Kailea Frederick, Angelica (Angie) Solloa · August 2, 2022

NDN Collective Femme-Led Protest Disrupts William Barr’s Keynote at Far-Right Catholic Church Conference in Napa

Leading up to the Napa Institute’s annual convening, NDN Collective, alongside the greater Bay Area community, rallied to disrupt William “Bill” Barr’s keynote. Though met with violence from conference attendees, protesters sent a clear message; Fascism is not welcome.

On Saturday evening NDN Collective led an Action in Napa, California as part of calling attention to the dangerous rhetoric of The Napa Institute – an organization co-founded by Timothy Busch, owner of the Meritage Resort and Spa where the Napa Institute annual conference is held.

The Napa Institute claims its summer conference is designed for the Catholic community to “learn about the sanctity of work, building a Catholic culture, and reason and faith” and attempts to distance itself from politics, though it has an overtly political agenda often with high profile Republican politicians and political strategists in attendance. In fact, attendees paid $2,700 to hear former U.S. Attorney General William Barr give a keynote address, and individuals like Leonard Leo, who advised former President Donald Trump on Supreme Court nominations, is a donor to the Institute.

Protesters gather in front of the Meritage Resort & Spa on Saturday, July 30, 2022, calling out The Napa Institute upholding of fascism and colonial control. Powered by NDN.

Aside from far-right individuals in politics, The Napa Institute platforms organizations who have been deemed hate groups and utilize this conference as a key organizing and strategy-building moment for those who are anti-Black, anti-LBGTQIA2+, pro-life, opponents of critical race theory, and are actively fighting to protect the heterosexual nuclear family ideology.

Members of NDN Collective and other local residents from across the Bay Area disrupted William Barr’s keynote address to call attention to this event, which had previously flown under the radar. “Often, it can seem like big decisions happen in faraway places – when in fact the organizing that sets these violent and life-altering decisions in motion could be happening in our own backyards,” said NDN Collective Climate Justice Organizer, Kailea Frederick.

Video coverage of protestors declaring the human rights violations that The Napa Institute continue to inflict through colonial control and violence. Video from The Press Democrat’s Youtube channel.

Countless Indigenous communities have felt the serious ramifications of the Catholic church and the religious warfare they have deployed globally over the last 500 years. With the Pope offering an apology just last week to First Nations peoples in so-called Canada for the kidnapping and genocide of thousands of their children, NDN Collective’s team knows all too well how dangerous religious radicalization can be, especially when human rights are a focal point.

As reported by the National Catholic Reporter, fifteen families have pledged donations to the Napa Institute totaling $500,000 over the next five years to support program expansion. As part of this expansion, a lecture series in 2021 was held at the University of Notre Dame. One of the initial speakers included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who recently stepped down from teaching at George Washington University amid nationwide backlash over his concurrence in the case overturning Roe v. Wade, as well as his wife Ginni Thomas’s involvement in the January 6th insurrection.

Protesters stand with signs outside of the Meritage Resort and Spa, where a Napa Institute conference attendee can be seen reaching into the bed of the vehicle in an attempt to disrupt the action. Powered by NDN.

The peaceful disruption on Saturday evening consisted of a caravan of vehicles parked on a public street outside of the venue space where William Barr was speaking. A banner was draped over the side of a truck that read, “Fascists Not Welcome Here! This Church = Colonial Control”, while protesters utilized a PA system to issue an eviction notice to conference attendees. Local news coverage of the conference highlighted several voices from the region who made it clear that the viewpoints bolstered by The Napa Institute are not representative of Napa residents or other Bay Area communities. Coverage from conference attendees that evening showed that the all-women-led protesters were successful in disrupting the event. In an attempt to drown out the eviction notice from the PA system, attendees broke into prayer, which they believed was the reason why the group of protesters eventually left. 

Live coverage of conference attendees, including Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue, violently prompting protestors to leave. Terry is seen in this video pulling open the truck door where peaceful protestors were sitting. Tweet by Phil Barber @Skinny_Post.

Alternative footage would indicate that the protesters were accosted by conference attendees, met with chants of “baby killers” and “maskers”, and dealt with an increasing escalation of violence from a group of men who encircled them. One man yelled repeatedly in the women’s faces, while others attempted to snatch their signs, grab their bodies, and even go as far as opening the passenger side of their truck door, despite being on public property. At one point, a man named Michael leaned into the bed of their vehicle and aggressively snatched out the auxiliary cord connected to the PA system, cutting one of the women’s hands that was holding it. In fear that their safety was at risk and to avoid further violence, the group of protesters made the decision to leave.

Live coverage of violent exchange between The Napa Institute conference attendees and protestors shared via tweet by Phil Barber @Skinny_Post.

“In the end, our group was able to maintain safety for all individuals, which is our main priority when participating in nonviolent direct action. That being said, all of our human rights are currently under direct attack from individuals who support organizations like The Napa Institute. Below, we have compiled a list of articles that detail key supporters and donors to the Napa Institute that we recommend becoming familiar with. We consider Saturday evening a first step in continuing to track the threads that are tied to the organizing coming through the Napa Institute,” said NDN Collective Climate Justice Organizer, Kailea Frederick.

Related Stories:

The Press Democrat | ‘This isn’t doormat Christianity’: In Napa, a high-powered conservative Catholic conference flies under the radar

The Press Democrat | Conservative Catholic gathering draws protesters in Napa

National Catholic Reporter | Napa Institute expands to fight the culture war

Napa Valley Register | Conservatives come to Napa: Barr, Hobby Lobby president speaking at Napa Catholic Conference

Napa Valley Register | Napans take to downtown to protest conservative Napa Institute conference

Kailea Frederick
by   Kailea Frederick

Kailea Frederick (she/her), Climate Justice Organizer, is a mother of Tahltan, Kaska and Black American ancestry. She grew up off the grid in Maui, Hawai`i and feels raised by quiet spaces and intimately tied to Honua, our island earth. She is a graduate of the International Youth Initiative Program and a Spiritual Ecology and Boards & Commissions Leadership Fellow. Kailea has been a youth delegate to the United Nations Climate Change conferences twice, and currently serves as the Editor for Loam, and as Vice-Chair of the Petaluma Climate Action Commission. Her prayer is that those on the front-lines of climate change and extractive based industry are able to find justice and peace for their communities.

Angelica (Angie) Solloa
by   Angelica (Angie) Solloa

Angelica (Angie) Solloa (She/Her), Digital Organizer is Maya and Hopi. She has 7 years of experience working with national and regional non-profit organizations with a primary focus on racial equity, education equity, youth homelessness, economic equity, and poverty alleviation. Angie has utilized her creative skills to mobilize support for hunger awareness campaigns with Ayesha Curry/No Kid Hungry, an $8M housing project with Life Learning Academy, and flipped states during critical elections.

 

Angie received recognition as an emerging leader within the Bay Area via the Kaiser Permanente, Coro, and Warrior Foundation Generation Thrive Fellowship. She holds a Bachelors Communications & Marketing degree from San Francisco State University.

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