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

This is America

On November 9 of last year, many Americans woke up to an America they did not recognize, did not know. Yesterday’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia are a grim reminder of the America that people of color in this country have always known, an America that has persisted despite hard-won civil rights gains, an America that is founded on white supremacy. The electoral college that propelled Trump to victory was created to bolster the federal power of agrarian, slaveholding states, and now we all have to live with the implications of that legacy. If we are horrified by the violence we saw yesterday, we must face it. If we want to create a country that is better than this, we must not turn away from the country we have. This is a moment to hold ourselves accountable. For those of us who are considered white, this is our mess to clean up. We can do better. We must do better.

Some of you have been fighting for racial justice a lot longer than I have, and to you, this is not news. Others might benefit from learning more about how systemic racism is built into the structure of our society, by design, and what we might to do dismantle structural racism and rebuild America. You should know that as a leader of our group, and as a person who benefits from white privilege, these lessons inform every action I take and every action I ask you to take. And although what we do in this group matters, the struggle for justice can’t be won through political and legislative action alone. As we were reminded yesterday, this is a culture war, and it will be fought in the streets and in living rooms as well as in congress and in the voting booth.

If you’re wrestling with strong feelings today, and you want to stand with vulnerable communities in Charlottesville and here in San Francisco, you can join a candlelight vigil tonight at 24th and Mission or City Hall.

At our next meeting, you’ll hear comments from Indivisible Charleston about how they are dealing with the repercussions of Charlottesville in their region. You’ll also get reports from our recent actions, including an informal conversation with Congresswoman Pelosi’s staff.

Meanwhile, it may be recess, but there’s plenty to do.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Black women make 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Call Senator Harris and thank her for crafting the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would end the pay gap for Black women. You can say “I’d like to thank Senator Harris for her work to create the Paycheck Fairness Act. As a constituent, I want her to know that I appreciate her standing up for Black women’s rights and for economic and racial justice.”
  • It’s already mid-August, and none of our MoCs have held a town hall yet. Call both senators and ask for a town hall in San Francisco. You can say “Hi. My name is ___, my zip code is ___, and I’m with Stand Up San Francisco. We’re more than a week into the senator’s state work period and I’m concerned that I haven’t heard anything yet about her plan for a town hall. Please schedule a weekend town hall soon. I want to make plans to attend.”
  • Deadline 8/15: Say no to Exec Order 13795, “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” which would potentially open up 4 national marine sanctuaries in California to oil and gas exploration. Make a comment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and tell them to protect our coastal ecosystems, local wildlife, and California’s economy (instructions and points to include).

Actions with other groups