Where Is Your Heart?

We rallied outside Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ headquarters in Spokane on Monday, February 13th, to demand that she stand up to her peers and protect health care. We asked her WHERE IS YOUR HEART and tried to speak with her and tell her our stories of people who NEED their health care.

We prepared special presents for her — stuffed animals, each with a name and a story attached of an actual person who needs their health care. But, she was not there to hear from her constituents.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers and other Republican leaders are pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would leave thousands in her district without the quality, affordable health care they deserve. #SaveTheACA

Spokane Supports Standing Rock Sioux

Watch a video of their experience at https://youtu.be/Kz9CrkDz4RE.

In November, some of our Spokane members traveled to Dakota to support the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition. They left Spokane with supplies to help this protest make it through the winter months and came back with a memorable experience and some amazing photos.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline because it threatens sacred native lands and could contaminate their water supply from the Missouri river, which is the longest river in North America.

Former President Obama did his best to put into place legal red tape to stop the project, declaring the project would contribute to climate change because it would carry tar sands crude which is especially greenhouse gas intensive because of the energy it takes to extract the thick crude.

Now, President Trump has filed an Executive Order to advance the pipeline project.

The fight to stop the pipeline continues. #NoDAPL

Below is a first person account of the experience from Spokane leader Bonnie Roberts:

I wanted to thank Washington CAN for the support to make a trip to Standing Rock, North Dakota. I had read an explanation of the treaty rights of Standing Rock online. It wasn’t until I went there that I was able to put it into context. I learned that the path of the pipeline had originally been plotted to pass through a mostly white, middle class and working class neighborhood – one with recognized political clout. So, the pipeline was rerouted through tribal lands.

I was unexpectedly overcome when we arrived. The sacredness of the place was overwhelming. The next morning, we left camp and went to a state park to shower. There, I met a young lady, probably in her twenties, who taught us about her people and the importance of numbers and colors in teaching of lessons. She shared with me about the White Buffalo Princess and her ties to Standing Rock. I was moved because the young have a lot to teach us, and it did my heart good to know our youth are so impassioned, knowing they will be there to pass the baton to.

The next day, we went on an action and were confronted by Gestapo forces on a public highway. As a person of Jewish descent, I hated that they had numbered the forearms of water protectors they had arrested. There I stood with a big Star of David on the back of my coat. I have lost several family members to the Holocaust. For many generations, Jews of Europe had been forced off their land and sent “beyond the pale” (uncharted territory) in Eastern Europe. Was it perhaps a forerunner of the reservation system? It was brought about by the forces of Imperialism and Colonialism.

I believe with all my heart that a slow-moving holocaust has been perpetrated against indigenous peoples throughout the world. I was brought up that if you see it, name it, and call it out. How could the fair-minded citizens of Germany, Poland, and elsewhere have turned a blind eye? How could they have allowed the Nazis to take over?

I felt I was prepared for anything. I was trained in the sixties by SNCC. I had been in student protests in Philadelphia where we were all fire-hosed, and in those days, we were gassed. Pepper spray wasn’t as prevalent. We were trained based on Gandhi’s teachings and we practiced going limp if arrested. Oh, by the way, no earrings, they’ll rip them out! Now, at our camp in North Dakota, we got additional training before the group action. Everyone going to the action was well-trained.

Now I have a chance to make the personal decision to stand up for what I believe. I was face-to-face with law enforcement and wondered why they chose to not enforce treaty laws. Can they pick and choose what laws to enforce? The commander stated it was a riot, but it wasn’t – it was a peaceful demonstration. The commander sought cover for his own actions, because there was a sense that they were itching for it to get out of hand. I became acutely aware that I may have to lay my body down for what I believe. Thankfully, no one got sprayed that day – at least, not where we were.

I sat by the fire that night processing everything that had happened. I was contemplating how deep the roots of the movement goes. The past is a deep history of the Native Nations, the deep roots of the Jewish People, the history of all peoples, and even the history of the treaty rights. We each bring our own personal history. I marched to “ban the bomb” as a child. I marched with Martin Luther King as a teenager and with Cesar Chavez in my twenties. My personal roots run deep with my parents being activists. I saw how all these roots of the past come together for the creation of my present. My purpose is for the future – the future of our peoples, the future of our grandchildren, the future of the Missouri River, and all who live downstream. In that moment, the past, the present, and the future became one. I knew why we were there.

Lobby Day 2017

Registration is CLOSED for Lobby Day! This year, On Monday, February 20, President’s Day, we’ll head to our state capital for a full day of advocating for the movements you care about by meeting with legislators, discussing issues with like-minded activists and rallying on the capitol grounds.

This year, Washington CAN! is joining forces with a coalition of groups for EQUITY DAY. The group’s focus will be on funding education the right way. As you know, the Supreme Court ruled our state is not meeting its constitutional obligation to fund education. We want to advocate for funding education WITHOUT cutting funding to vital services like food benefits and health care for people with disabilities.

We will lobby about that issue along with those from our legislative agenda including healthcare, criminal justice reform, housing justice and immigrant rights. Our Lobby Day will start bright and early at 8:30 a.m. at the Capital Theater on 206 5th Avenue Southeast in Olympia.

Deposit Reform Takes Effect

What you need to know:

  • Landlords will have to accept payment plans for the upfront costs to moving into a rental (security deposit, last month’s rent and non-refundable fees)
  • Payment plans are based off the length of the lease, and for leases six months or longer, the tenant payment plan can pay these fees and last month’s rent in installments in as many as six equal monthly installments. Renters can request a longer repayment plan with a landlord’s agreement.
  • The total cost of the security deposit and nonrefundable fees must not exceed one month’s rent, with the exception of a pet deposit
  • Pet deposits may not be more than 25% of your rent for one month and no other pet fees can be charged

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection will enforce this legislation and landlords who repeatedly violate it will face civil penalties. Call their help line to report violations (206) 615-0808.

We want to hear from you! Will you benefit from this legislation? Have you had trouble finding affordable housing in Seattle in the past? Click this link to tell us more.

Save the ACA Rally at Seattle’s Westlake Park

On Sunday, January 15, Washington CAN! members were out in force at Westlake Park rallying to not just save health care, but to expand it so everyone in Washington is covered. Our leader Roi-Martin Brown addressed the crowd along with the Main Street Alliance of Washington leader Makini Howell who told their own personal stories of how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a difference in their lives.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal led the rally with strong support from the crowd. She will be a fierce ally in Washington D.C. as the fight begins to #SaveTheACA.

We are facing the repeal of the ACA and potentially huge reductions in the support for Medicaid for low-income Washingtonians. We also face an attempt to privatize Medicare. Almost all of the progress made in the last decade in health care is in jeopardy. Washington CAN! is helping to lead the fight against these challenges. A bill is being drafted to protect Washington State against the possible destruction of huge portions of our health care system.