On Sunday, January 29, the North Bay Community Engagement Fair generated a huge response from the community. Representatives from 350 Sonoma and Fossil Free California collected a record number of petition signatures aimed at California’s huge state pension funds. During the afternoon, the team gathered 350 signatures for the “PERS/STRS Divest from DAPL” petition and 275 for our “PERS/STRS Divest from Fossil Fuels” petition.
The event, convened by grassroots organizations such as the Farmers Guild, featured 103 organizations and drew thousands of local folks looking to get involved in environmental and social justice causes. The goals of the event were to increase civic participation and encourage organizations to collaborate.
According to Julie Johnson’s article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a room designed to hold 1,200 people, was “packed from noon to 5 p.m. and loud with the din of conversations.” At the table for the local Democratic Party chapter, Clio Tarazi of the local Democratic Party chapter held up an inch-thick stack of forms filled out by people newly interested in getting involved in politics, and said “We have to practice democracy. You must not only share your opinion, but you also have to work together to make things happen.”
The 350 Sonoma and Fossil Free California representatives connected with hundreds of people who came by our table to find out about what we are doing to reduce greenhouse gases. Jane, Laura, Patrick, Sunny, and Christine were busy all afternoon sharing information and collecting signatures for the CalSTRS and CalPERS fossil fuel divestment petitions. We also connected with other environmental and social justice groups and planned future collaborations.