Everyone In Advocates Training w/ Planned Parenthood Action League

"For me, the biggest takeaways is that homelessness, being such a large issue in LA, doesn't necessarily have to be overwhelming. There are many smaller steps we can all take that make a big impact towards the common goal." - Joe R., PPAL Santa Monica

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As part of my work with the Everyone In campaign, I had the pleasure of delivering two workshops to Planned Parenthood Action League volunteers in Santa Monica and West Hollywood in the month of May. Over the course of these two Wednesday night workshops, a dozen activists were trained in the language and strategy of solving LA's Homelessness Crisis. We discussed myths, misconceptions, and solutions that will facilitate the development of supportive housing essential to the nearly 18K people that make up LA's chronically homeless population.

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A huge thanks to Chelsea / Everyone In for last night’s discussion on the housing crisis in LA. It really opened our eyes to our own limited beliefs, and what we can do to change things in our communities. It begins with us being good neighbors and speaking out on behalf of those whose voices are ignored.
— Kelly Seal, Planned Parenthood Action League
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Support the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitation on Rape + Sexual Assault

I am excited to share that after years of strategizing and laying the groundwork - I have officially launched the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitations on Rape and Sexual Assault (CASOL) and taken on the role of Executive Director. With all that’s happened since our success ending California’s existing 10-year time limit in September 2016 as a scrappy team of grassroots activists (EndRapeSOL), it’s clear that this 30 state legislative battle to abolish remaining reporting time limits will take time and resources to adequately tackle the challenges ahead. We must develop the next generation of feminist leaders for criminal justice reform to change a sexist system void of accountability. This is an opportunity to make tangible criminal justice reform and I need your help to do it. 

As you know, we are living in a moment where sexual violence has reached the cultural and political mainstream, after many years of organizing behind the scenes met a wave of celebrity energy. The work I am doing has been at the center of this energy for several years and this latest wave has only just begun. 

For the past several months, #MeToo has rocked our collective consciousness and scratched at the pillars of power across many industries. Bill Cosby's storm of allegations in late 2014 ushered in this recent wave and it is chilling that his final chance at accountability during the April 2nd retrial begins just weeks from now.  After the nearly 60+ allegations against him were silenced by expired statutes of limitations, Cosby survivors and allies (including myself) sought out to abolish these arbitrary time limits altogether.  And in September 2016, after 13 months of campaigning, we successfully abolished California's 10-year SOL. This momentum could have propelled us into other victories, but instead, less than 2 months later, we elected the sexual-predator-in-chief as President of the United States. 

Building this movement under 45’s presidency has been crazy-making, to say the least. I have worked countless hours laying the groundwork to launch campaigns in the remaining 30 states and building a coalition of national organizations to take collective action as we gear up for our moment. After Bill Cosby received a mistrial in June 2017 - it became clear that his retrial would be that ideal movement moment to build an organizing timeline around, and so, I moved confidently in the direction of his April 2nd trial.

No one could have anticipated the MeToo moment that emerged in October 2017. It hit me like a brick and I rallied to make the most of the moment, to not miss the many unfolding opportunities to bring attention to ending the statute of limitations. 

Within weeks, I co-organized the first-ever #MeToo Survivors March + Rally in Los Angeles, and spoke before hundreds of people and dozens of live media streams in early November. We garnered hundreds of media hits from around the world and built strong networks of support with activists across the country, who went on to organize their own #MeToo marches. 

Since then, I've been organizing actions in support of the Hollywood Handmaids, a chapter of the Handmaids Coalition. The Hollywood Handmaids represent women in film and entertainment industry who are making demands for better workplaces for women and people of color. We made our official debut outside the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hillls, received encouragement from the original Handmaid herself -   Elisabeth Moss - at the SAG Awards, and are now busy planning our protests for the Academy Awards. The Handmaids Coalition has officially partnered with CASOL and will bring their haunting presence to our rallies at the local level.

All of these efforts have contributed to the energy and infrastructure development of this effort and I have done it all without any compensation. I am at a turning point in organizational development and seek support to take this work to the next level. This is where you come in. 

Here's a glimpse at the next few months as I kick into high gear: 

Bill Cosby's Trial, starting April 2nd: '

> I am organizing the daily, on-the-ground-presence outside the courthouse in Norristown, where I will be throughout the duration of the trial. 

> I am coordinating a national day of action on April 2nd, where people in cities across the country will demonstrate in support of the survivors of Bill Cosby. So far, I have 9 cities on board and I am developing an action toolkit to support trainings and development of new leaders. My goal is to reach 60 cities to represent the 60+ women. 

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Arizona and beyond... 

> Legislation to amend the statute of limitations in NH + MA is currently held up in committees. I will be working to move coalition contacts into action in these states - because these are potential early victories, it is important we put our best foot forward! 

> In a truly backwards move on January 11th, Arizona Rep. Don Shooter suggested implementing a statute of limitations for the first time in AZ’s history, citing Roy Moore’s case in Alabama as a reason to instill more concrete cut offs for reporting. We will be monitoring this situation to ensure a bill does not get introduced. 

Training + Development of New Leaders

> In addition to action toolkits and other resources, I am developing webinars, trainings and other materials to share teachings on effective creative activism, the history of the movement against sexual violence, and grassroots campaign strategy. 

>I will host regional trainings across the country to share these trainings, activate new leadership and connect existing organizations to the movement to abolish SOLs. 

If you are willing to support this work, I can promise you are making a real difference. Norma shared her story with the press as we fought to abolish the existing statute of limitation in California that allowed her rapist, who attacked her and left her pregnant as a teen, to avoid accountability. These arbitrary reporting timelines shield predators and silence survivors. Statutes of limitation on rape and sexual assault are a barrier to justice. 

I am asking for donations of every size and shape to help me in this next phase of work. In addition to funding the campaign, I have flights, lodging, travel meals, and training materials and artwork to produce. I have plans to convene regional trainings and strategic planning retreats to develop emerging leaders and need seed funds for larger fundraising efforts. This list goes on and on and on. If there was ever a time to support my work - this is the time. 

CASOL is a fiscally sponsored organization under Nonviolence International 501c3. You can make a tax-free donation by checking the box ‘campaign to abolish statues of limitation’ here.

Or (preferred) mail a check to: NI-CASOL at 4631 S Slauson Ave, Culver City CA 90230

You can also spread the word and help raise more funds by sharing this GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/day-of-action-for-cosby-survivors

Thank you so very much for your support, 

Chelsea

Hollywood Handmaids debut at 75th Annual Golden Globes

 

On Sunday, the Hollywood Handmaids made their debut outside the GoldenGlobes in Beverly Hills. These women work at all levels of the film and entertainment industry and want to bring greater attention to the long list of workplace/cultural failings that have kept women abused, silenced, underpaid and underrepresented. 

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I serve as the spokesperson for this effort, coordinating and garnering press attention as these women made their demands known. We will continue to demonstrate in spaces where these issues must be raised, serving as a way for those marginalized and abused within the industry to voice their demands. We stand in solidarity with #TimesUp, #MeToo and all survivor-led movements working for a shift in power dynamics. 

Join us, or learn more information at https://handmaidcoalition.org/hollywood-handmaids and check out my blog post below for more media coverage and some of the best tweets from the day. 

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Issa Rae saw us as she drove into the Globes and filmed us on her Instastory!

WINNING.

 

Free Ahed.

Ahed Tamimi is a 16-year-old Palestinian political prisoner of Israel. On Saturday, January 6th at noon - nearly a hundred people gathered outside of the Israeli Consulate in West Los Angeles to join the growing international demand for her release. 

Moved by the swelling global solidarity and the rise of resistance, I joined the demonstration to stand in support of Ahed. 

I took a stack of white paper, pens, envelops, and a simple call to action: write a letter to Ahed Tamimi, with the address to the prison. I collected nearly a dozen in the hour, with more people eager to share and support with their respective organizations. 

A few people questioned whether Ahed would actually receive these letters and my response was that regardless, it is important to demonstrate the world of support she has because for certain - the prison holding her, will see it. 

 

 

Fighting for a Clean Dream Act

On Wednesday evening (January 3rd), I joined several dozen activists, community leaders, and celebrities for a demonstration in support of the passage of a Clean Dream Act (and my first demonstration of 2018). We stood outside Senator Diane Feinstein's office in West LA and called for her continued support in the swift passage of protective mechanisms for immigrant youth. 

Last September, Trump ended Obama-era DACA protections with a 6-month delay to force Congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform, so current protections are set to expire on March 5th. Democrats are now leveraging these protections in the January 19th deadline for a budget resolution, essentially meaning they won't vote to keep the government "open" unless these protections are covered in the spending bill. These protections are essential to nearly 850,000 immigrant youth who were born and raised in this country, who will face threats of deportation should these protections expire.

Senator Feinstein was among Democrats who refused to vote for funding until a longer list of issues was addressed - including DACA Protections. This demonstration took place moments before immigration leaders and advocates met with Senator Feinstein's office. Demonstration speakers included United We Dream Executive Director Cristina Jimenez, undocumented immigrant youth from across the state, Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour, and celebrities Alyssa Milano and Bradley Whitford. Amy Landecker was also in attendance and I am a HUGE fan of her work as Sarah Pfeffermen on Transparent so I was over-the-moon to see her there, in support of this issue!

At the end of the rally, a small delegation of leaders marched to Senator Feinstein's office to meet with staff to discuss this issue. On the way to her office at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Sepulveda, our parade was met by a small but vocal opposition rally that had strategically stationed themselves outside Feinstein's office. The signs these mostly white men held read "We Love I.C.E." and "TRUMP IS OUR PRESIDENT". As we continued our procession from the block east of Sepulveda, several men abandoned their rally space in an effort to taunt and harass us. One man hovered closely around us and shouted "Linda Sarsour is an anti-semite".

I watched as several people tried to engage with this guy - to no avail. Even with police present, this man was fearless and bellowed on. The group of demonstrators for the Dream Act were strong and strategic and formed a lock-tight circular group around the delegation with media + cameras forming a second barrier around it that helped keep his voice at bay. Still, the tension created in this moment, especially as the delegation broke off from the main group, escorted by police, to march across the road and into the opposition rally which stood outside the office building, was palpable. 

Allies can play a very important role in these moments and should know how to effectively do so. Understanding what was going on - I intentionally took a stand on the outer ring of the circle, along with several other white allies and men, to pad the barrier between the undocumented, immigrant activists and this opposition. This human shield kept the moment of courage, strength, and camaraderie forming inside the small delegation in the inner part of the circle insulated and protected as they prepared to march into the meeting. I did not need to engage with the opposition to play a role in creating distance between this instigator and the people I was there to support. I maintained a nonviolent discipline, let my body do the work of providing physical barrier to add to the distance between him and his space, and I stood strong in my commitment to support this community of undocumented immigrant youth in whatever way was most effective and influential. 

For more information on DACA or to support immigrant youth, visit United We Dream.

Net Neutrality is a Feminist Issue

Net Neutrality is getting a lot of attention right now (again) and I'll admit that I have struggled to understand what eliminating net neutrality would truly mean for us all. I did a ton of research to better understand and this is what I wound up with. I am grateful to California for Progress for being so on top of this issue and for making space to convene demonstrations against Verizon and the other corporate bad actors shoving this immoral and undemocratic policy down our throats.