Weekly Update 7.15.19

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.”
Helen Keller (b.1880-d.1968)
American author, political activist, and the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree

     There are a few new additions to this week's calendar, Friends, including an evening with famed journalist Rolland Smith and a concert to benefit reproductive rights. Take a moment to scroll through this week's calendar, find a listing that suits your interests, and make plans to attend. We look forward to seeing to seeing you at an event this week! 

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Weekly Update 7.08.19

"It's not like Mexicans have an illegal immigration organ in their body and at 14 (yrs old it) kicks off a hormone and shows them how to come to the United States illegally. It's a question of desperation for a vast majority of immigrants."
Luis Alberto Urrea (b.1955)
Mexican-American novelist and essayist

     We hope you and your loved ones had a safe and restful Independence Day, WeCAN Friends. As you know, the conditions at our Southern border have not improved; we would like to share a list of actionable items we can do here, in VT, to help those who are in turmoil. If you have additions that you'd like to add please email your Friendly WeCAN Admins at admin@wecantogether.net and we will add your suggestions in a future Weekly Email Update. 

1) Email/contact/visit your Representatives: 
     a) Go to https://www.house.gov/representatives and enter your ZIP code where it says “Find Your Representative” on the upper righthand side of the page.
     b) Go to https://www.senate.gov and use the “Find Your Senators” pull-down menu in the upper left corner of the page.
     c) These websites are also helpful and straightforward: https://www.callmycongress.com; https://www.contactingcongress.org; https://whoismyrepresentative.com; and https://5calls.org.
     d) If you are unable to use the internet, you can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your senator or congressperson.
Here is a script you can use:

“My name is (SAY YOUR NAME) and I’m a constituent in (SAY THE NAME OF YOUR TOWN OR CITY). I’ve read about the conditions migrant children are facing at Border Patrol camps along the border. This is unacceptable. I ask that you work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to swiftly and properly fund these facilities and set standards of care that can be monitored and enforced. No child should suffer at the hands of our country. Do your job and protect these children.”

2) Donate your time or funds to these vetted organizations:
     a)The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a Texas nonprofit that helps immigrant children, migrant families and refugees. The group has more than 100 attorneys, legal assistants and support staff.
     b)The American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting the administration’s family separation policies and advocating for immigrants since separations began.
     c)Immigrant Families Together is an all-volunteer group that helps asylum seekers with bonds, works to reunite migrant parents with their children and helps families get established once they’ve been released.
     d)Kids In Need of Defense provides legal services to children and “reintegration support for children returning alone from the U.S. to their home countries.”
     e)The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit that defends immigrants' rights. The organization is addressing ICE and border patrol abuse, immigration policies, and more, along with educating the nation on how to uphold the Constitution. You can donate to help the ACLU's efforts here.
     f)Many more organizations can be found in these comprehensive lists: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/06/18/heres-list-organizations-are-mobilizing-help-separated-immigrant-child/https://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/immigrant-children-border-crisis-how-to-help-20190625.

3) Other ways to get involved: Donating money to organizations is a simple and impactful way to make a difference, but if you're looking to do more, here are some other steps you can take. 
     a)
Protest and raise awareness. Protest current immigration policies and government actions at the border by attending or hosting events. Keep raising awareness by sharing information and updates with others and taking part in the online conversation. If you are comfortable, ask your friends and neighbors if they need ideas or links to get involved or donate. 
     b)
Write Opinion Editorials for Local Media Outlets: Click here for a template op-ed (faith based, but can be secular with a few tweaks). Publishing opinion editorials (op-eds) around Fourth of July is a great way to get the attention of your Members of Congress. But first, you need to write a piece that tells your story – not just the facts:

  • Keep it relevantUse a shared holiday or custom as your hook to draw the reader’s attention. Think of personal, meaningful stories of families and children you know.
  • Keep it short: Newspapers are most likely to publish letters to the editor that are short and make one succinct point (that is supported with facts or quotes from validators!). Check the newspaper you’re submitting to for a word limit. If you can’t find a limit, keep it to 150 words or fewer for LTEs or 750 words or fewer for op-eds.
  • Write from your own voice: Your piece is more likely to be published if it comes from your voice. Don’t be afraid to tell your and your family’s story and to appeal to the audience from the heart as well as the head.
  • Submit it to the newspaper: Submit the letter directly to the newspaper (most newspapers have an online submissions page) and follow up by phone or email if you don’t get a response within a week or two. Put the letter in the body of the email to make it easy for the editorial staff to read. As you submit your letter, don’t miss an opportunity to build a relationship with staff.

-- Joanna

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     And, lastly, we'd like to give a big THANK YOU to WeCAN reader Lucas Braun for sharing a link to Yes! Magazine: Journalism for People Building a Better World with us. The articles are written with an inflection of positivity and their 20 Ways You Can Help Immigrants Now piece is among the most comprehensive this Editor has seen in circulation. For some light reading, check out their entire section devoted to Happiness and learn about things like meal sharing, the representation revolution in Science Fiction writing, and how we can use virtual reality to teach empathy. Lots of great stuff in this publication so check it out and enjoy! Thanks, Lucas, for taking time to send in your submission. We appreciate you! 
 

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Weekly Update 07.01.19

"Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can't go hand in hand, I don't want to go."
Hazel Scott (b.1920, d.1981)
Immigrant, Jazz/Piano Prodigy, Political and Equal Rights Activist, First African American to have a national TV show

     Welcome to July, Friends! It seems that the Winter months creep by....and then July is here before we know it! We have 10 (TEN!) NEW additions to the calendar this week so grab yourself a cold drink, a patch of grass under a shady tree, take a moment peruse the new and reoccurring meetings listed below, and make plans to attend one (or more!) of these community gatherings. We would also like to remind you to start sending in your Late Summer/Early Fall (August, September) events to admin@wecantogether.net as soon as they are confirmed. Have a fantastic week and a safe Fourth of July, WeCANners! Until next week...

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Of Note:
An immigrant bail fund, the Vermont Immigrant Bail Fund, is located in our state and helps VT immigrants post bail. If you would like to donate, please see the web address below. 
From their website:
Fondo Para La Libertad - VT Vermont Freedom Bail Fund
Approximately 1000­-2000 immigrants from Mexico and Central America have been in Vermont since the mid­1990s, working invisibly at dairy farms, sustaining Vermont’s dairy industry, and paying a heavy price with their lives. We are a tax-deductible fund available to bail out immigrants living in Vermont held on immigration charges. Immigrants with any chance of release from ICE prison need bail in order to be freed from the prison system to rejoin their families and communities, have wider legal options, get help in preparing their cases, and be able to earn their living.
You can find more information here: https://fondo.migrantvt.org. Thank you. 

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Weekly Update 06.24.19

“It (hope) navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.”
Rebecca Solnit
an American writer whose work includes pieces on feminism, the environment, politics, place, and art

     With the increasing frequency of difficult-to-hear news day in and day out, especially in the last few days, we thought it would be appropriate to share some our favorite sites for good news and inspiration on the Resistance front. Take a look at the following resources that will inspire hope in you and give you a boost to continue fighting long after fatigue has set in. 

Good News From the Resistance: Marla Felcher is a Co-Founder and past-president of The Philanthropy Connection, a nonprofit that awards grants to organizations that work to improve the quality of life for low-resource individuals and families living in the greater Boston area.  She also served on the 2008 Obama Transition Team advisory committee and the board of directors of the Road Scholar (d/b/a Elderhostel) and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Her blog and emails are dedicated to showcasing Good News and Good People at the forefront of the resistance against Trump's administration  "We, the people, have the power to delay, dilute, and defeat "45's" plans to destroy the America we love. Repeat."

Small Victories: Small Victories is a weekly email newsletter celebrating people-powered victories against the Trump administration’s agenda. Stephanie Palumbo is the co-creator and sole writer of Small Victories. In January 2017, Palumbo and her coworker started sending Small Victories to friends and associates as a way of lifting people’s spirits. Coworkers started forwarding the emails to friends, and strangers began emailing and asking to sign up. The weekly email was made it public—and the creators were thrilled that thousands of people subscribed. To subscribe, click here!

Sci-Fi Writers Are Imagining a Path Back to Normalcy: In recent months the science fiction world has grown increasingly political, with dozens of writers contributing stories to anthologies such as Resist: Tales From a Future Worth Fighting Against and If This Goes On. Another prominent example is A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams. “I wanted to use my position as an editor to try to help magnify the voices of the people that we invited to participate in this anthology,” Adams says in Episode 354 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “To sort of shout back at the Trump administration, and also to try to imagine some new futures that might help us figure out how to get back to normal from here.”

 

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