Did you know a there are FIVE elections this year? Be a 2020 perfect voter and vote in every election.
Click the image to download.
Did you know a there are FIVE elections this year? Be a 2020 perfect voter and vote in every election.
Click the image to download.
2020 will be a very important election year. Do you want to help shape Bellingham and Whatcom County ballots, meet candidates, and learn more about local issues? We’re accepting applications for our endorsement committee and we are looking for additional people who can help support the committee
Fill out this form to tell us how you’d like to get involved!
Childcare and food will be provided for all meetings. We can also provide transportation, if needed. Accessibility details will be posted once we have meeting locations confirmed.
Other ways to help include: donating any amount of financial support to this worthy cause, coordinating food and/or providing food for meetings and interviews, assisting with childcare, providing tech support before, during or after interviews, captioning videos, calling candidates to schedule interviews. Want to help in a way that’s not listed? Tell us about it in the form!
Join us for our monthly casual hang out on Wednesday the 15th at 5:30 at Elizabeth Station. Come chat with board members about how to get involved in new committees Riveters Collective is forming for 2020, events and progressive actions, or feel free to just have a drink and enjoy the company of others trying to get stuff done in this crazy political moment.
We are honored to be tabling at the 22nd annual Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr Human Rights Conference on Saturday the 18th. Find us in the Syre Center Exhibition Hall and come say “Hi!” as you enjoy the sessions.
In the words of the organizers from Whatcom Human Rights Task Force:
“Now in its twenty-second year, the Conference provides a space for the community to come together and renew our commitment to the ideals that Dr. King held dear and believed deeply that this country could attain only by working together and acknowledging our shared history: ideals of equity, freedom, and self-determination. The Conference offers a rare opportunity for people of all ages and walks of life to share our stories, lift our voices to call out injustice, and take actions that will help make Dr. King’s ideals reality.”
Also on Saturday the 18th (it’s a busy day!), we are co-sponsoring the 2020 Womxn’s March along with Planned Parenthood and Indivisible Bellingham. We are happy to provide support to this worthy cause. This year we are marching for a myriad of issues that affect women, femes, and non-binary people, including reproductive rights, immigration, and climate change. Meet at the Bellingham Courthouse at 11:00 for speakers and then get marching. Want to volunteer? Sign up here.
In a recent poll completed by Riveters Collective seeking input on what areas the organization should focus on in the upcoming year, Climate Action was the top priority. Each month, Riveters Collective will highlight climate action mitigation policies and strategies that our endorsed elected officials are implementing in our communities.
Our first Focus on Climate Action is with Representative Sharon Shewmake. Representative Shewmake was elected in 2018 to serve in the 42nd Legislative District. Following are three policies related to climate that she plans to champion during the 2020 legislative session.
Natural Gas Leaks in Our Cities
Natural gas is a potent greenhouse gas. Even small leaks can add up to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the incentives utilities have to fix leaks encourage leaky infrastructure. Utilities are currently allowed to pass the costs of all the gas that leaks out of the pipes along to the ratepayers, unless the leak is likely to explode. We need to fix this for the environment and for rate-payers who shouldn’t be paying for gas they don’t get.
In partnership with the utilities, unions, and environmental community, Representative Shewmake is writing a bill that would change this. In short, it would mandate a cost-benefit analysis that would incorporate 1) the cost of the wasted gas, 2) the social cost of that carbon, and 3) the human safety-related costs of any leaky infrastructure. If 1+2+3 is a dollar figure larger than what the repair would cost, the utility would be required to fix the leak.
Representative Shewmake plans to introduce this bill for the first time in January. If passed, Washington would have the strongest policy in the nation to deal with fugitive emissions and she hopes other states would follow suit.
The “Sustainable Farms and Fields Act”
Farms don’t just produce food, they also have the potential to help us fight climate change by storing carbon. HB 2095 is a bi-partisan bill that Representative Shewmake helped develop that would pay farmers to sequester carbon and reduce fossil fuel use on farms. The idea is that we could have a local offset program where those looking to offset CO2, including the state government, could invest in carbon sequestration on farms. The Senate version of this bill made it pretty far through the process, but eventually got stalled. A few agricultural associations felt like they were insufficiently consulted during the bill’s development and asked that the House of Representatives step in to slow the process down. Representative Shewmakeis working on it over the rest of 2019.
This work is being funded by a “budget proviso” that Representative Shewmake wrote and got included in last year’s state budget.
She told us, “I’m really excited about this bill – I think it is a great policy both for our farmers and for our climate. My hope is that, together, the stakeholders will try to pass the new-and-improved “Sustainable Farms and Fields Act” in 2020!”
Tax Break for Electric Bikes
Representative Shewmake wrote a bill last year that would incentivize the purchase of electric bikes by setting up a tax break. It would get rid of the sales tax on the purchase of an electric bike, which can really add up! The idea is to decrease the barriers to adoption of electric bikes, which are a fantastic low-carbon alternative to cars.
Though the bill didn’t pass last year, the Governor’s office and other major stakeholders took notice and Representative Shewmake is having regular meetings with them about how we can move this innovative idea toward implementation in 2020!
Stay tuned for regular Focus on Climate Action updates from other elected leaders in our community.
To respond to acts of hate in Ferndale; to give voice to the pain, struggle, and resilience of minority populations; and to show each other that we are not alone.
To gather a like-minded Ferndale community in a safe space where experiences, concerns, and ideas can be shared openly and without criticism.
To generate next steps to share with the larger community that will counter hate, and that will promote a stronger, more resilient, and more caring Ferndale where we take actions that show we value unity, diversity, kindness, and inclusion.
We are grateful that so many neighbors came with open hearts and minds to learn from each other about how to create a more inclusive Ferndale community. People attending expressed that, in general, the above goals were met. The event was beyond capacity, and people shared openly and came up with ideas for next steps. Many attendees expressed that it felt like the beginning of something that should continue on to make countering hate an intentional, continuous process in Ferndale.
However, we did not reach our goal around providing a safe space for everyone. A silent incident unfolded that violated the safe space and caused immediate distress to one attendee in particular, and to others at their table. As events unfolded, more and more people became aware. There are some things we would do differently before, during, and after such an incident.
The event was well beyond capacity–about 100 in attendance, 25 outside listening through the open door, and another 30 or so turned away. The event began with an introduction denouncing hate, and calling on people to stand together and take positive action when incidents like the one in Ferndale occur. There were several strong speakers, representing diverse perspectives in Ferndale and Whatcom County. All spoke powerfully from their experiences. We then broke into small groups around three questions–what resonated from the speakers, when have we seen or experienced white supremacy in this county, and what next steps could people in Ferndale take to continue working towards a future that values unity and diversity. Discussion was frank and built community bonds.
About an hour into the meeting, while people were deeply engaged in small group work, Michael, a white person wearing American flag pants and a MAGA hat, who also indicated he was deaf, and his young child entered the event—This was despite a whole group of people talking with them outside, including an ASL interpreter, and telling him that they could not go in because it was beyond capacity.
Michael immediately sat down near the door next to Denyce, who is black and deaf. There was a mix of deaf and hearing people at the table. There was an ASL interpreter at the table. Michael immediately started making racist comments in ASL about black people and gun violence. At one point, he said black people were bad while he pointed to Denyce. This was very upsetting for her and she got up and left. The whole exchange was very fast paced and the interpreter could not keep up with what was said. The hearing folks at the table were not fully aware of what was being said. One of about 10 peacekeepers at the event then came in from outside and told the aggressor that he needed to leave. It was at that point that several board members became aware of the aggressor’s presence, due to the silent nature of what occurred. The aggressor was surrounded by peacekeepers and escorted outside and away from the door, with an interpreter in the group, and they went through deescalation with him.
Denyce came back in, eventually. She was understandably shaken, hurt, and angry. She and others at the table spoke up and told everyone what happened during the whole group share out. Event planners and peacekeepers realized at that point that we all had only parts of the story until Denyce and others filled in all the pieces. Of course, most people were shocked and saddened by what happened in what was meant to have been a safe space. The community of people present attempted to offer comfort to Denyce and console her.
We wish we had provided even more time for people to speak about and process what happened, and we feel we moved on in the discussion too quickly. We were all in shock. The incident made it even more obvious to all present, that there is a real need for continued and increased efforts to counter hate with love both locally, and across the County. We apologized profusely to Denyce and others, and met with all the affected individuals at that table at length, listening to feelings and feedback, and offering our support.
Our primary concern is for Denyce. We wish we could rewind time and prevent the harm. Since that is not possible, we have reached out to Denyce at the event and after, apologizing, offering support, and asking if she would like to have a voice here. Here is a response from Denyce.
Denyce asked us to convey that English is not her first language.
“Hello! My name is Denyce Acquah. My sign name is Denyce on my right heart area. The event is called Hate No Home Here. Umm, on Tuesday August 21st at evening in the Ferndale at library. Really what happen was last week Tuesday, ummm lady explain started group and white woman invite me to the table same where I was sit and I joined with them. The white in the group and explain to follow the question on the paper. People had turned until me. Michael joined with us and two people. Actually one person after me then I expand what my prefer which is Ashanti Monts-Treviska, white supremacist, racism, dismantle. Michael ask the question then Michael said white supremacist, black supremacist then put his finger at to point at me then black shooting, white shooting, black bad. I decided to leave. After meeting, I went to outside. I was cried and in the begin and I was ready to leave somehow.. A person in my way, barrier and try to hug me. I push that person away then the person still continue there and tried hug me again. I push away and I told that person I am leave then that person moved. I went to outside and I was cried and I told Xio what is the fuck there. Xio said come back inside. I was not really calm then that the person and group discussion, that person got turn then I am next turn, I said and told them where is need their help while Michael said, person watch, interpreter and them white don’t even intervention. All white and I am only one black. I don’t felt safe space. Once a person said and do the intervene and don’t wait until after.”
What did we learn from the event and the incident?
We learned that the small group discussions allowed people to get to know each other and share more freely until the event was disrupted. In the whole group share out, there were powerful personal examples shared, and strong ideas about how to move forward.
At the same time, there were several challenges. The first was that we learned we need to work with the deaf community to plan how to better prepare for disruptions and how to deal with this person in the future. We learned that the aggressor is well known in the deaf community for causing problems. The second challenge was around having more clearly defined roles for the peacekeepers, more practice, and more training for people helping—we have come up with a detailed response and plans for modifications in the future.
What did we do prior to the event to consider physical and emotional safety?
Despite having no indication the event might be disrupted, Riveters did our best to plan ahead to prevent any incident. We were aware that, nationally, peaceful events against hate sometimes experience counter protesters and other disruptions. Our event had been featured in several news outlets including The Bellingham Herald and on King5 News, which heightened the profile of the event, and therefore, the need to plan.
In order to prepare, we took numerous actions. We had several lengthy meetings around safety. We made a detailed safety plan which we all reviewed on the day of the event. We had yellow cards for people to hold up in the discussions if they began to feel concerned. We recruited several trained peacekeepers as well as observers from the lawyers guild. We closed one entrance and arranged sign-in tables outside the event so that people would need to pass through that area first, before entering.
We met with the police chief and lieutenant, before the event, and on the evening of the event we met with the officers themselves, in both instances this included asking them to be sensitive around our event to the fact that not all people feel safer when police are present. We had law enforcement on site, but at a distance, so that people who do not always feel safer around law enforcement officers would be more comfortable, and the officers would still be nearby in case we needed them.
We had another safety meeting just prior to the event, including board members, peacekeepers, and legal observers, and made sure we all understood the plan.
As the event itself began, we addressed with all those who were attending the event, briefly explaining our safety plan and a plan for what we would do if disrupted–attempt to get the person to leave, and if we could not, then disperse the event.
And yet, our detailed plan failed to prevent a person from entering and doing emotional harm. The fact that we were unable to prevent harm is something we are all still processing.
A final note
We believe the event met its purpose in that it helped unify many of the people of Ferndale and Whatcom County as they countered hate with love. We believe it was important that people took a stand and sent the clear message that white supremacy is unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged. We were heartened to see that so many attended and that people were planning to continue the work.
At the same time, we take full responsibility for our part in things not going as planned. We will continue to learn and grow from what happened. We will do our best to do better the next time we have a large public event.
We would like to offer sincere apologies to those harmed, most especially to Denyce, who was targeted.
We would like to share our appreciation of all the Ferndale and Whatcom County attendees who stood up against hate, and who will continue the work. We offer our deep gratitude for the commitment and dedication of the speakers, volunteers, library staff, peacekeepers, legal observers, police officers, and to the local businesses and community members who participated in speaking out against hate and spreading the message about the Not In Our Community event. Thank you to all who supported this event.
Riveters! Remember the awesome Riveters Pledge To Vote campaign you all helped make happen last year?? We engaged unheard, “low-propensity” voters- the voters who are responsible for our biggest wins of 2018. This year, WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN! Because this year’s elections are too important for us to sit by.
We are hiring paid canvassers for this election season. If you or someone you know is interested, please check out the job description and apply!
Earlier this summer, flyers appeared in Ferndale and Bellingham from a white nationalist group. The Riveters Collective stands together with people in our community who believe in the value of unity and diversity. In light of this recent visible escalation in overt white supremacist activity in Whatcom County, the Riveters Collective is hosting an evening of resilience, love, and inclusion in Ferndale. We invite the community to share experiences, concerns, and ideas. Let’s discuss ways we can promote a stronger, more caring community. We hope to share results from this meeting here.
Besides what the community brings forward, here are some good resources for fighting hate in all forms and showing that hate has no home here:
Not in Our Town
Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all.
Hollaback! is a global, people-powered movement to end harassment.
Southern Poverty Law Center
“Ten Ways to Fight Hate” community response guide.
Hate Has No Home Here
The Hate Has No Home Here Project promotes just and inclusive communities by encouraging neighbors to declare their homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship to be safe places where everyone is welcome and valued.
Why does Riveters Collective make endorsements?
Why does Riveters Collective endorse in the primary election?
How does being endorsed by Riveters Collective help candidates?
In which races does Riveters Collective make endorsements?
How are members of the endorsement committee selected?
How does the endorsement committee evaluate candidates?
How should candidates seek endorsement from Riveters Collective?
How does the endorsement committee decide what questions to ask candidates?
How does the endorsement committee decide which candidates to recommend for endorsement?
What about dual endorsements?
How is the final endorsement decision made?
Can an endorsement be revoked?