This Sunday (February 19), fellow writer for New West Press, Lilou Redon, and I attended a town hall at the Iman Cultural Center in Palms. This meeting was one of the many gatherings that are a part of the Resistance Recess: save our healthcare, our communities and our democracy. This week (February 18-26) is the first recess of the 115th Congress, when members of Congress return home to their states and districts to hear the voices of their constituents. The Resistance Recess movement encourages citizens to attend town halls and public events that are hosted by their elected officials, and hold their own events if their officials refuse to meet with them.
Resistance Recess is coordinated by MoveOn, a progressive organizing group that has been active since 1998. MoveOn provides a digital organizing platform to create petitions and push for social change. Resistance Recess is just one of many events and initiatives created by MoveOn that aim to block some of the actions of the Trump Administration on topics such as immigration, health care, education, and the environment.
The Resistance Recess event at the Iman Cultural Center was put on by the community without using taxpayer dollars. Congresswoman Karen Bass of California’s 37th congressional district was in attendance to hear from her constituents and address some of their concerns. One woman shared her fear that her four-year-old son who has an IEP would lose assistance if funding for public education was cut. Another woman–who was able to afford a much needed back surgery because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)–wanted to know what Congresswoman Bass was doing in the House of Representatives to fight the repeal of the ACA. Another speaker shared his touching experience of first arriving to the United States after receiving his green card. Upon his arrival, a security officer at customs said to him, “Welcome home.”
During the town hall, Lilou and I addressed Congresswoman Bass about the need for youth involvement in government and policy issues. We are the next generation of leaders, so it is crucial that we take part in political discussions that will impact our futures. We invited Congresswoman Bass to speak at New West so that students could share with her what issues they care about and so she could encourage participation in political discussions. This town hall was a beautiful example of democracy in action; citizens respectfully asked questions and raised issues that were important to them. It was refreshing and inspiring to see this congregation exuding civility, passion, and activism.
Check out the hashtag #resistancerecess to view photos from other events.