NOPE! NEIGHBORS Meeting Minutes: May 2, 2017

We had a fun and productive meeting on Thursday night (April  27) - thank you to those people who attended!

Here’s a summary of the issues we discussed and the actions we plan to take. Do you want to join a workgroup for one of these topics? Or maybe you’d like to help organize one of our planned events or actions? Let us know by posting on the NOPE Neighbors Facebook page or emailing us at nopeneighbors@gmail.com.

Issues & Options

For each of the following topics, a member of NOPE described the basic issues to help us frame options for addressing the topic and discuss specific actions that NOPE can take.

HandsOff DC. Kathy Stein started us off by describing the issues surrounding DC’s home rule. We all know that DC does not have representation in Congress. In addition, Congress can interfere in DC home rule because it reviews all legislation passed by the DC Council before it can become law and retains authority over the District's budget. The House Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Representative Jason Chaffetz, is eager to overturn, weaken, or de-fund many DC laws. Chaffetz has announced he is not running for reelection in 2018, but other Republicans will take his place. The Americans for Self-Rule PAC is collecting donations to help them protect and promote DC self-rule, especially related to our death with dignity, gun safety, reproductive rights, recreational marijuana, and school voucher laws. One of the PAC’s main goals had been to support a Congressional candidate running against Chaffetz in the 2018 election. The PAC is reassessing this approach since Chaffetz is no longer running for reelection. NOPE will continue to monitor the PAC’s activities to see how we can support them. In the meantime, we can help by hosting a American for Self-Rule PAC House Party fundraiser.

Flip from Red to Blue. The key to long-term success will be electing progressive candidates at the local, state, and federal levels. This involves canvassing, advising our family and friends about whom to support in their states, and donating to campaigns. It also requires developing a comprehensive redistricting strategy for 2021, when states will redraw their Congressional and state legislative lines. As Jane Sargus described, many organizations are working to filter information about how to accomplish these goals and to disseminate this information to the public. She is following local and state races through groups such as Democracy for America (http://www.democracyforamerica.com/) and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (http://www.dlcc.org/). We will post her recommendations on the NOPE FB page. At the state level, NOPE will focus on supporting races in nearby Virginia.

Immigration.  Jeanne Engel briefly described the range of organizations that provide immigration services in our area (including Takoma Park Mobilization, Casa de Maryland and La Clinica Del Pueblo, Refugees International, and Council on American-Islamic Relations - CAIR). She suggests volunteering with DC and Montgomery County organizations that are helping young immigrants in the area. Identity serves Latino youth and their families who live in high-poverty areas of Montgomery County and who are most at-risk for poor academic and economic life outcomes (https://identity-youth.org/). The Latin American Youth Center offers programs and services to DC, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County youth in academics, arts and recreation, job readiness and safe housing.

The Environment and Climate Change. The People’s Climate March was Saturday, April 29th - the 100th day of the Trump presidency. One of his acts during these first days was to nominate Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. As directed by Trump, Pruitt has sought to overturn the Waters of the U.S. regulation and the Clean Power Plan. And on the night before the Climate March, he dismantled most of the EPA climate change website (see www.epa.gov/climatechange). Joanna Pratt has been working with the People’s Climate Movement (https://peoplesclimate.org/live/)  to support the climate march (e.g., six of us handed out flyers about the March at Metro stations) and will continue to gather information on how NOPE can support climate initiatives, attend rallies and marches for environmental issues, and participate in phone calling campaigns.

Rapid Response Network.  Ellen Witman shared insights about how to best advocate on federal issues. As DC residents without representation and MD residents with a delegation of Democrats our goal is to share information in a timely fashion with friends and family who live outside our blue bubble and can have an impact with calls, visits, and faxes. We’ve been taking our lead from Indivisble and pushing information out via FB to our Networks on the big fights - Gorsuch (a loss) and the ACA (a win).  We’ll continue to do that and share tools that keep become available to better target our efforts.     

Upcoming actions

We are planning the following activities for this spring and summer:

  1. Order Hate has No Home Here signs, and sell them through the NOPE FB page and Chevy Chase listserv. Email  nopeneighbors@gmail.com  if you would like a sign.
  2. Sponsor a bystander training class to learn skills for nonviolently interrupting hate, intolerance, intimidation and harassment. This could be a particularly useful skill at marches and rallies. Check out Swamp Revolt’s website for more detailed information on what this entails: https://swamprevolt.wordpress.com/.
  3. Hold two phone banks (on May 11 and June 8) for Jon Ossoff, who is the Democratic candidate in the June 20 special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.  As of today he’s leading very narrowly in the polls - 48% to 47% with 5% undecided. This will be very close and every little bit of effort will make a difference.
  4. Hold a fundraising house party for the Americans for Self Rule PAC , whose goal is to protect the democratic will of DC residents from Congressional overreach and promote the District’s right to independent, democratic self-governance. (http://www.americansforselfrule.org/)
  5. Host one or more Dining for Democracy events to raise money for specified VA state candidates. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1327744873928781/)
  6. Canvass in VA for state legislative candidates.

Upcoming events

Thurs., May 11, Phone bank for Jon Ossoff in CC, DC.  Send an email for details

Wed, May 24,  Immigration forum with  Identity and Latin American Youth Center. Send an email for details

Sat., June 3, March for Truth (Trump & Russia)

Thurs., June 8, Phone bank for Jon Ossoff in CC, DC, send an email for details

Sat., June 10, Pride March