“We don’t usually get this many people at a meeting, usually maybe eight or nine,” said one of the long-time League of Women Voter members at the Wednesday, March 29, meeting.
There was initially nearly 40 people crowding into the Quincy Library meeting room to hear the forum on two recently formed political groups: Plumas Action Network and Indian Valley Indivisibles.
The forum on the two new activist-oriented political groups was moderated by league member Jane Braxton Little who asked the three women — Amber Hughes and Kari O’Reilly from Plumas Action Network and Tanya Henrich from Indian Valley Indivisibles — a number of questions regarding why they started their respective groups.
The night was billed as “courageous local women describe what motivated them to speak out as grassroots activists.
Hughes began by reminding the audience that she is a fourth generation Plumas County woman and has family and ties to all sorts of people on the political spectrum locally and beyond. O’Reilly moved to Plumas County seven years ago with her husband. Both women cited having a child as being part of the driving force behind their activism for a better world.
Their organization, Plumas Action Network, is attempting to keep environmental, educational, social and health concerns progressive, clean and affordable for Americans locally and nationally. They are also working on numerous issues not listed above.
Hughes talked of wanting to lead by example for her daughter and serve as a beacon of hope to her.
“When you reach the point that enough is enough, I want her to know you can do something,” said Hughes.
Both Hughes and O’Reilly reflected that Plumas County does have a diversity of people and political views and that to be an effective group one needed to get out from behind what O’Reilly called the bubble of safety — from the co-op to Pangaea and back.
“We need to reach out to people who don’t think like we do. We need to reach out to the mill workers for example, and the many social communities that exist here,” said O’Reilly. Hughes agreed and said it was important that all communities within Plumas County feel included in the decision-making process of government.
Henrich moved to Greenville seven years ago from Chico thinking she was just going to retire. Instead, the 2016 election galvanized her into action. After hearing about small groups forming around the country called the Indivisbles on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, she decided to start one in Greenville.
“I was shocked and offended by so much of the election,” Henrich said.
Henrich, at 75, said that most of the people who have shown up to her potlucks and are on her Facebook page for the Indivisible group, are older and retired like she is. They can’t or don’t want to drive to Quincy at night for a political meeting so she thought having a group in Greenville — where they can do postcard campaigns and discuss issues affecting their lives — was the way to go.
All three women stated that they felt Plumas County needed more adequate representation and were dismayed by District 1 representative Doug LaMalfa.
Both groups are trying to get LaMalfa to visit Plumas County for a town hall meeting. If LaMalfa refuses, the women plan to hold a town hall in absentia. They will record the gathering and send all questions and concerns via video to his office.
The audience asked few questions and mostly wondered what they could do to become part of the two nonpartisan groups. They also asked how to deal with family members who don’t share the same views. There was lots of nervous laughter and no real answer.
They acknowledged that the numbers of attendees are not always consistent and that people need actions to get them motivated.
Both groups show up every Friday at Dame Shirley Plaza for a rally or protest at 4:30 p.m.