Thousands gather at Sonoma County Fairgrounds to show another world possible 

Julie Johnson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

While thousands of people protested at airports across the country Sunday against President Donald Trump’s executive order barring people from several predominantly Muslim nations from entry into the United States, people crammed shoulder to shoulder into Garrett Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for a number of different reasons.

They signed up to volunteer for environmental groups, discuss politics with military veterans, write encouraging letters to refugees across the world, read about composting food and ask about affordable-housing advocacy programs.

“I want to fight the good fight right now,” said Tanya Turneaure, a Sebastopol resident and middle school teacher, who watched her 16-year-old daughter write “we’re thinking of you” on a note for people in Greek refugee camps.

Sunday was the first North Bay Community Engagement Fair, a free event with two goals: Increase civic participation and encourage organizations to collaborate.

The hall, a room with official capacity for 1,200 people, was packed from noon to 5 p.m. and loud with the din of conversations. Organizers enlisted 103 organizations to staff information tables, hand out pamphlets and encourage people to get involved.

The event was organized by a coalition of local groups under the name Another World is Possible, which formed last year and launched with a voter engagement event in October geared toward youth and minority communities.

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