I’ve Got a Meeting in the Mayor’s Room
- Jennifer Caldwell
RESISTANCE WATCH-Last Thursday’s meeting with Mayor Garcetti proved the resistance is a force to be reckoned with. As reported last week, I learned of the meeting through the ACLU’s PeoplePower site and in response to the Resistance Training webinar of March 11. Upon my arrival at City Hall, I discovered that grassroots groups are sprouting up everywhere and there is a great deal of collaboration on key issues of concern.
The meeting was called by a group called the West Valley Resistance. They are a chapter of a broader organization called Indivisible. The two focal points covered at this meeting were the request by the group for The City of Los Angeles to pass a resolution asking the U.S. House of Representatives to open an impeachment investigation on President Trump. The second request is for the City to formally adopt the status of Freedom City or Sanctuary City as defined by the ACLU’s “9 Model State and Local Law Enforcement Policies and Rules.”
I caught a ride back to work from a couple of women from another chapter of the group called “Indivisible Suffragette Sisters.” Moira Cue and Brooke Robbins gave me the skinny on who they are and what they’ve been up to.
Turns out Indivisible began as a group of former staffers. After the election, Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg and Sarah Dohl were out for a few in a bar in Austin, Texas. They’d seen first hand how the Tea Party has managed to take over the Republican Party. With these strategies and tactics in mind, they fashioned, in their own words, a “poorly formatted, typo-filled Google doc” – a guide on how to make Congress listen.
The response was phenomenal. Dohl recently shared with Salon writer Sophia McClennen that, “as March 21, Indivisible had 18.47 million page views, 3.03 million unique users from every state, 2.02
million downloads/views of the Indivisible Guide, and 2.97 million searches for a group, meeting or event. They currently have 5,802 verified groups, with at least two in every congressional district. As a point of comparison, the Tea Party spiked at about 1,000 local groups.
Go to their website https://www.indivisibleguide.com to download the guide and enter your zip code to see what’s going on in your area.
Mayor Garcetti did not actually attend the meeting this past Thursday. Instead, his West Valley rep, Kevin Taylor, met with us. He was, in his own words, not expecting the number of people who showed for the meeting. He did however have copies of “Executive Directive No. 20” on hand for us to compare with the ACLU’s model policies and rules. His assistant added that everything the City has done may not be in the directive, such as the letter that the mayor’s office sent to ICE reminding them that they cannot identify themselves as police officers in the City of Los Angeles.
He also said they would be happy to take a call if anyone finds a discrepancy between the City doc and the one devised by the ACLU.
There was plenty of lively dialogue during the meeting and resisters were not shy about what they want. One of the points Mr. Taylor covered was the formation of the Justice Fund. The Fund, a joint commitment from the City, the County and private resources, will provide legal counsel to immigrant detainees. The West Valley Resistance will support the Justice Fund and encourages other organizations to do the same.
The WVR is encouraging other resistance groups to contact their City Council members and request their reps support the Justice Fund as well as the resolution to impeach Trump. They are also considering going to the County Supervisors to get the Sherriff to stop his raids at courthouses and local big box retailers.
I asked Moira Cue, Public Relations Manager for the Indivisible Suffragette Sisters Chapter, if Indivisible was a force in getting people to the town halls to demand their reps vote against Trumpcare. In my view, this grassroots activity was the key to the stunning defeat of Trump’s draconian healthcare bill. “Yes definitely,” said Moira. “Now we need to make sure HR 861 which would terminate the EPA is stopped too!”
Looks like the “angelic troublemakers” of Indivisible are a highly organized group of trench-fighters with no plans to back down. Last week’s big win in the fight for healthcare is a real shot in the arm for resisters everywhere. What with the onslaught of attacks on civil liberties of all stripes, these are challenging times. Just this past Monday, Jeff Sessions re-iterated the Trump administration’s threat to sanction cities that uphold sanctuary-like policies. Who will our city officials listen to? The people? Or Trump?
(Jennifer Caldwell is an actress and an active member of SAG-AFTRA, serving on several committees. She is a published author of short stories and news articles and is a featured contributor to CityWatch. Jennifer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifercald - Twitter: @checkingthegate ... And her website: Jenniferhcaldwell.com) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.