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The CVPPAC Supports the Fresno Teachers Association

 

 

 

The 2017 CVPPAC Fall Fundraiser was a great success!

These photos are from the Central Valley Progressive PAC Fall Fundraiser – Young Voices for Justice, held on Saturday, November 4, 2017. The CVPPAC is building a movement to win political power in Fresno and throughout the Central Valley by electing progressive candidates to local office. We encourage you to join us!

Group photo taken at the CVPPAC Fall fundraiser by Howard Watkins.

Guests arriving at the CVPPAC Fall fundraiser. From left to right Lynn Jacobsson, Gene Roza and Jill Fields. Photo by Howard Watkins.

Simone Cranston-Rhodes wrote (on her Facebook page): “Last night I was the emcee for @cvppac Fundraiser. I’d like to thank Zoyer Zyndel, Sarah Hayes, and Sophia Bautista for speaking about organizing in Fresno last night. And of course our guest speaker State Control Betty Yee.” Photo by Mike Rhodes

Zoyer Zyndel, chair of the local chapter of Trans E Motion, spoke about the importance of transgender issues in the progressive community. Photo by Howard Watkins.

Sarah Hayes, founder of Fresno Black Young Democrats, spoke at the CVPPAC Fall fundraiser as one of the young voices for justice. Photo by Howard Watkins.

Sophia Bautista, organizer of the Defend DACA March in the Tower District, spoke about mobilizing young people to support immigrant rights and other progressive issues. Photo by Howard Watkins.

Betty Yee, California State Controller, spoke at the CVPPAC 2017 Fall fundraiser. Photo by Howard Watkins.

Laura Porter provided music for the event. Photo by Howard Watkins.

 


Stop the Hate!

[This is the speech given by Loretta Kensinger, Central Valley Progressive PAC Vice President, at the Stop the Hate rally on August 24. The event was held in the Tower District on August 24]

Loretta Kensinger gave a powerful talk at the Stop the Hate rally held in the Tower District in Fresno.

I am so honored to be able to stand here with you all today and to speak. I want to state clearly I speak today out of a profound love against ideas filled with hate. While I speak in hope we can embrace Dr. King’s grand ideal of “beloved community,” I recognize that such love does not come through blindness to our faults; it comes only with honesty, reconciliation, atonement and forgiveness. To speak of such community love is to speak of complexity not simplicity, though today we are presented with a simple choice. As in the 1930’s, we face the question posed in Florence Reece’ great labor organizing ballad: “which side are you on?” Are you on the side of hate, of fear, of a vision that says our community must always be divided? Or are you on the side of unity and the hope we can build “beloved community”? We here today know which side we are on!

This is a particularly poignant question in this age of rising hate groups. And increasingly it is a vital question for people who look like me. We are being told by groups spewing hate that they speak for us, for white people, for people like me. So it is particularly vital that people who look like me decide decisively, state publicly, and clearly which side we are on. As African-American, lesbian, feminist author Audre Lorde stated, “your silence will not protect you.” So I am here to let you know which side I am on. When the KKK speakers claim to talk for white people I will stand up proudly and say ”not in my name.” Evoking activist Mab Segrest powerful memoir, you can call me a race traitor.

And when our President and others claim that to honor United States history we must continue to honor those traitors who ripped this country apart in order to continue to enslave African-Americans, than I stand with the great-great-grandsons of “Stonewall” Jackson, and say no! I say our history is more than this tragedy.

I stand on the side of history that that gives us Angelina and Sarah Grimké, born to one of the wealthiest slave holding families in South Carolina, who courageously spoke-out strongly against slavery and bigotry all their lives. I stand with Henry David Thoreau who wrote so eloquently of the importance of civil disobedience in his opposition to the imperialist Mexican-American War. I stand with Frederick Douglas, that former slave who rose to become one of our most powerful voices for justice, including the rights of women. I stand with Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza, in recognizing all lives will matter only when we establish firmly that black lives matter. I stand with all those who have faced down bulldozers and tanks with prayers and bodies and flowers and love, most recently seen in Standing Rock. We can’t hide from our history of racism, imperialism, and homophobia, but while we try to teach its horrors we should recognize the long rich history of those who had the courage to resist. Let’s build monuments to our rich heritage of courageous people who stood and who fought, and even died, for love. Monuments to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, to Fred Korematsu, to Fannie Lou Hammer, to Anne Mae Aquash, to Matthew Shepard, and to Heather D. Heyer. These are surely all my ancestors, not in blood, but in spirit.

Loretta Kensinger gave this speech to several hundred people at the Stop the Hate rally.
Photos by Mike Rhodes

We must remember individuals and communities are not chained to be inevitably what their parents were. We can learn; we can do better. The writers of the constitution did not state “we the people in order to form a perfect union”. They said “we the people in order to form a more perfect union”. That “more” is the key. In each generation we take hold the reins and act to make this union better; perfection is not an end point, it is a hope. And for me that hope is articulated in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s beautiful view of that mountain top, in Emma Lazarus amazing call to “Give me your tired, your poor”, in the 40,000 who stood last weekend in Boston, and in you here today.

Deciding to stand on the side of justice is a step. Being willing to put our bodies between the jackboots and those most directly threatened is another step we can take. Learning to recognize and hear the dog-whistles that for years have emboldened and empowered the extreme terrorists hate groups is another step to take. I believe the presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio, a man who referred to his tent city confinement areas as a “concentration camp,” will be heard as a clear whistle by extreme hate groups that President Trump’s condemnation in the wake of Charlottesville are insincere. And we must take steps to organize to take back the high ground and build a vision of beloved community into the fabric of our society.

There are many ways to organize, but I urge you to recognize that local and regional politics are as vital as national politics to consider. The cities who have defiantly called for sanctuary status for immigrants attest to this. The cities that led the way on LGBT rights well before the national government stepped in, attest to this. The U.S. cities now on totally renewable energy attest to this.

I belong to one organization engaged in trying to reclaim our local government and push toward a more progressive vision, a more truly beloved community, a more perfect union. The Central Valley Progressive Political Action Committee organizes resources to promote progressive political agendas in Fresno. We are currently organizing to help concerned citizens in District 7 and District 3 city council areas find each other, articulate their issues, and amply their voices through support of progressive candidates. These districts matter to us all, not only because they are our neighbors, but also because victories in both races will influence the entire city council in a more progressive direction. Pam Whalen, CVPPAC president, is circulating in the crowd if you want to join up now.

Whatever your next steps, remember today! Remember: we are stronger than hate. We are stronger together. We know which side we are on. And we say clearly as one: No hate! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.Stop

The next meeting of the CVPPAC will be Saturday, October 14, at 3:30 p.m. at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, located at 1584 N. Van Ness Ave.

For more information, contact:
Pam Whalen
CVPPAC President
pamwhalen@comcast.net
559-994-9390

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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