50 Ways-Rockbridge Agenda and Minutes

(This post will be updated as the reports from the subcommittees are received. Minutes are in italics.)

Tuesday, March. 21, 7:30pm

Lexington Community Center (300 Diamond St, next to LDMS)

  • Atin: Sign in by Issue. (30 secs). 
  • Atin: Hand out Voter registration form and postcards. (5 min for writing cards). We mailed off over 100 cards on Wednesday! Look for postcards at our next meeting! 
  • Atin: Donation basket next to Where’s Bob posters and Gerrymandering bumper stickers. Mention funds for our EDD strategy. (30 secs). We are accepting donations to help with financing things like bumper stickers, post cards, ads in papers. Thank you to everyone who pitched in! 
  • Stephanie: Our Facebook page – its access/security. (30 secs). Facebook is not a secure environment; we cannot keep trolls out, so if you have a serious issue to discuss, it’s best done through other channels.

Strategy talks:

  • Sydney: (2 mins)
    • Our central message about Cline and Goodlatte’s agendas.
    • Introduces our document that has our Issues Groups Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for organizing public events. This should be available at the next group meeting. 
  • Atin: speaking to press –  ask for spokesperson for each Issues Group. (1 min). 
  • Julie (5 min)
    • What is Indivisible. Here is the video: https://youtu.be/G4MR4FmNv24 
    • Why people are getting emails, what they can do to lessen it or how to delete emails. Click the follow button in the bottom right corner of the blog page and unfollow.
    • If sending email to other members, please introduce yourself. It’s a big group.

  • Ellen M: We are not Indivisible – we resist Trump, we are decentralized (big tent united against Trump, we are in this for the long haul, etc.) (2 min). 50 Ways-Rockbridge formed before the Indivisible guide came out. There are some key differences.
  • Bridget: What we have achieved so far – Yay, us! – and tips for not burning out. (2 min)
  • Atin: Reports from Issues Groups on MOST IMPORTANT ACTION ITEMS (1 min per group!). ( Stephanie W timer). 
    • Events Publicity: Elizabeth Sauder, Joe Watkins (3 mins) There is a new subcommittee for event publicity. They need graphic designers, people who want to help with social media, etc. Please contact Elizabeth or Joe if you’re interested. 
    • Climate Change/Environment:  Bridget Kelley-Dearing 
    • Consumer Protection:  Nathan Bowden 
    • Corruption/Conflicts of Interest:  David Millon 
    • County Unity:  Gail Sperka and Jane Harrington There will be a BIG announcement at the next meeting. 
    • Education:  Becky McKenzie

Education Subcommittee Update:

  1. One immediate action item: State HB 1605 is still on the governor’s desk. This bill allows for the creation of a voucher system in which parents can apply for taxpayer money to be used to educate their child in an educational system of their choice. Among other problems with this, money that should be used to support public education can be used to fund religious education. Please contact the governor’s office to encourage him to veto. His deadline to veto is midnight March 27.
  1. We encourage 50 Ways members to attend the school board meetings of the different school systems in the region to inform themselves on policy and financial issues. We will be posting meeting times on Facebook and the website.
  1. We also encourage people to write letters to the newspapers, school boards, and city and county governing bodies to express concerns about education.
  1. Carol Wheeler, former budget person for Rockbridge County Schools, will attend our next group meeting on Thursday April 6, 7 PM at the Stitchin’ Post. She will focus on how the state of VA determines allocation of dollars to school divisions. She will bring handouts focusing on Bath County, Buena Vista City, Lexington City, and Rockbridge County.
  • First Amendment:  Ann Olson
  • Gerrymandering:  Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl
  • Healthcare:  Sharon Kirk and Joan Robins
  • Immigrant Rights:  Kip Brooks

Immigration Subcommittee Update:

  • 50 Ways Calendar listings (upcoming events/meetings):
    • March 25 – 10am – 1pm, Roanoke, VA, organized by Roanoke Indivisible “All you need to know about immigration” at MCC of the Blue Ridge, 806 Jamison Road SE, 540-344-444
    • March 29, 1 – 3pm, Immigrant Defense Project webinar: “How to Give a Know Your Rights Presentation for Immigrants” https://www.immdefense.org/tttworkshop/
  • 50 Ways Update (on webpage)
    • The Alliance for International Exchange has organized a letter-writing campaign that makes it very easy for you to write to your representative. Click here to access a prewritten letter. It only takes a minute or two to send this letter to your representative in Congress BY MARCH 22.The Trump administration recently released its FY2018 budget, which calls for an unprecedented cut of 28 percent to the Department of State. While we don’t know by what amount, it is clear that the administration will soon propose steep cuts to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). If enacted into law, these cuts would greatly harm our nation’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy.I urge you to help protect these programs by joining a “Dear Colleague” letter led by Representative Hank Johnson. This letter calls for the highest possible funding level for exchange programs in FY2018. The deadline to join the letter is Wednesday, March 22.The State Department reports that 1 in 3 current world leaders participated in an exchange program to the United States.The more than one million international students who studied here in 2015-16 contributed over $32 billion dollars to our economy and supported over 400,000 jobs.

      I ask you to please join the Hank Johnson “Dear Colleague” letter in support of State Department exchange programs. The letter language is provided below. To add your name, please contact Oleg Svet in Rep. Hank Johnson’s office at 225-1605, oleg.svet@mail.house.gov.

  • Jobs and Training:  Atin Basu, Nathan Bowden, Stephanie Wilkinson
  • LGBTQIA+ Rights:  Andy Martin

LGBTQIA+ Subcommittee Update:

-About 20 members of group
-3 meetings
-Next meeting at 5:30p, April 4th, at Lexington Presbyterian
-Talking points have been formed but are still being researched. Religious exemptions talking points are in.
-John Vosburgh is writing an article about HB 2025 to the paper. This bill is expected to vetoed by the governor. It essentially will give tax-funded businesses the right to discrimate against the LGBTQIA+ community under the guise of religious freedom.
-I asked the group to send me any discriminatory legislation they see in other states. I want to get a chart going and possibly track major states to watch out for and how this all spreads.  Texas seems to be leading the “charge”.
  • Local Candidates:  Dusan Jancic
  • Outreach to student groups:  Emma Worth and Sophie Youngdahl
  • Racial Justice:  Maria Quillin
  • Women’s Rights:  Lulu West
  • Anyone else?

  • Chris will ask for someone to run as an Independent against Cline (free, have till June to sign up). He will stress the importance of having someone oppose Cline, and if lots of democrats vote in the primaries for the independent – may send Cline a message. (3 min)

  • Atin: Thursday, March 23, Rockbridge Democrats, Sam Rasoul (Roanoke Delegate). Beer and wine at 5:30 Dinner at 6:15 Remarks at 7. (30 secs)

  • Atin (1 min)
    • NEXT MEETING of the big 50 Ways-Rockbridge group is TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 7:30, LEX COMMUNITY CENTER. Creigh Deeds will attend (Stephanie will confirm Deeds attendance; Will ask that questions or topics for Creigh be sent to the 50 Ways gmail address).
    • Next one after that:  Tuesday, May 23, 7:30pm.

  • Atin Please feel free to stick around if you have questions for us about how the issues groups work OR website, e-mail, Fb (anything, really!). (1 min).

  • Adjourn.