San Jose Inside - Feb. 16, 2017

Silicon Valley's Trump Resistance Chapter, Orchard City Indivisible, Grows in Strenghth, Memebership

President Donald Trump’s first month in office has galvanized the Indivisible movement to create more than 6,000 resistance groups, including one in Campbell. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Four weeks ago President Donald Trump took the oath of office, protesters marched across the nation and San Jose police snipers assumed their perch.

By then, the resistance was already in full swing.

Trump supporters, most notably the alt-right, have dismissed protesters and critics of the new administration as “snowflakes,” which may be why grassroots organizations such as Indivisible are seeing a snowball effect.

What started as a 25-page Google doc created by a group of former congressional staffers has led to Indivisible, a chain of regional groups that are rallying the nation’s anti-Trump resistance to slow down his agenda and rein in a Republican-majority Congress.

The Google doc, created in mid-December, served as a guide for specific tactics to fight President Trump’s agenda, which has included a number of unpopular appointees and executive orders. The document soon morphed into a website, resulting in more than 6,000 registered resistance groups.

Eric Victorino, a co-founder of Orchard City Indivisible, the South Bay’s only chapter, says the organization is using the same guidelines the conservative Tea Party movement carried out in opposing President Obama, who was far more popular at the time than Trump is currently, according to public opinion polls.

“We are operating with the advantage of being a much bigger group going up against a very unpopular president,” Victorino says.

Victorino and three friends decided to form the chapter, based in Campbell, just days after reading the guidelines. Meetings are centered around enacting change through planning events, voicing complaints, demanding meetings with elected officials and providing an open forum for ideas that can affect change. It’s similar to the Occupy movement from several years ago, except there seems to be far more structure.

“Getting people information about what they can do is what inspired us,” says Michael Clark, an Orchard City Indivisible co-founder.

Meetings, held every Tuesday, first took place in a coffee shop but greater numbers forced the group to move. The past two meeting have been hosted at Campbell United Church of Christ.

“When this started our first meeting had 12 people, our next had about 30, then 75 and today we had around 120,” Victorino says.

Orchard City Indivisible operates through a private Facebook group, where events, links and information are shared on a daily basis. The group now has more than 700 members who work on organizing events, designing protest signs and giving advice on where and when to deploy them.

A majority of Silicon Valley voters are registered Democrats, Clark says, which has helped the resistance group get on the radar with local, state and federal agencies.

David Weir, of San Jose, says the constant negative headlines forced him to do something rather than sit on the sidelines.

“(It’s) the feeling we got when we woke up every day and saw bad news of acts being overturned, executive orders being filed that were discriminatory, cabinet picks that were not draining the swamp but filling it up with more alligators, and just an overall feeling of this is not how the country should be run,” Weir says.

To counter these decisions, Weir and fellow Indivisible members have been calling and showing up at Congressional offices.

Joana Cardoso, who has led an effort to diversify Orchard City Indivisible’s membership after the first four meetings, says that the organization is open to anyone who feels the country is heading in the wrong direction under President Trump.

“There is no them—this is for everybody,” Cardoso says. “You are not alone in feeling frustrated over the craziness that’s happening.”

Orchard City Indivisible will host a #NotOurPresidentDay event 10am to 2pm Monday at San Jose City Hall. The goal is to encourage resistance locally and pressure members of Congress to stand, indivisibly, in opposition to the Trump administration.