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Local activists rally ahead of election push

Sister District Yolo was featured in a commentary in the Davis Enterprise this week. You can read it here, or below.

From the Davis Enterprise:

Activists turned out for midterm kickoff in Central Park on Aug. 28. Sue Peri/Courtesy photo

Voting was the name of the game at the midterm election kickoff on Aug. 28 sponsored by Indivisible Yolo and Sister District Yolo in Davis Sunday attended by more than 150 area activists. Speakers credit growing voter turnout for the shift in political predictions, which are no longer suggesting a big Republican victory Nov. 8.

According to new voter registration data, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24 women have outpaced men registering to vote in battleground states with the numbers heavily in favor of Democrats, Rachel Beck of Indivisible Yolo told the crowd of activists.

“We saw this in Kansas on Aug. 2, as phenomenal organizing and very smart voter outreach messaging resulted in massive voter turnout and a 59 percent rejection of an anti-abortion amendment,” Beck said. She also cited Democrat Paul Ryan’s win in New York’s 19th congressional district. Ryan was behind in the polls until he put his support for reproductive freedom at the front of his campaign.

Sister District Yolo’s Kelly Wilkerson fortified that view, noting the canvassing, calling, texting and postcard writing for key congressional candidates by the sponsoring organizations and Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte, League of Women Voters Davis area and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

“We’re done lamenting, we see that on social media every day,” Wilkerson said. “We’re the ones ready to do the work.”

Komal Hak, board member of the League of Women Voters Davis area and its director of communications, strategy and marketing, addressed abortion rights.

“California voters will see an abortion initiative on the November midterm ballot,” Hak said. “Now that Roe is no longer legal precedent, this ballot measure takes on even greater importance in the lives of pregnant Californians. This is our opportunity to show up and ensure reproductive rights are protected through law. Please join us and make your voice heard.”

Candelaria Vargas of Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte warned the last week’s rally at Central Park that anti-abortion activists have an agenda that goes beyond abortion. Sue Peri/Courtesy photo

Candelaria Vargas, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte, warned that anti-abortion activists have an agenda that goes beyond abortion.

“They’re coming for birth control here in California,” Vargas said, citing opposition to opening new state Planned Parenthood clinics. She led an enthusiastic chant:

“Abortion!” Vargas called.

“Is healthcare!” answered the rally attendees.

Michelle Famula, Davis League of Women Voters board member and chair of its healthcare committee, told the crowd that the League works to ensure the right and power of every U.S. citizen to have their vote counted and their choices honored.

“League members join tonight to pledge our continued commitment to democracy through voter registration, issue awareness, and ballot return education,” Famula said. “Enduring civil rights protections require dedicated awareness, issue understanding, and action.”

Emily Ault, a Davis volunteer and California state legislative co-lead of Moms Demand Action, noted the grassroots volunteer network is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.

“We have 10 million members – yes, we are bigger than the NRA and we’re a non-partisan organization working to elect gun sense candidates,” Ault said. “We need your help to find these great candidates. We know how important down-ballot elections are – they often drive people to the polls.”

Rally attendees were reminded of President Joe Biden’s productive summer with major legislative accomplishments and executive action, including the Inflation Reduction Act and student loan debt relief.

“Just think what we might be able to accomplish with a real Senate majority willing to fix the filibuster,” said Steve Murphy of Invisible Yolo.

As Rachel Beck said to those signing up to help, “put aside ‘all or nothing’ thinking – you don’t have to be at every phone bank or drive to Reno to make a difference.”

Sister District Yolo can be contacted at, while Indivisible Yolo can be reached at

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