Springing into Action
By Gretchen Giles
Twenty-one-year-old Carl Patrick sounds slightly out of breath when he answers the phone. He's at his day job, after all, working at an organic farm in Petaluma, something to occupy him when he's not working on behalf of Impact!, a one-year-old organization that aims to bring together the good deeds done by the CopWatch and Food Not Bombs kids, as well as young activists involved in immigration rights, environmental fights and labor issues. Patrick is interrupted in the fields to discuss Impact!'s slate of upcoming events collectively called Spring into Action! and beginning April 1, no joke.
In Petaluma, expect to see the Impact! activists canvassing neighborhoods Monday, Wednesday and Thursday carrying petitions to end ICE raids and sporting questionnaires about citizen/peace officer interactions. Each Tuesday is an Impact! meeting and dinner to which all are welcome. Friday nights finds the activists conducting CopWatch efforts throughout Petaluma, and on Saturday mornings, Food Not Bombs serves at the corner of Howard and Washington streets at 11am.
In addition to these more "regular" activities, Impact! plans an April 5 noon meeting at the Peace and Justice Center to gather Sonoma County activists of all stripes to discuss how better to organize together. "This is really exciting," Patrick says. "We really want to have an impact on facilitating efforts to work together." April 19 in Petaluma's Putnam Plaza is the Downtown Get Down event from noon to 6pm, with free food and music and plenty of literature and information for interested volunteers. A swap and barter of all goods and services is planned for April 26; May 1 is of course a May Day event with a continued focus on the Committee for Immigrants Rights.
The group is also looking into what it would take to form a labor center in Petaluma along the Graton model, possibly with the input and help of St. Vincent's Catholic Church. "Our goals are to build our movement, expand our organization, strenghten our various projecsts and cultivate a radical consciousness in our community," Patrick says. Not bad for a day's—a week's, a month's, a lifetime's—work.
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