Not in Our Community – Post Event Debrief

Event Goals

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.


Event Reflection

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. 


What happened? 

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 Collective


Not in Our Community!

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.

Tell Whatcom County Council to support ALL immigrant families

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.

Email addresses (use all email addresses below on your email, so that the email will be part of the public record, and will be sure to reach each individual Council Member in a timely manner):

Source: Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board:

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.

Additional Information:
Community to Community Development blog post, “Community Organizing in Response to the August 29, 2018 ICE Raid”:

Letter from the PHAB to the WCHB:

Copy of the Agenda Bill and attached materials from the PHAB regarding the request for support from County Council for families of immigrants in Whatcom County:

Local Actions to Support Separated Immigrant Families 7/26-8/19

July 23-29

Public Awareness Campaign: What’s at the end of the line?

Various light rail stations around Seattle

Contact NWDC Resistance for more info.

The fundamental inhumanity of the detention system has been highlighted over and over again in recent weeks, with thousands of people gathering nationwide to call for the abolition of ICE. Still, many people remain unaware that detention and deportation are happening right here right now – in Seattle, in SeaTac, in Tacoma. 
The SeaTac Prison is blocks away from Angle Lake station. We’re launching a public awareness campaign to make sure that every person who rides the light rail knows what’s happening at the end of the line. The week of July 23-29, we’ll be gathering at light rail stations to talk to riders about why all forms of detention need to end NOW.
Sponsored by Northwest Detention Center Resistance/Resistancia al NWDC


Thursday July 26

Domestic Workers Demand STOP to Zero Tolerance and Family Detention


1000 2nd Ave. Seattle

Domestic workers, house cleaners, parents, teachers and community leaders unite to denounce the inhumane mistreatment of children separated from their families by ICE because of the “Zero Humanity” and family detention policies implemented by the Trump administration. Many of us are immigrants and mothers. We know the pain and worry that occurs when we are separated from our own families. We can’t imagine what it would be like to raise our children in jail or to be forcefully separated from them. No child should experience this trauma, mistreatment, and fear. It’s our duty to denounce such treatment, and that’s exactly what we’ll do on July 26 when we rally outside the ICE offices in downtown Seattle. The rally will include special speakers Roy Sokale, Farin Houk, and Isabel Quijano, immigrant mothers and workers who demand an end to family separation.

Seattle will not be complicit! We invite any person opposed to family detention, separation of families, Zero Tolerance and all inhumane immigration policies to stand with us as we share our demand: STOP Zero Tolerance and family detention!

Sponsored by CASA Latina and WA Immigrant Solidarity Network/Red de Solidaridad de Inmigrantes en WA.


Sunday July 29

Solidarity Day at SeaTac Prison


Federal Detention Center, SeaTac

Hundreds of you joined us at SeaTac Federal Prison last month to oppose the detention of 200+ immigrant parents who were separated from their children at the border. The fundamental inhumanity of the detention system has been highlighted over and over again in recent weeks, with thousands of people gathering nationwide to call for the abolition of ICE. On July 29, we’ll be back at SeaTac to keep pushing for an end to all forms of detention. You’ll hear from formerly detained people and people with family in detention. Bring signs and come ready to shout!

Sponsored by Northwest Detention Center Resistance/Resistancia al NWDC.


Monday July 30

Summer Dignity Vigil-H2A Summer Edition


205 E Magnolia St, Bellingham

Every Monday during the summer, we are meeting at the WTA Bus Station on Railroad Ave. and Magnolia. This summer location is a meeting point for those who are looking to express their outrage: about the child separation issue, about injustice against farm workers, and about an absence of necessary protections for undocumented and immigrant folks.
Berry season is upon us in this berry center for the nation. Farm workers will be out in the fields doing the arduous and valuable labor of bringing that bounty to our tables. We will be out passing flyers and letting the summer downtown crowd know that laborer’s well-being and a farm worker’s life is worth more than a civil infraction ticket and a $36,500 fine. We will continue to stand in solidarity with undocumented and immigrant families and people. In addition, we come together to stand against law enforcement and federal immigration collaboration which leads to deportation.
We are not giving up on a true Sanctuary City Ordinance with civilian oversight and accountability built into it! 
We are showing up. Again and Again. Every Monday. And, City Hall? We’ll be back!
This event is held in an outdoor venue which is wheelchair accessible. 

Sponsored by Keep Bellingham Families Working.


Sunday August 5th

March Por La Dignitad/Farm Worker March for Dignity

5:15am- 5:00pm

Mom’s Bar & Grill 8874 Bender Rd

Lynden, WA- with shuttles available.
Join farm worker leaders from Community to Community (C2C) in an historic march in rural Whatcom County. The march starts in Lynden at sunrise , typical starting time in the fields for farmworkers.
Join us anytime between 5:15am and 5:30am at parking lot of Mom’s Bar and Grill for sunrise ceremony. There will be hot coffee and chorizo burritos, donations accepted.
We will be joined by the National Farm Worker Ministry and local Faith Community leaders as well as worker leaders from the National Food Chain Workers Alliance, WA State Labor Council, Re-sources for Sustainable Communities and leaders from the environmental movement.
We invite our friends, supporters and allies to accompany us. We will begin with a sunrise ceremony at Mom’s Bar and Grill, 8874 Bender Rd in Lynden and march from there. 
This will be a day long reflection on a day in the life of a farm worker; from the time they start work until their day ends. Walk with us on country roads that border Canada and acres of raspberry and blueberry fields where the fresh berries that are stocked on your grocery shelves are harvested. See the heart of the local agricultural economy and reflect on climate change, our local food system, community building and labor issues in Whatcom County from a farm worker perspective.
We will end at Camp Zapata with a vigil, food and celebration, speakers, and music. 
The entire march is 12 miles, the average number of hours a farm worker is in the fields during peak season – there will be 2 additional starting points for those that cannot start with us at 5:15 am – with shuttles available. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMING SOON
To Volunteer, donate funds or sign up for a potluck dish e-mail us at

Sponsored by Community to Community (C2C).


Sunday August 12

Monthly Solidarity Day


Northwest Detention Center 1623 E. J St. Tacoma

Last week, over 170 people detained at NWDC went on hunger strike to show solidarity with immigrant parents separated from their children at the border and to draw attention to the abysmal conditions under which they’re being held. During the most recent hunger strike, as always, we worked to amplify the voices of people in detention and pressured GEO to fulfill their demands. On August 12, we’ll be back at NWDC for our monthly solidarity day – showing folks inside and their loved ones outside that we’re with them until the system crumbles.

Sponsored by Northwest Detention Center Resistance.


Tuesday August 14

Cabaret of Evil: fundraiser for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project


Substation 645 NW 45th St. Seattle

This month’s Cabaret of Evil further seeks to undermine our illustrious local (and national) government ICE agents in their efforts to protect children by keeping them in cages, separated from their families and forbidden any human contact. Join Seattle Super Villainess Morgue Anne and her cabaret of Mischievous Miscreants as they raise money for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project the only way they know how – with a good old-fashioned strip tease. 

Sponsored by Seattle Super Villainess Morgue and the Mischievous Miscreants.


Wednesday August 15th

Kent Rapid Response Training

2:00pm -4:00pm

World Relief Seattle 841 Central Ave. N. Set C-106 Kent, WA

The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network is partnering with World Relief to host a rapid response training in Kent, WA on August 15th. Now more than ever, it is crucial for us to step up and defend our immigrant and refugee communities. The training will cover how to interact with ICE agents in the workplace and home. Additionally, individuals will learn how to document ICE activity, and be a part of a rapid response team. Join us to ensure you know your rights and can help protect your family and neighbors. All are welcome!

Sponsored by the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network & World Relief


Friday August 17th

Coming to Shore: A Fundraiser for KIND & ASAP.


Re-Bar Seattle 1114 Howell St. Seattle

Coming to Shore is a community-organized fundraiser by local artists, performers, activists, and volunteers coming together to help our immigrant neighbors in this time of crisis. Like many of you, we are angered and hurt by our government’s treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers. Separation and indefinite incarceration of families are wrong. Instead of shying away from the news, we want to do something to help!

Coming to Shore will feature sea & shore-themed burlesque performances and more to be announced. We will also have a silent auction featuring gift cards, items from your favorite local businesses and even more. 

100% of the proceeds from this fundraiser will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) ( & Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) ( Proceeds include sales from entry ticket sales, raffle tickets sales, and winning silent auction bids.
**If you have any questions or If you are a performer or if would like to donate something to our silent auction, please contact us with details at**

Sponsored by Re-Bar Seattle and various individuals


Sunday August 19th

Clínica Gratuita de Inmigración/ Free Immigration Clinic


Rainbow Center 2215 Pacific Ave. Tacoma WA

Know your rights. Family preparation. DACA renewal assistance. Free legal advice. No appointment needed. Families welcome. Email: Karen@Rainbowcntr.Org   Telephone: (253) 383-2978
Sponsored by Colectiva Legal del Pueblo and Tacoma Rainbow Center

June Immigration Actions


Local Level Actions

Regional Level Actions

National Level Actions




Immigration Ban

By Abhinaba Basu from Redmond, United States (Peace arch Canada-US border Uploaded by X-Weinzar) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

How to support our community

Pantsuit Bellingham members are seeking effective means of supporting members of our community affected by the immigration ban.  We are using this page as a clearinghouse for information on organizations and events supporting members of our community who are affected by the ban.  Submit constructive feedback or ideas in this Facebook thread.


29 January 2017 Emergency Rally Against Muslim Ban
Peace Arch Park

12 February 2017 Worker and Immigrant Solidarity March



ACLU of Washington 

CAIR Seattle

IRC Seattle





Step Three to Taking Action

Now you are informed and ready- time to act! Your best two tactics are your money and your time. Let’s talk $$.

Photo by Newton Free Library on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license

First, donations.

There are a bajillion organizations working to do good. Many run on donations. It can be hard to figure out who to donate to. What do you care about? Which organizations are legit? How much money? How often? What about local groups vs. national organizations?

Narrow it down
This might be difficult. Many of us care about all of it- the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, etc. Try picking your top three issues and start with those. Maybe even make a calendar where you focus on different issues each month or quarter.
This is a good list of ideas (check the comments, too):…

Find legitimate organizations
Charity Navigator is a great tool to help you decide who will use your donation effectively.

Every bit helps
If you only have a few bucks to spare and are wondering if it’s even worth donating that much, know that it DOES HELP. We are working on a scale of millions of people making donations. A buck or two adds up.

If you can swing an automatic monthly donation, go for it.

Think globally, act locally (and nationally and globally)
Don’t forget about your hometown organizations. You can often have the most impact with these small fish. Use our Civic Tithing tool to help find local organizations and set up monthly donations. Also, Charity Navigator has a rich search function, including a way to look for local charities:…


It’s also time to boycott

You can also make a difference with your everyday spending habits.

You can choose to spend your money at places that do not support Trump or his family’s businesses. Shannon Coulter started the #grabyourwallet boycott in late October. Here is the current list of business to boycott, scripts to use to tell them why you’re boycotting, and alternative businesses to use instead:

You can also sign up to participate in the Injustice Boycott, which began last December. This boycott is about preventing police brutality and racial injustice.
Do you know of any other current boycotts?

That’s your first action: donate and spend wisely. Next up, how to use your time to make a difference.

Missed step two? Read it here.

Ready for step four? Read it here.

Womxn’s Marches – Bellingham, Seattle, DC

We’re getting a lot of questions about the Women’s Marches.  Here are links to information for marches in Bellingham, Seattle and DC.

Womxn’s March on Washington – Bellingham

Event Information
Facebook page
Facebook event


Womxn’s March – Washington State – Seattle

Event Information
Facebook group
Facebook event

Our bus is full, and there are at least three buses departing from Bellingham for the march.  I will update this as I get new information.  If you don’t have a ticket and you want one, watch the Pantsuit Bellingham Facebook feed and then bus event closely, I have seen several posts selling tickets in the past couple of days.

If you purchased a bus ticket through Pantsuit Bellingham and Bellair Charters, your bus departure information:
Sunset Square Kmart parking lot at 7a.m. on 21 January 2017.
Join the Facebook Event for some pre-march pep-talking and organizing.

If you have a ticket for a bus chartered by Whatcom Democratic Women’s Club, event details can be found here:


Women’s March on Washington – D.C.

Event Information
Facebook page