Community Assembly • February 4, 2017
The first Community Assembly meeting in Chelan was organized and presented by Maureen Scheimo with assistance from Ted Scheimo and Concie Luna. Approximately 38 people attended and actively participated in two main sets of activities designed to help focus concerns and actions.
Initially, people were asked to group themselves into affinity groups based broadly on political philosophies. Each person within each group was then asked to fill out a worksheet based on their own interests and beliefs as group discussion proceeded guided by five main topics: Primary Concerns, Hoped for Outcomes, Core Values, Actions, and Issue Groups.
The Issue Groups identified became the focus groups for work in the afternoon. It became clear people were concerned about safeguarding community with care for the environment as well as for all groups of people. The Golden Rule was offered as a guideline. Treat others with respect. Work for understanding. Protect the vulnerable. Value learning. Love trumps fear.
Specific actions were suggested as a result of the afternoon discussion. Continue to meet and seek to find ways to act on our values. The safety pin idea was supported. Wearing a safety pin to identify one’s willingness to be of help to strangers in need. The group wanted to work for connectedness, to share activities and ideas. A website and phone tree were suggested. Looking for a single place for groups to publicize projects, needs, and plans, and invitations to be involved. Actively supporting public figures and journalists who deal in facts as well as learning about issues ourselves were suggested. Be visible, show up, take part.
As people shared concerns and identified specific local problems, it became clear there was a desire to meet again. We want to do more than just talk.
The next meeting will be 9:00 AM, March 4, 2017 at the Chelan High School cafeteria.
Community Assembly # 2 • March 4, 2017
Session began with report on recent concern that ICE had been in the valley seeking immigrants. Initial reports not born out, but rumors and counter rumors flew. This discussion led into formation of three issue groups for this meeting: Child Safety/ Family Information, Sanctuary City and Police, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Child Safety folks want forms to share with parents that will identify what will happen to children if parents are detained. Both instructions for care and consent forms for temporary placement. People need to know what to do should ICE team arrive. Michele shared sheets she had printed with immediate emergency actions to be taken. Group felt the sheets should be made available to all involved. Group also recognized the fear in the community and the need to attend to and address parents and students concerns, possibly through school or clinic. Safety pin symbol and idea re-emphasized. A need for safe people and safe places was stated. A forum for parents to talk with teachers was suggested.
Sanctuary City/Police group want to take a resolution to City Council and to County Commissioners supporting the sanctuary idea. The group also recommended publishing numbers for all elected State and Federal officials. The website could be useful for publishing this information. The feeling is that it is important to continue to communicate with our officials, not just a single phone call or letter. The concern continues and those we elect need to know we continue to support their best efforts. This group also said we should have a clearinghouse for information and action so all in the community have access.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform group identified need to be informed about current laws and proposed legislation. Updates on the website would be useful if someone would take on that charge. A local orchardist spoke to the need for agricultural workers. We depend on these people for our livelihood and we know it. Maybe it is important that the general public knows it too. Time to get the word out. We are realizing that we are not alone and that we need to get to know each other better.
We are just beginning to organize for action, but we are concerned and we are here to work together.