City Council 5-0 on Vote to Support TPS Proclamation

On a chilly November evening residents and immigrant rights activists gathered outside the El Cerrito City Hall for a vigil to support the hundreds of thousands of immigrants at risk of losing their homes, family and work due to Trumps policy to end Temporary Protective Status (TPS). El Cerrito Progressives and the NOR CAL TPS Coalition comprised of labor, church, education and other organizations joined together to rally for the passage of a Proclamation in Support of Protections from Deportation and a path to permanent residency for beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. The Proclamation passed 5/0. (Readers can find a link to the Proclamation on page 21 of the Agenda Packet here:http://www.el-cerrito.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/5029

During the public meeting, Council members heard from labor organizations including the Contra Costa Central Labor Council and the San Francisco Labor Council, TPS residents with decades of history in our community – describing themselves as workers, homeowners, tax payers and parents. The explained that they came as a result of violence in their own country.

Manuel De la Paz from East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, a local group representing 1,000 TPS holders, told the Council 55,000 TPS holders reside in California and in El Cerrito he identified 10 TPS families with there likely being more. He added that 50% of TPS holders own homes .

A political science professor and a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) identified himself as an ex-TPS holder. Now a citizen, married with a son at UC Berkeley, he called the right to TPS a human right. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the US policies that committed genocide against Salvadorans” he explained, 100,000 people died during their civil war fueled by U.S. aid.

The final two speakers during public comment included a mother and her daughter fighting to keep their family together. Crista Ramos, 15 years of age, is the main plaintiff in a lawsuit suing Trump for ending TPS. https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-01-11/california-teen-leads-lawsuit-keep-hundreds-thousands-immigrants-us She is one of 10 children from many different countries, suing to maintain TPS to keep her mother from being deported. According to her testimony, without TPS, 250,000 children are in danger of losing their parents. Christina Morales, mother to Crista, came to the US in 1993 when she was 12. She is a homeowner, living now in San Pablo. For the past 10 years, she and her husband volunteer as coaches and manager for two soccer teams in Richmond. She also works as a full time classroom aid for special need students. She told the audience that the law suit is fighting to keep families together. She said, “I don’t want another home. ”

After the testimony, the audience heard Council members respond. Quinto spoke to his own history and said that These people are innocent, they are not criminals.” Ableson stated that she was “proud to see this item on the El Cerrito council agenda and retold her own family immigration story. Council member Lyman concurred with the previous statements. Council member Fadelli said that the proclamation was “easy to pass because its the right thing to do.” Mayor Pardue-Okimoto broke down in tears stating, “….the thought of being separated from my children kills me and I so sympathize with you, and it’s wrong, so wrong. ” In the end she said, “there is always hope…we are going to continue to say we are not going to stand for this kind of hatred. ” (Readers can find a link to the meeting here.https://elcerrito.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=601

Readers who want to support efforts to protect TPS, DACA and DED holders can send letters, emails and calls to both Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris, asking them to enthusiastically work toward the passage of HR 6. known as the Secure Act. The exact language states: This bill cancels and prohibits removal proceedings against certain aliens and provides such aliens with a path toward permanent resident status.https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6

Local Families at Risk for Deportation Without TPS

Join immigrants and their allies in fighting for a pathway to permanent residency for over a million longtime U.S. residents who are at risk of losing their legal status under the Trump administration’s attacks on programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

The El Cerrito City Council will hear and vote on a proclamation titled “In Support of Protections from Deportation and a Path to Permanent Residency for Beneficiaries of DACA, TPS and DED” at its November 19 meeting in City Council chambers, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Read the entire draft proclamation at this pdf link. The City Council’s agenda isn’t available yet, but will appear at this link closer to the date of the meeting, and should include a final draft of the proclamation.

Local community organizations El Cerrito Progressives, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, and NorCal TPS Coalition will hold a rally/vigil outside City Hall before the meeting, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Come hear local speakers tell their stories and explain how we can all work to keep families together and our communities intact. El Cerrito Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto is also slated to speak at the beginning of the rally. Come even if you live outside of El Cerrito! TPS Coalition has been working with several cities on the issue; you can read the Berkeley City Council’s 10/15/19 resolution, “Protect from deportation and a path to permanent residency for beneficiaries of DACA, TPS, and DED,” at this pdf link.  

What you can do now:

Even if you can’t make it to the rally and hearing, both the El Cerrito and Berkeley resolutions include a call to action you can take now!

The resolutions endorse the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), which the House passed on June 4, 2019, to “provide protections from deportation and offer a well-earned path to permanent residency to hardworking people who have played by the rules for decades.” The Moscow Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate, however, has not acted, so we need to urge Senators Feinstein and Harris to do all they can to get the Senate to pass similar protections and a path to permanent residency, and to take leadership in fighting for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency.

What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code  is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please do all you can in the Senate to fight for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency for longtime residents, including pushing for a similar bill to H.R. 6, which the House passed on June 4, 2019. I’m counting on Senator ____ to be a leader in fighting against the Trump administration’s racist anti-immigration policies.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Do you live outside California, or have friends or family in other states? Use this link to find contact info for your Senators: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Or call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be transferred to your Senator, and say this:

Hello, my name is ____ and my zip code is _____. Please do all you can in the Senate to fight for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency for longtime residents, including pushing for a similar bill to H.R. 6, which the House passed on June 4, 2019. I hope Senator ____ will be a leader in fighting against the Trump administration’s racist anti-immigration policies.

Want to learn more? The Berkeley City Council resolution is fully annotated with articles and sources. And for more info about how to get YOUR local city or town government to consider a similar resolution, email Karl Kramer at NorCalTPS@gmail.com 

Originally posted on Indivisible East Bay. Re-posted with permission.

Coal Transport from Utah to Oakland update 11/13/2019

We have been watching the case of Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal LLC against the City of Oakland play out for several years.  This project, started by Phil Tagami and his investment-developer group years ago to reinvent the old Oakland Army Base, was to build a large terminal to accept coal from Utah that will be exported to Asia.  Oakland terminated his lease in 2018 because of concerns over air quality, pollution, and health of residents.

ECP Environmental Justice supports Oakland’s efforts, and Richmond’s as well, to keep coal from crossing through our neighbor cities and causing coal dust pollution that will affect air quality not only for those cities, but ours, and every one of the cities in the Bay Area. Coal dust is dangerous for people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and for normally healthy people too.

For the latest news, see https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13112019/coal-export-terminal-oakland-lawsuit-pollution-climate-change-utah-wyoming-california

Please write your elected city, regional, and state officials and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board and urge them to support the banning of coal transportation through the State and the Bay Area.

Local Families at Risk for Deportation Without TPS

Join immigrants and their allies in fighting for a pathway to permanent residency for over a million longtime U.S. residents who are at risk of losing their legal status under the Trump administration’s attacks on programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

The El Cerrito City Council will hear and vote on a proclamation titled “In Support of Protections from Deportation and a Path to Permanent Residency for Beneficiaries of DACA, TPS and DED” at its November 19 meeting in City Council chambers, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Read the entire draft proclamation at this pdf link. The City Council’s agenda isn’t available yet, but will appear at this link closer to the date of the meeting, and should include a final draft of the proclamation.

Local community organizations El Cerrito Progressives, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, and NorCal TPS Coalition will hold a rally/vigil outside City Hall before the meeting, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Come hear local speakers tell their stories and explain how we can all work to keep families together and our communities intact. El Cerrito Mayor Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto is also slated to speak at the beginning of the rally. Come even if you live outside of El Cerrito! TPS Coalition has been working with several cities on the issue; you can read the Berkeley City Council’s 10/15/19 resolution, “Protect from deportation and a path to permanent residency for beneficiaries of DACA, TPS, and DED,” at this pdf link.  

What you can do now:

Even if you can’t make it to the rally and hearing, both the El Cerrito and Berkeley resolutions include a call to action you can take now!

The resolutions endorse the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), which the House passed on June 4, 2019, to “provide protections from deportation and offer a well-earned path to permanent residency to hardworking people who have played by the rules for decades.” The Moscow Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate, however, has not acted, so we need to urge Senators Feinstein and Harris to do all they can to get the Senate to pass similar protections and a path to permanent residency, and to take leadership in fighting for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency.

What to say:

My name is ___, my zip code  is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. Please do all you can in the Senate to fight for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency for longtime residents, including pushing for a similar bill to H.R. 6, which the House passed on June 4, 2019. I’m counting on Senator ____ to be a leader in fighting against the Trump administration’s racist anti-immigration policies.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553

Do you live outside California, or have friends or family in other states? Use this link to find contact info for your Senators: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Or call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be transferred to your Senator, and say this:

Hello, my name is ____ and my zip code is _____. Please do all you can in the Senate to fight for protections from deportation and a path to permanent residency for longtime residents, including pushing for a similar bill to H.R. 6, which the House passed on June 4, 2019. I hope Senator ____ will be a leader in fighting against the Trump administration’s racist anti-immigration policies.

Want to learn more? The Berkeley City Council resolution is fully annotated with articles and sources. And for more info about how to get YOUR local city or town government to consider a similar resolution, email Karl Kramer at NorCalTPS@gmail.com 

Originally posted on Indivisible East Bay. Re-posted with permission.

Repeated Pipeline Leaks – Take Action

When El Cerrito Progressives first started meeting, the Dakota pipeline was one of our first environmental justice campaigns outside El Cerrito. Although much of our work focuses on local issues, everything and everyone is connected, whether it’s coal being transported from Utah through neighboring Richmond, plastic being used to serve our food, or pipelines 1000s of miles north and east of us. We wrote letters to the CEOs of the banks that invested in the pipeline and sent letters in solidarity with people whose lives would be affected by the XL.

Reading the Reuters article about the permit that was issued to allow extra pressure beyond the standard in the Dakota pipeline leads me think the Keystone Pipeline permit should be investigated, especially because of the major spill reported on October 31 in the NY Times.

During my visit to Alaska in August, a friend took me to see the above-ground pipe in Fairbanks. I am not an engineer. Although I marveled at how the design and construction could support the pressure and flow rate over 1000 gallons per day, I could see how leaks could occur because of land movement and other acts (e.g., vandalism, which has been reported). There have been leaks along this pipeline, and it is being considered for pipelines coming from the Arctic Refuge after it is opened to drilling.

On Sept 12 it was reported that the Trump Administration cleared a legal hurdle about drilling in the Arctic Refuge, claiming negligible negative impact on the environment. A day later Congress voted to block drilling

Given the multiple leaks and negative environmental impacts of pipelines and drilling along the Alaska pipeline, Dakota pipeline, and elsewhere, the administration’s claim has no foundation.

Take a stand against the pillaging of our natural resources for monetary gain and stand in favor of social and environmental wellbeing, whether it’s writing a letter write letters to elected officials, organizations like EarthJustice, NRDC, Sierra Club, and the Audubon Society , donating money, or going to sites to protest.

Adelante,

Barbara Chan
Convener, Environmental Justice Committee
El Cerrito Progressives
Progressive Civic Engagement
https://elcerritoprogressives.com/category/environmental-justice/’

PBS Frontline: In the Age of AI

AI image - for ECP

Image courtesy of the Department of Energy

El Cerrito Progressives encourage you to watch this PBS Frontline episode. While ECP is addressing the use of drones in El Cerrito (see our recent post) this investigation addresses the deep and wide issues posed by Artificial Intelligence.

“FRONTLINE investigates the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, from fears about work and privacy to rivalry between the U.S. and China. The documentary traces a new industrial revolution that will reshape and disrupt our lives, our jobs and our world, and allow the emergence of the surveillance society.”

1 hour, 54 minutes

Frontline: In the Age of AI

Cookies Not Cages Local Effort Raises $12,000 to help reunite families

When the dialogue on El Cerrito Next Door landed a suggestion for a bake sale to raise money for detainees at West County Detention Center, members of ECP agreed to get involved. Although some thought it was a long shot or at least an effort that might not yield much money, In the end, we raised $10,000 for bonds to support Freedom for Immigrants in 2018. 

This year we wanted to do something again. We sought out an organization doing immigration work locally with a solid reputation. We were deeply affected by the pictures of the young children in cages so we decided to support East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and specifically help the organization fulfill a need for additional legal services for unaccompanied minors in our community. We met them at their offices to discuss our fundraiser and were so impressed by their work and what they were able to do with such limited space and funding. 

They told us that since 2014 EBSC had provided legal assistance to more than 600 unaccompanied children fleeing gang violence, human trafficking, and domestic abuse in their home countries. We also learned that as of January 2019, the apprehensions of unaccompanied minors at the border had increased over 40%. We wanted to help.

The organizers for Baking for Bonds regrouped and recoined the effort: Cookies Not Cages.  We launched our campaign on the 4th of July with a Gofundme followed by monthly bake sales at El Cerrito Plaza and Kensington Farmers Market. Cookies Not Cages set a $10,000 goal. 

Hundreds of cookies, brownies, pies, cakes and breads yielded thousands of dollars!

Once again, we called out the larger community reaching out first to the bakers and sellers that worked with us last year. Immediately we had the bake sales up and running. Almost every sale we sold out! Everything was donation based. We had many generous donors give us $20 and not take a thing. Others used our sale when they were going to a potluck or having visitors over and bought a variety of items. 

The first weekend we made over $1,000 just at the El Cerrito Plaza. And subsequent weekends were just as successful. People really wanted to help.  Our majority-female group raised over $12,000 for EBSC and they were able to increase access to legal services for minors. While we couldn’t change policy, we could make a difference in the lives of those children who are seeking to remain in the community with their family members.

Our brigade of women was from our community (El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond) and they did us and the community at large proud! And to the men or women who may have been in the kitchen helping out or watching the kids -kudos to you!

We reached out to local businesses and want to give a special shout-out to Ojas Yoga in the EC Plaza. Ojas placed a donation can in their Yoga Studio and helped to spread the word.  And the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley Social Justice Committee hosted a special bake sale that garnered over $500 dollars!

For any of you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed,  think about the ways you can make a difference. The ideas you have can help others that need it now. Then grab some friends and make it happen. We showed that it can work!