50 Ways-Rockbridge  Meeting agenda and update notes

Tuesday, May 23, 7:30pm

  1. Welcome
    1. A minute of silence for the victim of the University of Maryland lynching and the victims of the Manchester bombing.
    2. Reminders: Postcards
    3. Reminder: Donation link and how to become sustaining member
    4. Reminder: People are welcome to belong to more than one Issues group
    5. Visit to Goodlatte’s Office Open Hours: 3rd Thursday
    6. How to get people to call, write letters to editors.Sign sheet or send ideas to 50waysrockbridge@gmail.com
  2. NAACP application forms
  3. Voter registration Initiative
    1. We will have a signup sheet in the back for anyone who wants to get training and then go to the Food Lion, Kroger, etc., and encourage, facilitate voter registration.
  4. We have adopted a code of conduct for protests and/or rallies:

    Code of Conduct:

Protests organized by or affiliated with 50 Ways-Rockbridge

  • Will aim at the edification of the community or remediation of present wrongs
  • Will be non-violent
  • Will avoid the destruction of property
  • Will not harass people who are not the focus of protest
  • Will make reasonable efforts to coordinate with local authorities


  1. Reports from ICs (3 minutes each)
    1. Events Publicity: Julie Knudson
      Subcommittees will now be responsible for handling the publicity for their own events. For a highly detailed list of possible publicity options, click here.
    2. Consumer Protection:  Nathan Bowden
      Look for future calls to action about the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and legislation about payday and title lenders; we’ll ask you to call your congressman.
    3. Corruption/Conflicts of Interest:  David Millon

      Updates and possible action item:

      1. the Russia Connection

      issue: possible collusion between Trump campaign and the Russians to influence the election

      Special Counsel Mueller is now leading the FBI investigation

      will investigate possible criminal violations – authority to initiate prosecution

      Mueller is former FBI director – excellent reputation for independence and integrity

      but may take two or three years – will we know what’s going on while we wait?

      hopefully the leaks will continue if public starts to lose interest

      Senate and House Intelligence Committees

      so far, Republicans seem to be cooperating and progress is being made

      Flynn is emerging as a possible key figure here – Senate Intel Committee has subpoenaed documents – Flynn has invoked Fifth Amendment – Committee can declare him in contempt and refer the matter to the full Senate – which could turn it over to a US Attorney for criminal charges

      2. possible obstruction of justice

      issue: Trump’s attempts to derail the FBI investigation into the Russia Connection

      we already have the firing of Comey – preceded by Trump’s efforts to pressure him into downplaying the FBI investigation – there could be more instances of this that we don’t know about yet

      Comey is scheduled to testify before Senate Intel Committee next week – will Mueller allow him to testify about his conversations with Trump?

      we learned yesterday that Trump tried to get the director of national intelligence (Coats) and head of the NSA (Rogers) to push back against the FBI investigation

      pattern seems to be emerging of Trump attempting to derail the FBI investigation into the Russia Connection – obstruction of justice is serious – does not require a finding of actual collusion with Russians – could potentially be grounds for impeachment

      3. conflicts of interests

      issue: Trump and his family are benefiting financially from his presidency

      Congress seems uninterested – but the Emoluments Clause lawsuit is still on-going

      4. possible action item

      how Congress reacts to Flynn’s refusal to comply with the subpoena will be an important litmus test – if it does not attempt to enforce the subpoena, this will call into question how serious it is

      if Congress doesn’t proceed against Flynn, we need to call our representatives and demand an independent, non-partisan commission like the 9/11 one

    4. County Unity:  Gail Sperka and Jane Harrington
      82 people showed up for the Trash Talk event earlier this month! The next event will take place in Kerr’s Creek. If anyone from the Kerr’s Creek area would like to help, send an email to 50WaysRockbridge@gmail.com and we’ll pass on the message.

    5. Education Committee:
      We’ve come up with a working mission statement to guide us in our current work. It reads:

      The mission of the 50 Ways Education Subgroup is to support and increase community awareness and involvement in local schools and school boards. This mission recognizes the authority of local school boards to decide K-12 public school purpose and operation.

      The action steps we are currently working on include:
      Strategizing different ways to partner with schools and school boards to increase communication between schools and citizens.
      Become informed and involved citizens regarding the November school board elections.
      Host a local forum for gubernatorial candidates focusing on education issues.

      With release of the De Vos / Trump budget, information will be distributed on the impact to education.

    6. Environment Committee:  Bridget Kelley-Dearing and Eli FishpawEarth Day celebrations and the Walk for Life Resilience will take place on Saturday, June 17. For more details, go to the 50 Ways-Rockbridge website calendar page.
    7. First Amendment:  Ann Olson
      The First Amendment group is continuing their work on behalf of Lexington and Rockbridge County’s immigrant community. Wallet-sized cards with the words of the First Amendment were passed out to 50 Ways members.
    8. Gerrymandering:  Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl
      Plans are being made for anti-gerrymandering events in August. Stay tuned for more details.
    9. Healthcare:  Sharon Kirk
      Sharon gave a recap of recent events held by the healthcare group. (Look for updates today with a CBO score on the AHCA!)
    10. Immigrant Rights:  Kip Brooks
      The immigrant rights group is taking orders for lawn signs (No matter where you’re from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.) The signs are $20. If you are interested, please send an email to 50WaysRockbridge@gmail.com
    11. Jobs and Training:  Atin Basu, Nathan Bowden, Stephanie Wilkinson
    12. LGBTQIA+ Rights:  Andy Martin

      -Encouragement of all people to go and talk with Cline about experiences you’ve had with the LGBTQIA+ community and how his legislation can affect this. (Applicable to all other legislation.)

      -Plug for June 3rd, Rockbridge Alliance and our involvement. This is also the event that will be the start of our gorilla artwork- showing pride. Cline will see all notes.

      -Webinar- meeting the other night with Equality VA board. Possibility of this being a series.

      -Map to track hate legislation is underway and should be ready within the first week.

      -Next school year we’re planning to watch Katie Couric’s Gender Revolution and have a discussion post.

      -We have talking points for Education and Religious Exemptions. We are working on talking points for Trans Rights, Healthcare, and Terminology. We are also developing a mission statement for our group.

    13. Local Candidates:  No updates

    14. Outreach to student groups:  No updates

    15. Racial Justice:  Reginald Early/Tinni Sen
      Reginald Early and Jacqueline from the NAACP were taking $30.00 dues in order to reestablish a local chapter. We need 50 members to get it off the ground, and 32 people signed up last night. If you’re interested in signing up, contact 50WaysRockbridge@gmail.com.

    16. Women’s Rights:  Lulu West

      The women’s rights group has branched off into helping other issues group such as education and LGBTQAI+, especially with title IX and VII. We have started trying to tackle the issues we have with how title IX is being upheld in our local school systems by beginning to organize an informational session that goes over both title IX and VII, giving a rundown of what each part of the legislation means and leads into a session mapping out how to take action.

NEXT MEETING of the big 50 Ways-Rockbridge group is  6/20, 7:30 pm at the Lylburn Downing Community Center