In mid-June, advocates, volunteers, experts, allies and everyone in-between – youth and adults – embarked on a 4-day tour in the Great Basin with two starting points, Reno and Las Vegas, with a convergence point in Baker, NV. The groups had the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Northern, Southern, and Snake Valley regions firsthand from Native American leaders, experts, and ranchers and farmers,
whose livelihoods are threatened by the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Grab (groundwater pipeline). Inherently, there was the opportunity of experiencing the natural beauty of the Great Basin wildlife, sacred areas, and the night skies at Great Basin National Park.
The 2017 Great Basin Water Tour was possible through collaborative efforts between Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), Great Basin Resource Watch (GBRW), Great Basin Water Network (GBWN), the participants, and all of the hosts at each location. We are working on a full, follow-up story that captures the Water Tour
experience in its well-deserved light, how you can get involved, along with photos and reflective notes from participants. Keep an eye out on for this on the PLAN website in late-June!
On Wednesday May 17th over 40 PLAN leaders and allies meet in Carson City to encourage Governor Sandoval to support bills that would ensure pay equity (SB397) , raising the minimum wage (AB175, SB106, SJR6), and fair chance hiring ( AB384). The event began with speakers discussing the personal stakes involved with passing the bills including Fight for $15 organizers from Las Vegas and small business owners. PLANista’s and our allies were able to speak with a representative of the governor about the positive ways these bills would impact marginalized Nevadans. This was a culmination of months of mini-lobby days, phone banking parties, and letter writing to move legislators to support everyday Nevadans struggling to make ends meet. In addition to May 17th, PLAN also had smaller lobby days with our environmental team, Fight for $15 team, our racial justice team, gender equity team, and with social work students! PLAN is proud of all of the Nevada residents from Reno, Las Vegas, and the rural areas, that took the time to come all the way to Carson City and talk to legislators about the issues they care about! Stacy Shinn, along with our other staff thank you for your time!
PLAN along with American Promise and Public Citizen held an event called Democracy day down at the Legislature in Carson City on April 3rd. This day was to highlight SJR4, which was a bill to urge congress to regulate political expenditures by corporations. We also looked at AB272, which would give Nevada more early voting centers and keep them open longer, and SB94, which would make requirements for previously incarcerated folks clearer. Around 30 folks from the community showed up to show support for, and learn more about these bills at a presentation session we had at the Nugget Casino. After the information session, everyone then met with their representatives to explain why these bills would be helpful to Nevadans.
PLAN was also successful in getting two of our priority bills passed this session, Ban the Box (AB 384) and one of our healthy basin bills (SB47). Ban the Box will allow previously incarcerated folks an equal chance of getting an interview for federal employment, and the Basin bill will allow water that is pumped during mining to now be tracked. Special thanks to our policy director Stacey Shinn for her dedication at the legislature this session!
PLAN along with other groups across the US came together in Washington DC on April 23rd for Rise Up, People’s Action Founding conviction. During the convention, PLAN was able to speak to over 200 people on the work we’ve been doing in Nevada around the environment, immigration, and also our work at the legislature on gender equality.
In addition, joined by other organizations, we took to the street and did a direct action in front of the White House to tell our new administration exactly how we feel about our healthcare being in danger. We also got to meet with Nevada senator, Catherine Cortez Masto and have a discussion with her about policy. PLAN was extremely excited to be part of this national event.
PLAN was able to work with The Center, Every Student, Every Story from the University of Nevada Reno to give a presentation on what it means to be a DACA student and pursue college. We attended Hug High school’s senior night and presented to 20 students and parents. PLAN gave out information for students who had question about DACA and also those who are contemplating applying for DACA.
In Reno we had our last citizenship fair on April 29th! We worked with LiUna labor Union and started 18 people on their way to Citizenship. We also held a Know Your Rights event at the Little Flower church on May18th. PLAN worked with LiUna Labor Union, the Reno police department, and the Reno DMV. This event was open to all community members and answered their questions regarding immigration, ICE, and government agencies. Over 100 people showed up so they could be informed.
In Las Vegas on May 13th, we hosted a citizenship workshop with Mi Familia Vota and the Asian Community Development Council. With the help of over 60 volunteers, we were able to help close to 50 people begin their naturalization process.
We also had a visit from Congressman Ruben Kihuen, who talked to the volunteers about the importance of citizenship and their role in the process. We will continue to host workshops throughout the year to ensure that our communities are protected.
PLAN along with Get Involved Nevada helped to put together the Show Us Your Taxes Rally on April 15th down at Wingfield park in Reno Nevada. Reno’s rally was part of national Tax Day marches and rallies across the country. With more than 100 folks showing up in support against many of the new administration’s initiatives. This rally brought community members together with music, poetry, art, and touched on subjects around the environment, healthcare, worker’s rights, immigration, and LGBTQ rights. Also, everyone pushed the big question, which was, “where are your taxes Mr. President?”
On Saturday April 29th PLAN held its second political training workshop titled “Dismantling White Supremacy”. 15 people came out to the Holland Project, where it was held. Community members engaged in a discussion on understanding the impacts of “Racial Liberalism” and “neoliberal multiculturalism,” two related ideological regimes that have shaped dominant understandings of race and racism. The workshop focused on how these traditions legitimized redistributing wealth to the top, at the expense of a majority of society, particularly people of color and how it has shaped policies and solutions to social issues while simultaneously exasperating inequality.
On the 100th day of President Drumpf in office, nearly 600 people showed up at the University of Nevada Las Vegas to stand against his attacks on our communities and planet. PLAN and our local partners were joined by Indigenous peoples, communities of color, undocumented families, LGBTQ folks, and students to ensure that the hard-won protections we have been fighting for are not undone. Community leaders, Fawn Douglas, and, Vernard Williams among others, shared their stories and highlighted the importance of protecting the health of our families and future of our planet. We also heard from Assemblyman Nelson Araujo and Congresswoman Dina Titus. It was a crowd full of amazing new leaders!
The Culinary Union lead this year’s May Day march in Las Vegas. We were able to partner up with them and 15 other local organizations including Planned Parenthood, Mi Familia Vota, UndocuNetwork, and Fight for $15. We expected 5,000 people to rally on the Las Vegas strip from Spring Mt to the Palms Hotel and Casino, and over 8,000 showed up. The crowd chanted “love not hate makes America great!” They also held signs that read, “Immigrants are welcome here!” Families marched, and workers joined us as they got off work. They all came together to stand in support of immigrants, Muslims, and refugees. A mariachi welcomed everyone as we made our way to the end of the rally. PLANista, Mariana Sarmiento, and founder of the UndocuNetwork at UNLV, shared her family’s immigrant story with the crowd.
We celebrated May Day on May 1st and uplifted the working immigrant community in Northern Nevada as well. We held a May Day Fiesta with a mariachi, drummers from a local tribe, and local community organizations that came out and gave information on their services.
We also had speakers from the community that talked about the importance of banning together and truly uplifting and supporting the immigrant community. 50 people came out to our May Day Fiesta, which was held at Miguel Ribera Park in Reno. Our immigration team also gave out information, and talked about the importance of our immigrant community knowing their rights.
Wednesday May 24th, PLAN joined national actions across the country to rally in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This action came in the heels of McDonald’s annual Shareholders meeting in Chicago. While McDonald’s continuously makes billions in profits, workers continue to struggle just to make ends meet. These stories were highlighted during the action by workers like Sylver Uschold, Diana Diaz, and Lupe Guzman who all explained why they deserve a raise. PLAN was proud to come together with 30 workers and members of the community to collectively show our support for worker’s rights. Workers deserve a living wage–they deserve $15 dollars and the right to form a union.
Las Vegas and Reno hosted PLAN 101 events in an effort to help members of the community learn about the history of our work and to introduce PLAN to folks who might not know much about who we are. We hosted community members, many who were new to the movement and went over PLAN’s history, the importance of our stories, as well as heard from guest speakers. In Las Vegas, PLAN 101 was held at the UNLV Center for Social Justice. 30 folks showed up to participate in our event. Our Board President, Raquel Cruz-Juarez shared with the crowd her story with PLAN and beginnings as an intern. In Las Vegas We hope PLAN 101 events help members of the community get their start in grassroots activism!
The American Health Care Act and President Drumpf’s budget are shameful attacks on the most vulnerable Americans. Slashing billions of dollars from social safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP that benefit children, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. On June 8th at the SEIU office in Las Vegas, PLAN held an event called, Organize to Protect Medicaid. 30 folks from the community came and were able to learn what Medicaid is and how it fits into the conversation of cuts to these social safety net programs; how cuts to Medicaid or roll backs of the Medicaid Expansion program would affect Nevadans most vulnerable populations. They were also able to learn how and why it is important to share their story, how to be strategic in getting their questions answered by their elected officials, how to be effective on social media, and how to get involved in protecting Medicaid!
On Sunday June 11th in Reno Nevada, Our Center and the Northern Nevada Pride Festival and Community Parade organized the Equality March. The march was one of several marches worldwide in solidarity with the National Pride March in Washington DC. Organizers estimate that there were about 315 community members present. Speakers from a number of organizations were present including Battle Born Progress. Key themes expressed by the speakers included a call for unity, peace, and continuing the struggle for LGBTQ liberation. PLANistas joined in support.
PLAN was able to celebrate Reno/Sparks NAACP president Patricia Gallimore’s 60th birthday on June 1st! Not only was it a celebration of how Mrs. Gallimore has uplifted the northern Nevada community, but it was also a time to celebrate all the accomplishments that the NAACP has achieve in northern Nevada.
PLAN in Reno and Las Vegas joined in remembering the victims of the PULSE nightclub in the Orlando massacre. Battle Born progress, along with other local community leaders and organizations in both Reno and Las Vegas put the event on, and uplifted not only the victims but the LGBTQ community as well.
Thanks for checking out our newsletter! If you’d like to contribute to our work here in Nevada, please consider making a financial gift. Every dollar helps! You can donate here!
-Our next political education event is Saturday, 24th @1:00 at the Holland Project in Reno, NV. Please contact Thio @ 775-348-755 for info.
-PRIDE parade and festival is Saturday, 22nd @10:00am in downtown Reno, NV. We will be tabling! Contact Monique @775-348-755 for more info.
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