Indivisible: Conejo Weekly Newsletter

Indivisible: Conejo Pride at the #RESIST March

On Sunday, June 11, two dozen Indivisible: Conejo and Suburban Women Activist Network (SWAN) members joined tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ and civil rights activists in Hollywood at the #RESIST March. #RESIST was LA Pride's response to the current political climate, replacing the annual parade that celebrates the freedom of LGBTQ+ people to live their lives safely and authentically with a protest march that spoke to the threatened civil rights of all communities. Marchers were joined by Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Maxine Waters. 


Don't Miss Indivisible: Conejo's "Future of

Healthcare" Panel on Tuesday, June 20!

 

As soon as next week, Senate Republicans may release their version of a replacement for the ACA. Is it better than the House's bill? Is it worse? We have no idea: In a breach of the "regular order" promised by Majority Leader McConnell, the bill is a secret, built under tight security behind closed doors by an all-male team of 11 senators. When asked why the GOP won't share the details, a staffer replied, "We aren't stupid." This doesn't bode well for saving healthcare for the 23 million people who stand to lose theirs under the House's bill, passed in May. 

The federal health care debacle means that California's health care reform bill, SB 562, takes on even greater importance. Passed by the State Senate on June 1, the Healthy California Act proposes a single payer system. If it passes the state Assembly and is signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the bill would create a government-administered health system with the goal of providing access to all Californians. Proponents argue that the plan would help to curb rising healthcare costs even as it guarantees a high standard of care to every resident of the state. They also believe it would serve as a crucial bulwark to protect the millions of Californians who stand to be left uncovered if Republicans in Washington succeed in repealing the ACA.

Most of us have questions about what a single-payer system would mean for us and our families. How does it work? Is it more or less expensive for Californians? How does the state pay for it? In direct contrast to the secretive Republican approach to developing healthcare policy, Indivisible: Conejo wants everyone to have the chance to educate themselves before making important decisions about our future. That's why our Healthcare Action Team has put together a must-attend forum with healthcare policy experts,"The Future of Healthcare: The Affordable Care Act and Single Payer" for Tuesday, June 20. 

Headlining the panel discussion will be Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Health Policy Institute and one of the nation’s leading experts on public insurance; Pilar Schiavo, statewide Campaign Coordinator for the Healthy California Act (S.B. 562); and Shayla Kassel, a Simi Valley-based family physician in private practice and member of the Indivisible: Conejo Healthcare Action Team. The panelists will address the progress made in covering more Americans since the ACA’s passage, as well as the problems that remain with the current federal system and those that might be created with the Republicans’ replacement. They also will discuss the substance and politics of S.B. 562 as it heads toward debate in the California state assembly.
 
The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Lundring Event Center on the CLU campus. We hope you'll join us; please RSVP here.


First Amendment, Education Teams

Combat CVUSD Censorship Threat


Indivisible: Conejo’s action teams on the First Amendment and Education sprang into action this week, in response to reports that conservative members of the Conejo Valley Unified School District board of trustees are considering banning one or more novels from the district’s English curriculum. A campaign of Letters to the Editor and email messages to board members will culminate in a contingent of protesters from Indivisible and other local advocacy organizations participating in upcoming board meetings.

At press time, the trustees seemed to have abandoned plans to consider the ban during the board's June 20 meeting; it is unclear whether they will bring the matter to a vote during their last meeting of the school year, on June 27, or delay it until after summer break.

The controversy began during the board’s June 6 meeting, with a brief discussion of Sherman Alexie’s novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – a National Book Award recipient that had been approved for inclusion in the curriculum by a committee of experts in the district. Part-Time Indian also has been among the books most frequently challenged in schools and libraries nationwide over the last decade – and the back-and-forth last week between board president Mike Dunn and new trustee Sandee Everett seems to have whetted local conservatives' appetite for taking it upon themselves to decide which books Conejo Valley students should be able to read.

Over the last week, the board has received numerous messages from an organized contingent calling for bans of Part-Time Indian as well as other novels that have been in the CVUSD curriculum for years: Snow Falling on Cedars, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Kite Runner (which Dunn previously voted to ban in 2012).

More than a dozen Indivisible: Conejo activists responded to a call to action by sending letters to the Thousand Oaks Acorn and Ventura County Star earlier this week. On Thursday, June 15, our Daily Action encourages activists to send emails to board members, particularly the conservative majority, denouncing censorship and encouraging them to accept the advice of experts in choosing materials for the district’s curriculum. Activists are urged to maintain a civil tone in these emails!

The conservative board members, and their email addresses, are: Mike Dunn, mikedunn19990@gmail.com; John Andersen, andersens_5@verizon.net; and Sandee Everett, sandee.everett@gmail.com. Other board members are Betsy Connolly, dvmmum@gmail.com; and Pat Phelps, pat.phelps5@verizon.net.

Indivisible: Conejo plans to lead a protest before the June 20 school board meeting, at the district offices at 1400 E. Janss Road, across from the Thousand Oaks Public Library. We will begin protesting outside at 4 p.m., before trustees go into a private session at 5 p.m. If the board's plans change again between now and Tuesday, and consideration of Part-Time Indian and/or other novels returns to the agenda, we will attend the public session beginning at 6 p.m., with hopes that a number of activists will be willing to speak.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

UPCOMING ACTION TEAM MEETINGS



News from the Issue Action Teams


Healthcare
Members of the healthcare team have recently made visits to the offices of Henry Stern and Kamala Harris to discuss healthcare issues on the state and federal level, respectively. The team also has established regular get-togethers for writing letters to the editors of our local papers on healthcare issues. The next of these will occur Saturday, June 17 (RSVP here). The team is preparing for its forum on Tuesday, June 20. RSVP on the Indivisible: Conejo website or Facebook.

Immigrants' Rights
The team has continued its activism on behalf of SB 54, the California Values Act, by participating in phone banks at the CAUSE offices in Oxnard and Santa Paula June 14 and 15. Activists also participated in a rally outside an ICE facility in Los Angeles the morning of June 15, and attended a meeting of the Community Relations Task Force in Oxnard, where the city council has considered declaring Safe City status for immigrants and their families. 

Gun Violence Prevention
The team will be represented at the Safety Fair, sponsored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on June 24 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The fair springs from a simple idea: to keep children safe. The team urges parents to ask other parents one question before sending their children over to play: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” Over 1.7 million American children and teens are living in homes with loaded, unlocked guns, so it's no surprise that firearms are the second-leading cause of death among young people. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all child and teen gun deaths happen inside a home.

On Wed, 6/7 team members had the honor to spend time with three survivors of last year's tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Angel Santiago, Jr., Angel Colon and Luis Roldan. 

LGBTQ+ Rights
Melissa Cober has agreed to serve as leader of Indivisible: Conejo's LGBTQ+ Rights action team. The team is eager to take action and fight back against the Trump administration's attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, and Melissa looks forward to working with concerned activists as we promote equality and acceptance in our society.

Science & Technology
The team is working on contacting Congressman Ted Lieu for a briefing on the cyber attacks against state voter registration databases, and will be writing letters to editor calling for a full investigation and effective counter-measures to secure future elections. The team is also in the early stages of planning a clean energy forum involving scientists in our area.

Swing Districts/2018 Election
The Swing Districts team recently held a successful third meeting, discussing the need to defend Rep. Julia Brownley's district (CA-26); the possibility of hosting a candidates' forum for challengers to Rep. Steve Knight in CA-25; the idea of developing a matrix to help voters evaluate local candidates; and plans to participate in out-of-district canvassing events.  The Swing District group decided to host a canvassing event in Oxnard that activists from all the region's Indivisible groups and other activists may join. The team asks Indivisible activists to follow the Swing Left calendar for CA-25:https://swingleft.org/district/CA-25/calendar.