TX21Indivisible Action Alert for 2/21/17

We all know from living the Indivisible Guide how effective it is for citizens to lobby their Members of Congress. We are excited that, just seven weeks into our existence, we have three Action groups up and running in all three cities in our district where our Rep. Lamar Smith has offices: Austin, San Antonio, and Kerrville.

It’s an incredible boon to our group to have the leadership, critical mass, and momentum to organize action in the Hill Country. In case you hadn’t heard, a grassroots rally with 37 participants at Rep. Smith’s office last Thursday in Kerrville landed on the front page of the Kerrville Daily Times. The Hill Country is an area where Rep. Smith feels comfortable and safe from criticism. He needs to know that there are Hill Country constituents who are not satisfied with his leadership or policy decisions in Washington. Now that we’ve made a big splash in Kerrville, it’s time to turn that energy into repeatable waves of action, with regular visits to Rep. Smith’s Kerrville office. Read on for your Action.

Action for TX21Indivisible members living in the Texas Hill Country:

Please join your Hill Country-based Action organizers, Laura Pipkin-Kramer and Terry Casparis, in your inaugural Tuesday Action on Tuesday, February 21, at 9am. Read full details and RSVP for Kerrville action here.

Action for TX21Indivisible members in the San Antonio area:

Your Tuesday Action will also be on Tuesday, February 21, at 9am, led by Trish Florence. Read full details and RSVP for San Antonio action here.

Action for TX21Indivisible members in the Austin area:

Your Tuesday action will be led by Tom Lindsay on Tuesday, February 21, at 10:20am. Meet in the office building lobby, ground floor on the north side.

Save the date:

Please make plans to attend the town hall that TX21Indivisible is hosting for Lamar Smith:
Saturday, February 25, 2017
5:00-7:30pm
Historic Scoot Inn
1308 E. 4th Street
Austin TX 78702

More details to come.

Save another date:

IndivisibleATX Citywide Gathering
Sunday, March 5, 2017
2-5pm
Details TBA but what we know is here.

TX21 Indivisible Visits Lamar Smith’s SA Office, Makes MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show

February 2, 2017 – Members of TX21 Indivisible, along with Indivisible groups nationally, continue to push their representatives to hear the rising chorus of voices demanding transparency and accountability from their elected officials.

As featured on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:

TX21 Indivisible members visited and protested in front of U.S. Representative Lamar Smith’s San Antonio office on Tuesday, yet again demanding the Representative visit his district to meet with constituents. This visit, on the same day that thousands turned out in Austin in support of Texas Muslim Capitol Day, turns a spotlight on a rising progressive movement within Texas and across the country, to resist the Trump agenda and protect democratic values.

Twenty-five concerned citizens broke into two groups to alternately visit Mike Asmus, Lamar Smith’s District Director, while the other group remained outside protest on the access road. Jeanie Valenzuela, who led the delegation, explained “this was the second week in a row we met with [Asmus] asking the same questions” about when Smith will visit the district and getting the same answer that “there are no planned town halls in the foreseeable future.” Asmus assured the group he was passing their concerns on to the Representative but would not comment on whether he had received any response. The group insisted that Smith “is not serving as our representative in Washington if he doesn’t come back to hear what we think.”

In addition to demanding Smith return to his district to meet with constituents, TX21 Indivisible members expressed their extreme disappointment with cabinet confirmations and their opposition to Affordable Care Act repeal without a suitable replacement in place. Valenzuela says the group will be back next week, with an even better turnout, asking the same questions and holding Smith to account: “We need Lamar to stand up for the people, and for the morals of the country. He needs to come home and talk to us. He can’t keep hiding. We’ll keep going back until we get answers”

Article contributed by Claire Barnett – a TX21 Indivisible member

Pressure is Building ~a TX21 Indivisible Story

san-antonio-river-walk

San Antonio is not known as a city of protests. Perhaps this is because it is one of the most diverse cities in Texas and the Nation. I could quote statistics and cultural breakdowns, but hey, that’s what Google is for. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, such as our Tex-Mex style Fiesta, The Greek Funstival, one of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. parades in the nation, and the Chinese New Year celebration, which testifies to our diversity. Many different cultures – all getting along for the most part.

But times have changed. The long march toward absolute rule of the United States government by the Republican Party, culminating in the election of Donald Trump, has motivated the people of San Antonio like few events ever have.

For example, while cities across America experienced riots during the civil rights and Vietnam War protests, only a few hundred concerned citizens in San Antonio risked a misdemeanor ticket for congregating on the grass at Breckenridge Park. And about a thousand people marched down Commerce Street, then went back to having picnics on the grass at Breckenridge Park. Some parents did take measures to protect their children from the draft, but only a few. In fact the event that caused the most uproar in recent memory was the decision to build McAllister Freeway, aka 281, through Olmos Park. Several people chained themselves to bulldozers and delayed construction for a few days. It was good video for TV news, good ink and photos for the papers – there were two then – and dramatic audio for radio. In short, protests have been pretty rare. Until now.

tx21-fb-cover

As of this writing, more than 1800 people have registered with TX21 INDIVISIBLE in Texas’ 21st congressional district. As a percentage of population, having this many people taking action in the Alamo City is . . . not normal. It’s unique, historical, unprecedented. Accurate descriptions, yes, and in danger of becoming cliched from over-use, as the ineptitude of governing demonstrated by the Republican Party is revealed day by day.

As a result of the continuing group visits to the offices of Congressman Lamar Smith, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Ted Cruz, senior staffers are now coming out to face the activists.  Pressure is building. The District directors are probably marking their calendars in anticipation of the Tuesday event. This is not a one time phenomenon.

People are united in their civic duty like few other times in our Nation’s history. Every week sees an increase in activity in San Antonio.  Every visitor relates how they are individually impacted by the quirky way our government is being run.

Healthcare? Denied. Science? Denied. Clean air? Denied.  Drinking water? Denied. Majority rule? Denied. Our government as profit for the privileged few? Accepted.

The threat to the American form and style of government demonstrated by this Republican Administration has provoked a large and growing contingent of San Antonio citizens into action. They show no signs of going away.

You could say, “As San Antonio goes, so goes the Nation”.

Article contributed by Edgar Pace, a TX21 Indivisible member

What TX21 Indivisible Means to Me

tx21-fb-cover 

My name is Jeanie Valenzuela, and you may have seen me on the TX21 Indivisible Facebook page, ran into me at Lamar Smith’s, Ted Cruz’s, or John Cornyn’s office, or shared your stories with me on Twitter.  I wanted to take a minute to applaud everyone who is on the ground fighting this administration, and to also let you know why I’m right there with all of you.

First of all, I am a United States citizen.  A United States citizen who is just as horrified as you are by what has happened to our country since November 8, 2016.

Secondly, I am a proud Independent Texas citizen who is represented by at least 7 government officials who stand for everything I am against.

Third, I am a registered voter who cast my vote proudly in November for a candidate who not only won the popular vote, but because of an antiquated system, does not sit in the White House today.

fullsizerender

Fourth, I am a constituent of the before mentioned 7 government officials who are completely ignoring my opinions, my requests; my absolute presence in this state.

And finally, after 44 years with my head in the sand, I am now wide awake, and an activist. 

img_4251

I am an activist who takes 2-8 hours out of my day 5 days a week to do everything I can to stop this illegitimate President from destroying our country.  I am talking to, emailing, calling, writing, and standing in front of anyone who will listen and telling them to stop being pawns and stand up for our country and her values. 

img_4640     img_4593

I am part of TX21 Indivisible and her 1800+ members who are working just as hard, or even harder than I am, to grow our grassroots movement to a size that even the illegitimate President cannot ignore.

So, when you ask me what TX21 Indivisible means to me it’s this.  Everything. 

 What does TX21 Indivisible mean to you?  Please comment below.

Action Items for Week of 1/30/17

Monday January 30:  Calls against the Immigration Ban- 

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. Further, it suspends entry of all refugees for the next 120 days and stops the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely. “Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims” reports the New York Times.

Refugees who have already completed the long vetting process and prepared for travel have been told they can’t come. Student, scientists, engineers and family members who are legal permanent residents of the US but were abroad on Friday are now finding they cannot return home. This ban hurts the most vulnerable in the world and damages our vibrant multicultural communities across the country.

Call our Senators:
John Cornyn R-TX  Washington, D.C.:  202-224-2934  Austin: 512-469-6034  San Antonio: 210-224-7485
Ted Cruz R-TX  Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-5922  Austin: (512) 916-5834  San Antonio:  (210) 340-2885

Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling to tell [Senator] that our community does not support Trump’s Muslim ban, and we expect him to take an immediate stand against this unjust executive order.

[Optional: add anything else you’d like here]

Thank you for your time.

 

Tuesday January 31:  Affordable Care Act

Oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Senate Republicans are wasting no time and already taking steps to repeal The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. By repealing the ACA with no replacement legislation, millions of Americans will lose their health care coverage, community health clinics will lose funding and be shuttered, and the lack new legislations could create instability and chaos in the healthcare insurance industry. Tell your Senator that repeal without replacement is irresponsible and wrong.  #ShowUsTheBill

Call our Senators:
John Cornyn R-TX  Washington, D.C.:  202-224-2934  Austin: 512-469-6034  San Antonio: 210-224-7485
Ted Cruz R-TX  Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-5922  Austin: (512) 916-5834  San Antonio:  (210) 340-2885

Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling to tell [Senator’s Name] that I strongly oppose repealing The Affordable Care Act without suitable replacement legislation. The ACA has helped millions of Americans gain access to health coverage, including my friends and family.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here, especially if you have a story about how the ACA has helped you, your family or friends]

Please tell [Senator’s Name] not to support repeal without replacement.

Thank you for your time.

 

San Antonio Lamar Smith office visit:  We will be meeting at 9am at Jim’s Restaurant (Loop 410 and Broadway) to discuss and plan our visit to his office at 11am.  At 10:45am we will meet outside of Lamar Smith’s office at 1100 NE Loop 410 for pictures before heading inside to suite 640 at 11am.  This will be week 3 of our demands to support the ACA, and to come back to his district and meet with his constituents.

 

Wednesday February 1:  Trump’s cabinet pick Jeff Session, and Stand Up to Trump’s False Claims o Voter Fraud

Voter Fraud:  Trump is calling for a “massive investigation” into the nonexistent “illegals” who cast votes in November. He and his surrogates have gone on to say that this illusory voter fraud happens mainly in “inner cities” and that’s where they will focus their attention. This is yet more not-so-subtle racist rhetoric from a man and an administration that automatically assumes any areas, like large cities, with high minority populations must be full of criminals.

Not only will this investigation find nothing – as every other voter fraud investigation has – it will waste money and resources that should be focused on uncovering the truth behind Russia’s hacking of the DNC and interference in the 2016 presidential election.

At the state level, this investigation will be used as fuel by Republican legislators to enact even more and harsher voter ID laws restricting Americans’ constitutionally mandated right to vote. These laws are targeted at the young, poor, and minorities – all groups who tend to vote Democratic – in an attempt to suppress turnout. More than one Republican lawmaker has said that voter ID laws will directly help them and their candidates win by keeping legally-eligible voters from the polls.

Call Lamar Smith R-TX-  Washington, D.C. 202-225-4236  Austin: 512-912-7508  San Antonio:  210-821-5024  Kerrville:  830-896-0154

Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling today because I’m worried about Trump’s call for an investigation into supposed voter fraud in the presidential election. There is zero evidence for his claims, but his rhetoric is undermining Americans’ trust in their electoral system, laying the groundwork for unnecessary and restrictive voter ID laws.

Can you please tell Representative Smith that I expect him to publicly stand up for all Americans and call for an end to Trump’s baseless attack on our right to vote.

Thank you for your time.

Prevent the Confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Senator Jeff Sessions was denied a Federal Judgeship by the Senate 30 years ago due to allegations of racism. He career has been defined by his lack support for immigration reform, rejection of marriage equality and civil liberties for the LGBTQ community, and believing the Constitution does not require a separation of Church and State. Sessions will not serve in the interests of all Americans and should not be confirmed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on the conformation of Sessions on January 24th, but it was pushed back to Tuesday January 31st. Now is the time to call your members of congress and demand they reject Sessions for Attorney General.

Call our Senators:
John Cornyn R-TX  Washington, D.C.:  202-224-2934  Austin: 512-469-6034  San Antonio: 210-224-7485
Ted Cruz R-TX  Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-5922  Austin: (512) 916-5834  San Antonio:  (210) 340-2885

Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

May I ask how [Senator’s Name] will be voting?

[If NO for Confirmation]: Please tell the Senator thank you for listening to their constituents. Have a good day.

[If YES for Confirmation]: Senator Sessions has a long history of allegations of racism, does not support equal rights for the LGBTQ community, and has not enforced the Voting Rights Act. He will not protect all of the people of the United States. I urge the Senator to reconsider their position and reject the confirmation. I will remember [Senator’s Name] stance in the next election.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here]

Thank you for your time.

 

Thursday February 2:  Trump’s cabinet pick Betsy Devos-

Oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

Billionaire Betsy DeVos, one of Trump’s major donors, is a long-time advocate for school voucher programs. These programs take taxpayer money away from the public school system and place it into the hands of for-profit private and religious schools. She has no experience as an educator and has never worked in a classroom. Teachers unions do not support her, as they see her as an attack on the public educational system.

DeVos’ readiness for the job of Secretary of Education came under question after her committee hearing on January 17th, where she demonstrated a lack of understanding of basic educational policy. Additionally, paperwork filed last week by DeVos to the Office of Governmental Ethics show concern for financial conflicts of interest, which forced the committee vote to be delayed until January 31st.

Call our Senators:
John Cornyn R-TX  Washington, D.C.:  202-224-2934  Austin: 512-469-6034  San Antonio: 210-224-7485
Ted Cruz R-TX  Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-5922  Austin: (512) 916-5834  San Antonio:  (210) 340-2885
Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a concerned constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling to express my deep opposition to the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

May I ask how [Senator’s Name] will be voting?

[If NO for Confirmation]: Please tell the Senator thank you for listening to their constituents. Have a good day.

[If YES for Confirmation]: Betsy DeVos has no experience in the public school system she would be overseeing. I urge the Senator to reconsider their position and reject DeVos’ confirmation. I will remember [Senator’s Name] stance in the next election.

[Optional: add anything else you wish to say here, if you have children mention how this would affect you]

Thank you for your time.

 

Friday February 3:  Building the Texas/Mexico border wall-

Say NO to a Border Wall

Trump is setting the tone for the next 4 years by making good on his most inflammatory promises, to build a wall along the border with Mexico and violate the sovereignty of cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries for millions of immigrants from all backgrounds and circumstances. The Wall is a symbol of racist rhetoric, drawing from failed draconian immigration laws, while also footing taxpayers with a bill that could cost nearly three times what the GOP claims. In addition, complications are expected to ensue based on the president’s past history of failed construction, violated contracts and bankruptcy.

Additionally, Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, canceled a scheduled trip to meet with Trump citing outrage of the proposed construction of a border wall while reconfirming Mexico will not pay it. Mexico is a critical ally for the US, and the creation of this serious rift is not in our best interests.

Call Lamar Smith R-TX-  Washington, D.C. 202-225-4236  Austin: 512-912-7508  San Antonio:  210-821-5024  Kerrville:  830-896-0154

Call our Senators:
John Cornyn R-TX  Washington, D.C.:  202-224-2934  Austin: 512-469-6034  San Antonio: 210-224-7485
Ted Cruz R-TX  Washington, D.C.: (202) 224-5922  Austin: (512) 916-5834  San Antonio:  (210) 340-2885
Your script:

Hi, my name is [Name] and I’m a constituent from [City, TX, Zip].

I’m calling today because I’m concerned by Trump’s dangerous executive order to build a wall along our Mexican border. The wall is a logistical nightmare that would waste billions of taxpayer dollars better spent on healthcare, education or other infrastructure projects to keep American families safe.

[Optional: add any other comments, especially if you have a personal story about immigration]

Can you please tell [Senator/Rep’s Name] I expect them to reject the building of a Mexican border wall.

Thank you for your time.

 

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY WILL BE ADDED AS NEEDED

 

Texas Reps Overwhelmed and M.I.A.

The continued pressure on Texas reps by Indivisible members is mounting–and possibly has our elected officials on the run.

As the San Antonio Current published today, Texas Representative Lamar Smith and Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn appear to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers visiting their offices this week. So great were the crowds, in fact, that the office interns and staffers who met them could do little more than say hello and offer canned responses with no real discussion. Some visitors were turned away outright for “trespassing.” In none of the situations, however, were citizens actually able to meet with their elected officials to be heard.

The pressure has only just begun, and while Texas reps may be able to dodge the masses for now, they won’t be able to forever. They should expect action visits by their constituents on a weekly basis.

For more details, check out the Current piece.