“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence

As one of several individuals who have been mentioned in comments on a recent Facebook post regarding the Town Hall Meeting occurring on January 15, I am responding to encourage open discussion and find common ground in these unprecedented times.

As a sovereign being with body autonomy, the freedoms and rights given to me by nature and solidified by the governing documents of The United States of America are being stripped from me in nearly every aspect of my life for the past 22 months. For over a year, I felt I was alone in this thinking. Talking with a few others in town, however, I realized that many people were feeling the same as me, but our voices were not being heard, our beliefs were not being respected, our way of life was being taken from us, and we had no say in the matter.

As more and more people heard others felt this way, the group grew and we became known as Free Eastside. We are a group who gather together to discuss what is happening in the world at large and then direct our attention to local level circumstances and how they pertain to our livelihoods, our families, our health, and our individual freedoms.

We have the unalienable right to stand up for ourselves and for each other when we are forced to do something against our will. We have been forced and coerced, with no discussion or concern for differing opinions or views, to follow rules, mandates and orders that we do not agree with.

Isn’t inclusion about seeing and validating other individual’s viewpoints, rights and liberties? We don’t have to agree on everything, and we won’t as that is not how we as humans behave, but we can respect diverse opinions and work together to find solutions and common ground.

There is no hate in our group. There are opinions and thoughts that differ in more ways than not. As the group has grown, we have asked for guidance in all areas that impact our lives. Many people with a variety of knowledge have talked with us about their areas of expertise regarding our rights and liberties, as well as what is happening in various areas in Inyo County. We are trying to make sense of what has happened over the past 22 months while learning the proper way of restoring our individual freedoms and the right to choose for ourselves and our families as we maneuver through the current situation.

We have been asking for information. We have been asking for discussion with our local elected officials who are our civil servants. We have been asking for our voices and concerns to be considered and taken seriously, and we wish to be treated with respect as human beings muddling through the whirlwind of events the past 2 years.

We are interested in learning what we can do as citizens to have our voices heard. We have been ignored and scoffed at when we ask for discussion and discourse regarding votes and actions by the various organizations and local governing boards that impact our livelihoods in nearly every aspect of our lives. We have the right to ask for information and justification for the orders and mandates that have shifted the way we live our lives so drastically.

We have the right to disagree with the rules and orders being forced upon us. When we are not heard and are ignored, we feel jilted and disrespected. As free citizens, when our rights are infringed upon and we are forced to change nearly every aspect of the way we live our lives, we must stand up for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

County Councilwoman Jennifer Roeser has been wrongly attacked for speaking with our group, as well as being willing to speak at the Town Hall Meeting. She is one of the only elected officials to genuinely respond to our comments at board meetings, and our many emails and inquiries requesting open discussion, and she graciously accepted our invitation to spend some time with us. She is not a part of our group and only attended one meeting when she was asked to share about the roles of county supervisors. Councilwoman Roeser will be doing the same at the Town Hall Meeting and will be discussing the roles and responsibilities of elected officials. There is no controversy with that.

The Town Hall Meeting on January 15th is taking place at Calvary Baptist Church. Why? Because we need a place that can facilitate a few hundred people of all aspects of life to join us to learn about the laws regarding masks, vaccinations, vaccine passports, mandates, and closures. The fairgrounds were our first choice for the event. Unfortunately, the facility was not available on the dates the primary speaker could travel to Bishop. Several large venues were offered and all were in churches as they have the capacity to accommodate the number of people we hope will attend.

The speaker that was asked to share with us was one of many lawyers and firms our group has reached out to over the past few months to educate us on the ever-changing orders, mandates, rules and laws, as well as our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms. This was the only lawyer and organization that would even talk with us without requiring a rather large retainer. Some legal education is better than none and we appreciate his willingness to talk with us and discuss our questions.

Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings and all are welcome to have a voice at these meetings. We are comprised of individuals who are very faith-based along with people who haven’t attended a church or practiced a ‘faith’ in decades. All political views are appreciated as long as the focus remains on fighting for our rights to maintain our freedom to choose. People have attended our meetings in masks. There are many of us who wear masks in businesses in town. Most of us do not and we support and encourage the rights of both groups to do as they choose without discrimination. While many who attend our meetings are not vaccinated, others are vaccinated and boosted. That is their choice, both vaxxed and unvaxxed.

Do we discuss masks? Yes. Do we discuss vaccinations? Yes. Do we discuss the rights we have as individuals to the autonomy of our own body? Yes. Do we discuss the legal and illegal aspects of the mandates and rules that have forcibly changed, and continue to change, our day to day activities, including but not limited to our employment, our ability to provide for our families, and our children’s health and well-being? Yes. Have we asked on multiple occasions for intellectual discussions with various organizations and civil servants who are imposing these mandates and rules? Yes.

Nothing about Free Eastside has anything to do with anything other than our freedom to choose during this troubling time when our freedoms are being stripped away from us. What others believe and perpetuate is their business and not relevant to us or our reason for meeting. We have diverse personalities and opinions, as does any group of individuals, and we welcome that.

Join us at a meeting. Join us at the Town Hall. Wear masks, be fully vaccinated and boosted if you choose. Do whatever you feel is needed to feel safe. We have no problem with that. Let us each, individually, do what we each feel we need to do in order to stand in our sovereignty. We can find mutual ground to walk on. We can work through this difficult time as a community. We cordially invite all individuals in a leadership capacity to attend. We are grateful to have a venue large enough to invite the public from up and down the Eastside to come to the Town Hall, and we hope our local civil servants will join us.

Rather than jump to conclusions, attacking the group and various individuals who have attended the meetings, please talk with us. There are many who attend our meetings that are more than willing to have an intelligent, rational, and respectful conversation. I have been doxed in the Facebook thread and many have already looked into who I am. Feel free to reach out to speak with me. I stand firmly in my conviction to have the first and foremost say over what happens to my body and in my life, and I stand firmly for your right to do the same. My choice. Your choice. Freedom to Choose.

In summary: * Non-political * Non-religious * Non-discriminatory * Not Anti-Mask *
* Not Anti-Vaccine * Open to Discussion * Freedom to Choose *

Choose Freedom, Not Fear

Kristin Ostly
[email protected]

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