Defund the Police, Asylum rules, Investigate murder of Vanessa Guillén

10 mins read
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We’re still keeping a full calendar of remote events. Check https://indivisibleyolo.org/calendar/ for the most up-to-date information on actions and events you can join!

Last week our state senator Bill Dodd held a Virtual Town Hall on Justice in Policing. First, the good news: he’s announced his support for two bills we’ve been calling him about. Those are AB 1185, allowing counties to establish oversight boards to investigate sheriffs’ offices, and AB 2054, establishing a pilot grant program for community based responses to local emergencies as an alternative to having armed police sent to every situation.

The bad news: we’ve asked him to pledge to stop taking money from police unions and private prisons, and to donate the campaign contributions he’s already accepted. But he was clear that he will happily continue accepting these donations. That’s surprising, since the Rev. Dr. Dante Quick, one of Dodd’s invited panelists for the town hall, was quite critical of the role of money from law enforcement in shaping policy. Dodd insisted that he wasn’t influenced by the tens of thousands of dollars that law enforcement puts into his campaign every cycle. But just as one example, law enforcement organizations opposing prison sentencing reform donated to Dodd’s campaign, and he took their position by voting against SB136, a bill that removed sentencing “enhancements” for prior offenses. He should realize that accepting these donations sends a message to his constituents that he’s open to influence from law enforcement money at exactly the time we are trying to re-imagine public safety. If he won’t listen to the speaker at his own town hall, he needs to hear more from us!

We also have a variety of other actions this week:

  • Are you in Davis? Attend the Davis Police Accountability Commission Meeting and make a public comment Monday, July 6, 6:30 PM (link to details HERE)
  • Ask Rep. Garamendi to join the call for an independent investigation into the murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillén
  • Make a public comment on the proposed changes to US asylum rules that would make it nearly impossible to get asylum at all

Details on these actions, and call scripts for state Sen. Dodd and Rep. Garamendi are below.

Want some company making your calls to representatives? Join our Virtual Action Coffee Zoom meeting Monday mornings at 10 am: https://zoom.us/j/721847201. We’ll talk through Indivisible Yolo’s action of the week, call or email our representatives, talk politics, and stay connected to each other and the work in this challenging time.

And as always, you can find up-to-date events on our calendar at https://indivisibleyolo.org/calendar/.

Take care, and take action!

-The Indivisible Yolo Team

Phone bank volunteers call voters

Did you know Indivisible Yolo and Sister District – CA-3 have FOUR regularly scheduled weekly phone banks? Our Call Team has pairs of experienced phone bank hosts who can get you trained and comfortable talking to voters in your first session.
1. Sundays at 2pm with Betsy and Amy
2. Tuesdays at 3pm with Katherine and Tim
3. Wednesdays at 4pm with Scott and Steve
4. Saturdays at 10am with Kelly and special guests
https://indivisibleyolo.org/volunteercentercalendar/

Action: Tell State Sen. Dodd to stop taking money from law enforcement!

Sample script for State Sen. Bill Dodd:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY/ZIP CODE]. I’m upset that despite holding a town hall on Justice in Policing, Senator Dodd is still taking donations from police unions and private prisons. It sends exactly the wrong message at a time when when we’re demanding accountability from police and trying to re-imagine public safety. We know that law enforcement groups are fighting tooth and nail against changes, and that they’re pouring money into campaigns to try to buy influence. I can’t trust that Sen. Dodd will act in the public’s interest if he is so tone-deaf as to ignore his constituents and continue to accept the money law enforcement is using to buy influence and escape accountability. I’m asking Senator Dodd to PUBLICLY commit to stop taking campaign contributions from police unions and private prison companies, and to donate the money that has already been received to bail funds and mutual aid organizations.


Action: Tell Rep. Garamendi to join the call for an independent investigation of the murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillén

Sample script for Rep. Garamendi:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent from [CITY/ZIP CODE]. I’m calling Rep. Garamendi to urge him to join in the call for an independent investigation into the murder of Military Specialist Vanessa Guillén. This brutal act raises questions about the Army’s ability to prevent sexual harassment and assault and to keep military personnel safe. A full and thorough investigation is necessary both to provide justice and to examine and change the system that allowed this murder to occur.

Background:
A link to the letter Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Speier sent to Acting Department of Defense Inspector General Sean O’Donnell calling for an investigation can be found HERE

Action (Davis): Tell the Police Accountability Commission what changes you want to see!

Please join in the conversation and make a public comment on how to defund the police and reallocate that money to invest in public safety. At the Davis City Council meeting, we had over an hour and a half of public comments asking to defund the police and re-imagine how we think of public safety- but the council voted for the budget as it was and did not take the overwhelming amount of public input into account. We have to follow up, and this is our chance to tell the Police Accountability Commission what changes we want to see so they can pass our input on to the City Council. Our request was unambiguous-  we asked to cut the police budget and invest in other priorities instead. It seemed like a win/win proposition in this time of crisis while budgets are being cut due to the coronavirus pandemic, but astonishingly, this simple request was dismissed as “symbolic”. Apparently we need to ask again. Let’s tell the Commission, we’re serious about cutting the police budget and let them know what investments we want to make in the community instead.

Action: Make a public comment on the proposed asylum rule changes

  • Link for public comment on the rule HERE
  • A little more context HERE (via the Tahirih Justice Center)

The Trump administration is proposing asylum rule changes that would make it practically impossible to get asylum. Per the Tahirih Justice Center, “The rule threatens the safety of survivors of all types of human rights abuses, including gender-based violence such as rape, forced marriage, honor crimes, female genital mutilation/cutting, domestic violence, human trafficking, and punishment because of one’s sexual orientation/gender identity.”

It would also allow immigration judges to deny asylum without even a hearing, and would add other severe barriers to applicants: “By penalizing those without the resources to secure a visa, or expecting all applicants to travel by direct flight, or demanding that they forgo working to feed their families (asylum applicants must wait 150 days before they can seek employment authorization), the Trump administration is creating a system that is actively hostile to the lived realities of most asylum seekers.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/19/we-cannot-let-trump-administration-turn-this-countrys-back-asylum-seekers/
Please make a public comment against these proposed changes, which are so severe they would essentially end asylum.


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