Category Archives: Grass Roots Activist Groups

SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS: Proposed HUD policy change is Discriminatory

A proposed HUD policy change is more than it seems. And discriminatory. (from a local housing employee)

The whole story: Ben Carson has been prancing around the last couple weeks unveiling a new proposal that HUD evict all undocumented persons living in federally subsidized housing. On the surface, it looks pretty common sense and innocuous. The most frequent question I’ve seen in the comment sections on major news outlets has been, “why are we assisting them in the first place?” Great question. In federal housing (the only housing impacted by this proposal), ******* we aren’t ******. In fact, we haven’t been since 1981.

The current system: Families comprised of all undocumented immigrants are currently ineligible to receive assistance. Period. So, this rule only impacts families with a mix of immigrant statuses. Currently, families that are a blend of citizens and undocumented immigrants receive a “prorated” assistance. Everyone in the entire household has to report all of their income, but they only receive a percentage of the assistance based on how many people in the household are documented. Let’s say there’s a family of 4:1 person does not have papers and the other 3 do. They would get 75% of the assistance that a family in the exact same situation but with all citizens would receive. Another example: 2 people have papers and 2 people don’t? That’s only funding at 50%.

This proposed rule plans to do away entirely with prorated assistance. If the rule takes effect, families will have a limited time to provide documentation for everyone in the household. If they can’t, they’ll have to kick the undocumented person out or face eviction. (**This rule would apply to federal housing only.** not tax credit properties or properties run by non-profits/private organizations.)

What is that going to look like? It’s going to look like parents being less comfortable accessing help with housing for their children. It’s going to look like fewer low income grandmas (who are US citizens) being assisted because each household already receiving assistance gets the full amount of help. It’s going to look like citizens getting evicted from their homes because they can’t live without their breadwinner, and their breadwinner can’t live with them. It’s going to look like straight up discrimination because in certain states, the majority of the undocumented immigrants are people of color.

As a person who calculates these prorated rents, I get the temptation to just simplify the paperwork with an all or nothing policy. But doing real damage to fellow citizens for the sake of making my desk life easier will never be something I’m willing to support.

Comments are open on the federal register’s website on the proposal for the next month or so.
You know what to do: Submit your comments here


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June 1st: National Gun Violence Awareness Day

On National Gun Violence Awareness Day, June 1, Americans across the country will be wearing orange. It is a simple, but powerful, statement — and when we all act together, we can’t be ignored. On June 1st, our social networks, our monuments, and our communities will light up orange, standing together for a bright future free from gun violence.

Wear Orange:  Find an event near you.

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Support Al Otro Lado’s Vida Libre Bond Fund!

The Vida Libre Bond Fund is a revolving bond fund for asylum seekers, migrants and refugees being held in detention centers. Bail is often set well beyond the means of our clients, most of whom represent the most impoverished and vulnerable populations. Because they can’t pay bail, our clients are forced to wait in detention where essential medical care is inept, emotional, verbal and even sexual abuse occurs regularly, and access to legal counsel is severely limited. It’s a for-profit system designed to break the human spirit.

The Vida Libre Bond Fund will pay for our clients’ bail and offers one of the few ways that they can be restored a sense of dignity and autonomy, and fight for just immigration proceedings. We believe freedom is a basic human right and not a privilege only accessible to the wealthy. Once our clients meet all legal obligations in their final immigration hearing, their bond can be refunded, and that money goes back into the Vida Libre Bond Fund to help more people and families!

We would love if you could consider a recurring monthly donation, however we are grateful for any amount. Click on the link to donate and please share!

Loving shout out to Ashluka for designing this graphic for us!

Al Otro Lado is  a bi-national, non-profit organization, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico. The bulk of our services are immigration-related.


FACEBOOK:  @AlOtroLadoOrg

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Start Texting with Resistance Labs

It’s not too early to get involved.  You might even say it’s the best time!  People are throwing their hats into the ring for the 2020 race and when things heat up, you can be ready!

There are always issues coming up – with or without the 2020 race.

If you haven’t texted before, try it now.  It really is easy.  And Resistance Labs does everything they can to make it as easy as possible.

Click here to sign up for a shift and find out more.

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Volunteers Need for Women’s March Napa Valley

In preparation for the upcoming Anniversary March on Saturday, January 19th,  Women’s March Napa Valley needs your support as a volunteer for the following duties:  1) Safety & Security and 2) Chant Ringleaders.  Grab your friends and support the March!  For your service, you’ll receive a March Third Anniversary hat — yours to keep.

WMNV March - Security & SafetySafety & Security will handle:  Route Monitoring, Safety and Clean Up.  We need 30-40 Volunteers for this group.  Volunteer training will be: Tuesday January 15th,  5:30pm- 6:15pm, at WorkMix (950 Randolph St., downtown Napa).  Volunteers will provide a presence at the 5 intersections along 3rd St, with 2-3 volunteers on each side of each block.  To signup or ask questions, contact Ernie Weir, “Minister of Security” at

Chant Ringleaders will WMNV March Chanting & Singing with Melanie deMooremingle through the March and lead call⁄response chants. We need 20-30 enthusiastic Volunteers for this group.  Volunteer training will be  Wednesday, January 9th, from 5:30-7:00pm (two 45 minutes sessions)  at WorkMix (950 Randolph St., downtown Napa).    To signup or ask questions, contact Antonia, “Mistress of Ringleaders” at

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VOTE for California Assembly District Delegates

ALL Napa Democrats are invited to take part in the ADEM elections that will be held on Jan 13th.   Activists are vying for this delegate to the California Democratic Party position including 4 NCDCC members: Ricky Hurtado, Karen McNair, Esperanza Padilla, and G. Anthony Phillips.

ADEM delegates from the 80 California Assembly Districts make up 1/3rd of the delegates to the California Democratic Party convention. They are also eligible to be appointed on the subcommittees of the CDP.  These subcommittees include legislation, platform, resolutions, rules and several others. Your vote for Napa activists that will be on the ballot can help to direct the actions of these subcommittees and the CDP in general. Also, many of these delegates will be motivated to seek to be a delegate to the Democratic Party National Convention. With your vote Napa has the opportunity to insure they “are in the room where it happens”. (Thanks to Hamilton!)

AD4 election is 10 AM Jan 13 @ IBEW 180 and 10:30 AM @Veterans Memorial Center in Davis.

Our NCDCC candidates are part of a slate, the Rural Progressive Alliance for AD4. All RPA slate candidates would appreciate your vote. Please see their facebook page for more info on the slate candidates.

COME VOTE if you live in District 4 (if Bill Dodd is your California State Senator, you live in District 4).

Read more at the Event Listing.

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The #365 Hats Project: Crafting a message, one knitted hat at a time

Evy Warshawski The Arts Landscape: The #365 Hats Project: Crafting a message, one knitted hat at a time

Napa resident Evelyn Zlomke, a nurse educator by profession, is also an activist and an avid knitter since age 12. She’s knitted pink pussy hats for the past two Women’s Marches, as gifts for speakers and special guests including Rep. Mike Thompson, and taught others how to knit them as well.

After the last local Women’s March on Jan. 20, 2018, Zlomke came up with the “#365 Hats Project.” She decided to knit a hat a day until the third annual March, taking place in downtown Napa on Jan. 19.

“When it was first conceived,” she said, “I realized I could knit one hat in an hour, and that’s a commitment I could keep. Even if I get behind, I can get ahead.”

When I visited the Zlomke house a few weeks ago, 13 large boxes of completed hats, all with those familiar pussycat ears, were waiting to be unpacked and stacked on the dining room table for photographing. Only 19 were left to knit before the year-end deadline.

Except for size and pattern, based on the original pussy hat design, each hat is colorfully and thematically unique. (One size fits all suitable for men, women and children.) Slips of square white paper inside each are numbered and descriptive. Zlomke can recall her inspiration and yarn choices for each hat on sight.

I was privy to a preview of the combined contents of three full boxes and in awe of Zlomke’s creativity, knitting expertise (she uses from two to seven yarns at a time) and breadth of topic inclusion. Each day’s knitted hat, embodying complex, complementary-colored patterns, was been created “in honor of” or a “remembrance to.” There’s power in numbers here.

“I started out as prosaic, but got more political, depending upon what was happening in the news,” Zlomke said.

Subject matter drives the colors selected by Zlomke, who said she is grateful for multi-year donations of yarns from Yarns on First plus friends Terry Beck and Vicki Green. For example: purple denotes domestic violence; peace is green; orange signifies gun violence; blue evokes science, oceans and environmental action and consciousness. A deep red embodies women’s heart health and a nod to indigenous women who have, in Zlomke’s words, “never found justice.”

There are also hats that pay tribute to the 9/11 Memorial, Thanksgiving, mermaids, Halloween, the global climate summit action, Chanukah, the #MeToo movement and Betty Reid Soskin, a 96-year-old ranger with the National Park Service.

There are two upcoming opportunities to meet Zlomke and her hats.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Napa Main Library Community Room, all hats will be on display and available for adoption. This event is held in support of three nonprofits that focus on women’s issues: Napa Valley Women’s March, Northern California Planned Parenthood and Napa Valley Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. For information, email or call (707) 255-5370.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, at 9 a.m., Zlomke will be selling her hats to keep you warm at an outdoor table in the Sullivan Parking Lot, at 725 Coombs St., as part of Women’s March Napa Valley. All proceeds support Women’s March expenses. For information, visit

“Any hats left,” says Zlomke, “will be donated to Syrian refugees in Greece.”

After knitting 365 hats, Zlomke is contemplating her next project to use up leftover yarn.

“I may be knitting dolls, knitting for peace – a doll a day, who knows,” she said. “The dolls would be ‘comfort dolls’ for refugee kids in Central America. A lot of them have lost everything.”

“I started out as prosaic, but got more political, depending upon what was happening in the news.” Evelyn Zlomke, a nurse educator by profession, activist and avid knitter from Napa

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EJ Bradford was shot in the back trying to help people.

It’s a different day but the same painful story–police have murdered another Black person. This time it was 21-year old Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr. On Thanksgiving evening, the sounds of gunfire caused chaos at Riverchase Galleria, a shopping mall in Hoover, Alabama.1 An off-duty police officer wrongfully assumed EJ was the shooter and killed him.2 Not only is EJ’s family left distraught and without a son, but the family is not getting any clear answers from the Hoover Police Department about what happened. Right after the killing of EJ, Hoover Police Department Captain Gregg Rector said: “the man who fired was confronted by officers as he tried to flee.”3

Emantic Bradford Jr. did nothing wrong but Hoover police killed him anyway.

This is where the Hoover Police’s lies start to unravel: The day after the shooting, the police issued a statement saying “one of the officers encountered a suspect brandishing a pistol and shot him.”4 Then later that same day, the Hoover police issued another statement admitting that there’s evidence that EJ was not the shooter. The next week, police issued another statement saying, “With certainty, Mr. Bradford brandished a gun during the seconds following the gunshots.”5 Eventually, the police backtracked again and stated EJ wasn’t brandishing a gun at all–and autopsy reports confirmed he was shot in the back.6 The failure to hold police accountable is and has been killing us. For years, our communities fought back against the lies and damage police violence has caused, putting immense pressure on law enforcement leaders to better hold police accountable. And just recently, after Color Of Change members stood with the Dallas community and the family of Botham Jean, his killer Amber Guyger was finally charged with murder. When we stand up for justice, we can win–and that’s why we must continue this fight. While the investigation is in the hands of the state, it is still up the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office to file the charges. Right now, we must build up the pressure on newly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr to do the right thing and bring charges against the Hoover police officers who murdered EJ.

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr must turn his words into action: EJ deserves justice.

Jefferson County, Alabama District Attorney Danny Carr has become the first Black person elected to this position after beating 35-year incumbent Mike Anderton. But this new DA has already worked in the Jefferson County DA’s office since 2000, under Mike Anderton’s leadership. DA Carr has said that fairness and transparency are his top priorities — we must hold him accountable to his words. DA Carr still must prove he can do what’s right.

The police killing of Emantic Bradford Jr. is just another heartbreaking reminder that Black people are constantly seen as targets and threats in this country — even when making the sacrifice to protect others. Cops wield lethal weapons and openly hide behind their badges. But when Black people legally carry weapons, their right to bear arms is stripped away with the threat of death. According to EJ’s family, he likely had a gun with him as a form of protection. Alabama is one of 45 states that have an open-carry law.7 Yet police saw EJ as a threat and assumed he was the gunman. Just two weeks ago, Jemel Roberson, a Black father to a nine-month-old child, was killed by police while working as a security guard at a bar. He restrained an individual who pulled out a gun and began shooting. But instead of being acknowledged as a hero, police again assumed he was the assailant and killed Jemel with no warning.8

Right after the horrendous mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre said: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”9 But that is never the case when Black people step up to protect themselves, their communities and loved ones. We still remember the painful viral footage of Philando Castile’s death, who was outright shot and killed in front of his partner and daughter, during a traffic stop on July 6, 2016, in Minnesota. Philando notified the officer that he had a permit to carry. Philando was not dangerous or violent and yet in an instant, the cop ended his life. While mass shootings across the country in high schools, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores, and religious spaces continue to be perpetrated by white men, Black people are still deemed dangerous simply for being Black.

Demand District Attorney Danny Carr prosecute the killer cops.

Police officers continue to wreak havoc on the lives of Black people with no end in sight. In just this year alone roughly 876 people have been shot and killed by police.10 Of that, nearly 200 Black people have been killed by police.11 Very few officers are even prosecuted for killing Black people. Now EJ has been added to this horrific list. District Attorneys must step up their leadership in holding police officers accountable and stop letting cops get away with murder. Elected prosecutors remain the most influential role in law enforcement and criminal justice. The outcome of the investigation should be clear — charge these cops.

The Bradford family will now have to do the unthinkable in going forward with their lives without EJ. Ensuring the person who killed EJ is held accountable is just one step towards real justice.

Sign the petition: Justice for Emantic “EJ” Bradford.

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Take Action Before December 10th to Protect Working-Class Immigrant Families


There is Still Time to Make a Difference. 

This is urgent. You have until Monday, December 10th, 2018 to submit comments that can influence whether the proposed changes to public charge, which will have devastating consequences for low-income immigrants, will be thwarted.

If the proposed changes go into effect, immigrants could be denied green cards or permanent residency if an immigration officer thinks they might someday use government programs that offer essential healthcare, food security, and housing assistance. The proposed changes also make being a child, being elderly, or being low-income a negative weight on the public charge test. Creating a litmus test that gives preference to those with greater wealth is the antithesis of everything the United States stands for and is against our values.

The fact is that immigrants make enormous contributions to our country. Immigrants contribute more to the U.S. economy than they receive and play an important role in sustaining social security and the social safety net. The proposed changes to public charge will hurt not only immigrants but the United States as a whole.

The government must review all public comments before the changes can go into effect. Please help us fight back against these devastating proposed changes. Your comment will make a difference.

Submit Your Comment


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