Gainesville Community Comes Together to Reject Hate

We did it! We united as a community. We stood up against hate. Our hearts are full of pride and love for the people of Alachua County, Gainesville, and the University of Florida. We thank you for calling and writing in opposition to Richard Spencer speaking in our town. We also thank President W. Kent Fuchs for protecting his students, faculty, staff, and community from the risk of imminent violence.

White supremacy, which advocates for violence against people solely because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or political ideology, has no place on the University of Florida Campus, in Gainesville, or in America.

In the past few days, we have been proud to see organizations and neighbors come together to mobilize a response to the threat that faced our city. Together, as a united community, we demanded that white supremacists not be allowed to visit and incite violence in our beautifully diverse town — and our voices were heard.

Our friends and neighbors of color have known that racism has never left America. We must listen to the experience of those in marginalized communities and lift our voices much louder in support of their fight for equality.

Today, we celebrate this major accomplishment. Tomorrow, we get back to work.

In Solidarity,
~The Indivisible Gainesville Team

PUBLIC STATEMENT: Indivisible Gainesville denounces, in no uncertain terms, all actions and speech by white supremacists—everywhere.

Indivisible Gainesville denounces, in no uncertain terms, all actions and speech by white supremacists—everywhere. The violent actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday are horrifying and reprehensible. We speak unequivocally when we say that hate has no place in our country. Our hearts are with yesterday’s victims and our utmost gratitude is with those members of the resistance who came out to show that America will not stand for hate.

As many of you have heard, known Neo-Nazi and instigator Richard Spencer is attempting to reserve the University of Florida Phillips Center on September 12th. In the coming weeks, Indivisible Gainesville will coordinate with other local progressive groups to devise a strategy that will allow us to stand together against the hateful, violent rhetoric that Spencer espouses and represents.

We will not let any act of hate pass unmentioned. Our movement is stronger when everyone is represented. We cannot allow anyone to call for the revoking of another’s rights—and we cannot allow hate to spread.

Indivisible Gainesville urges all of our members to call Representative Yoho and State Senator Perry and urge them to take a public stand against Richard Spencer speaking in our city.

We stand with you.

~The Indivisible Gainesville Team

PRESS RELEASE: Indivisible Gainesville Partners with Black Men United and UF Chapter of LADIES for Backpack 2 Success


Back Pack 2 SuccessIndivisible Gainesville is proud to announce our partnership with Black Men United and the UF Chapter of L.A.D.I.E.S (Leadership-Advancement-Development-Involvement-Engagement-Service) as co-hosts of Backpack 2 Success on August 12th at the Faith Mission Community Center at 3701 NE 15th St. from 10am to 2pm. This event is also supported by the Alachua County Young Democrats.

Backpack 2 Success will distribute high-quality, stylish backpacks filled with school supplies to 150 children of all ages from the surrounding east Gainesville neighborhoods. Local barbers will give free haircuts to kids, just in time for back to school.

This event will feature motivational speaker, Dr. Vincent Adjeumo, UF Professor of African American Studies, music by DJ Stroka Fresh, a bounce house, a photobooth, as well as games and activities for kids of all ages. Adam’s Rib Company and DeConna Ice Cream have generously offered to provide food.

In addition to activities for children, attendees will have the opportunity to register to vote, discuss issues impacting east Gainesville communities, and learn more about these local community action groups. Join us at this fun-filled event and help to make a positive impact on our city!

Quotes from organizers:

“As adults we know that we must dress for success; the same thing applies for children and a backpack is an essential part of that. We would like to empower kids of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to dress for success to feel confident and independent. Self-confidence plays a huge role in succeeding both in and out of the classroom. The Backpack 2 Success giveaway is about building a foundation based on self-confidence, independence, positivity, and commitment. We are just trying to do our part in our community to be the change we wish to see in our world.” -Marcus Thompson, co-founder and chief operations officer of Black Men United.

“As a student at UF, I know first-hand how important education is to a bright future. To be successful in the classroom, children must first have the necessary tools. The goal of Backpack 2 Success is to provide underprivileged children with those tools by giving them access to quality backpacks and school supplies. With this event, LADIES hopes to alleviate stress from parents and students so that they can focus on their education and not on affording school supplies. Last year’s event was a big success and this year we plan on helping many more people. Backpack 2 Success is our way of helping children start off the school year on the right foot.” -Moesha Manora, President of UF Chapter of LADIES

“Since its inception, Indivisible Gainesville has been dedicated to an intersectional, progressive movement. We aim to build bridges within the beautifully diverse Gainesville community by supporting organizations like Black Men United and UF Chapter of LADIES, who have been working to bring about positive change long before the creation of our organization. We will have a table at the event where attendees can share with us the issues impact them most. We want to connect with our neighbors and learn the ways we can work together to ensure that our elected local officials and members of congress represent the needs of all Gainesville citizens, especially the children.” -Jess Martini, Events Team Co-Lead, Indivisible Gainesville.

 

We hope to all of your shining faces on August 12th at the Faith Mission Community Center at 3701 NE 15th St. from 10am to 2pm.!

 

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NOAA: Indivisible Gainesville Comments on Marine Mammal Harassment during seismic tests for oil drilling

Numerous reputable studies have confirmed that whales and other marine animals experience stress, if not direct physical harm, from exposure to seismic surveys such as those currently being proposed. These surveys have clearly been shown to affect the foraging and mating behaviors of ecologically sensitive species.  They have been linked to transit from feeding and mating grounds. In addition, multiple incidences of mass beaching of whales have resulted from exercises with military sonar.  This evidence alone should give pause to those who would undertake these surveys.

We cannot afford further endangering already stressed ecologies. A review of current studies reveals several disturbing facts:

  • At least 37 marine species have been shown to be affected by seismic
    airgun noise.
  • Bowhead whales have been driven away from feeding areas as far as 20 km
    from operating airguns.
  • Seismic airgun noise results in behavioral changes including decreased
    foraging, changes in vocalizations, displacement from important habitat,
    and decreased catch rates.
  • Airgun noise also results in physical effects, including decreased egg
    viability and growth, hearing damage, traumatic injuries, tissue damage,
    and even death by drowning or stranding.
  • The waters off coastal Georgia and Florida, part of the area for the
    proposed testing, are the only known calving ground of the critically
    endangered northern right whale.
  • While mitigation protocols are in place to protect marine animals during
    sonic testing, these protocols depend on visual detection of affected
    animals. However, many deep-diving species, such as beaked whales, are
    difficult to see and thus underreported. As a result, beaked whales have
    died following Navy sonar exercises, apparently from ascending too quickly
    when startled and attempting to escape the sound source.

Given these disturbing facts, we ask that you prohibit the use of seismic airgun surveys in the Mid- and South Atlantic.

Authors: The Indivisible Gainesville Research Team

Source 1:
Weilgart, L. (2013). “A review of the impacts of seismic airgun surveys on marine life.”

Source 2:
Effects of seismic surveys on fish, fish catches and sea mammals: Report for the Cooperation group – Fishery Industry and Petroleum Industry

Source 3:
http://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.427801

Source 4:
https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2017-11542/p-102

Call to Action: The DREAMers Need Our Help Now!

CALL TO ACTION: Tell Congressman Yoho to support the American Hope Act of 2017 (HR 3591) and protect DREAMers! Please contact him by calling his DC office at (202)225-5744; his Gainesville office at (352)505-0838; or email him through his website. https://yoho.house.gov/contact.

Here is the backstory: Because of Congressional unwillingness to pass an immigration plan, specifically one that contains a resolution for dealing with children (commonly referred to as DREAMers) who were brought into the United States by undocumented immigrant parents, then-President Obama issued two directives. One directive in 2012 that provided temporary protection from detainment or deportation to those children (the DACA directive) and another in 2014 that applied to undocumented parents of children born in the US (the DAPA directive).

States sued to keep the DAPA directive from being enacted. They won. DACA is still in place, but it is on thin ice. And the ice recently got a lot thinner.

In 2015, then-candidate Trump promised to revoke DACA on day one of his presidency, something he has the power to do.  Thankfully, he hasn’t done so. But at the end of June, a bunch of states forced the issue by sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions giving the administration until September 5th to reverse DACA or they will sue and force the administration to revoke DACA.

The presumption is that if the courts were willing to rescind DAPA on the grounds of presidential overreach by then-President Obama, then these states will also be successful in their quest to get DACA rescinded. This likelihood is based on two main factors: 1) the DACA case is very similar the DAPA one; and 2) Neil Gorsuch has been installed as a Supreme Court Justice, tilting the court in a decidedly conservative direction.

The way around all of this legal maneuvering is simple: Congress can pass a law that protects the DREAMers, like the Dream Act of 2017 introduced July 20th in the Senate and the American Hope Act of 2017 introduced July 28th in the House.

Let’s talk about DREAMers for a moment: There are about 1.3 to 1.9 million people who are eligible for DACA and for whom the only home they’ve ever known is the United States of America. They are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. They were passengers on a ride, so to speak, but they were not the drivers. To kick them out of the only home they have ever known and drop them into an unknown country is simply cruel. Further, they are great contributors to the success of our modern society.

Those members of Congress who want to destroy these children’s lives claim such an odious act is necessary because we as a country can’t afford to take care of these kids. This is a lie. First, DREAMers cannot qualify for federal assistance. Second, immigrants help the economy, and they do so without taking jobs away from Americans. Third, any country that wants to cut taxes on the wealthy, as the GOP tried to do with its failed health-care overhaul and surely plans to do with its upcoming tax-reform effort, can afford to show compassion to some of the most vulnerable among us.

Our Congressman, Ted Yoho, has complained about the DACA and DAPA directives on process grounds. That is, he has said that DACA and DAPA are bad not because of who is being protected, but because the two directives exceed the powers granted to the President by the Constitution. Additionally, House Republicans never passed their own DREAMers Act because they claimed that Obama could not be trusted to enforce immigration laws. That was just an excuse they used to get out of doing anything. But that’s not the point. The point is that there is a Republican in the White House now who has made immigration a top campaign issue. Surely they can pass a law protecting these people now, can’t they?

Ted Yoho himself said as much when DAPA was overturned: “I look forward to actually doing what the president [Obama] has failed to do, getting down to the business of fixing our broken immigration system.” If Mr. Yoho is intent on fixing immigration, he should concern himself with all problems, not just the ones that can be manipulated to target vulnerable populations.

Now is the perfect opportunity for Congressman Yoho to put his money where his mouth is and do something. And we need him to act now! Please contact him by calling his DC office at (202)225-5744; his Gainesville office at (352) 505-0838; or emailing him through his website. https://yoho.house.gov/contact

 

 

INDIVISIBLE GAINESVILLE THANKS GPD

On Friday, July 28, President Donald Trump spoke to a group of law enforcement officials in New York, and, at one point, explicitly encouraged police to manhandle suspects, saying,

[W]hen you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?

With the death of Freddie Gray, which resulted from what Baltimore police termed “rough rides,” still a fresh wound to so many of us, this endorsement of police brutality—in jest or otherwise—and the accompanying applause by the audience made up almost entirely of law enforcement officers struck many of us as disturbing.

It’s worth dwelling on the scene for a moment: the person who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the civil liberties it enshrines suggested to the front-line people entrusted with enforcing those laws to disregard the physical well-being of a person suspected—not convicted—of a crime. It is hard to understate how dangerous this kind of talk is.

And it is hard to overstate the pride that we felt when our own Gainesville Police Department voiced their absolute denunciation of Trump’s comments.

The Official Twitter account of GPD posted the following statement:

The @POTUS made remarks today that endorsed and condoned police brutality. GPD rejects these remarks and continues to serve with respect.

And Officer Ben Tobias, the GPD spokesperson, tweeted:

I’m a cop. I do not agree with or condone @POTUS remarks today on police brutality. Those that applauded and cheered should be ashamed.

Both tweets have gone viral, and deservedly so.

We at Indivisible realize that our police department has work to do in order to address some gaping racial criminal justice inequities. And we will address that at a more appropriate time.

At this moment, however, as an organization, Indivisible Gainesville praises the voices of the Gainesville Police Department for adamantly rejecting the dangerous, thoughtless comments of the President of the United States to employ unmerited force.  Thanks again for making our community proud and standing up for fundamental rights. Yes, we have serious issues that divide us and need to change, but we want to encourage our community—leaders and residents alike—to build on this moment.

In Solidarity,
~The Indivisible Gainesville Team

 

INDIVISIBLE GAINESVILLE: ANOTHER YOHO FAILURE AS HE DEFENDS HIS VOTE TO PASS “FINANCIAL CHOICE” LEGISLATION

Indivisible Gainesville, a local group of nearly 2000 citizens, is again compelled to address a letter in which Congressman Ted Yoho defends his vote on June 8, 2017 to pass the “Financial CHOICE” legislation that effectively repeals the protections created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

In Congressman Yoho’s letter, he frames this new legislation as relieving the American public of burdensome regulations when in fact it delivers Americans back to the lawless financial environment of 2005. While Mr. Yoho claims that Dodd-Frank normalizes the idea that some banks are “too big to fail”, we find that he overlooks several key issues and makes misleading statements on others, so we decided again that Mr. Yoho’s work deserved to be graded. We invite everyone in Gainesville and the surrounding area to review Congressman Yoho’s justification for supporting the Financial CHOICE Act and our counter argument, so we are making his graded letter publicly available.

Below, we highlight several of the most glaring falsehoods in the Congressman’s letter.

FALSEHOOD #1: The Dodd-Frank Act institutionalizes ”’too big to fail’ provisions which put the American Taxpayer on the line for bailing out big banks.”

TRUTH: The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act put regulations in place that improve bank lending practices so that banks do not extend credit that cannot be repaid; banks are prevented from bundling and repackaging risky loans; and they are more closely monitored. To assume that large organizations such as multinational banks will act in the interest of at least their own shareholders was a mistake in 2005-2008 and is likely to be no different today.

FALSEHOOD #2: Dodd-Frank “put the American taxpayer on the line for bailing out big banks” while CHOICE “facilitates the liquidation of failed firms and businesses.”

TRUTH: We ask Congressman Yoho to explain his assertions that the Financial CHOICE Act actually allows banks to operate in a much more risky environment by removing “capital and liquidity requirements”.

FALSEHOOD #3: “This bill also lifts the burdens on community banks, which are often the financial backing of America’s entrepreneurs.” This statement implies that Dodd-Frank was punishing the ‘little guy, hometown banker’ with onerous regulation, thereby depriving small business owners of local financial support with which to empower their businesses.

TRUTH: Congressman Yoho’s argument is misleading and masks his and the Congress’ moves to deregulate the banking industry, making small business loans even riskier for both community banks and small business. Further, it is blatantly incorrect to insinuate that Dodd-Frank regulations are the source of the demise of community banks, when in fact a segment of community banks had already seen a whopping 80% decrease in the 25 years preceding Dodd-Frank. Experts suggest that the continuing decreases after 2009 were due to economies of scale and FDIC policies eliminating smaller banks, not Dodd-Frank.

If Mr. Yoho is really interested in protecting the interests of the consumer, he would not vote for bills like the Financial Choice Act, that allows the President to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and empowers financial advisors to put their own interests ahead of their clients. It is hard to imagine that Congressman Yoho cannot recall the devastation of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, which resulted in declining stock values, decimated retirement portfolios, and a mortgage and foreclosure crisis like this country has not seen since the Depression. The actions taken, like The Dodd-Frank Act, were put in place to prevent the type of financial lawlessness that resulted in postponed retirements and loss of personal homes. In fact, the Dodd-Frank measures are aligned with the recovery of jobs, a historic decrease in unemployment and the complete payback of the Wall Street bail out. To suggest that we should allow such behavior back into our financial system is irresponsible. The Congressman’s claims are simply wrong and disingenuous and will open our currently stable financial system up to the kind of misdeeds that a lack of oversight allows.

We ask the Congressman to please eliminate the errors of his claims and converse with his constituents in a clear and truthful manner.

 


Yoho CHOICE Act Letter Markup


 

FOOTNOTES:

1. The phrase “institutionalizing ‘too big to fail’” doesn’t actually mean anything, and is patently untrue.  When the Financial Crisis occurred in 2008, many banks were so large that if we allowed them to fail under free market principles, it would have had an even more devastating impact on the economy.  The regulations put in place after the Financial Crisis protect consumers by forcing big banks to be accountable and transparent, and therefore free the government from having to bail out banks in the future.   Since one of the primary causes of the Financial Crisis was banks making too many risky—aka “Subprime”—loans and bundling them into derivatives, the lawmakers who crafted Dodd-Frank ensured that banks that reach a certain activity threshold, they become “systemically important” and therefore must report more information to regulators to ensure that they aren’t doing anything potentially harmful. This is a way to prevent similar mistakes from occurring again. The CHOICE Act will undo that, putting consumers and the economy at risk of another collapse.

A fundamental misconception that contributed to the Great Recession is the idea that banks will or can regulate themselves. Even former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, an Ayn Rand acolyte, admitted as much stating in a Congressional hearing in the wake of the Financial Crisis that “a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders.”

Congressman Yoho wants to return America to the rules which allowed for the Financial Crisis to happen. He calls these new regulations “burdensome”.  But these regulations are necessary to protect the millions of Americans affected by the banking industry’s actions between 1999, the year Glass-Steagall—the regulations that were enacted in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s—was undone, and 2008 when the economy began cratering during the Financial Crisis.

2. Again Yoho asserts that Dodd-Frank enables the “too big to fail” mentality, while stating that the CHOICE Act does not, which are both outright lies.  Undoing the capital and liquidity requirements of Dodd-Frank would invite banks once again to be  “too big to fail”, causing the nation to go through another round of bail outs, not the other way around. We encourage Congressman Yoho to explain this particular line in detail, as from our assessment it is nonsense bordering on intentional deception.

3. Yoho seems to be asserting that Community Banks should be free of reporting and transparency regulations that protect consumers, and allowed to issue riskier loans once again.  Conservatives are fond of blaming the decrease in the number of Community Banks on Dodd-Frank. The facts simply do not bear this out.

4. Congressman Yoho has some nerve referring to Main Street while at the same time championing a bill that calls for gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. More outrageous is the fact that the CHOICE Act would allow financial advisors to put their own financial interests above those of the investors, for whom they are supposedly working and who bear all of the risk of losing their money.

5. Congressman Yoho doesn’t mention these two items, which is very telling.  He claims that he’s working for the little guy, but even superficial scrutiny shows that the truth is quite the opposite. Congressman Yoho yet again reveals himself to be aligned with Wall Street rather than Main Street by voting for the CHOICE Act.

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