“We are one nation … indivisible.”
Thus is the impetus behind the formation of the Indivisible movement, which has spread across the United States and the Puget Sound region. The progressive movement has come to prominence in the last few months, following the election of Pres. Donald Trump.
Taking cues from some Tea Party tactics with a more liberal-leaning political slant, those who get involved with the Indivisible movement are advised to be as politically active as possible, from the national level to the local level.
“I was very impressed with how they were doing things,” Bothell resident Judy Gratton, who started the Indivisible Bothell group, said.
After years of simply voting and or donating to causes and candidates, many Americans, including Puget Sound residents, have taken the time to be more actively involved in the political process, attending marches and interacting with their elected officials.
“After the election, I felt I needed to be a little more active,” Kirkland resident Kathy Donohoe, who started the Indivisible Kirkland Kenmore (IKK) group, said. “At this point in time, voting is not enough.”
Gratton added, “(The election has) caused a lot of us to stop taking for granted the freedom we have in this country. It was also time for me to stop thinking that someone else would do it.”
Others who have been more active in the past are looking for more ways to affect change and protect the rights of those who they feel are threatened under the new administration.
Bothell resident Bart Bartok, who was involved with the Vietnam War resistance movement, said he was thinking about starting an Indivisible group if one didn’t already exist. He said he was happy to go online and see that one already existed.
“If we’re not involved in our democracy, we’ll definitely lose it,” Libby Carr said at a recent Indivisible Bothell meeting.
Indivisible Bothell is following along with the tenets of the national movement by getting involved at the local level. In addition to showing up at area rallies and town hall meetings, several members of the group recently attended a launch party for former Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe’s campaign for Bothell City Council.
“We endorsed her candidacy,” Gratton said, adding that they plan to look into endorsements for other council candidates as well.
Both Indivisible Bothell and IKK are getting involved in the 45th District special election, even though Bothell and Kenmore are outside of that Legislative district.
“We’re backing Manka Dhingra,” Gratton said. “Even though that’s not part of Bothell, we want to do what we can to support her. … We want to support the causes we feel strongly about.”
Donohoe, who is a former Kenmore resident, said she had no idea IKK would grow to include more than 400 members.
“I knew there was a Bellevue group and a North Seattle group, but I wanted it to be neighbor-to-neighbor,” Donohoe said of her reasoning behind starting IKK.
While she is happy with the turnout so far, she indicated a desire to see younger generations, including millennials, get more involved with IKK. In an effort to draw more people, Donohoe said they are trying to vary the times and locations of their meetings.
“We want people to participate as they’re able,” she said.
IKK has several subgroups dedicated to a variety of causes, including health care, immigration and women’s rights. The group meets as a whole on a regular basis and the subgroups meet independently as well.
“We’re just trying to protect the rights that we have,” Donohoe said.
Like Indivisible Bothell, members of IKK have been regularly attending marches, rallies and other local political events. Upcoming events for the group include a Kirkland City Council tailgating event at 5 p.m. May 16 at Kirkland City Hall. The group wants to establish a regular presence at the council meetings and the tailgating event will be their kickoff to that initiative.
“We’re not trying to be disruptors, we’re trying to be aware and cognizant of what’s going on,” Donohoe said of the group.
More information about IKK can be found at indi visiblekirklandkenmore.com, and information about Indivisible Bothell is available on the group’s Facebook page, facebook.com/groups/837805559741053. More information about the Indivisible movement can be found at indivisible guide.com.