Although Colusa County is thought to be an overwhelmingly conservative area, there are roughly the same number of registered Republican and Democratic voters according voter lists, said Jennifer Roberts, Indivisible Colusa County’s co-leader.
“The county is split with about one third of voters registered as Republican and one third registered as Democrat even though the county has a much more conservative feeling,” Roberts said.
Indivisible Colusa County, a local community activism group lead by Roberts, has been working to make sure local, state and federal elected officials hear the voices of the Democratic and progressive parties in and around Colusa County. The group has slowly been making their name more known throughout the area, popping up at many local events and protests. Most recently, they joined the Sacramento-area advocacy group Norcal Resist last month to rallied in front of the Yuba County Superior Court, protesting conditions of immigrants held in detention centers.
“We have been breathing life back into the Democratic party in Colusa County,” Roberts said. “I think the presence of this group gives more like-minded people the confidence to speak out.”
In addition to the protesting and political activism, the group also established the Colusa County Democratic Central Committee last year, a liberal presence that has been absent from the county for more than 35 years.
Many of the current group members said they were not active in politics before joining the group but have since embraced their political voice.
“I was very apprehensive at first because I was not politically active and I had never protested before,” said Denise Conrado, co-leader and chair of the Indivisible Colusa Speakers Committee.
Dianne Terwilliger, Indivisible Colusa’s Social Committee member and the group’s tech guru, said she felt like she had found her people after attending her initial Indivisible Colusa County meeting.
“I didn’t think there were any other Democrats in the county,” Terwilliger said. “After my first meeting I was like ‘Wow! There are other people in Arbuckle who think the same way I do!’”
While the group backs Democratic and progressive ideals, members said you do not have to have liberal viewpoints to attend meetings.
“We would like to bring peace and unity to the political process instead of all this hate and fear mongering,” said Care Johnson, an active Indivisible Colusa County member. “We want to bring people together.”
Johnson said the group is dedicated to helping the community regardless of political affiliation.
“We are all here because we love this community and want it to be viable and prosper,” Roberts said.
Roberts inadvertently started the Indivisible Colusa County group in 2016 after she reached out on a Indivisible Colusa Facebook page.
“A woman that manages the Indivisible group in Yolo County had started the Indivisible Colusa page with the hope of spreading the word and get more people involved,” Roberts said. “I was the first person to reach out on the page so she handed it off to me.”
Since then, Roberts has made the groups mission to represent the democratic voice throughout the county.
Roberts, along with many of the other Indivisible Colusa County members, said she felt the urge to act after the 2016 presidential election and started looking for ways to reach out.
“I was at home feeling really depressed and angry after the election and knew I needed to do something, I just wasn’t sure what,” Roberts said.
Roberts online research lead her to attend the 2016 Women’s March in Washington D.C. and eventually to the Indivisible guidebook.
“The guidebook was written as a document in response to Trumps election,” Roberts said. “It was never meant to become a movement.”
This document, however, sparked a fire in many across the county and more than one thousand Indivisible groups were formed nationwide.
Roberts held the first Indivisible Colusa County meetings in her living room in February 2017, with just a handful of attendees. Since then, Roberts said the group has had slow and steady growth and currently has 25 active members and hundreds on their mailing list.
“When we had our first few meetings I didn’t know where this group was going to go,” Roberts said. “Now we are a sustainable movement and I don’t see us fading away any time soon.”
In addition to spreading the word about progressive issues, Indivisible Colusa County members also hand write postcards to remind voters of important voting dates that are coming up, canvas the county to reach out to others affiliated with their party and register those that wish to vote regardless of their political beliefs.
“Fundamentally we want protect and expand human rights,” Roberts said. “We have big ideas that we try to match with practical action.”
The group meets regularly on the first Monday of each month at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, located at 642 5th Street in Colusa. A typical meeting starts with a social and potluck at 6 p.m. and discussions begin at 6:30 p.m.
The monthly meeting for September will be held on September 13 due to the Labor Day holiday.
The group also hosts weekly coffee meetings from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. at El Jalisciense Restaurant to discuss anything and everything.
Roberts said the group is always looking for people to get involved in the group, regardless of political affiliation or age.
For more information about Indivisible Colusa County or to get involved, call 454-5056, visit www.indivisiblecolusa.org or follow the Indivisible Colusa Facebook page.