Sunday, August 8, 2010

March for Human Rights Draws Huge Crowd!

“Todos Somos Arizona”

IMPACT!’s “March for Human Rights” Draws Huge Crowd

Over 300 people turn out for anti-SB1070 protest

On July 29th, the day that Arizona’s SB1070 law went into effect, over 300 people came together in Petaluma to call for the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws and for a just, humane immigration reform. This large gathering was organized by IMPACT!, a Petaluma-based, youth-led community organization. In possibly the largest anti-SB1070 protest in the whole Bay Area, supporters from MEChA, the Committee for Immigrants’ Rights, Graton Day Labor Center, St. Vincents Church, Students for a Democratic Society, the Unitarian Universalists, Racial Justice Allies, and many more, marched across Petaluma, into downtown, led by the Danza Azteca (Aztec dancers). The “March for Human Rights” was perhaps the biggest protest in Petaluma since 2006, when millions took to the streets around the country to demand justice for immigrants.

How did the action go down

People began gathering at 6pm at McDowell Park. We had some difficulties getting our sound system to work, so many folks spent the first hour socializing, watching the Danza Azteca, and eating some delicious food prepared by IMPACT! Speeches began around 7pm, with representatives from MEChA, Graton Day Labor Center, the Committee for Immigrants’ Rights, Racial Justice Allies, and IMPACT! addressing the crowd of about 150. With signs in hand, the marchers took off, a little after 7pm, looping around to McDowell Blvd, and then to Washington St. As the march began, dozens could be seen sprinting to join up, and the ranks of the march eventually swelled to about 300 as it went along. The march stayed along the sidewalk, and the police were pretty absent from the event. Several officers could be seen in the distance keeping an eye on us, but only approached the march once or twice to remind people to stand on the sidewalk. We would’ve preferred to be in the street, but permits for street marches in Petaluma are absurdly expensive, and we couldn’t risk an un-permitted protest. So we made the most of our spot on the sidewalk.

The atmosphere of the march was noticeably positive, but also fierce and resilient. The overwhelming majority of passers-by gave supportive honks and waves of support. This was surprising, because if one were to read the letters-section of the paper, or watch TV, you’d be the under the impression that almost everyone, at least almost all white people, were pro-SB1070 and anti-immigrant. It was encouraging to see so many of our fellow Petalumans, both white and of color, vocally supporting the march.

Many people came out with their children. There was a strong presence of young people and students, who ended up leading most of the chants (a favorite being “Obama, Obama, don’t deport my mama!”) and keeping everyone energized. Lots of smiles were seen in the incredibly diverse crowd, as students mingled with workers and their families. Young white punks with skateboards in hand marching alongside immigrant day laborers. We stopped several times so that the Danza could perform. We headed into downtown as the sun went down. Our chants echoed through the narrow Petaluma Blvd. Folks eating in the upscale restaurants gave us the clenched fist (an odd image indeed, but welcomed nonetheless). People walking about downtown stopped in surprise to get a glance of this rare sight. Petaluma, a medium-sized suburb of 50,000, located 45 minutes north of San Francisco, is almost dead quiet when it comes to social protest. For many in our town, the presence of these 300 marchers was a welcomed change, a possible sign of more action and excitement to come. We picked up more people going through downtown, who maybe hadn’t started their day thinking they would end up at a protest. Then there they were…

Because we couldn’t afford a permit for rallies in two parks (each permit was $200), we began our march back towards McDowell Park. The energy was still high, even though the sun had nearly completely set, and we had been marching for nearly an hour and a half. Luckily, several local businesses and grocery stores had donated food and water to the march, which kept us nourished and hydrated. Standing several blocks away, you could hear the raucous cheers and chants of the crowd, which only seemed to grow as the sun went down. We ended in the park and everyone quickly dispersed, as it had now gotten to be about 9:30pm and it was pitch black. We cleaned up and headed out, said goodbye to all of our new friends, proud as hell to see so many people together, standing up for Arizona and for justice everywhere.

Lessons: How we made this happen

A few words here about what went into planning this march, why it was successful and what could’ve been done differently. The idea for this march came after four members of IMPACT!, one activist with MEChA, and one organizer from Students for a Democratic Society at Napa Valley College traveled to Phoenix on May 29th for the National Day of Action Against SB1070, which mobilized 100,000 people. The next day, we joined hundreds of people from around the country in a massive community assembly, where local organizers from Arizona put out the call for increased solidarity actions from people in their communities, leading up to a national day of action on July 29th. We immediately decided that we would call for a protest in Petaluma on July 29th to support the call-out coming from Arizona. However, we also wanted to go beyond just another protest. Once again following the lead of our brothers and sisters in Arizona, we planned for a “Human Rights Summer,” which would be a project to educate and agitate our community to oppose SB1070, as well as other anti-immigrant policies being enacted in our community, modeled after the Freedom Summer of 1964, where student civil rights organizers descended on the south to break Jim Crow segregation and register blacks to vote. Human Rights Summer consists of holding house meetings to discuss the issue of immigration, especially in Arizona, organizing actions such as the March for Human Rights on July 29th, raising awareness in our community through art and propaganda, and working with elected officials to introduce resolutions opposing laws like SB1070.

The organizing for the march on July 29th, however, didn’t actually get under way until the beginning of July, as many of the organizers were either on vacation, or at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. This left us with about three weeks to organize a successful march. Every day during those three weeks, the dozen or so organizers from IMPACT!, along with other supporters, met up to plan the march, make phone calls, paint signs and banners, and hit the streets to talk to the community about the march. We canvassed, knocking on hundreds of doors to spread the word. We flyered at churches and at the Farmer’s Market. We got tons of support from local businesses, who posted our flyers in their windows. We dropped a huge banner at the Wednesday Night Market in Petaluma, which read “Human Rights” (with an arrow pointing to the left) and “SB1070” (with an arrow pointing to the right). We gave a presentation to the workers at Graton Day Labor Center, many of whom attended the march. We appeared on two radio shows on the bilingual station KBBF, and had two articles printed in the local paper, the Argus Courier. ( We attended meetings and events of other groups, such as the Committee for Immigrants’ Rights, MEChA, and the Racial Justice Allies, to ask for support. We got donations of food and water from several local businesses, and spent hours preparing food on the day of the march. We also attended a similar march on July 28th in Napa, which was organized by SDS, Latinos Unidos, and several other groups, which brought out about 100 people. All in all, the young volunteer organizers of IMPACT! put in hundreds of hours trying to put together this protest in less than three weeks.

But hours of hard work are not enough to plan a good protest. This action would not have been nearly as large or successful had it not been for years of relationship building between our group and the many other community organizations and activists who helped us turn people out on the 29th. For years we have supported the work of others in our community by turning out to their actions, making food for their events, raising funds, passing out flyers, attending countless meetings, etc. It is through this relationship building that trust and respect develop. It takes time, but we have seen the results in the streets of Petaluma. Our allies, to whom we have demonstrated our trustworthiness and solidarity, turned out in large numbers and played a whole number of support roles for this march, from providing security, to clean up, to passing out flyers and setting up carpools of their friends, to monitoring the police and documenting the march with photos and video. While a great deal of the credit for this march is owed to the passionate and committed youth organizers of IMPACT!, it would not have been possible without the crucial support from our wonderful social justice community.

Now, it goes without saying that when a team of a dozen youth volunteers, most of whom have full-time jobs or other obligations, and who have little to no access to money or mainstream politics or media, try and plan an event like this in less than three weeks, there are bound to be some shortcomings, and we are well aware that not everything went so smoothly at this march. For one, we couldn’t get our sound system to work until about 7pm, an hour after the rally was supposed to begin. This mainly had to do with missing equipment, but also because we didn’t give ourselves enough time to make sure it worked. And although the speeches were very inspiring, and were translated, we had no prepared plan for that translation, so it didn’t go quite as smoothly as originally hoped. The first hour of the event was chaotic, with most people not knowing when we were to begin or where we going to march. There was no clear communication between the organizers and some of the groups who were invited to participate. And we didn’t have much time to explain who the organization is, what we do, or ask people to join us. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the organizing of the march was very frantic, and most of us were stressing out pretty heavily. On the upside, we completed almost all of our tasks and put together an amazing an event in very little time. However, as organizers we need to learn to approach our work in a more sustainable way, so that we don’t burn out or start to view this work negatively. Organizing should be fun, a chance for us to learn and grow together, to build relationships and skills, and create community. While this definitely happened with the march organizing, we also experienced the flipside of that, with too much to do and simply not enough time, people, or resources to make it happen, leading to our folks feeling constantly overwhelmed by an inescapable sense of urgency.

We also feel that another lesson that can be learned from this march is the merits of volunteer-based, democratic organizing. Many of us have taken notice of the rise of the nonprofit industrial complex, the reliance of grassroots movements on paid staff, huge budgets, and top-down corporate structures. While, in theory, there’s nothing wrong or undemocratic about increasing the capacity of our organizations with more funding, or even some paid organizers, but unless our core strategy is focused around volunteer-organizing, which is bottom-up and democratic, and accountable to the grassroots (not the big foundations who give us money), we will continue to lose strength and momentum as a movement. In more densely populated regions of the Bay Area, we see nonprofits with professional, paid staff, unable to turn out as many people as a handful of (mostly) teenagers with little “official” organizing experience, college education, and who only do this in their free time. There may be several reasons for this, but one important factor is that volunteer organizers do not view this work as a 9-5 job. They don’t take weekends off, nor do they go home at the end of the day to their other life. They are forced to do what needs to be done, whatever hour of the day it needs to be done, or whatever day of the week. They are more concerned with creating a culture which can sustain radical organizing. Creating this culture is key because if our aim is to create a world where we are all in family, where we support one another and are accountable for our actions, our organizations have to reflect that. In organizing this march, many of our members hung out together every single night. Sometimes we were doing work for the march, but most of the time we were just relaxing after our long day and getting to know each other better, and once again, slowly building those relationships. Oftentimes, in large nonprofits, the relationship between organizers is purely professional, and there is less of that spirit of camaraderie. When we start viewing our organizing as a job, and our organizations as employers, much of the visionary and idealistic passion which fuels the most effective organizations is lost.

Lastly, we couldn’t help but notice the total lack of media coverage of our march. While there was an article in the local paper the day before the march, there was no news of the actual event. As if it didn’t really happen. The Press Democrat (the local New York Times affiliate) even called us two days before to tell us they were going to run the story live on their website. Nope. While some of this may be due to our lack of time and people to make dozens of phone calls to every local reporter, we did send several press releases weeks in advance, and made follow up phone calls to news agencies. Several of the biggest news outlets knew that this march was happening and consciously chose not to cover it. We can only speculate as to why, but I am amazed that when the Tea Party organized their lackluster, racist right-wing little rally in Santa Rosa last April, it made front page news. When 300 people turn out for a march in Petaluma (which, as was mentioned earlier, doesn’t happen so often), not a peep. It’s because of this media blackout that we need YOU to help us spread the word. Please forward this report with people you know, along with the videos, to let people know how inspiring and successful this march was. The media will not tell our story for us, we must now do it ourselves.

(Video of the march)

What’s Next

Now that we have demonstrated that we can bring together hundreds of people to stand up for immigrants rights, what’s next? Well, Human Rights Summer is still on and we will be organizing “house meetings,” which are small, intimate discussions (5-10 people) where we are able to open up dialogue about immigration, dispel some myths and inform our friends, allies and family about this important issue. This is also a way to build a stronger base for our movement. The house meetings are meant to, at the least, inoculate our community against racist, anti-immigrant propaganda. But at the most, we hope to move people to take action and join this cause. We will also be spreading our message via propaganda and visible art, which always plays a huge role in raising consciousness on a larger level. We will also be calling for a larger community meeting for all those interested in continuing to work together on local battles for migrant justice. The date, time, and location of that meeting are still in the works, but we will inform everyone as soon as we know more. And lastly, we still plan on moving forward with resolutions at the city level to oppose SB1070 and all anti-immigrant policies.
Once again, we thank everyone who participated in the first-ever “March for Human Rights,” and everyone who helped make it possible. IMPACT! believes firmly in the principles of solidarity, and what we saw on the 29th was pure solidarity in action. We hope you will continue to support our small but strong organization, and we will continue to go where we are needed to support the fight for liberation.
As we build this movement together, and as we start to see proposals for immigration reform come before our elected officials in the coming months and years, we want to stand firm in our position and say that we will not back down or compromise when it comes to human rights and dignity. We will not sell out any of our people to get short-term political advantages. We know that if we betray our own values, we all lose in the long run. We continue to take leadership from the brothers and sisters in Puente, TonaTierra, and the National Day Labor Organizing Network in Arizona, and stand with them as they call for a just and humane immigration reform, not some backdoor-deal compromise with politicians which continues to criminalize the immigrant community and separates families. Let us be firm in our commitment and not support any politician or organization which treats workers like criminals, and immigrant families like slaves. In the words of Malcolm X, "You don't stab me in the back with a 6 inch knife, and
pull it out 3 inches and call that progress."
El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!

in solidarity,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Youth Organize Opposition to Arizona's Immigration Law


Contact: Sabina Ahmed- 766-4336

Sonoma County Youth Organize to Oppose Arizona’s Immigration Bill

Protest March to Be Held on July 29th in Petaluma

Petaluma- Youth community organizers from the groups IMPACT! and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) are responding to the recent immigration bill passed in Arizona, SB1070, with a series of activities throughout the summer aimed at educating the community about immigration and building support to repeal the Arizona law and create a “just and humane immigration reform.” These activities include: holding house meetings with the community to discuss immigration, outreach to local businesses to support a boycott of Arizona products, introducing resolutions at the city level to express opposition to Arizona’s bill and support for immigrants’ rights, and a “March for Human Rights” protest on July 29th in Petaluma, the day SB1070 goes into effect.

Taking the lead from immigrant organizers in Arizona who are organizing similar efforts this summer, local youth activists are naming this project “Human Rights Summer,” inspired by the historic Freedom Summer of 1964 which was part of the student-led movement for Civil Rights in the South.

“Laws like SB1070 are not unique to Arizona,” says Sabina Ahmed, a member of IMPACT! “Policies like ‘Secure Communities,’ which Sonoma County has adopted, and 287(g) agreements, take away constitutional rights from immigrants and lead to racial profiling. As students and young people, we oppose all laws that violate civil and human rights.”

Organizers also hope to use Human Rights Summer to build support for ongoing local efforts for migrant justice, including campaigns to stop the impounding of immigrants’ vehicles and the separation of immigrant families, and draw connections between the situation in Arizona and what is happening in Sonoma County.

“I was very proud of the leadership from Supervisors Efren Carrillo and Shirlee Zane regarding their opposition of Arizona’s SB1070,” said Petaluma City Councilwoman, Tiffany Renee. “Assigning immigration responsibilities to local authorities compromises their ability to do their jobs. Detaining people based on suspicions of national origin is reminiscent of 1930s Germany.”

The “March for Human Rights” begins at 6pm on Thursday, July 29th, at McDowell park, off of Park Ln., between Maria Dr. and McGregor Ave. The march will be permitted and peaceful.
*For more information, go to

Sunday, June 6, 2010

IMPACT! and MEChA Call for Action in Solidarity with Arizona!

IMPACT! and MEChA Call for Action in Solidarity with Arizona

Youth activists will organize a “Human Rights Summer” to build support for humane immigration reform.

On May 29th, several North Bay youth activists traveled to Phoenix, AZ to participate in a historic mobilization of over 100,000 people to stop the racist SB1070 bill recently passed in that state. As a response to the growing movement in Arizona, and nationally, for human rights and a just immigration reform, IMPACT! and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) are calling for local action to support the fight against SB1070 as well as ongoing efforts for immigrants’ rights in Sonoma County.

IMPACT! and MEChA are joining the call from groups such as Puente and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network in Arizona, and organizing a “Human Rights Summer,” modeled after the “Freedom Summer” of 1964 in the South. The purpose of this project will be to engage in education and action in solidarity with the struggle in Arizona; pass local resolutions, similar to those of L.A., S.F., Oakland, D.C. and others, boycotting the state of Arizona; connect the crisis in Arizona to local efforts for immigrants’ rights; build a large base of support for the movement for immigrants’ rights; build relationships and resilience within our community; and center the leadership of young people in this fight.

Some specific actions that we are calling for include:

o -A report-back and info-session on our recent trip to Arizona on Friday, June 11th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA.
o -House meetings and movie nights to educate our community about the realities of immigration and the situation in Arizona and locally.
o -A protest march in Petaluma on July 29th, the day SB1070 goes into effect. This march will coincide with a massive mobilization in Phoenix that same day.
o -That our local City Councils pass resolutions to boycott Arizona and express support for the civil and human rights of all people.

With this Human Rights Summer, as with the historic Freedom Summer of the 1960’s, we are looking to young people to take the lead in this fight. However, we welcome and encourage all people to join us in supporting our brothers and sisters in Arizona. We also are excited to be supporting the ongoing and inspiring work of groups like the Committee for Immigrants’ Rights of Sonoma County, which is working to stop the impounding of immigrant peoples’ cars, and the collaboration between local police and federal immigration officials.

If you would like to participate in Human Rights Summer, please send an email to Some ways you can help out are:

* Offer to host us for a house meeting;
* Help us with outreach and education in the community;
* Attend our march on July 29th;
* donate to this project by making a check out to the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, and indicate that it is for IMPACT!

“From Civil Rights to Human Rights to the Rights of Mother Earth. From Sonoma County to the Southwest. We say “No” to racial profiling and criminalization of immigrants, and “Yes” to a just and humane immigration reform.”

In solidarity,

IMPACT! and MEChA Santa Rosa

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

IMPACT! keeps it going in April!

Here's a breakdown of some of the awesome work IMPACT! members were involved in for the month of April

We participated in 11 meetings, for projects such as Free Mind Media, the May 1st Coalition, The North Bay Sponsoring Committee, the Youth Organizing Institute, and of course, IMPACT!

We also helped organize a mass meeting of young people and students at Sonoma State University on April 10th. Over 50 youth activists from the North Bay came together to form a North Bay youth coalition, which will focus on cuts to education and broader social justice issues such as immigrants' rights, economic justice, women's rights, health care, and more. Our next mass meeting is scheduled for May 8th.

We attended another mass meeting of roughly 400 people at St. Vincents church in Petaluma, to address the unjust and illegal practice of the police towing immigrant peoples' cars. This meeting was organized by the North Bay Sponsoring Committee and mainly included people from St. Vincents church.

We held one People of color caucus for IMPACT! members. We also helped organize the monthly meeting of white anti-racist allies of Sonoma County, which over 30 people attended.

We appeared on "Aztlan en Vivo," a bilingual radio program on KBBF, as well as the North Bay Report, a news program on KRCB radio.

We organized four free art workshops at the Phoenix Theater. We gave two "Know Your Rights" trainings to educate people on their rights with the police. We also gave a Know Your Rights training, and a counter-military recruitment workshop at the annual Raza Youth Conference, organized by MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), at Sonoma State.

We attended some awesome events such as a sold-out screening of "800 Mile Wall," a documentary about the U.S./Mexico border, and the thousands of people who have died crossing it. We also tabled at and supported a wonderful and well-attended production of "V-Day," organized by several young women at Casa Grande high school. We helped table at the sold out speaking event with Tim Wise, prominent white anti-racist author, at Sonoma State. And most fun of all, several of us attended the Tea Party's anti-tax rally in Santa Rosa. It was better than going to the movies...

We organized a Critical Mass bike ride, as well as a successful garage sale fundraiser. We put together a social event for IMPACT! members, otherwise known as a "Muster." We also held a BBQ potluck in the park. Lastly, we worked with members of the Committee for Immigrants' Rights to demonstrate against a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint (which are typically used to profile immigrant drivers, detain them, and tow their cars). We held signs in Spanish warning people of the checkpoint, and most likely saved dozens of people from a painful and expensive fine at the hands of the police.

IMPACT! is on the move. Now is the time to get involved and support this growing movement of young people for justice and liberation.

Educate! Participate! Liberate!

IMPACT! achievments- Dec.2009-April 2010

In late November of last year, IMPACT! had several strategy meetings and outlined a series of goals that we wanted to accomplish over the course of 4 or 5 months. Here is the list of what we have done since then.

1.) We developed our own "Know Your Rights" cards for our CopWatch program
2.) We revised and improved our "Know Your Rights" presentations which we have since taken into various schools and community organizations
3.) We finished a 13-page report entitled "Community Views and Experiences With Law Enforcement in Petaluma," based on a community survey we conducted in 2009. We received several endorsements from groups such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the Peace and Justice Center, and the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline (PACH).
4.) We have held 6 Know Your Rights trainings in local schools.
5.) We have organized regular "Womyn's Caucuses" and "Men's Allies meetings."
6.) We have held regular "People of Color Caucuses" as well as "white anti-racist allies" meetings
7.) We helped form a county-wide network of white anti-racist allies which meets monthly and now is comprised of about 60 individuals.
8.) We have set up monthly social gatherings, or "Musters," for young activists to build relationships, get to know each other, and have fun.
9.) We helped table information at the Tim Wise speaking event at Sonoma State University in April.
10.) We organized a consensus workshop.
11.) We took "field trips" to various actions around the Bay, including the March 4th student protests in Berkeley and San Francisco, the "March in March" student protest in Sacramento, and a large immigrants' rights demonstration in San Francisco.
12.) We held a fundraising strategy meeting and delegated a point-person in our group in charge of fundraising.
13.) We expanded our web use through our blog and our Facebook page.
14.) we printed our own brochures and other literature on our womyn's and men's caucuses.
15.) we worked on our organizational culture by addressing internal problems, much of which stemmed from racial and gender inequities. We began confronting, and continue to confront, problems with speaking dynamics in meetings and the rotation of roles within the group.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hot Lunch Hoedown feat. the Crux. May 15th- a benefit for IMPACT!

Hot Lunch Hoe-down- a benefit to send IMPACT! to the U.S. Social Forum!

Saturday, May 15th, 6pm-4am
1251 Marian Way in Petaluma
come on out to a great benefit event to send young activists in IMPACT! to the U.S. Social Forum this summer in Detroit!

We are hosting our first ever Hot Lunch Hoe-down, at 1251 Marian Way aka "The Robin Hood", complete with food, drinks, live music, dancing, all to benefit a good cause. Please come support local food, local musicians, and local activists! Stay for dinner, or stay all night.

$5-$15 suggested donation at the door. (If you are only coming for the dinner, you do not have to pay at the door)

Here is the schedule:

6-8pm- Delicious home-cooked meal by chef Lindsey Patrick, featuring produce from the Robin Hood garden, and other local farms. You will have a choice of two or three items (menu to be announced shortly). We are asking $5 donation per plate.

8-11pm- Live music on the back patio, featuring
the Crux,
the Little Lost Boys.

and to top it all off, DJ Broken Record will be rockin a dub-step set inside.

11pm-2am- Dance Party!

*if you are coming from out of town, let us know if you would like us to reserve sleeping space for you, either inside or outside in the tents.

This is a benefit to send young activists from IMPACT! to the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit ( Please RSVP so we have an idea of how much food to get.

IMPACT! is a Petaluma-based, youth-led activist organization. IMPACT! is a non-profit that works with the community to, among other things, host social events, activist trainings, support free tutoring, free legal clinics, and art workshops. for more info, check out, or

Sunday, April 18, 2010

IMPACT! Steps It Up In March!

IMPACT! in March!

March was one of the busiest months in recent memory for the dedicated members of IMPACT! Here is a brief summary of what our members have been up to these last 31 days.

First off, we attended and/or organized 20 meetings, to support projects and organizations such as: Free Mind Media, MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), the Peace and Justice Center, The Phoenix Theater Rooftop Garden, the Youth Organizing Institute, The Committee for Immigrants’ Rights of Sonoma County, the North Bay Sponsoring Committee, the Zero Campaign, the white anti-racist allies of Sonoma County, and of course, IMPACT!

We held two Womyn’s caucuses, for the young womyn of the group, as well as one Men’s allies caucus. We held four successful free art workshops at the Phoenix Theater. We held a people of color caucus, as well as two white anti-racist allies caucuses (one for IMPACT! members, and one that was open to all of Sonoma County activists and allies). We baked vegan treats to support the Zero Campaign’s (anti-sexual assault group) bake sale to raise funds for their upcoming “Take Back the Night” march in October, which will be protesting violence against women. We helped to plan a successful fundraiser for the local Needle Exchange, which brought in $1,300! Furthermore, we helped raise funds to support Free Mind Media, a local community center and infoshop in Santa Rosa.

We gave presentations to several high school and college classrooms, as well as to a group of Unitarian Universalists in Santa Rosa. We tabled at this year’s production of the Vagina Monologues and distributed lots of good information. We attended a Harm Reduction Conference in the East Bay and a conference in Sacramento for the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.
We attended both days of the annual Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco and made dozens of new friends. We appeared on KPFA, on La Onda Bajita, as part of the Mentes Mechistas segment. And we hosted two activist gatherings/parties, to build relationships with fellow youth activists and to…well…party.

Most excitingly, March was a month of renewed mass protests in our region, and we were excited to take part. On March 4th, we joined tens of thousands of students, teachers, and workers in a statewide strike to defend public education. We marched from UC Berkeley all the way to downtown Oakland in an 8 mile march. Then we headed to San Francisco, where 10,000 people rallied at City Hall. On March 21st, we participated in a massive march in Santa Rosa to celebrate Cesar Chavez and to call for comprehensive immigration reform. We joined nearly 7,000 people (one of the biggest demonstrations in years!) marching from Roseland to downtown Santa Rosa. The very next day, we traveled to Sacramento for the “March in March,” another statewide student protest against cuts to education. Over 15,000 converged on the capitol, and we made many new contacts with students in our region. Just two days later, we took a bus with 100 other Sonoma County residents, many from the Committee for Immigrants’ Rights and the RIFA campaign (Reform Immigration For America), to a protest of 2,000 people for immigrants’ rights in San Francisco.

You can be certain that this is only the beginning. And that as the weather heats up, so will our desires for a new world. April is already full with protests, mass meetings, fundraising, workshops, and hijinx.

If you want to join in the fun, contact IMPACT! at And check out our website,, or our blog,

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 10th Mass Meeting of Students and Young People!

The April 10 mass meeting of students and young people is fast approaching and we have been letting as many people know about this as we can. So far we have:
-Handed out over 1,000 flyers
-Invited approximately 1700 people through Facebook and sent out hundreds of emails
-Talked to several college and high school classrooms
-Got press coverage in Napa, Vallejo, and Santa Rosa
-gathered hundreds of contacts from dozens of campus clubs and organizations around the north bay
-Set up a facebook event for inviting people. Visit it here to invite your friends:!/event.php?eid=106123422750271&ref=ts

But we are not done yet. If you can help us with outreach, or know any one that would like to help, please contact us! Schools we are either continuing outreach to, or looking to contact, include: Casa Grande, Petaluma High, SSU, SRJC, Napa Valley, Analy, Ursuline, SR High, R.U.P., Rancho Cotati, Windsor, Healdsburg high, Maria Carrillo.

Also, if you know of any additional schools or youth organizations that we, or you, could contact, please let us know! We have fliers available for distribution, email for PDF's.

IMPORTANT!- We need to organize carpools and rides for a lot of people! Please email us if you have room in your vehicle for people from Santa Rosa or Petaluma!
As this meeting is for all of us young people and students, we are gathering as much information as we can on what each of us individually want so we can address that collectively at the meeting. The meeting agenda is going look something like this:

Introductions: Meet the rest of the youth around the North Bay and here about what other clubs and organizations are up to.
Proposal: We are proposing that all young people and students of the North Bay come together in a coalition that will organize to defend public education and fight for social justice.
Small Group discussion: We will break up into small groups and discuss this proposal. This is where everyone will get a chance to share their thoughts and include their ideas into this proposal.
Future Actions: We will come back together as a big group, report on what we talked about in the small group, discuss future actions, the next meeting, and what we are going to do with this massive coalition!
Closing: Party?

Clubs/Groups/Organizations: You are encouraged to bring pamphlets and information on your organization as well as information on your upcoming events for everyone.

Coalition Questions:
If you have time, the more feedback we get from people the smoother we can make this meeting run. Fill out and email this questionnaire to today!
What would you like this coalition to focus on? If you could choose 2 or 3 issues for a youth coalition to focus on, what would they be?
What should the goal of the coalition be?
What should the responsibilities be for those who want to join the coalition?
What are some possible names for the coalition?

Thank you all for coming out!
-The as of yet unnamed North Bay Coalition of Youth and Students

Current list of clubs, groups and organizations endorsing the meeting and coalition:
IMPACT! (Petaluma), MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) (National network with several North Bay chapters), Free Mind Media (Santa Rosa), Zero Campaign (Petaluma), Students for a Democratic Society (National network with Napa Valley College chapter), The Northbay Uprising Radio Show (, Students for Quality Education (National network with Sonoma State University chapter).

-If your club, group or organization endorses this meeting and coalition and would like to be on the list, email

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On March 4th, members of IMPACT! and Free Mind Media joined the historic student protests against state budget cuts. This is a bit of video we took from protests in Berkeley and San Francisco.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sheriff cracks down on immigrants

This is an opinion piece written by Davin, from the Committee for Immigrants' Rights. please spread this around.

Sonoma County sheriff scorns immigrants with new program

Last week, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department stepped up its immigration enforcement, announcing its implementation of “Secure Communities,” a program directed by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. This new program sends the fingerprints taken electronically by jail staff at booking to the ICE databases.
Implementing Secure Communities raises the question of what our sheriff has been doing before this program was initiated? One would suppose that our jail was already reporting undocumented felons to ICE, felons being the bad guys this type of program is supposed to weed out.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Secure Communities was able to identify 111,000 criminal aliens nationally in its first year, 100,000 of them charged or convicted for level 2 and 3 crimes — level 1 being the most serious. Unfortunately, what the numbers tell us is vague because “traffic offenses” also constitute level 2 crimes and the majority of police work takes place around traffic stops (a special thanks to the new Santa Rosa police chief for pointing this out).

Locally, 90 percent of those whom the sheriff hands over to ICE fall under the realm of these lesser crimes, so to think that one could be deported for driving home without a license after picking the lettuce that is in our hamburger seems a little absurd.

Many law enforcement agencies, including the retired chief of police from Los Angeles, William Bratton, have pointed to the fact that when local and federal agencies collaborate in this fashion, the ability to get immigrants to cooperate in investigations or even report basic crimes is greatly hindered. And that isn’t good for any of us.

Due process in deportation hearings is extremely limited, with mandatory (no-bond) detention for persons with minor offenses, virtually no discovery of the government’s case, no right to confront the accuser and highly restricted right to challenge evidence obtained by violation of constitutional rights. With the broad use of biometric databases of immigrants, our government has created what conservatives fear: an overbearing state that takes away the most basic freedoms.

The Department of Homeland Security wants the Secure Communities program to be the national norm by 2013. But deportation is a cruel and harsh punishment for these minor violations of law, punishments of whole families and not merely the person who committed the misdemeanor.

The legal immigration system is broken. The vast majority of people who are present illegally are workers, contributing by their labor and their purchasing, and their contributions should not be scorned by subjecting them to these disproportionate punishments for small violations.

Too many of our neighbors, students, ball players, prom queens, loved ones, friends, workers and leaders run the risk of losing it all, and we as a whole run the risk of failing our future by creating a permanent second class of people. What the sheriff is doing is an indignity to the community of hard-working immigrants, people of faith and all who believe that love, life and the pursuit of happiness should be a goal attainable for all.

Davin Cardenas is on the Coordinating Council of the Committee for Immigrant Rights, Sonoma County, which will be taking part in the annual Caesar Chavez march and rally on March 21 in Santa Rosa. A vigil and “fast” is planned at the corner of Santa Rosa Avenue and Sonoma Avenue from March 17 through March 20.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Letter to Planning Commission- Target Big Box development

from Erin, a friend of IMPACT!, to the Planning Commission. Erin grew up in the East D St. neighborhood, which will be disproportionately affected by the proposed massive big box development at East Washington.

Dear Chairman Arras,

I grew up in this neighborhood, just 3 blocks away from this site. I know exactly what is in jeopardy here: a mixed-income, vibrant, community full of kids that play on these sidewalks and in the park and walk to the library and the fairgrounds on july 4th for fireworks. We are a special neighborhood because we DO have convenience stores located within walking distance all around us. I am not opposed to this new Target if it must be built for the economic sustainability of petaluma, but there are strategies to make it the most well-designed, mixed-use, water-wise development ever!

When I was a teenager I used to walk to downtown and have everything anyone could want at my fingertips--an amazing bookstore, lots of ice cream and coffee shops, and clothing stores. I loved shopping and the ability to get there safely without being overly concerned with traffic. I walked to the pool center and library all the time in the summer. I rode my bike. I love having stores easily accessible to Petaluma residents, and I find it encouraging that lots of folks want to walk or bike to their new Target store. It was the perfect neighborhood for a kid stay healthy and entertained.

Yet, I am terrified that this sense of security will be lost for the dozens of young kids that are growing up now in my neighborhood that is about to be transformed. I am terrified for the little lungs of kids playing at the pool center and skate park, who are just out to have fun and get some exercise--with the amount of traffic this development will generate, they are at high risk for respiratory illnesses. Please make sure Regency does a thorough air quality impact report (which they have NOT yet come close to doing) and a redesign of the site to include MUCH more pedestrian and bike accessibility and MUCH less parking. MANY more trees.

Challenge regency to draft up a plan to put in true water-wise and edible landscaping (Regency's past proposals have been far from sufficient in terms of landscaping). Ultimately, Regency could get much of their landscaping for free if they invited in the volunteer power of our quite committed community.Take a look at Petaluma City Hall lawn! Lets please challenge Regency to collaborate with us. After a long, hard fight,this is the least my neighborhood deserves.

As it stands, the East Washington Place project should be called what it really is: The ‘Target Box’ Place. Picturesque Petaluma, with its beautiful Marina, does not need this incompatible project. Your Commission has the power to cut this project down to size, to make it more pedestrian-friendly, and compatible with the rest of Petaluma. These are property design and site plan issues. These box stores are inharmonious with the rest of commercial development in Petaluma. You can insist that the Target project be made to fit Petaluma, not the reverse. I hope you will take an aggressive stand on site plan scale, open space, and character of the project, to protect the residents of this city. This is not an economic development project---so don’t swoon over the jobs and sales tax imputed to this plan. In my mind, the City Council "missed the Target" but now the Commission has a chance to address the real problems with the inappropriately-scaled project.

With my background in Urban Studies, I was one of the recent Planning Commission applicants. I am going to hold the Planning Commission accountable, as the protectors of our town's vitality and character, to ensuring the best possible design of our city spaces. I trust that you will not let us down.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Revamped Know Your Rights Cards!

Ben and I are currently working on new Know Your Rights Cards. We are currently working on the template and content of the cards. We hopefully will have our first draft ready by next meeting. If anyone has any input or suggestions please e-mail us at


Monday, February 8, 2010

Remembering the Stakes

One of the first actions I remember taking as a self-identified political radical was selling Marxist and anarchist literature at the age of 14. I would set up my little table on the high school campus at lunch-time or in the dim lobby of the Phoenix Theater at a punk show on Friday night. I’d sit there quietly, reading perhaps, waiting for a curious mind to wander over and engage me in conversation and leave with one of our titles (which we had picked up from AK Press, an anarchist book publisher based in Oakland). This was just after the 9/11 attacks, and while animosity towards radicals such as myself was on the increase (I routinely had books spit on, stolen, and thrown to the ground), young peoples’ interest in political ideas and history was also growing. As a result, I never had to make much of an effort to get folks to come over to the table; politics were already in the air.
To this day, radical political groups still use “tabling” as a tactic for gaining visibility for their group and raising consciousness by distributing political literature and other materials. Tabling is a great way to meet people, engage in dialogue and get revolutionary ideas into the hands of the general public, as is any form of face-to-face political outreach. However, over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a stark unwillingness on the part of many self-described radicals to actively engage with the public, especially when tabling. Whether it’s at an Anarchist Book-fair in San Francisco, or a public concert in New York City, I’ve witnessed a complete lack of interest on the part of “revolutionary” and “anarchist” organizations to network, dialogue, and strategize with strangers, such as myself. I view this as a larger trend in radical communities which is utterly hostile to anything that requires talking to people outside of our cliques about our politics and our organizations.
I and many people I work closely with are just as guilty of this as the next person. Often when someone, who’s not a fellow activist, asks me “what’s new”, I typically do not respond with the details of how I’m working to stop police brutality, or enrolled in a political education program to help white activists analyze white supremacy and organize to build multi-racial movements for liberation. I generally answer with a shrug and a “you know…just really busy with work.” I’m more likely to tell them to go see a new movie that I just saw than to come to our next meeting and get involved. I’m more likely to spread some gossip than the latest news on the war. And I know I’m not the only one who does this. And every time we do, what we are losing is a great opportunity to engage with people about the work and the ideas that we think are so important: the fight for justice and democracy. I can barely remember how many times I have seen my comrades sit in their uncomfortable chair behind a table of obscure political theory, frowning and counting the seconds until they get to pack up and go home. Then at the next meeting, we all complain that there’s “nobody here.” How many times have we tried to organize an event and waited until the last minute to call people, or not called people at all? How many times have we just relied on a single email to get the word out and then acted shocked when no one attends our little movie night/forum/workshop/meeting/rally/etc.? Do we really think that someone is going to read one hastily-worded email and sacrifice two hours on a Wednesday night to come to some meeting of a group they know nothing about?
I say these things not to attack anyone in particular. As I said, I’m guilty of these things all of the time. And as I mentioned earlier, when I first started tabling, I could rely on the current political climate to help me engage with people; people were already interested. Today, things are a bit different. There is no demand for revolutionary ideas. Not in any significant quantity at least. We have to realize this, take responsibility for not stepping up to reach out to the community, and change direction if we are to survive as revolutionaries in an era where Tea Parties seem to rule the day.
For me, what helps is looking back to those who came before us and went down the very same path that we are now walking. The path to liberation of all of humanity. Understanding that we are part of a proud tradition of community organizers, activists, workers, peasants, and rebels from every inch of this planet can help us gain some perspective on the task before us. What did our comrades back then have to do in order to win? In the face of such terrifying opposition in the 1960’s, how did students in the South defeat four centuries of legal slavery and segregation? In the face of death squads, how did radical labor organizers in the early 20th century fight for and win some of the basic rights and benefits that we all take for granted today such as the minimum wage, the weekend, and the eight-hour work day? Did they do it by shyly sitting behind a book table or calling 10 people the day before a big rally?
In Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, he describes some of the revolutionary working class organizations of the early 1900’s. In the famous Lawrence textile strike, 10,000 workers walked out of their jobs. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organized mass meetings, parades, and set up a 50 worker organizing committee. Through this they also set up soup kitchens which could feed 50,000 people. In New York, female socialist organizations were famous for their incredible political outreach. In one day at the climax of one of their campaigns, female socialists “distributed 110,000 leaflets, sold 4,000 books, put out 40,000 stickers, and held 110 meetings.”
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) continued this tradition of mass-based organizing in the 1960’s in order to defeat segregation in the South. Jean Wheeler Smith said that “Bob (Moses) and a band of ten or so organizers, all under 20, could go into a community in the morning…find their contacts, establish sleeping quarters and some means to eat, get a church and turn out the community for a mass meeting that same night.” And while SNCC wasn’t always able to turn out tens of thousands of people to their events, what they emphasized was building relationships and engaging in the day-to-day work that may seem tedious, but pays off in the long run and helps build mass movements. People claimed that SNCC organizers were often “people you could sit down and talk with.” Now compare that with today’s radicals, who often despise talking with the uncultivated masses and too often dismiss those who disagree with them as “reactionary” or worse yet, “liberal.” (meaning hopeless). We’re much more content sitting behind our tables, snubbing our noses at all of those who “just don’t get it.”
But imagine if every tiny anarchist or revolutionary group across the country (and there are many, though they are mostly small) took these lessons and incorporated them into their day-to-day work. Imagine small bands of revolutionary organizers who went door-to-door, talking to people, developing relationships, building the leadership of working people, listening to the struggles of the majority of residents in this country, handing out thousands of leaflets and selling hundreds of books and holding mass meetings. After a few years, we might not seem so marginal or friendless anymore. Out of all the activists I have met and continue to be friends with, almost all of them are brilliant in their own way. They are friendly, smart, funny, personable, creative and fierce people who can accomplish just about anything. For some reason, however, these traits are rarely reflected in their organizing. Either because of the fear of rejection, a lack of confidence in their own ability to communicate, or a subconscious elitism towards the “apolitical masses,” the intelligence and friendliness of the best among us is not seen by most who encounter our organizations. Instead, many in the community see us just another bunch of activists- whiny, privileged, petulant children, if they see us at all, which they rarely do, because we’re far too busy embroiled in some meaningless political squabbling, either in reality or on the internet.
Lest this late-night, flu-inspired rant come off as another overly negative, morale-killing diatribe (something our movements really don’t need at this moment), let this instead be a time to reflect and reconnect with our traditions, and remember what is at stake here. Why do you want to change the world? Why do you do what you do? Why do you call yourself a “revolutionary” or “radical” or “activist?” For me, it has always been, and always will be, deeply personal. Because the stakes are our lives. Because this is the only sensible way to spend our lives. Because capitalism makes slaves of all of us and there’s nothing more I could want than freedom. And if I’m not willing to talk to someone, to put a book in their hands, to put work into building a relationship with them, to help them through the doubts and fears they may have, to make phone calls, to knock on doors, to stand in front of grocery stores, to ask questions, to invite everyone I know to participate in the events I help organize, to have the hard conversations with the people I disagree with, then I am throwing away everything I have learned and I am abandoning the most beautiful thing that I have in this world and that is the struggle for my own liberation, which ultimately means the struggle for everybody’s liberation. When we are too afraid to talk to strangers, we are letting ourselves down. When we won’t make those extra phone calls because we’d rather watch a movie and get drunk, we are letting our friends, family, comrades, and ancestors down. Because our own lives are at stake. Everything that is good and beautiful is under attack and no one can stop it but you. And in that struggle you grow, you love, you learn to fight and you learn how to be free.

Fuck a career. I’m a revolutionary. I’m in this shit for life. It’s time to BRING IT!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Olympics resistance, Spoken word, and Self-Defense

On Thursday, January 21st, four guys from Canada- Testament, Illogik, and the Outspoken Wordsmiths, presented to a group of about a dozen young folks in Petaluma. They were on a tour through the west coast to spread the word about the resistance to the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which will take place on unceded Native territory. Many groups, from indigenous tribes, to environmental activists, from homeless advocates to anti-police abuse groups, will be organizing protests for the two weeks that the games will take place this February.

Testament broke down the concerns behind the Olympics, which range from the fact that the games are taking place on stolen Native land, to the massive displacement of low-income and homeless people from Vancouver. He also discussed the massive spending ($6 billion dollars!) to host the Olympics, money that is simultaneously being denied to people in need of social programs, education, health care, etc. Furthermore, although this Olympics is being billed as the "greenest games ever," over 100,000 trees have been cut down in preparation for the games, and much land has been paved over to build roads. Lastly, draconian laws have been passed to prevent any protest, and hundreds of high-tech cameras have been installed all around the city to monitor any "suspicious" activity. The Canadian military is sending thousands of soldiers, calling this their "biggest operation in history." We can only guess what this means- suppression of free speech.

After talking about the Olympics, Testament joined Illogik and the Outspoken Wordsmiths for a half hour spoken word and hip hop performance, with poignant pieces about police brutality and protest. Following that, Illogik led a brief self-defense introduction and taught the participants how to break free from several different holds.

We thank our Canadian comrades for stopping by to share their stories, music, and knowledge with us. We wish them luck as they take to the streets next month in protest. "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!"

visit for more information about the resistance

Monday, January 25, 2010

Transgendered woman abused by Sonoma County Sheriff's

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a woman who claimed to have been seriously harassed and abused by the Sonoma County Sheriff's when she attempted to report being stalked. On top of some typical violations of civil rights including illegal search and seizure of her property, she was sexually harassed because of her gender (she is a transgendered female). She wanted to make her case known in the hopes that it would prevent this sort of abuse in the future. She has been forced to move from Sonoma County, where she grew up, and out of California, due to what she feels is a complete lack of justice from law enforcement and local officials. Below is part of her story. Please check out her website for more information and please spread the word about this story.

-Carl, IMPACT!

On Sept. 22 , 2009 , I was between several towns which include Guerneville, Forestville, and Fulton. I was being stalked in this area. I wrote down the license number of the vehicle , contacted Windsor police dept. , which is run by the Sonoma county sheriff's dept.. I was advised to go to the sheriff's dept in Santa Rosa. Even if the officer was correct on that particular license plate number, that it was incorrect, license plates can be tampered with in many different ways.
I went over to the sheriff's dept to make a report regarding the stalking and instead I found myself having to be victimized again.
I arrived at Sonoma county sheriff's office at approximately 11:25 pm , on the 22 Sept. , pushed the button for the sheriff office and the woman stated she would summon an officer to arrive there on Ventura avenue, to take the report.

I waited at the front door of the sheriff's dept , I had advised the officer at the speaker at the front door that I wanted to get a letter from the car I was in that would prove I was a victim of continual gender violence , and the officer said ok .
Approximately 5 minutes later, a Sgt. Mark Fuston of the Sheriffs' dept comes charging at me in a very threatening manner, demanding I put out my cigarette. I told him I was an adult, and I can smoke legally.

Then Sgt Fuston decided to sexually harrass me over my gender, or what he perceived my gender to be. I corrected him. However, this officer I could tell in the first few minutes this was a military type of an officer. He used military type tactics.
This officer then asked some questions, acting like he was going to take a report.
The next thing I know he was accusing me of being on meth......which was not true....
as I have never even taken meth. Then the officer stated I was on alcohol even though there was no alcohol on my breath. The way this had occurred is a violation of several laws including the following:
civil code 51 section b , known as the unruh act, the fourth amendment, and the fifth amendment.

First off, I was awake for approximately 36.5 hrs , had coffee to drink , and caffeine pills to keep me awake , and a couple of tylenol cold capsules due to a cold . There was no alcohol or drugs other then prescription medication, which was in the trunk, as I will not take pain medication while driving. I do have pictures showing the coffee containers. This officer was not listening to reason. I originally went to the car to look for paperwork that would verify I was a victim, not imagined , but real.

Sgt Fuston stated “I know where you will be safe, in protective custody.”

the next thing I know, the sgt mark Fuston placed handcuffs on me stating he knew of a
safe place for me to be ....meaning jail. The car I was driving was searched to find the
pain medications, then he accused me of being under the influence, which I was not, as
again i had the pain medications in the trunk and i did not want to use them while
operating a vehicle.
When i told the officer he was violating my civil liberties and rights,
the officer said “you have no rights.”
I asked for an attorney, which he refused to assist me in, although I have a right to an attorney.
This is very upsetting to me. I have never been arrested at any time for any reason. I have left the county of Sonoma and the state of California and I will never return for any reason at all. This is coming from a person who grew up in Sonoma County.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Laura Coulter on the anti-immigration protest!

On the Saturday before Christmas 2009 I was with my daughter enjoying the downtown Petaluma holiday cheer and doing some shopping for gifts. About eight White Supremacists were blocking Water Street with a large banner that read "Stop Immigration". I immediately stood in front of the banner and called the Petaluma police from my cell phone to notify them that there was a group of protesters blocking foot and car traffic on Water Street. The owner of the Water Street Bistro was also standing near the neo-Natzi men who were holding the banner and she was voicing her displeasure with the protester and their presence out side of her cafe. I told the White Supremacists they could not block the street and walked though their banner several times to demonstrate the fact that they were in my way. This prompted one of the White Supremacists to shove me and repeatedly call me a "bitch". I did not get into any discussion with these racists on the topic of immigration or their stance on white supremacy, but I did observe the reaction of several people who seemed shocked at being lectured in passing about how white men need to take control of America. I also noted that the Petaluma police arrived an hour after my call and asked the neo-Natzis to move to out of the way of foot and car traffic.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We Want Community, Not Strip Malls!

Dear everybody,

Tomorrow night at 7pm the Petaluma City Council will be voting on a proposed project to build a massive strip mall shopping center at the former Kenilworth junior high site (where the swim center, skate park, race track, and fairgrounds now are). What does this mean for Petaluma?
-hundreds of non-union, low-wage jobs for mainly young people and immigrant workers, further driving down the standard of living for working people locally.
-air-pollution from increased traffic at an area of town where traffic is already bad (surrounding neighborhoods are almost all working class and immigrant neighborhoods- which will suffer the most from air-pollution)
-putting dozens of local people out of business and replacing them with chain stores like Target, Border's and more.
-Increased privatization of public space. Instead of parks, open fields, music venues, and other such spaces where community is built, this project will turn our town into a boring, isolated, consumerist hell.


We want good jobs, clean air, and community- NOT exploitation, pollution, and strip malls!