The Indivisible Movement Facilitates A Sherman Oaks Galleria Flash Gathering to Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville
Have you wondered how Indivisible groups are organizing? They are mentioned on MSNBC and the national founders, including Angel Padilla, have been interviewed on several media outlets. But, what is it like on the ground with everyday volunteers who, after the presidential elections of November 2016, felt compelled to join this volunteer organization.
Moved by the tragedy in Charlottesville on Saturday August 12, 2017, Isabel, a member of Stand Strong LA (SSLA), decided to organize a last-minute event in front of the Sherman Oaks Galleria on the corner of Sepulveda and Ventura Blvd.—the site of previous public demonstrations against the Trump Administration. At 12:17pm Sunday August 13, 2017, she posted a question on Facebook to her SSLA group, “I don’t know if anyone has organized a candlelight vigil for tonight…If not I would like to organize one…‘Crap,’ she said naively, ‘do we need to run this by some authority?’” In jest, she raised her rhetorical question because typically the Indivisible group activities are led by whoever registers a group name with the national organization. These registrants are founders of specific, local Indivisible groups like SSLA. But if the group registrants are busy at other events and a tragedy hits all of the sudden like the one in Charlottesville, it is clear that the Indivisible movement can and does move in true grassroots fashion.
By 4:59 pm, Isabel gathered her resolve and decided to post her event on the Indivisible Charlottesville website. It was the only such event in the San Fernando Valley that was posted that weekend. Her announcement was reposted on the ACLU People Power website and forwarded on personal Facebook accounts and listservs. The one-hour event was to start in just two hours at 7 pm. With such little notice, Isabel wondered if anyone would show up besides a couple of her friends. “Perhaps an image of three lonely souls would be powerful enough,” her friends suggested. However, little by little, people started to appear. They brought their recycled signs from other events that read statements like, “HONK to IMPEACH the TRAITOR in CHIEF,” “In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America,” and simply “RESIST.” One sign tied together the theme for this particular event. It read, “CHARLOTTESVILLE” with three red roses in honor of Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates. Soon one could count about thirty men, women and children of different racial backgrounds. People passing by stopped to take photographs and chime in with their own remarks like a Latino couple who said, “Down with Trump.”
Some made video-recorded statements to express their feelings. An African American teenager Kaya commented, “Racial equality is something I strongly believe in…We have worked so hard. The era we live in now, we shouldn’t have to protest for something like this. But since we still do, I think we should all come out and do it together.” Another teenager of color, Josephine, sat on the steps leading into the galleria. She shared that she was in shock having just learned about Heather’s passing and Heather’s mom’s words that she was proud of her daughter and what she stood for. A few feet away, a twenty-something white female from the Bay Area spoke these words, “Hi, my name is Jean. I am out here because my friends of color are in danger everyday. They face all kinds of microaggressions and discrimination in their work places, where they live. And I am out here to support them, to show that white folks need to be accountable and resist whenever possible.”
Resisting the Trump Administration—its policies and the white supremacists it is emboldening, is what the Indivisible movement is targeting. In the San Fernando Valley alone, there are over ten groups registered. They are forming a coalition with ACLU chapters and other non-profit organizations. For more information go to https://www.indivisibleguide.com.