Protest next Saturday @ noon in Westlake Village!
Conejo Valley Demands - #ImpeachTrump:
Act To Defend Democracy!
Saturday, June 15, noon-2 p.m.
The Promenade at Westlake
Thousand Oaks & Westlake Blvds., Westlake Village
Donald Trump's obstruction of justice and enthusiastic acceptance of Russia's help in the 2016 election, as detailed in the Mueller Report, demand immediate action from Congress! Bring a sign and your loudest voice, and join this nationwide Day of Action sponsored by Indivisible, MoveOn, and a coalition of progressive groups. The House of Representatives has the responsibility and authority to hold Trump accountable for these and other abuses of power. It's time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to exercise bold moral leadership and begin impeachment proceedings, so we can have the full, public inquiry we deserve -- instead of dangerous inaction that enables a racist, xenophobic and law-breaking president.
Watch the First Democratic Presidential Debates
With Indivisible: Conejo!
The inaugural 2020 Democratic presidential debates are coming up on June 26 & 27 -- and Indivisible: Conejo has your front-row seat (in front of the TV) for all the action! Many details about the debates are unknown at this point: which candidates will qualify, how the field will be divided between the two evenings, etc. But it's not too early to reserve your seat!
We're asking each attendee to chip in $5-$10 to offset the cost of pizza, drinks and munchies. Of course, you'll also be able to participate in our Pasta Poll and support your favorite candidate(s), before and after each debate! Please provide the name of anyone you plan to bring with you (up to 3 fellow activists) -- and you'll receive the address (a private home in Westlake Village) after you RSVP!
New First-Amendment Threats
Plague Local Government
McCoy Stirs a Toxic Church-State Stew
Even as advocates for free expression nationwide have been celebrating the demise of CVUSD trustee Sandee Everett's censorious core-literature policy in mid-May, evangelical pastor (and Thousand Oaks mayor) Rob McCoy has been plotting another skirmish in local extremists' war on the First Amendment. During the week before Memorial Day, McCoy and a collaborator convinced CVUSD administrators to allow the distribution of fliers promoting lectures by McCoy at his Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park -- orations that contain a mix of religious proselytizing and far-right revisionist history.
Over the last two years, McCoy has presented a series of what he calls "American Legacy" homilies at the church -- weeknight talks that spin webs of historical and civics-related inaccuracies to justify McCoy's Tea Party ideology and to undermine the bedrock constitutional principle separating Church and State.
This month McCoy is offering another set of these sermons in Godspeak's new home, the former YMCA in Dos Vientos. But this time he has added a "family" component targeting local students, advertising a Sunday School-like "Youth Leadership Academy" offered alongside his lectures. This "academy" apparently is being led by Michael Hernandez, a frequent writer of articles for the local right-wing website Citizens Journal and self-described director of a "community nonprofit serving youth and families" called History Makers International. (From the organization's website: "History Makers promotes free enterprise; the foundational principles established in the creation of the United States in 1776; a Judeo-Christian perspective; marriage and the family; healthy living and choices for all (including the unborn); the authority of Scriptures; a God-created Earth; new artists and musicians; cultural awareness; teamwork and the development of leaders—History Makers!")
None of this is illegal, or even inappropriate on its own -- churches and pastors have every right to host events and offer "information" to willing followers, no matter how misguided or deceptive. The problem comes with McCoy's use of his current status as Mayor of Thousand Oaks -- and the faculty of our secular public schools -- to attract students and their parents to his church for events that blend religiosity and (supposed) civics. Note in the pictured flier:
McCoy is always referred to as "Mayor," not "Pastor," leading the reader to a mistaken assumption about the role McCoy is playing in this "academy."
The flier promises an opportunity for students to "learn about faith, courage, American heroes and becoming moral leaders ... equipped for going out in culture!" This is a promise of indoctrination into a religious viewpoint, inappropriately linked to our city's mayoral position. (It also dovetails with McCoy's longtime work in the American Renewal Project, an organization devoted to recruiting right-wing clergy to run for public office and bring extremist politics to their pulpits.)
The flier promises attendees a "Certificate of Recognition from Thousand Oaks Mayor Rob McCoy" -- implying that the certificate will be awarded as an official part of McCoy's government duties, rather than in his role as Godspeak pastor.
Despite the disclaimer at the bottom of the flier, the request to distribute it at CVUSD schools -- and a district administrator's agreement to do so -- is an inappropriate use of public-school resources to promote religious activity. In fact, it skirts (if not outright violating) Board Policy 1325, which prohibits distribution of materials or advertisements that "contain prayer or proselytizing language."
Ever since McCoy's first run for public office in 2014, First Amendment advocates have been watching for evidence that he would mangle church-state separation while pursuing his vision of "bean patch politics" -- the idea that right-wing pastors should seek political change in their own backyards as part of a movement to impose supposed "Biblical values" on our nation. That evidence seems to be upon us, particularly now that McCoy can exploit his one-year turn in Thousand Oaks' rotating mayoral position. As McCoy nears a re-election year for his City Council seat in 2020, it is incumbent upon us to call out his inappropriate behavior whenever we see it, and to support an opponent who will restore actual American values to our city government.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Friday-Sunday, June 7-9
Friday, June 7, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and we encourage activists to Wear Orange all weekend -- in remembrance of victims, and in outrage at our government's refusal to do the bare minimum to protect its citizens.
Saturday, June 8, 6:30 p.m.
Newbury Park High School
456 N. Reino Road
A cast comprising professional actors, community members, and NPHS student activists will present a free staged reading of this collection of stories that speak to the heart of America’s gun debate.
CONEJO DEMOCRATS JUNE MEETING
Monday, June 10, 7 p.m.
North Ranch Center
1200 N. Westlake Blvd.
The Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley's monthly meeting features a presentation by Indivisible: Conejo's LGBTQ Rights Team leader, Celia Sandhya Daniels, on "Understanding the Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Spectrum, And Being a Compassionate Ally.” Celia will discuss the experiences of persons on that spectrum who deal with gender dysphoria, anxiety and depression, as well as discrimination. ALSO, introductory information on Conejo Valley Pride 2019 will be presented during the meeting.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCACY NIGHT
Friday, June 14, 7:30 p.m.
CVUUF Community Forum
3327 Old Conejo Road
The Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Community Forum hosts an evening of conversation and advocacy with Julie Mickelberry, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund. You'll hear the latest on the fight to stop the abortion bans, learn how California is leading the charge on reproductive healthcare policies, and find out what you can do to help flip the script on the way we talk about abortion.
BRADY CAMPAIGN MEETING
Thursday, June 20, 6:15 p.m.
Ventura County Community Foundation
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd.
During this quarterly meeting of the Ventura County Brady Campaign (and Indivisible: Conejo's Gun Violence Prevention team), Loren Leib from the San Fernando Valley Brady Campaign will discuss the public health effects of gun violence, and Detective Sean Filmore from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department will discuss the implementation of laws regarding Gun Violence Restraining Orders.
VENTURA COUNTY FAIR BOARD MEETING
Thursday, June 27, 9 a.m.
Derby Club, Ventura Co. Fairgrounds
The Fair board is expected to debate and vote on a new policy concerning future gun shows at the fairgrounds during this special meeting. Our advocacy is needed!
Save the Date -- And Join the Organizing Team!
CONEJO VALLEY PRIDE 2019
Saturday, September 28, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
T.O. Civic Arts Plaza,
The theme of the second annual Conejo Valley Pride event, #PrideUntilLiberation, reflects heightened ambitions for both the event itself and the local LGBTQ+ community. Last September's inaugural event drew more than 2,000 attendees while raising more than $30,000 in sponsorships and ticket sales. Conejo Valley Pride 2019 promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor, with more entertainment and activities for LGBTQ+ residents, families of all shapes, sizes and orientations, and allies of all ages. At its core, however, CVP seeks to promote visibility, community, pride, and – as this year’s theme indicates – liberation for LGBTQ+ Americans, as they struggle for equality and full participation in our nation’s life. If you'd like to volunteer to help make Conejo Valley Pride happen -- over the summer, and/or on the day of the event -- please let the organizers know using this form. Local businesses, food and merchandise vendors, nonprofit organizations, and individuals who wish to sponsor and/or participate in Conejo Valley Pride 2019 are encouraged to visit www.conejovalleypride.com and to follow Pride on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Activists Demand: #StopTheBans!
On Tuesday, May 21, about 150 protesters from the Conejo Valley and beyond converged on Westlake Village for Indivisible: Conejo's #StopTheBans protest -- part of a nationwide Day of Action decrying the far-right abortion bans being implemented across red states this spring. We spread across all four corners of the busy intersection at Westlake and Thousand Oaks boulevards, garnering a very enthusiastic response. We made a LOT of new friends, and a splendid (if righteously angry) time was had by all. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who came out!