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Sonoma County Gazette
Opening ceremonial dance for the Lights for Liberty event, July 12, 2019 in Santa Rosa, CA. Photo:
Opening ceremonial dance for the Lights for Liberty event, July 12, 2019 in Santa Rosa, CA. Photo:

“Close The Camps”
"Lights for Liberty Vigil"
Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa

Jul 25, 2019
by Elaine B. Holtz


“Close The Camps” Protests held at Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa

We have seen the images and heard the stories coming out of child detention centers in finding out that children are being denied soap and toothbrushes, crowded into unsafe condition, separated from their families, subject to cruel treatment that leads to lasting trauma and some are dying in custody or dying with their parents as they cross the Rio Grande. This horror inspired to rally the nation to stand up and protest against this human rights violation.  In Santa Rosa,Indivisible Sonoma County a grassroots organization that helps connect people with their members of Congress and other officials to keep government on track, organized the Santa Rosa protest.  

The first event was on July 2 where over 300 people gathered at noon in Courthouse Square in solidarity with 185 cities that were taking this action across the United States. There were three demands made by the protesters, 1) close the camps, 2) not one more dollar for family detention centers 3) and deportation and to bear witness and reunite families.  Saybrah Breeair, a member of Indivisible Sonoma County attended the rally and said, “I am protesting the inhumane detention and the taking of children from their parents who are seeking asylum in the United States.” During the protest participants were shouting, “Close The Camps.”  As I listened I could not believe all this was happening in my country. 

The second event was on July 12 was also organized by Indivisible Sonoma County in solidarity with, “Lights for Liberty Vigil,”  It was estimated over 550 people attended.  As I walked through the crowd talking with people I got a sense of anger, frustration and disappointment yet a strong belief that, We The People will be heard.  Of all things during the protest I ran into my sister, Evelyn Holtz.  I was surprised to see her as she is not one to attend protests.  I asked her what she thought and why she was participating.  “It is disgusting what is happening at our Southern Border, taking kids from their parents, I am here because I want it stopped and want it stopped now,” she said.  For me it summed up the feelings many had for showing up.  A special shout to Indivisible and to all of you who attended.  In my mind there needed to be 10,000 mothers attending, why do I say that is because “I believe what happens to one mothers child can happen to any mothers child.”  I pray one day we all see “we are on planet, one people, one heart.” (From the Song “Pale Moon” by Becky Hobbs)

Comite´ Vida (Life Committee) Volunteer Immigration Defense Action Program (VIDAS) Vital Immigrant Defense Advocacy and Services [VIDAS] was founded by Legal Director Richard Coshnear, and paralegals Marina Ordonez and Suzy Becerra in 2014. VIDAS is a nonprofit immigration law office that offers low cost and no cost immigration legal services. In 2017 they hired Executive Director, Margaret Flores McCabe.  Their mission is to educate and mobilize residents of Sonoma County about legal and social justice issues affecting the lives of immigrants and our entire community for positive action. 

Projects and Actions by Comité VIDA are: Organizing County residents to urge the Sheriff to end collaboration with ICE and suggests if you see ICE call the rapid response network hotline:v707 800-4544.  VIDA collaborates with the North Bay Immigrant Youth Union (NBIYU) on Deferred Action and organizes individuals to lobby the State to improve the “Trust Act.” On January 1, 2014, the California TRUST Act became law and prohibits a law enforcement official from detaining an individual on the basis of an ICE hold after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody under state law.    Other actions include organizing the Annual May Day March and Rally and the Annual Posada and toy drive.

VIDAS has been instrumental in getting Sonoma County law agencies to accept the Mexican Matricula ID along with encouraging and supporting immigrants to lobby in Sacramento.  Contact Information:  VIDA’s office: 576 So. B Street, Suite IC, Santa Rosa.  Telephone # 707-523-1740.

City of Santa Rosa Hires New Chief of Police 

The City of Santa Rosa hired veteran Rainer Navarro as the cities Chief of Police.  Navarro officially filled his post on August 1. Navarro has served his entire 27-year law enforcement career with the Santa Rosa Police Department – including the last four years as Captain.,

Navarro has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership from the University of San Diego. He is also a graduate of the Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Command College.  Navarro is married to his wife Diedre, and they have two adult children. 

To gain additional understanding of the community’s expectations of the SRPD which will help to inform future goals of the organization, he will be conducting a series of community listening sessions over the next several months.   “I am committed to strengthening relationships through our community-oriented policing, increasing trust through transparency and education, recruiting, retaining, and developing professionals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to reflect our community, and collaborating with the public on current and future issues,” said Chief Navarro.  

A Bit of Trivia about the SRPD: Department was formed in April 1, 1867, one year before the incorporation of the City of Santa Rosa in 1868. In its first 100 years, the department grew from three "Town Marshals" to a staff of 247 today.

Bring your broken stuff to Northwest Library’s   
“Reuse and Repair” Party

As part of their “Planet People Project” the library will host a Repair Party on August 31.  The event is part of the “Right to Repair” movement, which advocates for legislation that discourages companies from creating obstacles for their customers who want to extend the life of their belongings.  Also part of the movement is a growing number of enthusiasts who volunteer their time fixing stuff at events such as “Repair Cafes” and “Fixit Clinics.” 

Repairs will be made on a first come first served basis and there is no guarantee the item can be fixed. Participants are invited to bring bikes and electronic devices to be repaired, clothing to be mended and small appliances to be fixed. The idea is to keep reusable items out of the landfill, build community and empower everyday folks to help each other fix things.

Volunteers Needed:  An important part of this program is its volunteers and the Northwest Library is inviting members of the community to volunteer.  Volunteers are needed in the following areas:  Fixers (bikes, electronic devices, small appliances, and clothing), Greeters (greet, orient, event support), translators (for Spanish-speaking participants) and Troubleshooter (Layperson, uses the site. Tools provided),

For additional information go to  or contact Jenny Rockwell at  or  707-546-2265.  The Repair Party is on August 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 150 Coddingtown Center in Santa Rosa.

Something to think about: “No matter which side of the border wins in the battlefield, precious lives are always lost in the process. And no amount of victory can bring those lives back – no amount of victory can wipe away the tears of a mother, a father or a spouse. What's the point of such victory that brings only destruction!” Abhijit Naskar (born 1991) is one of the world's celebrated Neuroscientists, an International Bestselling Author of numerous books and an untiring advocate of mental wellness and global harmony.

Santa Rosa Snippets by Elaine B. Holtz


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