From Us to You: We Hear You

We all came together and formed the Indivisible Gainesville chapter to influence our Members of Congress (MoCs) and preserve democracy. The main charge of the Indivisible Group is that we are polite, respectful, and persistent in gaining face time with our MoCs. On Saturday, March 4th, we accomplished just that. Through your letters, phone calls, office visits, and the diligent work by our admin team, we got Representative Yoho to hold a town hall with a Gainesville address. We got the congressman to hold a town hall outside of his usual format, which does not typically include any follow up questions. We got him to advertise that he was holding a town hall with greater than 24 hours notice. All of these accomplishments should not be overlooked.

Some were unhappy with the the town hall. We all were to some extent. The venue change. The format change. The last-minute sign change. The statements by the church that they would shut down the event.  At that moment we had two choices: to walk out, burn any bridge that we had started to build, and further silence the residents of Gainesville—or to hold the town hall and allow as many people’s voices to be heard as possible. We chose to proceed with the event, and this will be the first year that Representative Yoho will hold two town halls in our area.

We do not agree with Representative Yoho’s political views.  We *do* agree that we must find someone to run—and win—against him in the next election and that work must start today.  However, we cannot allow the Trump agenda to proceed unchecked until that happens. The congressman is our opposition, yet he is our representative for the next almost-two years. We must determine a way to work with the congressman and soften his views. We do not expect him to change his underlying political philosophy, but we can: provide him with facts, show him that not all his constituents agree, and let him know that we are holding him accountable.

This position is not a radical stance. We recognize that such a moderate approach is not for everyone. Indivisible Gainesville is not a radical organization. Our goals are to publicly resist the Trump agenda by influencing our MoCs. While we plan to challenge our current representatives—at all levels—in the next election, we will not refuse to work with the incumbents. That is not to say that there is not a place for those tactics. In fact, several organizations in Gainesville do take that more radical approach. All groups along the activism spectrum have their role to play in the resistance, and we do our part to work alongside them at every opportunity.

However, publicly resisting the Trump agenda comes at a price. As the public face of Indivisible Gainesville, Joy received threats to her own well-being and her family’s safety. Other members of the administration team also received threats. We have families and livelihoods to consider, and we have felt what it is like to have those threatened. We know better than anyone else that this is not a game. The letter that Joy wrote to Representative Yoho was personal and shared her story. She shared this letter with the group to maintain transparency. This was a letter written on her own personal meetings with the congressman as well as her experiences in being his opponent. By publicly sharing this letter Joy gave all of us the opportunity to show her that we support her and provide constructive feedback. We find threats of violence by anyone abhorrent, and we will speak out against anyone who threatens any of us.

We also want to ensure that your voice is heard in our Facebook group. To that end we are working to better organize the group. Please be patient through this process, because wall posts may be closed while we work out all the details. The wall currently moves so quickly that valuable ideas are buried and lost. Our goal is to group information, so that your shares and ideas on a given topic can be easily found. We want to improve your ability to share ideas with one another and the admin team through the Facebook group. We also want to ensure that dialog is open and productive without becoming aggressive, offensive, or threatening.

We are actively planning a public Indivisible Gainesville group meeting where everyone can attend and have the opportunity to be heard and ask questions as well as make suggestions on ways Indivisible can make an even greater impact. We’ll have volunteer forms for everyone to fill out for those who want to be actively involved. We’ll hopefully have people there from other local organizations for you to explore getting involved with if Indivisible is not where you want to put your efforts. We are happy to work alongside you no matter what group you’re in.

The core of the Indivisible movement is to influence our Members of Congress through individual members taking action together. We encourage everyone to follow the call to action emails that you receive. Call your MoCs about upcoming legislation. Send them postcards expressing your opinions. If you can go one step further, we call on each of you to take action outside of your home: go to events held by our MoCs, participate in get out the vote events (remember: city elections are this week!), volunteer with Indivisible Gainesville. Today, we ask that everyone who attended, protested, or watched the livestream of the town hall write a letter to Representative Yoho’s office expressing their opinion on the town hall—and their wishes for the town hall being held April 13th. Yoho’s office is also taking calls today.

We will not be silenced. Stay the course. Complete your daily action items. Go out and vote. We need YOU.

Yours truly,

Indivisible Gainesville Admins