HARASSMENT OF SIGNATURE GATHERERS BY DEMOCRATS
A group of moderate-to-conservative activists were at the Bear Paw Festival over the weekend to gather signatures to put “gender-definite bathrooms” on the Anchorage ballot in April.
They were engaging in the process of trying to undo a 2015 city ordinance that allows people of any gender to enter any bathroom at any time, no questions asked.
The signature gatherers were Anchorage Republicans who want citizens to be able to vote on whether public bathrooms are now gender neutral. They’re folks like Judy Eledge, a Republican activist, seen here.
Then it got ugly. The Protect Our Privacy petitioners were approached by shouting and harassing Democrats (we know they are Democrats because of their organizing efforts on Facebook), some of them wearing ACLU t-shirts, who converged on the signature gatherers, and yelled at people who signed the petition, calling them bigots and haters.
According to observers, some of the younger signature gatherers were able to move quickly through the crowd and lose the harassers, but as the weekend went on, Fair Anchorage and the Young Democrats figured out who to target and trailed them closely for hours.
“We got stalked, and jeered, and taunted,” said one of the women who was gathering signatures. She asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her children’s safety. One gatherer said her life was threatened by one of the Fair Anchorage activists.
Signature gatherers were surprised at the magnitude of the diversity of people who signed the petition — people from dozens of cultures and ethnicities willingly signed the petition.
“It’s looks like the United Nations,” said one of the petition organizers. “It’s stunning how diverse and culturally rich this effort has been. It’s a group of people that are completely different from what the Left thinks we are.”
While the Republicans of Eagle River allowed the signature gatherers to use their festival booth, at least two protesters stood within four feet of the booth like guards, and scared many people away.
By Sunday, the Fair Anchorage faction was well organized enough that they seemed to overwhelm the signature gatherers. “It really put a dent in our efforts,” one of the Protect Our Privacy” volunteers said. “People who came to the fair just didn’t want to be harassed.”
Another signature gatherer reported being harassed repeatedly by an individual in front of the Carrs on Huffman Road. Video of the man, a screenshot of which is here, shows him taunting the person who was gathering signatures, calling her a hater.
HOW THEY ORGANIZED
On Saturday, the Young Democrats put out an urgent action alert to get protestors to the Bear Paw Festival to harass the petition gatherers, posting this on Facebook:
URGENT ACTION ALERT: Jim Minnery has 8 people out at Bear Paw Festival July 12-16, 2017 collecting signatures to put an anti-trans bathroom bill on the ballot. Fair Anchorage urgently needs volunteers to canvass Bear Paw for #DeclineToSign signatures, and to educate people about Jim Minnery’s efforts to discriminate against the trans community. Please call or text Fair Anchorage Organizer Andrea Zekis at 501-392-4276 to get clipboards and signature sheets.
By Sunday, the Democrats and Fair Anchorage were out in force with glossy printed signs, and a well-organized counter effort.
People can sign the Protect Our Privacy petition by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, to find out the locations. Today is the final day to sign; the petitioners require about 5,700 signatures and will turn them in to the Anchorage City Clerk tomorrow.
The Municipality of Anchorage will then review the petition and decide if it will go to the April ballot.
The group is using the email address because of the increasing problems with harassment they’ve experienced in recent days.