UPDATE:All Postcards Are Claimed!!! Nearly 200 members of our community stepped up and committed to write a total of 10,000 personalized postcards to voters in the 42nd LD. We’ve just started delivering postcards
Here’s how you can still help:
DONATE! Postage is expensive, and we are still a ways away from having enough funds to pay for this project.
Still want to write postcards, and help re-elect Representative Sharon Shewmake and elect Alicia Rule to the Washington House of Representatives? Their campaigns are doing their own personalized postcard campaign! Email them to sign up.
Sign up below to help us sort 10,000 postcards (no easy task!) on Oct. 4 before we put them in the mail. This will be a socially distanced, masked, outdoor event. We will contact you with more details TBD.
PENS OUT! TEXTING FINGERS READY! In 2020, we’re winning in Washington’s 42nd Legislative District by reaching out voter-to-voter and WE NEED YOU! Sign up to volunteer below, and donate here.
WHO: YOU and 42nd LD voters
WHAT:DONATE (we need $10,000) AND/OR volunteer (we need 250 volunteers!) to “adopt” a batch of voters. You’ll provide information about their ballot and the voting process by writing postcards, and making phone calls and sending text messages using our online tool (training provided! you can do it!). (Email Sharon & Alicia’s campaigns to sign up for their own postcard writing project.)
WHEN:Donate now, write postcards to your voters in September, make phone calls and send text messages in October through Election Day, Nov 3!
WHY: To re-elect Representative Sharon Shewmake, elect Alicia Rule to the Washington House of Representatives, elect Christine Grant to the Whatcom Public Utility District, and increase voter turnout for many more candidates and ballot measures. Handwritten postcards WORK. Warm contacts WORK. We do what works.
While Bellingham turned out to express outrage at the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, it’s disappointing that Bellingham Police still lacks a permanent citizen community-led oversight body with a lead role in police accountability.
Instead, the Bellingham Police Department displayed the “blue lives matter” insignia — both desecrating the US flag and implying an alliance with reactionary and white nationalist groups – until the morning of May 31st.
While we appreciate Chief Doll’s willingness to listen the community and find a more inclusive way to honor those who have died serving Bellingham, we still need an independent civilian review board for true accountability.
Take action and demand that Black Lives Matter in Bellingham: contact Mayor Seth Fleetwood MayorsOffice@cob.org and/or (360) 778-8100and Police Chief David Doll at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or (360) 778-8600 to make your voice heard.
Feel free to use or modify the draft below.
Mayor Fleetwood and Chief Doll,
Recent weeks have been filled with devastating news: on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, police continue to kill black people.
The most recent death to receive national attention is the police killing of George Floyd as an officer knelt on his neck as he lay handcuffed in a Minneapolis street saying “I can’t breathe.” Mr. Floyd’s last words echo the words of Eric Garner in 2014 when he was killed by the NYPD and understandably provoked a community that never saw justice in the 2016 Minnesota police killing of Philando Castile witnessed and recorded by his partner.
While I am heartened by Chief Doll’s facebook post joining the chorus of law enforcement leaders across the US recognizing the excessive and unnecessary force in the death of Mr. Floyd and his swift action in removing the “Thin Blue Line” insignia from police department signage when community members raised fears about its association with white supremacist groups, we are still concerned about accountability regarding Bellingham Police Department use of force occurrences.
We appreciate the department’s de-escalation training as well as Chief Doll’s reassurances that the Bellingham Police Department reviews officer use of force at multiple levels, all the examples of review you cite are internal. True transparency and accountability require citizen participation, not only internal review. Body cameras and sharing statistics monthly and a start but without external oversight, these depend entirely upon the honesty and commitment of leaders. As I think we all recognize, not every leader is honest or committed to justice. This is why Bellingham must have a permanent community-led oversight body that is independent of the police department and fully empowered to investigate complaints and serious injury at the hands of police.
Many people find it difficult to report police misconduct to the police, especially for those of us who are visible minorities or who have witnessed or experienced less than professional conduct from law enforcement in the past. I hope we all recognize that visible minority members of our community – including but not limited to Black people, First Nations people and LGTQ people – have had [our/their] safety and freedom compromised by systems of oppression that discourage them from interacting with law enforcement.
Moreover, a permanent community-led oversight body could benefit not only an individual reporting potential misconduct, but also the larger community, the police department, and even elected officials. Potential benefits include:
Complainants are given a place to voice concerns outside of the law enforcement agency.
Oversight can help hold the police or sheriff’s department accountable for officer’s actions.
Oversight agencies can help improve the quality of the department’s internal investigations of alleged misconduct.
The community at large can be reassured that discipline is being imposed when appropriate, while also increasing the transparency of the disciplinary process.
When the oversight agency confirms a complainant’s allegation(s), complainants may feel validated. Similarly, when the oversight agency exonerates the officer, the officer may feel vindicated.
Oversight agencies can help improve community relations by fostering communication between the community and police agency.
Oversight agencies can help reduce public concern about high profile incidents.
Oversight agencies can help increase the public’s understanding of law enforcement policies and procedures.
Oversight agencies can improve department policies and procedures. Policy recommendations can prevent issues by identifying areas of concern and subsequently offering options to improve policing.
Oversight agencies can assist a jurisdiction in liability management and reduce the likelihood of costly litigation by identifying problems and proposing corrective measures before a lawsuit is filed.
By establishing an oversight system, public officials are provided the opportunity to demonstrate their desire for increased police accountability and the need to eliminate misconduct. i
Respectfully, I ask that you both uphold the mission of the Bellingham Police Department, “Committed to Community.” by establishing a permanent community-led oversight body for the Bellingham Police Department with a lead role in police accountability that includes communities who are disproportionally incarcerated.
Take Action: Write to Whatcom County Council Members to support the recommendations of the Public Health Advisory Board to the Whatcom County Health Board to support of immigrant families of all statuses.
Feel free to provide any expertise or experiences you have regarding the negative impacts on immigrants or our greater community resulting from the harassment, apprehension, detention, and/or deportation of immigrants.
The council will likely take up the PHAB request at their November 20th meeting, so write your emails before then.
Background: The Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) met in early October 2018 to review health and safety impacts which recent detentions of undocumented workers are having on immigrants of all statuses and on our community. They also talked about the potential impacts proposed changes to the “public charge” rule (in other words, the Department of Homeland Security seeking to reshape how the federal government defines “public charge”) would have on immigrants and our county.
On November 7, 2018 Public Health Director Regina Delahunt came before the Whatcom County Council Public Works and Health Committee meeting with a request for Council support for immigrant families in Whatcom County. An October 25, 2018 letter had been sent from the Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) to the Whatcom County Health Board (WCHB) outlining recommendations for creating a resolution and task force focused on support systems and services for families of immigrants of all statuses affected by detention and deportation. The letter also recommended that the WCHB submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security and letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives opposing changes to the “public charge” rule.
Earlier this summer, Councilmember Roxanne Murphy announced her resignation from the Bellingham City Council. This initiated an appointment process to fill the vacancy. The council will meet on Monday, October 1st to hear from the applicants and vote to appoint an interim council member who will serve out the remainder of the term, ending November 2019.
The Riveters Collective has, with input from a number of community groups, crafted a 10-question questionnaire as a way to collectively get to know the applicants. We are sharing the responses we received so that you can:
Learn more about the applicants and their positions.
Evaluate how well each applicant aligns with our platform.
Email the Bellingham City Council and urge them to vote for the candidate you think would best represent you. You must do this before 6:00 pm Monday, Oct 1st.
Please note that we did not receive questionnaire responses from all applicants. It was difficult to share our questionnaire with all applicants because the city removed the contact info from their applications before posting them online. Click here to view the 12 responses we received.
You can view more information about all of the applicants, including those who did not complete our questionnaire, by going here and viewing the “special meeting packet”, linked in the Final Candidate Applications section.
Email contacts for Bellingham City Council (use individual emails AND group email for best results).
The Riveters Collective is doing it! We have ONE goal for the 2018 campaign season: FLIP THE 42nd DISTRICT by increasing voter turnout with a proven strategy.
Pledge-to-Vote Campaign to Flip the 42nd LD
We will go door to door to ask low turnout voters to pledge to vote. They fill out a postcard promising to vote, we mail it back to them so it arrives with their ballot. The front of the postcard recommends voting for RC-endorsed candidates (Pinky Vargas, Sharon Shewmake, Justin Boneau, Eric Richey and Carol Frazey), initiatives (Yes On 1631, No on I-1634, and Yes on 1639) and the Bellingham Home Fund. Research has shown that pledge to vote campaigns are more effective than traditional get out the vote strategies, and no other local campaign is targeting infrequent voters. Our goal is to turn out 2,000-3,000 votes that would not have otherwise been cast. Our postcard will include our voting recommendations so that these votes go to our candidates.
Riveters Collective is the only organization doing this work in the 42nd. These are votes that otherwise wouldn’t show up in this election and they could be the difference between winning or having Doug Ericksen (and Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven) back in Olympia. This will bring the turnout we need to win. We expect to spend $21k on printing, postage and staffing for this effort.
Thanks to Becky Kurle at Liet Unlimited for design work. We now have tens of thousands of these beauties on hand.
***UPDATE: When we initially published this post, we had two goals, the second being to prompt the PDC to clarify that childcare is an allowable campaign expense. Since we planned our campaign season activities, the PDC added this to their guidelines! Given that this goal is now met, we will focus entirely on flipping the 42nd district.***
If you are a constituent in the 42nd district and you are still blocked, please send us an email.
17 July 2018 Senator Doug Ericksen PO Box 748 Ferndale, WA 98248
Dear Senator Ericksen,
You are violating the First Amendment rights of your constituents by blocking them from your social media pages. As detailed in the letter you received from the ACLU in late 2017, deleting comments and blocking constituents on social media is a form of government censorship that violates the First Amendment.
We, your constituents named below, ask you to open your social media forums to all constituents and discontinue your practice of silencing those presenting opinions or facts that are inconvenient to your propaganda. If any constituent is still blocked from your social media forums on August 1st or thereafter, you will elevate this matter to legal action.
Riveters Collective, and your constituents named below.
Description: Contact Bellingham City Council Members and Mayor Linville this month and ask that officials act swiftly to, along with other measures to provide accountability, create a civilian oversight board to ensure that law enforcement is employing necessary measures to ensure that community members who are immigrants, those who do not have documented U.S citizenship, or people of color are not persecuted and/or discriminated against in our community.
Immigrants in our own community are suffering persecution by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigrants rights advocate, Maru Mora-Villalpando is just one example of a person without documented U.S. citizenship who was targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation and now must show up to hearing after hearing in an effort to remain here in this country and to not have to suffer incarceration when she has committed no criminal offense.
In February 2017 the Bellingham City Council pushed aside the Keep Bellingham Families Working ordinance and replaced it with an ordinance created by the Bellingham City Council with the help of City staff and legal counsel. There were missing components of accountability in that ordinance, such as the civilian oversight board, or enforcement measures that could be employed should city employees be found to have collaborated with ICE agents. These missing measures are similar in intent to ones that are now being adopted and employed by Washington’s Department of Licensing after Governor Inslee’s executive order did not offer needed provisions to prevent the contact information of nearly 1000 undocumented immigrants being handed over from DOL to ICE.
Well over a year later, despite many requests for action, and 67 weeks of Dignity Vigils demonstrating public demand for the City to adopt these accountability measures, the Mayor and City Council Members still have not created a civilian oversight board nor have they adopted other accountability measures.
Demands For Bellingham City Council Members and Mayor Linville
My name is_____________________. I live in Ward__________, and I vote!
I have read the information by immigrant community leaders and am seriously concerned that the ordinance you passed is not creating a safe and secure city. In short, Bellingham is not a sanctuary city and does not protect all our community members.
I’m asking that you immediately act and change the ordinance to include the following:
-A Civilian Oversight Board as described in the ordinance provided to you by the community – an administrative or advisory committee without enforcement powers is unsatisfactory.
-Stop all activity or cooperation by Bellingham Police officers related to Secure Communities, the 287(g) program and any other collaboration without judicial warrants or court orders.
Text of Citizen oversight chapter of Keep Bellingham Families Working Ordinance:
“CHAPTER 11: CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT BOARD
“A civilian oversight board will be formed in order to review and enforce the requirements of this Ordinance by the time the Ordinance is effective. Five (5) persons will serve be [sic] on this board for a term of three (3) years. The mayor, Latino Advocacy, the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, Community to Community, and Northwest Youth Services may each appoint one person to serve on the board. A civilian oversight board is a crucial component to build trust with the community, establish transparency, and ensure enforcement of the Ordinance.”
Attend the Chinga La Migra Tour Kick-Off: Noise Demo at NWDC on Monday, June 4th and Follow NWDC Resistance/Resistencia on Facebook
Source: NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC and Mijente
Description: From the Facebook event description: “On June 4, Mijente will partner with NWDC Resistance to launch a multi-city #ChingaLaMigra tour here in Washington, the so-called sanctuary state and bastion of progressivism where Homeland Security Investigations continues to collaborate with local law enforcement and where 1,575 people are caged on a hazardous superfund site at Tacoma’s immigration prison. Come help us kick off the tour with a noise demo outside the Northwest Detention Center. Bring your pots and pans! Bring you musical instruments! Bring your signs that say Chinga La Migra!! Melt, Dismantle, #ResistICE!!
We’re not just here to demand real sanctuary. We’re here to demand freedom to move and freedom to stay for all people. We’re here to demand an end to ICE and an end to deportation. We won’t stop until we shut it down!”
Background: The Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, WA is one of the largest immigration prisons in the country, with a capacity to hold up to 1575 immigrants. People end up in the detention center after being transferred from local law enforcement custody, after immigration raids, and after being transferred from the border regions. Up to 200 people, mostly women, many of whom are seeking asylum, are transferred from the US-Mexico border to the NWDC each month. Many held at the NWDC have lived in the US for years, in some cases for the majority of their lives. While some are deported after only weeks, due to mandatory detention policies, some are held for months and sometimes years awaiting the outcomes of their deportation cases. Few legal protections apply to these civil detainees, and those held are not entitled to an attorney at government expense; approximately 90% of them move forward in their cases unrepresented. The NWDC is operated by GEO Group, the second-largest private prison operator in the US.
Call WA state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and demand he investigate wafla, the largest farm labor contracting business in WA.
Call WA Governor Jay Inslee and demand that he form a special task force to investigate the impact of the H2A program on farmworker families and our state economy.
Call WA Dept. of Labor and Industries Director Joel Sacks and demand that L&I reopen the investigation in the death last summer of Honesto Silva Ibarra.
The federal H2A guestworker program is deeply flawed and leaves the workers vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Last August in Sumas, an H2A guestworker named Honesto Silva Ibarra died due to complications related to diabetes and long hours in extremely hot, smoke-infested fields. His diabetes was exacerbated by extreme dehydration and low food rations provided while working and living in Sarbanand Farms’ company-owned barrack housing, a prison camp-like setting. Honesto’s fellow farm workers, working under the H2A program, protested the working conditions and were fired by Sarbanand Farms. On February 1, 2018 the Dept. of Labor and Industries (L&I) found the farm not negligent in the death of Honesto. This, in spite of the farm managers denying him his request to get health care for several days until he collapsed. L&I found that Sarbanand Farms had committed 13 violations last summer related to depriving farm workers of rest breaks and serving their meals late. L&I had chosen to fine Sarbanand for just one of those missed rest breaks and one of those late meals.
Corporations like California-based Sarbanand Farms, growing berries in Whatcom County, with the help of Dan Fazio and wafla, are leading this dangerous shift in Washington State. Fazio is the Executive Director of a farm labor contracting firm now modernized to also act as a WA-based corporate grower lobby association and rebranded as wafla. Wafla is actively campaigning to support the expansion of the H2A guestworker program into H2C (see more about this in national actions below), lobbying for the removal of worker protections and providing further incentive to similar employer associations. Their membership is calling their elected officials in support of this legislation. Wafla made $8,191,969 this last fiscal year, compared to $150,180 only three years ago. Wafla profits off of this modern-day slave trading program: their income rises as they contract more and more H2A guestworkers in Washington, California, and more recently Idaho. This market will only expand with the proposed legislation. Unsurprisingly, there is no language in the proposed bills that would regulate employer association organizations such as wafla.
Contact info and suggested scripts
Call WA state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (360) 753-6200
“Hi, my name is ________ and I live in __________. I’m calling to ask your office to investigate farm labor contracting firm wafla. Wafla has a history of abusing workers’ rights and with their expansion in recent years under continued limited regulation and oversight, I’m concerned about their operating practices. Please keep me informed of your progress on this matter. My email address is _____________.”
Call WA Governor Jay Inslee (360) 902-4111
“Hi, my name is _________ and I live in___________. I’m calling to demand the governor form a special task force to investigate the impact of the H2A program on farmworker families and our state economy. Last year, an H2A farmworker died in my community. That is unacceptable and we cannot allow the conditions that led to his death to continue. Please keep me informed of your progress on this matter. My email address is __________________.”
Call WA Dept. of Labor and Industries Director Joel Sacks (360) 902-5584
“Hi, my name is _________ and I live in ___________. I’m calling to demand that L&I reopen the investigation in the death last summer of Honesto Silva Ibarra at Sarbanand Farms in Sumas. The results of the completed investigation do not do justice to the fact that a guestworker died. Please reopen the investigation immediately and keep me informed of the progress. My email address is ___________.”
Use 5calls.org to quickly and easily call your representative and senators to use their oversight authority over the Department of Homeland Security to stop separating families at the border.
At a law enforcement conference in Arizona, AG Jeff Sessions declared that the Department of Justice would seek “100% prosecution” of all who enter the U.S. illegally and separate parents from children instead of keeping them in a detention center together. “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” Homeland Security is cruelly separating families at the border for no legitimate reason. Immigration authorities have separated at least 700 children from their families, and about a hundred of them are under the age of four.
Background: The Departments of Labor, Agriculture, State, and Homeland Security are coordinating a dangerous attack on immigrants and our food system under the guise of ‘streamlining and improving’ the H2A guestworker visa program — by expanding and rebranding it as the H2C guestworker visa program. On October 25, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee passed Representative Goodlatte’s “Agricultural Guestworker Act” (AGA), HR 4092. The AGA was then included in a broader anti-immigrant bill, introduced by Goodlatte in January 2018: the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018,” HR 4760. This bill is one of possibly multiple immigration bills the House of Representatives is planning to vote on in June. ‘Streamlining and improving’ is a euphemism for deregulation. If passed, this proposed legislation would:
Extend the use of the exploitative guestworker program (which is currently limited to temporary and seasonal jobs) throughout our entire food system: from farms and ranches to packing houses and processing plants, and from seasonal crops to year-round dairy cows and poultry farms.
Deprive local farmworkers of jobs by reducing employers’ local recruitment obligations even further.
Limit guestworkers’ access to judicial and legal assistance, while minimizing government oversight of the guestworker program.
Create new levels of discriminatory bureaucracy and dysfunction, such as withholding 10% of guestworkers’ wages until they meet a complicated series of requirements, and eliminating the requirement that employers provide housing or travel-expense reimbursement.
This bill does not provide a path to citizenship for the current experienced, undocumented farmworkers or their family members. Instead, it is an attack on family-based immigration, reducing immigrant workers in the food system to individual commodities to be imported and exported cheaply for the profit of agribusiness.
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene: WA (360) 416-7879, DC (202) 225-6311 Congressman Rick Larsen: WA (360) 733-4500, DC (202) 225-2605
“Hi, my name is ___________ and I live in _________________. I am calling to ask you to vote no on HR 4760 Securing America’s Future Act of 2018. This act would remove the already meager protections for guestworkers and make them even more vulnerable to exploitation. If anything, we need to eliminate the current H2A visa program and start over, not degregulate it even further. Please let me know how you vote on this resolution. My email address is _________.”
Online discussions LIVE NOW. We decided to host these in a Facebook event within the Riveters Collective group. If you’re not a member, you can join the group here. We are intentionally setting this up in a very controlled environment to protect the participation of people of color, and people who lack other kinds of privilege. As we learned at the Let’s Talk event, we all have privilege, some of us have more than others, and we become better accomplices through deep listening to stories. As Gerry said, through Aloha.
Traditional, in-person book club group. This group will be capped at 12 participants and is being facilitated by an RC volunteer. Email us for more info.
Get the book
Get 15% off when you buy the book at Village Books and tell them you are a part of the “Let’s Talk” book group. Or, check out a copy from the Bellingham Public Library.
We haven’t finalized the timeline yet, but we intend to begin reading soon. For now just get yourself a copy of the book.