Indivisible: Conejo Activists Slam NRA's Use of Gun-Violence Victim Reagan's Presidential Library
The Simi and Conejo "Friends of the NRA" have held annual fundraisers at the Ronald Reagan Library for many years -- an extraordinary history of hubris on the part of both organizations, considering the 1981 shooting that changed the life of Reagan's press secretary, James Brady. About two dozen activists from Indivisible: Conejo and the Ventura County Brady Campaign greeted the fundraiser's late-afternoon arrivals with a protest rally on Saturday, September 16, decrying the NRA's use of the Library and, more generally, its refusal to countenance common-sense restrictions that might keep firearms out of the hands of men like John Hinckley Jr.
Back To the Barricades To Fend Off One More ACA Repeal Attempt!
The progressive resistance has risen up one more time to defend the Affordable Care Act and beat back a last-ditch effort among Senate Republicans to dismantle it. Indivisible: Conejo activists have leapt back into the fray -- calling our California senators and participating in Indivisible's virtual phone bank to reach progressives in states with GOP senators who are considered swing votes. On Saturday, September 23, from 1-2:30 p.m., Indivisible: Conejo and SWAN are co-sponsoring a protest rally in front of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, demanding an end to the Republicans' final, and cruelest, scheme to rip healthcare access from 30 million Americans.
Republicans have until September 30 to gather 50 votes and avoid a Democratic filibuster of their bill, which was introduced by Sens. Lindsay Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA). It would eliminate the ACA's Medicaid expansion and healthcare exchanges, and hand most federal health funds to the states in the form of block grants. Along the way, it would get rid of the ACA's protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions as well as its mandates that health plans provide "essential benefits" such as maternity and mental-health care and prescription drug coverage.
Because no Democrat would dream of supporting Graham-Cassidy, Republicans must keep nearly their entire caucus together -- a feat they have failed to accomplish with every previous repeal-and-replace vote this year. Between now and September 30, it is our job to make sure the GOP leadership can't sway the remaining swing senators -- including Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Arizona's John McCain and a few others. Please join us for the rally on 9/23, and keep the pressure on through the next week as we #RiseUp4HealthCare!
CVUSD Censorship Battle Enters New Phase With Sept. 25 Meeting To Consider Opt-Out Policy
The fight against censorship within the Conejo Valley Unified School District resumes next week, with a school board meeting on Monday, September 25 at 4 p.m. to discuss turning the district's longstanding, informal "opt-out" practice into an official policy. Indivisible: Conejo activists were instrumental in defeating board president Mike Dunn’s attempt to limit the district’s English curriculum over the summer. Now we’ll need to turn out – and speak out -- in force once more if we hope to ensure our students’ continued access to a first-class literary education.
Last month the board, over Dunn’s objections, responded to our pressure and approved Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" for use in high school classrooms. Now Dunn and other religious extremists want to codify the "opt-out" so conservative parents will have an easier time preventing their kids from reading books they find "offensive."
Monday’s meeting will offer opportunities for public comment on the opt-out question. Activists interested in participating should contact Jon Cummings at email@example.com so we can help you coordinate our messages to the board. There's no question that pro-censorship residents, led by the "Unified Conejo" group that arose this summer in opposition to our success, will be out in force. We need to match their numbers -- and we need to speak up for the mainstream of parents and students in our community who want an expansive and inclusive literary curriculum, not one that silences modern and diverse voices. Please join us! The meeting will take place in the board chamber at district headquarters, 1400 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.
Introducing #Blue22Canvass: Indivisible: Conejo Swing District Efforts Intensify
With just over 400 days until the critical midterm elections in November 2018, the race to take back the U.S. House of Representatives is taking shape -- as is the role of grass-roots groups like ours in swing district races. Flipping Rep. Steve Knight's district has always been our organization's stated goal, from our first meeting in January. If you haven't yet had a chance to contribute to that effort, please sign up for the events we support in the 25th District! Knight is considered one of the most vulnerable members of the GOP Congress, in part because of the abundance of progressive activists right next door in the Conejo Valley.
We are pushing further than next door, however. We have been leading a statewide coalition of Indivisible groups to the 22nd District to register the voters needed to unseat Rep. Devin Nunes, perhaps Congress' worst-offending Trump-enabler (not that he doesn't enjoy plenty of competition for that title). This effort has been welcomed by CD22's local activists, and now has a name: #Blue22Canvass. Taking a page from the #RiseUp4Healthcare effort from our Disability Rights Team, we've branded our efforts in the 22nd with a hashtag and its own Facebook page.
Our laser focus on flipping congressional districts shouldn't come as a surprise. The clearest lesson that has emerged from the 115th Congress is that it will not act, either to check the Trump Administration's rampant attacks on vulnerable communities at home, or its warmongering abroad. Therefore, the most important goal of the resistance must be to replace the administration's enablers in Congress as quickly as possible. Otherwise, no matter how hard we fight on any issue -- from the environment to racism, religious persecution, and reproductive rights -- we will continue to lose ground. We're a year out! If you've been waiting for the moment when you can truly strike back, the bell just rang; it's time for you to take a swing.
Indivisible: Conejo Tees -- Now Taking Orders!
At long last, we're now taking orders for stylish Indivisible: Conejo tee-shirts in a variety of colors and cuts! Unisex crew shirts are available, as well as women's-cut crews and v-necks. Available colors are navy/midnight blue, white, gray and black. Available sizes range from Small to 5XL!
We are selling these shirts AT OUR COST -- not as a fundraiser. Assuming we place a minimum order, the cost per shirt is $13, payable with CASH ONLY upon receipt of your order. Please use this form -- https://goo.gl/forms/vX5rkTMukm3OUjEH3 -- BY SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, and we'll make sure your request is included in our first group order!
NOTE: PLEASE SUBMIT A SEPARATE FORM FOR EACH SHIRT DESIRED.
Indivisible: Conejo Joins MICOP in LA Supporting Ventura Indigeneous Activist Raúl Gomez
On Tuesday, September 19, Indivisible: Conejo activists joined other groups from across Ventura County in protesting the detention of our neighbor, local Mixteco community leader Raúl Gomez, during his bond hearing at the Immigration and Naturalization Service's downtown-LA field office. We are glad to report that Mr. Gomez has been freed on a substantially reduced bond, to be home with his family and community while deportation proceedings move forward. The Oxnard-based Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project was instrumental in supporting Mr. Gomez; thanks also to Indivisible activist Pamela Lopez, there with the Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalists, for observing and reporting on the courtroom proceedings. While incarcerated, Mr. Gomez met several other indigenous detainees who lacked access to counsel or information on their rights. You can remain informed about MICOP's efforts on his, and their, behalf by following MICOP at Mixteco.org, or on Facebook.
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Upcoming Issue Action Team Meetings
NEWS FROM THE ISSUE ACTION TEAMS
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Swing District/2018 Election
Just over 400 days remain until Election Day 2018, but the 2017 election season is already in full swing! Please join us on Sunday, September 24 at 10 a.m. to select the races in which Indivisible: Conejo will be involved this fall, and to establish our tactics. Planning phone banks, canvasses, and researching candidates: we are ready to roll! Our meeting will feature special guests Mary Anne van Zuyle, a candidate for the CVUSD School Board, who will offer a short presentation on "Lessons from Planning Your Campaign: How to Set Up a Campaign, Fundraise, Attract Volunteers, and Get Your Message Out"; and John Casselberry, Administrative Vice President of the Simi Valley Democratic Club, who will help us coordinate efforts in our adjacent swing district, Rep. Steve Knight's 25th.
The team is proud to report that Friday 9/15 saw the passage of SB54, "The California Values Act" (A/K/A Sanctuary State bill), a definite victory for the IR team. Plus, see the write-up above on our downtown rally on Tuesday, September 19.