I. PUERTAS ABIERTAS: On Wednesday of this past week, 3/15, Joyce, Liz, and I attended a meeting at Puertas Abiertas. This was a meeting of many of the local authorities and administrative personnel who have in interest in assisting Napa County residents with immigration issues and potential issues. The chiefs of the Napa City Police, California Highway Patrol, Napa County Sheriff, Calistoga, and St. Helena police departments were there as well as personnel from Napa County probation and juvenile services, Child Welfare Services, Puertas Abiertas, NVUSD, and Mentis (Liz!). It was very informative though it was not productive from a volunteer perspective. I would have liked to personally been able to volunteer for something! Those attending shared what was happening in their respective offices, and I took the following notes:
1. California Senate Bill 54 is working its way through the legislature which will essentially establish the State of California as a sanctuary state. (At least that is what they are calling the bill) I looked on-line and the bill had a committee vote last Friday; don’t know the outcome. I didn’t read the bill but the articles about it indicate that it is legislation prohibiting state and local law enforcement from using their resources in assisting federal authorities with immigration enforcement.
2. There is an Immigration Town Hall scheduled for April 18th with Bill Dodd from 6-8 p.m. at the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center.
3. The representative from Child Welfare Services gave a presentation about what happens to children whose parents are picked up by ICE. The woman did her best to allay concerns about such children entering the foster care system if such an event happened. She said that CWS has a “home” that the children are initially taken to which is a regular “safe” house. She said that CWS’ priority was to place any child whose parents have been detained by ICE with a family member or friend. There was talk about having parents who fear they may be detained sign powers of attorney and letters to assist with placing their children should they be detained, and also talk about obtaining assistance through the “probate court” with guardianships as necessary. From what was said, it was pretty clear to me that all concerned wanted the best for any such child but that this was very new territory and that their procedures were emerging.
4. One of the Napa County Sheriff’s was there (I didn’t catch his name), and explained his department’s policies in dealing with ICE as follows: the officers will not assist ICE; they have agreed with the ICE personnel from SF that ICE will notify the sheriff’s office through the Napa Central dispatch office when ICE is intending to come to Napa Valley, and ICE will let the sheriff know how many people they plan to pick up. They will not say who or where on their initial contact with dispatch. After the person or persons are removed and ICE has returned to SF, they will notify the sheriff again through Napa Central dispatch, informed the sheriff about who they removed, where the person(s) were picked up, the person(s)’ dates of birth, and also their A numbers (Alien numbers). The A number is important because that is how the person(s) whereabouts can be tracked by their family through the ICE system after they have been detained. He also said that schools, churches and hospitals are off limits for immigration removal, and that juveniles are not at risk of removal. The woman from Napa County probation said that CA law prohibits getting info from juvenile authorities without a court order, and she said that only happened once in the 14 years that she had been working at the County.
5. A woman representing the NVUSD said that her office has developed a resource kit for families with potential immigration issues.
6. Several people, including Joyce, spoke about the fear and anxiety the threat of detention is causing in Napa County.
Joyce & Liz, please add anything that I missed.
II. JON OSSOFF: I did the training to be a phone bank captain for Jon today and have received a packet of information to move forward. The election is 4/18 and I believe if Jon receives 50% of the vote on that date, he is the winner. If no one receives 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will have a run-off election in June. So this is high stakes situation. I would like to have a phone bank next weekend, 3/24 and/or 3/25. It would be very challenging to host it at my house for a variety of reasons, not the least of which there are many stairs, so I would prefer to find another location if possible. I might be able to host it at my employers’ office and will ask about that. If one of you can host it, please let me know. There is the library community room, I will also look into that. We might want to do it both days or have two shifts on one day. I am also going to contact the people I worked with on the Hillary campaign and see if any of them are interested. Please let me know your thoughts about this. The only equipment needed per volunteer is a cell phone and a tablet or laptop.
III. CIVIL RESISTANCE: Power to the People: I just happened to catch this amazing program on KQED radio on Thursday
night. This is the link: http://americaabroadmedia.org/radio/civil-resistance-power-people.
This was very informative and incredibly powerful. In particular, it featured a man named James Morris Lawson, Jr. who was a person who worked with the students in Nashville during the civil rights era. He said so many wise things but one thing in particular that struck me was about the “burden of change”. He trained the students to not react to the vicious words and treatment they were receiving, including being spit on and physical violence, because they all knew that if the students did react, they would be the ones punished and expelled, not the white students. I looked up Mr. Lawson on-line and you can actually watch a film of a training, and it will break your heart.
IV. NON-COMPLIANCE RESISTANCE. Another thing I learned from the CIVIL RESISTANCE: Power to the People, was confirming the effectiveness of non-compliance resistance, boycotting, etc. Apparently, the Russian Revolution began in just that way, with women refusing to buy bread. Related to this, I heard a news story this week about applications being made for federal contracts for work building the Wall. One of the people that was featured in this program was a guy in SF who made something (I missed what it was), had applied to get a federal contract, and he said he hoped he would be used as a subcontractor for the Wall. I think this is may be a great project for us, organizing a boycott of those individuals applying or getting contracts to build this waste-of-the-taxpayers money to the tune of $30 billion. Maybe the Napa Women’s March people might be interested in doing this as well? Just my thoughts.