Californians Rally Around “The California Values Act” in Sacramento (March 15) and San Mateo Residents Prepare Signs/Banners (March 13)


Support the California Values Act

The March 15 rally in Sacramento to support SB 54, the California Values Act, is hosted by PICO California and partners.

“PICO California is the largest multi-racial faith-based community-organizing network in the state connecting and leveraging the power of the people to impact broad systemic change. Motivated by various prophetic traditions, we ground our civic action and demands for change in moral and ethical principles. We use a relationship-based organizing model to develop leadership and build capacity for civic engagement in communities throughout California.” MORE

The California Values Act and the people who support it are concerned with the injustices implicit in recent executive orders that marginalize and put at risk Muslims, people fleeing violence, undocumented immigrants and retaliation against our sanctuary cities.  Many citizens feel that these actions encourage hate and  racial profiling and are immoral and in direct conflict with the American traditions that have made us the great nation that we are. (Detail on SB 54 in the third section of this feature.)


Standing on the Side of Love

Unitarian Universalist Church of San Mateo California

In preparation for the rally, this Monday, March 13, the greater San Mateo community is invited to the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) Justice Action Mondays/Flash Advocacy to prepare signs and banners for the rally on March 15 in Sacramento in support of SB 54, the California Values Act. SB 54 is proposed legislation by California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). The intention of SB 54 is to prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in deportation actions.

UUSM Justice Action Mondays: Flash Advocacy: a new theme every Monday, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, youth room, Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Ave., San Mateo, CA  94401. Free event and open to the greater community. Supplies, snacks and interesting conversation are provided.


A Wall of Justice

State Capitol, Sacramento, CA

Last December California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 54, the California Values Act, to prevent the use of state and local public resources to aid federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in deportation actions.

California State Senator,Kevin de León (b1966)California State Senate.Democrat – 45th District

To the millions of undocumented residents pursuing and contributing to the California Dream, the State of California will be your wall of justice [against the adoption of] an inhumane and over-reaching mass-deportation policy,” said Senator de León. “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”

SB 54 will ban state and local law enforcement officials from performing the functions of a federal immigration officer. The California Values Act does not prevent state and local departments or agencies from complying with a judicial warrant to transfer violent offenders into federal custody for immigration enforcement purposes.

“The right to due process is the bedrock of the U.S. criminal justice system,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “A warrant requirement will enable California to preserve our civil liberties and enhance public safety by maintaining the trust and effectiveness of law enforcement. A warrant requirement will ensure the government confirms a person’s identity and whether they are subject to deportation before they can be detained, thereby preventing citizens, authorized immigrants and victims of crime from being jailed.”

District Attorney Gascón, formerly San Francisco’s Police Chief and Deputy Police Chief in Los Angeles, added that public safety suffers when local police enforce immigration laws. “When victims of crime don’t come forward for fear of immigration consequences, the impact on public safety reaches far beyond immigrant communities,” he said.

The California Values Act will also create “safe zones” throughout the state by prohibiting immigration enforcement on public school, hospital, and courthouse premises. To ensure eligible immigrants are not deterred from seeking services and engaging with state agencies, the bill also requires state agencies to review and update confidentiality policies.

California State Flag

“In California we have policies that provide health, safety, education, and an environment where all people can thrive,” said Assembly member Marc Levine (D-Marin County) principal co-author of SB 54. “California is a state where everyone is welcome. SB 54 will make it clear California public schools, hospitals, and courthouses will not be used by the Trump regime to deport our families, friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.”

[The President’s] reckless comments about immigrants and deportation has honest, hardworking families living in fear and their children being taunted at school, Senator de León during the December unveiling of a separate “Immigrants Shape California” package.

“I cannot stand by and allow federal ICE agents to use state and local dollars, data, personnel, and facilities to help deport the very families who contribute so much to our economy and community,” he said.

California State Seal

Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, added: “The California Values Act answers the ugly slurs of xenophobia with a simple but profound truth: all people are created equal. Against Trump and other forces who seek to demonize and persecute immigrants, the Golden State must embrace and defend our common humanity and deepest values. Getting law enforcement out of painful deportations, protecting the integrity of public spaces, and rejecting any registry which targets Muslims will send a potent message to the nation – and the world.”

Marcus McKinney, Policy Director, People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) California, said: “As a faith-based organization we wholeheartedly oppose draconian deportation policies out of the new administration in Washington that will further exacerbate racial profiling. California must take an aggressive stance against these policies to ensure families are not torn apart by reactionary and divisive immigration policies.”

Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said: “In continuation of California’s long-standing history of welcoming, the CA Values Act presents a prime opportunity to ensure that our law enforcement and local governments are no longer a front door to deportation for our residents.”

The … government [effectively] sanctioned discrimination that runs counter to our values as Californians, would unfairly target millions of hard working families, devastate our economy and impose unfair burdens on taxpayers,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger. “The California Values Act reflects our common ideals and reaffirms our shared responsibilities.”

Photo credits: California Flag and Seal of California, public domain; California State Capitol courtesy of Rafal Konieczny under CC BY-SA 4.0 license; photograph of California State Senator Kevin de Léon courtesy of Neon Tommy under CC BY-SA license; UUSM illustration coutresy of the Unitarian Universalists and all rights reserved

Support justice in California and the people and institutions that are working for that objective. Please reblog and share links to this on Facebook and Twitter and attend the rally if that’s possible for you.

to stay or leave, a poem

to stay or leave . . .
the tension hurts our hearts as she,
frenzied and naked, prowls the dense night,
shifting from palpable dark to a fragile light,
driving to and fro along State Route 84, she
smothers terror with a diet of lattes and sweets

she’s on the run, carrying talismans in a bag,
small figurines of angels, Quan Yin, Buddha . . .
to stay or leave … as if the choice was hers –
her posture is bravado; ‘bite me,’ she says –
‘i’m not afraid to die,’ pain-wracked and dizzy,
her bones under siege; grasping, she’s consumed –
imagines safe harbor in Home Shopping Network
……………THINGS, anyTHING!
clutching at life in the inexorable face of death

© 2017, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

The recommended read for this week is Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast by Pulitzer Prize winning Megan Marshall who studied with Bishop at Harvard. This biography is richly spun,  energetic, engaging and even inspirational despite the breathtaking depth of Bishop’s losses, her sense of marginalization and her head-long push into alcoholism. Indeed, some of the inspiration comes because with all her loses, Bishop managed to hold poetry tight. Her poems were for her a charm “against the loneliness they often expressed.” The book covers Bishop’s relationships with other poets and her romantic interests, the last was for me the singular wearisome downside, much overrided though by the book’s pleasures and values. It is laced with Marshall’s own stories and together the lives of these two bare witness to the power of words to give shape, sense and meaning to life. We come away with a strong sense of Elizabeth Bishop, one of America’s most extraordinary poets. A page-turner. A must read or everyone who loves and writes poetry.

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