DISCLAIMER: The opinions and comments below are those of the speaker and not official positions of Taos United, a non-partisan, nonprofit coalition dedicated to justice, democracy and our community
Terry Surguine introduced 16 yr old Leah Epstein, a participant in the June THINGS THAT MATTER Pecha Kucha. Leah read her poem, “Melting Pot”, inspired by the current US treatment of immigrants at our borders.
Standing up for what matters is an antidote to fear and despair (10 min)
TOM MADDEN, journalist and a member of TU, shared how stepping up to speak out about the importance of truth and freedom of the press in the recent TU Pecha Kucha event, re-energized and re-focused his commitment to do whatever he can to protect the basic principles of our democracy. He had never spoken from a stage and feared that no one would listen to a Georgia Cracker with a southern drawl, but after speaking up despite his fear, he realized he is not alone, we are not helpless and we must all keep busy and stay involved. Every day there is a new rock bottom: mylar baby blankets given to children separated from their parents at the border, the use of children as bargaining chips for a wall and a T shirt, previously sold by Walmart, worn at a Trump rally in Minneapolis that said – “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” And then there was the newsroom killing rampage in Annapolis! No surprise! Yet, thousands of us are standing up, like they did at a #Families Belong Together rally in Albuquerque last weekend, including a sign-carrying young mother with children in tow who was teaching her children they too can have a voice. Tom urged that we all must slow down this train or our children and grandchildren will not live in the world as we know it. There are 122 days until Nov 6.
Neighbor to Neighbor Project to Get Out the Vote in November
TERRY SURGUINE, Member of the TU Elections Group and retired political strategist, is the coordinator of the Neighbor to Neighbor project with the Taos County Democratic Party. We can not sit back and watch New Mexico be sold to the Koch brothers. Taos is the Blue Wall, as Darien Fernandez has said, providing thousands of Democratic votes in state elections to counterbalance the redder southern parts of the state. While Taos County has 70% registered Democratic voters, only 47 % turned out to vote in the last midterm election in 2014. That means at least 8,000 Democratic votes were missing from the statewide totals.
We know it’s getting more and more difficult to reach people by phone. To increase voter turnout, we must meet voters the old fashioned way, door to door, neighbor to neighbor, street to street. To date we have Diane Shifren and Nat Troy in place as organizers. Other volunteer organizers are needed who will meet with precinct officers to help them recruit additional people to meet with 20 or more of their neighbors who are infrequent voters.
As the precinct teams get built, the plan is for people to go out in pairs to drive, walk for a few hours in late afternoon or on Saturdays. They will have a list of 20 infrequent Democratic voters and a script. The Neighbor to Neighbor project will help prepare for the 2020 election and it is a community building effort. If precinct walking doesn’t work for you there are other ways to help: phone banks led by Tina Archuleta and George Brown from Democratic HQ will focus on reaching the frequent voters. We also need help with data entry. Or you can make a donation to a fund that will pay a young person to canvass in precincts where we need more help; $100 will pay for 80 to 100 door to door contacts. Last, you can join your precinct team and help recruit people to walk. Every person you recruit increases your impact by at least 20 times.
Q. People may be uncomfortable in new or sketchy neighborhoods…. A. People will work in teams in teams of two and in their own neighborhoods. We will only be contacting Democrats.
We need your help! Call Democratic HQ at 575.224.5802 or email Terry at email@example.com.
Mary Lane Leslie brought American flags to post with candidate or IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE signs for 4th of July.
PHONE BANK – GET OUT THE VOTE!
TINA ARCHULETA, Northern NM Field Organizer for the Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign. Previously Tina organized a phone bank for the the Michelle Lujan Grisham campaign, reaching 700-900 households in one shift! She is looking for 15 – 20 volunteers for a phone bank to get out the vote in Taos County. Please contact Tina by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 505-927-1109
July 4th – Arroyo Seco Parade at 12 noon – Taos Dems will have a float.
July 4th – Monte Carlo in Questa at 2:30 – Michelle Lujan Grisham
July 6th – Kit Carson Park at 5:00 – Barbeque with Senator Heinrich in Back Pavillion
What we missed about healthcare while being distracted by other issues:
Mark Goodman: Nationally, a few months ago was a wild and wooly time for healthcare policy, with a lot of horrible “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” plans both in the House and Senate. All of these were defeated, although some just barely. Since then, the Healthcare issues have faded into the background, but the Trump administration has been quietly trying to dismantle and weaken the ACA as much as they can. The first dagger was elimination of the “individual mandate” which caused some damage, but not much as feared since most healthy young individuals had already opted out and elected to pay the relatively small penalty rather than pay the premiums. Subsidies for low-income individuals has been removed but due to quirks in the system, the Fed. Gov. will actually have to pay more. There is active support to reverse this plan. Most recently several Red states are suing the US Govt. to remove coverage for pre-existing positions. Atty. Gen. Sessions, instead of supporting the government, has sided with Red states in this lawsuit. If passed it will likely result in a backlash, since that provision is popular. Keep paying attention to these backroom attempts to attack ACA, and be aware “Medicare for All” bills are now in House and Senate. Another reason to do everything we can to flip both the House and the Senate!
TAOS IMMIGRANT ALLIES WORKING TO HELP
BEA BALSAMO and her husband, along with Jose Gonzales drove a truck loaded with donations to the border. There are shelters of several hundred immigrants in El Paso and Juarez organized by Ruben Garcia. All donations are appreciated and will be used. There will be a new GoFundMe page to help cover transportation for another truck drive to the border being scheduled for August..
SUSANN MCCARTHY, also of Taos Immigrant Allies, announced a raffle & fundraiser at Cid’s on July 14th, Bastille Day, 10 – 4. (see above for details)
RESIST SIGNS – 4TH OF JULY PARADE
CHRISTY HOLDEN will provide signs to carry at the July 4th parade in Arroyo Seco. Meet her at Aceq Restaurant at 11. There is no event more appropriate than this – we are defending our First Amendment rights!
ELLEN BRODSKY urged everyone to attend Senator Heinrich’s BBQ on Friday, 5pm, at Kit Carson Park Back Pavillion. Trump is taking a wrecking ball to our country! On a national level, our Democratic leaders are not going at this as they should. They need to step up! Senate leadership must rail against Trump! This will be a good opportunity to let him know.
BIAS BEING EMBEDDED INTO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
MYA COURSEY quoted a recent GUARDIAN article. She spoke to the issue of the values of this administration being embedded within govt structure, things that bias the function of those agencies toward the conservative agenda. In January, Health and Human Services announced the creation of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division “…the focus HHS needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom…” She urged everyone to work for progressive candidates to prevail in November elections
FAMILY DOLLAR STORE LAWRENCE BAKER has been an activist all her life. Please see her My Turn article in this week’s paper. Please sign the petition to block the proposed store near the corner of highway 64 & Millicent Rogers Road. Keep Taos beautiful!
MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE
BUD BRANCH is a volunteer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, dedicated to reducing gun violence in America. 196 people die every day by a gun in the US. Founded after the Sandy Hook shooting, this organization is 5 years old and has a single mission. It is organized and data driven. It is an effective counterweight to the gun lobby in Washington DC. The Taos Chapter meets monthly and is recruiting members. Next meeting: July 19th, 5:30 at Valverde Commons. Contact: text Events to 64433 or email@example.com or 434-825-9246
BOB BRESNAHAN, Board member of RENEWABLE TAOS and KCEC. KCEC will bring 3 megawatts of renewable energy to the area this month and 11 megawatts by end of year. More to come. They are working with the National Renewable Energy Lab which runs software to be made available for other coops. Coming up: on Saturday, September 8th from noon until 6, an Electric Vehicle Expo organized by Dan Pritchard.
JIM LUDDEN of TENT – Taos Elders and Neighbors Together. Many elders have difficulty living alone. TENT is organizing volunteers to assist elders with such things as driving to the grocery and doctor visits. They are in process of interviewing and doing background checks on volunteers. Projected cost to join TENT and be eligible for services: $350/ year or $32/month for one elder. $ per month for a couple. There will be a meeting Thursday next or July 12th at 2:30 at Valverde Commons. Prisca Winslow will talk about Feldenkrais work
STOP SUPREME COURT APPOINTMENT BEFORE THE ELECTIONS
JANE FARMER – reported that the Taos United curated Things That Matter Pecha Kucha was wonderful!! What can we do next to keep building this community spirit and get out the vote?
The retirement of Justice Kennedy has given Trump another Supreme Court Justice appointment, which he has previously promised would support reversal of Roe v. Wade and move the court further right for many decades to come. With Democrats in the minority in the Senate , blocking this appointment will be difficult. Some of the options include delaying the confirmation process by calling for quorum votes, insisting on all the procedural rules such as not going into closed committees and demanding that the Senate follow the unofficial “McConnell Rule” of refusing to consider a Supreme Court nominee in an election year which was used successfully to block Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Perhaps the most persuasive argument is that a President under criminal investigation should not be allowed to appoint a Justice who would be called upon to rule on many aspects of the case against him. This itself would be criminal !! Go to the barbeque, speak to Senator Heinrich, tell him to stand up!
JEAN STEVENSON, Director of TAOS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, spoke of the importance of media literacy. For those who do not have cable, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now and FNX – First Nations Experience – is available for antenna only on PBS 5.3. For many news outlets see the right side of www.refdesk.com
Be positive. What is our vision? What is the change we want? The Golden Rule is the way to go.
LA FIESTA DE TAOS PARADE
WALLY COX is looking for volunteers for the Parade on Sunday, July 23rd at 11:00 from the Taos County Courthouse to US Post Office across from the Kachina Lodge. They have a pickup truck and driver to carry a Taosenos Unidos banner and voting reminders. 2-4 volunteers needed walk alongside the vehicle, hand out TU info cards to adults and stickers to the kids Please contact Wally by email AL74FA@gmail.com or call 575-224-1234 .
CHIEF NUDGER FINDS HELP
MARJORIE LUCKEY, named TU’s “chief nudger” by our MC, joined members of Taos United at the immigration rally in Albuquerque with 5,000 other attendees! The experience was re-energizing and provide needed hope that the country will come together in support of our better selves in the upcoming elections and civil actions. It is important to remember the lesson learned that when we stand up, we also bring other people up. Just another reason to stay “in the game” and get active
SIGNS AND T- SHIRTS
‘IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE’ yard signs and “I REALLY DO CARE, DON’T YOU” t-shirts can be ordered. If you would like a sign or a T-shirt please let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CANCER SUPPORT WALK
Anyone who attended the Cancer walk, please see DEL ENDRES following the meeting or contact by email email@example.com or by phone 575-770-0133
PUSH DEMS TO UP THEIR GAME
ELLEN BRODSKY urged everyone to attend the Heinrich BBQ and show him that we care. We must push Democrats in Washington to up their game! The Trump lawsuit could go to the Supreme Court. Trump must not be allowed to appoint a Supreme Court nominee!
TAOS IMMIGRANT ALLIES
BEA BALSAMO spoke of the importance of businesses protecting employees from ICE agents. ICE has been in Taos. TIA held a meeting to share information, but only two businesses were represented. TIA has written information to share. It will be available at the fundraising event at Cid’s on July 14th. TIA seeks donations for legal aid.
MEDICAL CARE – A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
CRISTY HOLDEN. Medical care for women is a fundamental right. We must not be silent when the full range of women’s health care, including the right to determine if or when to continue a pregnancy, is threatened!
IF YOU SEE IT – STAND UP FOR THAT PERSON !
GAYLE . Regarding public racism. If we see it, we must stand up with that person and ask others to stand up with you!
Great turnout and energy!! Largest ever! Please join us for the TU Community Forums on the first Tuesday of each month.
Our next meeting will be August 7th