By Doug Porter
In venues large and small, with local and national issues, with methods ranging from silent support to civil disobedience, San Diegans expressed themselves politically on Tuesday, April 4.
This advocacy was felt, seen, and heard from Washington DC, where protesting union members were escorted from a speech by President Trump to the Mayor of San Diego’s office where activists sat-in to demand enforcement of minimum wage laws and racial justice to a school board meeting where Muslim parents and their supporters came to witness a discussion about combating harassment and Islamophobia in local schools.
There were also protests at local congressional offices in downtown San Diego, Vista, and Temecula, along with delegations flocking to city council meetings in National City and Chula Vista. And then there were women wearing red everywhere (along with a downtown rally), reminding us of pervasive pay scale inequality throughout the workforce.
I did a quick scan of local media before writing this post, and you’d hardly know anything occurred in San Diego on April 4. It’s not that I think every event merits coverage, but the widespread pushback against Trump and what he stands for IS a story with merit, even if it’s just to make the point that civic engagement is growing.
Two instances of reporting were to be found. Several outlets covered the Chula Vista city council hearing, though I suspect it’s because the term “Sanctuary City” is a trigger phrase for Trumpanistas.
More egregious was the coverage by CBS8 News of the protest/sit-in at San Diego City Hall. Reporter Richard Allen conflated this event with coverage of Equal Pay Day, despite speakers and press releases from organizers at Raise Up San Diego clearly indicating the focus was on enforcing the local minimum wage law and racial justice.
Given the number of events occurring on Tuesday, I’m going to post short summaries, along with available media from each. What is encouraging about all this activity is the connections people are making between local issues and national policy.
A protest against Donald Trump is, I think, ultimately no more important than pushing a local elected body to do the right thing.
Members of the IBEW Local Union 569, which represents 3,400 electrical workers in San Diego and Imperial Valley, along with representatives of the San Diego Building Trades Council were in the nation’s capitol to attend the America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) National Legislative Conference.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
…Trump entered the Washington Hilton ballroom Tuesday with the confidence of a man who shares a vocabulary with the 3,000 activists in the room. He described himself as “a builder in the White House,” then asked, “Did you ever think you’d see a president who knows how much concrete and rebar you can lay down in a single day?” Only scattered applause followed.
Trump eventually got around to bragging about his election campaign. Some in the crowd booed his boasting.
The administration believed the convention was a safe venue for the President to speak on his pledge to spend $1 trillion on America’s infrastructure.
A half-dozen San Diegans were escorted from the building after they stood holding signs printed saying “resist” — a motto of the anti-Trump movement.
For more coverage in the San Diego Free Press, go here.
Downtown San Diego
More than 100 people rallied at City Hall, yesterday, calling on Mayor Faulconer to create a local office to enforce minimum wage violations and calling for racial justice on the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
They rode the elevators to the 11th floor, continuing the rally with speakers outside the Mayor’s office.
Juan Uriarte, a janitor in San Diego, told the crowd “I worked every day four hours extra without pay. I could never take a break and could never take a lunch. What I saw was that nobody at work knows about their rights. The way the City is acting is in favor of the employer and not in favor of the employees.”
A group of protesters staged a half-hour long sit-in in front of the Mayor’s office. There were no arrests.
The downtown demonstration in conjunction with more than two dozen other events nationwide organized jointly by Fight for $15 and the Movement for Black Lives.
United under the banner of “Fight Racism, Raise Pay” Tuesday’s actions kick off a wave of protests around the country between now and May 1, including demonstrations calling attention to immigrants’ rights, climate change and tax policy that benefits the rich.
“From the early 1960s to the young men and women protesting in the streets today, we’ve always recognized that economic justice goes hand in hand with racial harmony,” said U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). “Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?’
His question still rings true today. Whether you’re a young college graduate in Detroit or a middle-aged farm worker in the Pennsylvania suburbs, every single American deserves to be paid a livable wage for the work they do.”
The regular protest outside Senator Diane Feinstein’s office was celebratory in nature yesterday, as representatives from Hillcrest Indivisible learned of her opposition to Gorsuch’s nomination for the Supreme Court.
The weekly Trump Tuesday events outside the offices of Congressman Darrell
Hunter Issa continue to grow, with organizers reporting over 700 people on April 4.
Last week, with CNN shooting a story nearby, the building management turned on sprinklers in the lawn. This week, protesters came dressed for the occasion, with many sporting beach outfits.
Temecula & Escondido
Nobody has to more surprised than Congressman Duncan Hunter, who continues to be dogged with protests in what was considered to be a safe Republican district.
Yesterday’s “That’s Not Right’ protest was in Temecula, not exactly considered a hotbed of progressivism.
The El Cajon edition of Trump Tuesdays, has morphed into Escondido Saturday rallies in front of the Westfield North County Mall.
Community groups, led by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and the ACLU have been urging the Chula Vista City Council to take actions in response to stepped-up federal immigration enforcement.
Last night’s meeting was packed, as the council heard a staff report listing seven possible courses of action. Following six hours of hearings the city council voted to draft a resolution on becoming a “welcoming city.” They also voted to support Senate Bill 54, designating California as a sanctuary state.
There were two groups vying for action from the San Diego Unified School Board last night.
Students and teachers rallied outside the meeting and provided testimony in support of teachers and programs imperiled by looming budget cuts. The school district is facing a $124.4 million shortfall and has issued pink slips to hundreds of teachers and administrative employees.
The SDUSD budget will be finalized over the next few weeks.
Parents and supporters of the local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) brought orange signs saying “Protect Our Kids” to the school board meeting in support of recommendations have presented to combat the bullying of Muslim students.
Months of negotiations and hard work paid off, as the board agreed to adopt specific policies aimed at mitigating Islamophobia and discrimination.
Seeing Red Over the Gender Pay Gap
The Lawyers Club of San Diego held a rally outside the Federal Courthouse on Tuesday evening in support of Equal Pay Day, an event started twenty years ago to draw attention to America’s persistent gender wage gap by marking the day in the year that women have to work to reach men’s pay in the previous year.
City Councilman Chris Ward addressed the group, speaking about a proposed City ordinance requiring contractors to certify equal pay by gender.
Women throughout the city were encouraged to wear red as a reminder of pay inequality.
— CAC (@sdclimateaction) April 5, 2017
BREAKING: Organizers with groups throughout San Diego County are proposing an event coinciding with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce Annual Congressional Luncheon.
Reps. Susan Davis, Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas are all slated to appear on a mid-day panel at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel on Friday, April 21.
Details about this event will appear in the San Diego Free Press Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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