Benicia Youth Against Brutality rally draws huge crowd

From the Benicia Independent, by Roger Straw, May 31, 2020

Hundreds of Voices of Anger, Impatience and Hopeful, Peaceful Protest

Benicia’s Youth Against Brutality rally, City Park, May 31, 2020, 11AM. Photo: Roger Straw

Unofficial estimates put the crowd at Benicia’s Youth Against Brutality rally at over 300.

One of the high school organizers welcomed everyone and began with a recording of Sam Cook’s 1964 soul anthem, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

It’s been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there, beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will
I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will…

The crowd assembled in masks and mostly maintained social distancing of 6 feet.

This reporter wasn’t able to get names of all the young speakers, but every one was moving and articulate.  The crowd was with them all the way, clapping, raising signs, and whooping from under their masks.

After the mic was opened for a short time to anyone who wanted to speak, the speakers and organizers led the crowd peacefully down sidewalks on First Street to Marina Green.

We hope to have video and more pics in a later post.
UPDATE: See 3 VIDEOS: Benicia Police join with protesters, take a knee to honor George Floyd

Meeting of May 20, 2020 – Get Out the Vote (GOTV)

Wednesday, May 20, 7pm
Our first Zoom Meeting

After canceling PDB general membership meetings for March and April due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we restarted our general membership meetings on May 20.  In order to maintaining social distancing, members met by Zoom!!!!!

On May 20 we will heard from Nancy Klein who works with West County Organizing, a group of volunteers in Contra Costa County and the greater East Bay who focus on electoral politics to help elect progressives and Democrats!

West County Organizing uses phone and text banks to register voters and Get Out The Vote (GOTV). They also encourage civic engagement through town hall attendance and calls to elected representatives.

Guest speaker Nancy Klein described their recent efforts and shared with us suggestions on how we can initiate and support GOTV efforts for upcoming races to be decided on November 3.

Our own Kathy Kerridge then described a GOTV letter writing party that she is planning, working through Swing Left.

Our first meeting on Zoom went with relatively few technical glitches, and was so well organized that we ended in just a few minutes over an hour!

We will look forward to zooming together again next month.


IMPORTANT: if you are a member of PDB, January was the month to renew your annual dues (unless you joined since October, 2019, in which case your initial membership and dues count for 2020).  PLEASE PAY TODAY!

What about our May meeting and future meetings?

Let us know what you think!

Ralph Dennis

As you know, we’ve cancelled our March and April general membership meetings over concerns about the coronavirus and in compliance with state and local stay at home orders.

We’re not sure about our May membership meeting at this point and how to proceed with the rest of our 2020 schedule for PDB public meetings and events. The Solano Co. Democratic Central Committee is conducting its April meeting via Zoom, and at least one local Democratic Club – the Stonewall Democratic Club based in Vallejo – has moved its meetings online for the for the foreseeable future, including its April meeting via videoconferencing.

Even if the lockdown is lifted in May in some manner, it’s still unclear what social distancing norms will be in place and how public gatherings can be conducted. How comfortable will we be sitting in a room with 50-60 people? Will we be allowed to have a meeting that large? If we social distance in the Dona Benicia room, does it make sense to do so with so few people in attendance? (Think of chairs six feet apart from side-by-side and front to back.) I have no idea what to expect or how I’ll feel about it. Perhaps you do?

PDB will likely be purchasing a Zoom account for upcoming steering committee meetings, and perhaps that will become the new normal for all future committee meetings. But, what about general membership meetings? We could go the route that Stonewall has chosen and set up videoconference feed for members to attend. While the steering committee sorts out the costs and logistics of doing so, and exploring other options, we need input from members – your thoughts and suggestions. Perhaps there’s someone who has such experience and could even help!

What do you think? Let us know, we need your help! Send any ideas to http://progressivedemocratsofbenicia.org/contact/.

Stay safe and stay home!


Ralph Dennis

Chair

Equity & Justice for All