2017’s LARGEST, MOST SUSTAINED WEEKLY CONGRESSIONAL PROTESTS IN THE NATION
December 19, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 18, 2017
VISTA, CA – On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, a few dozen voters rallied outside the Vista office of Rep. Darrell Issa for the very first time. Inspired by MoveOn in response to Trump’s election, that 2016 band of novices grew and evolved into a strike team with more than 30 volunteers that manages large crowds like clockwork. [See 1:19 time lapse video of event: https://youtu.be/Aokn_vvYekE ] This coalition spawned 2017’s largest and most sustained weekly congressional protests in the nation, drawing an average of 370 people each week. Tuesday, December 19 will mark 49 consecutive weeks of protest in District 49.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 19
10 – 11 AM
Anniversary Issa Rally on Tax Scam & DACA
1800 Thibodo Road Vista 92081
“We couldn’t do this, week in and week out, if the people of District 49 weren’t so determined to persevere,” said Ellen Montanari of Solana Beach, first-time protestor on 12/20/16 and lead organizer of the rallies. “Our coalition of groups, and hundreds of individuals, return again and again because these rallies fill them with joy and hope that democracy still works in America. We have become a family of happy warriors and will continue to protest until Darrell Issa is replaced with someone who truly represents the people.”
“No other weekly resistance effort in the country has shown more passion, resilience and impact than the anti-Issa rallies,” said Kathy Stadler, organizer of San Diego County Indivisible. “The greatest challenge faced by organizers across the U.S. is resistance fatigue. Indivisible 49 and its all-volunteer team, led by Ellen Montanari and Misty and Tim O’Healy, excel at sustaining engagement and enthusiasm. The ‘secret sauce’ in Vista is that participants integrate solemn purpose with creativity and fun, and share a close community – whether chanting together with a record 880 protesters, or hosting a ‘die-in’ and dressing as zombies to save ACA. Issa helps sustain motivation by continuing to vote against his constituents’ interests and by disdaining them, most famously by viewing voters from the roof. Indivisible 49, and its coalition of allies, force Issa to hear their voices, and promise to force him out of office in 2018.”
Each week, volunteers: choose a theme; book speakers; send newsletters; post on social media; create props; build a musical playlist; draft a parody song; set up a trailer stage; assemble a sound system; hang flags and bunting; mark off parking areas; rope off sidewalks for safety; and patrol the crowd to maintain order and security. Volunteers sign in every attendee to determine the head count, and provide theme-relevant tools and information, such as policy postcards to mail to Issa. They also deliver a creative, symbolic, leave-behind gift to Issa’s staff. Due to a history of permit conflicts, legal observers monitor each rally and volunteers engage with local law enforcement and press. Volunteer photographers and videographers record each rally and promote them on social media.
Expenses and labor to run these rallies are covered by volunteers, who include Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters. Rally attendees donate in-kind items and pass the hat to raise funds for sound systems, traffic cones, newspaper ads and other rally-related costs. They also frequently bring items to donate to charities, such as canned food for refugees and diapers for homeless families. Tax March’s #NotOnePenny campaign donated an inflatable chicken, signs and Tshirts, and underwrote partial costs for mobile billboards and airplane banner messages. Party and campaign staff and candidates are allowed to attend but do not speak to the crowd. Flip the 49th PAC is focused on separate voter canvassing and GOTV efforts.
NOTE: For a behind-the-scenes look, and to interview individuals responsible for these exceptional rallies, contact us.