

2) When we get him elected, we immediately pivot to lobbying Collins to stand up to her principles and vote NO on the revised tax bill. 

HERE’S OUR JOB FOR THE NEXT THREE DAYS!

What’s our best shot at getting Jones elected? Getting out the African American vote!! A leader of the Alabama's NAACP organization has partnered with a group called People Demanding Action to organize a unique opportunity to reach these crucial voters.

To phone bank at home, go to this website: http://ppldemand.nationbuilder.com/phonebanks

Here are the instructions:

1) Click on any of the links under the heading "Phonebanks," then click on the central button, and then click where it asks you to create an "Action ID." Once you have an Action ID and have created your password, you can start. The first time you see a name and a phone number you are already in the phonebank and can start calling that person. That is NOT an example of a voter - that is an actual voter in Alabama. Don't stay in the phonebank when you're done, log out.

2) If you see something that says "Enter your NGP VAN Code," do not do that. Log out and log back in, and that should not reappear.

3) We are calling principally African American voters but it's definitely not 100%.

4) We are mainly calling rural counties in Alabama. Speak slowly and clearly and very politely.

5) If they are resistant to talking or say that they have received many calls already, go right to "I wanted to know if you think you'll need a ride to the polls.” If yes, The NAACP is arranging drivers, and the script will advise you what to say.

IF YOU PREFER A GROUP SETTING FOR PHONE BANKING, there are many opportunities to campaign for Doug Jones via Democracy Action’s local phone/text bank centers.

Please click on the eventbrite links below to register and get details/directions: Registering on eventbrite makes it easier for us to manage.

Monday: 12/11, 3-5:30pm in San Rafael:  click here 

Tuesday, 12/12 from 11am-2pm in Ross:  click here   

 OK, team - First Jones. Then Collins. It’s a strategy that could work. Let’s put down our heads, roll up our sleeves and go for it.

Meeting with State Senator Mike McGuire

In the resistance we continue to partner with others who are committed to protecting American values of inclusion, equality and justice. The latest partnership was begun in a recent meeting with Senator, Mike McGuire in his San Rafael office. Sue Saunders, Heather Rhamen, Sami Mericle and Lori Saltveit reviewed with the Senator important California legislation addressing presidential tax return reform, improvements for the environment and the well being of DACA recipients.  At his invitation, we look forward to meeting with him again early in 2018.

Introducing Indivisible Marin Campaigners 2018!

Campaigners 2018 is a new initiative designed to offer our busiest members an important way to contribute to the crucial goal of taking back Congress and the States in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. The only requirement as a Campaigner is to agree to participate in campaign efforts when they fit into your available time and schedule. We will provide you with opportunities to get involved - phone and text banking, canvassing, voter registration and more - and you choose what, when, and where you show up.

We are now focused on growing this program quickly and robustly to add as many "foot soldiers" as possible to our crucial electoral challenge. Soon, we will start hosting training events, San Rafael-based phone banks, social events and more. After all, we need to have some fun to sustain our energy for the long path ahead.

Media reports are increasingly positive about the Dems odds in 2018, but we need to get out there and make it happen. No more complacency like in 2016, right?  Join our Campaign team today! Let's take back our Congress and our States in 2018!


 

Monthly Indivisible Marin Member Meetings to begin this month!

We are kicking off monthly membership meetings starting in December. The objective of these meetings is to provide our members with updates on the organization, new learnings via guest speakers, an action to take at the meeting, and an opportunity to bond and socialize. If you are already a member, please feel free to invite your friends. 

If you are not a member of Indivisible Marin, you are welcome to join us at our monthly meetings.  This is a good opportunity to learn about our organization and ways to become involved.

The agenda for December's meeting includes organizational updates, a Q&A session, an on-site action, and time to socialize. We are also pleased to have Jiggy Athilingam, founder of State Strong and the State & Local Policy Manager for Indivisible National, join us to speak about State Strong, provide an overview of how the California state legislature works, and suggest how activists can have influence at the state level. 

Please be sure to RSVP and feel free to bring a friend! As the Resistance grows bigger, we become stronger.

 

A Conversation with Khizr Khan at Dominican University on Monday, December 4th

You are invited to hear Khizr Khan, Gold Star Father, DNC Speaker, and author of "An American Family" speak this week here in Marin County.

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An "Amercian Family" is an intensely personal story about the nature of true patriotism and what it’s like to risk everything you know for the promise of a 226-year-old piece of parchment. As Khizr Khan traces his remarkable journey—from humble beginnings on a poultry farm in Pakistan to obtaining a degree from Harvard Law School and raising a family in America—he shows what it means to leave the limitations of one’s country behind for the best values and promises of another. He also tells the story of the Khans’ middle child, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq, and the ways in which their undying pride in him and his sacrifice have helped them endure the deepest despair a parent can know.

The book is a stark depiction of what an American looks like, what being a nation of immigrants really means, and what it is to live—rather than simply to pay lip service to—our ideals.
    
Khizr Khan was born in 1950, the eldest of ten children, to poultry farming parents in Gujranwala, a city in rural Pakistan. He moved to the United States with his wife Ghazala in 1980. The couple became American citizens in 1986, and raised their three sons in Silver Lake, Maryland. His middle son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 in a suicide attack near Baqubah, Iraq, and was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Khizr works as a legal consultant, and is involved with the University of Virginia’s ROTC program.

 

Women's March 2018 San Francisco Announced

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Women’s March Bay Area (WMBA)  announces plans for action on Saturday, January 20th, 2018 – ‘Hear Our Vote.’ Save the date to activate and engage in San Francisco and San Jose.

Since the historic Women’s March on January 21, 2017, where hundreds of thousands of folks showed up across the Bay Area, WMBA has been working to turn a moment into a movement.  Next January’s actions will focus on getting out the vote in the 2018 midterm elections. The year will focus on getting more women and allies into office and other leadership positions, with actions focused on voter registration, voter mobilization, supporting women running for office, and electing more women in more offices.

“The San Francisco march was the very last of hundreds of sister marches across the US last January, and watching folks pour through the streets under a downpour of rain, with a pink-lit City Hall in the background lit a fire in me and many others,”said Sophia Andary co-lead of Women’s March San Francisco. “We had great local representation at the Women’s Convention in Detroit and can say without hesitation that the energy and work of women are changing this country.”

Women’s March is a female-led movement providing intersectional education on a range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage with/in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. The focus on voter education, voter outreach, and voter empowerment are encompassed in the actions’ theme, “Hear Our Vote!”

“Last year’s election compelled many of us to a level of action and activism that has changed our lives and our communities, forging connections across groups that have otherwise been siloed,” said Jenny Bradanini, co-lead of Women’s March San Jose. “As is clear from the unprecedented number of women candidates this cycle, the grassroots movement has taken hold. First we marched, now we run!”

The WMBA marches are two of eighteen planned across California that day, the state’s part of a national movement to unify and empower those who stand for women’s rights, human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.

For more information, visit www.womensmarchbayarea.org

WHAT:    Women’s March Bay Area March “Hear Our Vote” March and Rally

WHEN:    Saturday, January 20th 2018 (times TBD)

WHERE:  San Francisco Civic Center

                Downtown San Jose

Note: Indivisible Marin will be coordinating car pools; more information to follow

CONTACT: Martha Shaughnessy
Martha@womensmarchbayarea.org - 415.987.0285

A visit to Congressman Jared Huffman's office

Members of Indivisible Marin joined with other Marin County groups to visit Jared Huffman's San Rafael office on Monday, November 13th as part of Indivisible’s national #TrumpTaxScam Week of Action .  We  presented a letter  to his staff which thanked him for his staunch opposition to the Trump Tax Scam and asked him to reach out to Republican Members of Congress from California to change their position and oppose the bill. A simultaneous event organized by Indivisible Sonoma County took place at U.S. House Representative Mike Thompson’s office in Santa Rosa.

 

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