Weekly Update 11.12.18

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist

     This week's email is not going to focus on the intimidating pile of "things we cannot directly affect" in our country. Nope. No way. Instead, let's focus on what we CAN do to directly offer positive support to those experiencing trauma, particularly in California. WeCAN has put together a basic list of where and how we can donate to help our neighbors in Cali; so many of them have lost not only their homes and possessions, but also their town infrastructure and income. If you can, please consider giving monetarily to any of the following organizations or one of your own choosing. Thank you!
(Editor's Note: Red Cross and the like aren't included in this list because their information is readily available should you choose to donate to them):
-GoFundMe A roundup of vetted campaigns you can donate to is here: https://www.gofundme.com/cause/californiafires.
-T
he Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting animals evacuating from the Hill and Woolsey fires. You can donate directly to the organization (https://www.hsvc.org/donate) or purchase items like food and toys through their Amazon Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2LHNG8JV4F1V0. 
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Baby2Baby.org is working to get high-need items to children affected by the ongoing Camp, Hill, and Woolsey fires in California through Target. Help them supply diapers, wipes, blankets, and other basic baby essentials to families in need by purchasing from their registry.
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Rotary Clubs of Sonoma Valley, CA are collecting donations of gift cards to Target, Safeway, Raley’s, Walmart, Kohl’s, Rite Aid, and CVS. Gas cards and checks are welcome as well. Please call 415-860-3052 with questions. You can find the addresses to send the cards to here: http://sonomasun.com/2018/11/10/sv-rotary-mounts-effort-to-help-paradise-fire-victims/.
-NAACP of Ventura County in Oxnard, CA (https://www.naacp-venturaco.com) is always accepting donations to their organization. You can find their toolkit, "In the Eye of the Storm: A People's Guide to Transforming Crisis and Advancing Equity in the Disaster Continuum", here: https://www.naacp.org/latest/naacp-releases-toolkit-eye-storm-peoples-guide-transforming-crisis-advancing-equity-disaster-continuum/. The “eye” refers to how some communities, due to pre-existing vulnerabilities, find themselves more in the crosshairs than others. And it also refers to the need for watchful vigilance as we document and take action on inequities.  This 190-page manual prepares frontline communities to be first responders in disasters as well as to serve as monitors for equity in disaster response, and to advance an equitable disaster policy platform.  
-The North Valley Community Foundation is activating the Northern California Fire Relief Fund to raise money to support the operations of organizations that are sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire.
-The Butte County Schools Fire Relief Fund is located here:
 https://www.nvcf.org/fund/butte-county-schools-fire-relief-fund/ and provides a one-stop location where individuals or organizations can provide support directly to schools in Butte County. Donors can either specify a specific district or use (textbooks, clothes, etc.) for the funds or make an open donation.
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Ventura County Community Foundation (https://vccf.org) is raising funds and offering support to both victims of the Thousand Oaks nightclub shooting and those that have had to flee their homes in Ventura County due to wildfires. 
-Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control helps house and care for animals across LA County:
https://lacountyanimals.org/way-to-give/disaster-relief/?fbclid=IwAR01eYyMEC8DxHJANru-qR2jMFBRMfmABc8dhKCyBOBSsWT18qnSv0D92pE
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Shelter Hope in Sacramento is a non-profit that was taking in pets that other shelters couldn’t. You can see their needs here: http://www.shelterhopepetshop.org/donate.php
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Do you have property in CA that you can offer to someone in need? Airbnb would like to help. Check out their site for more information here
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Caring Choices is helping put volunteer boots on the ground in CA. You can help them do that by making a financial contribution here: http://www.caring-choices.org/wild-fire-donations.html

    If a financial gift isn't your thing consider that your time can be just as valuable a donation. Here is one way you can work within your own neighborhood in VT to make sure you and your neighbors are disaster ready:
-Acting on a local level, the County of Los Angeles has created a Neighborhood and Community Preparedness Program with some great exercises and resources to help you prepare your neighborhood in case a disaster strikes. Check out the PDF here:
http://www.lacountydhv.com/surgeunit/5-Steps-to-Neighborhood-Preparedness.pdf.

 

Thank you for your donation in advance. Your generosity is so appreciated. 

Thank you, too, to our Veterans. We appreciate your service and sacrifice hold a special place in our hearts this weekend for those that gave all. 

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Weekly Update 11.4.18

“Love. That’s why I did it. Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you. If my actions mean anything, love means everything.”
Ari Mahler, R.N.
Ari Mahler is the Trauma Nurse in the ER who treated the individual that took 11 lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. This quote is taken from a public Facebook post titled:
I Am The Jewish Nurse

 

     Election Day is almost here, Vermonters, and we here at WeCAN are excited to get to the polls and make our voices heard and we hope you are, too. In preparation we've put together a collection of websites that can help you find your polling place, help you get to know those running on your ballot, and help you ROCK YOUR VOTE like our country depends on it (because it does!). 

-Use Ballotpedia (Ballotpedia.org/) or our State of VT website (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/elections/candidates.aspx) to get an idea of exactly who is running at our state and local level this midterm. VtDigger and Vermont Public Radio also have in-depth candidate interviews available on their websites. 
-You can find your polling place here: https://www.sec.state.vt.us/elections/voters.aspx
-Were you unfairly unable to vote? Did you witness an illegal act at the polls? Are you disabled but weren't afforded the ability to vote? Report your situation to 866 Our Vote's Election Protection Hotline: (866) 687-8683 (in English) or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español), The U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline: (800) 253-3931 (TTY line (877) 267-8971), and/or to Disability Rights Vermont (800) 834-7890. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will also be answering your calls on Election Day: ACLU staff will take calls at (804) 644-8080 from 6am to 8pm on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. 
- Check your voter status on the State of VT's website: https://mvp.sec.state.vt.us. If you are not registered yet you can register UP TO AND ON ELECTION DAY in our Brave Little State. Those convicted of felonies and those currently incarcerated or on probation can vote, too....so there's no excuse! GO VOTE! 
- Use this site: https://vtelectionresults.sec.state.vt.us/Index.html#/state to get official election results from around the state on Tuesday night. 

     One final thought, friends: don't go to the polls alone. Make a plan to take a loved one, family member, friend, or colleague with you--and, if you're comfortable, ask around through social media to see if anyone in your community could use a lift to your polling place. The effort we put in on Tuesday could be the deciding factor in the climate of our town, state, and nation for the next two years. Let's do everything we possibly can to create a climate of love, inclusion, tolerance, and justice. Happy Voting! 

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Weekly Update 10.28.18

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
Coretta Scott King, American author, activist, and civil rights leader 

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”
Rollo May, American humanistic psychologist 

     These past few days (weeks, months, years) have been tiring and taxing for us all. The best way to combat the darkness, as you know, is with light, so let's share our light with each other in the hopes of coping and connecting. Please join your community for an impromptu gathering this evening in Brattleboro. 
Light for Dark Times
Sunday, October 28th, 2018 at the Pocket Park near Malfunction Junction [Main Street near the Brattleboro Co-Op (2 Main Street] in Brattleboro, VT . 6:30pm-7:30pm. Bring candles and your voice. 

Now is the dark time & the cold time too;
Gather round, circle of friends.
The comfort of your singing will see us through;
Until the dark time ends.

[Chorus]
Until the dark time ends ,
Until the dark time ends.
We need the comfort of sing-ing voices,
Until the dark time ends.

We give each other company;
Gather round, circle of friends.
Singing in sweet harmony;
Until the dark time ends.

In a cage of bone we keep our wings;
Gather round, circle of friends.
If we would fly, then we all must sing;
Until the dark time ends[Chorus]

Composed by Alouette Iselin

 

We hope to see you there. 

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Weekly Update 10.22.18

"I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it."
Dame Edith Sitwell, poet

     If you're anything like this Editor, WeCAN Friends, two years of patience has begun to wear our nerves thin and it is time for some big ol' positive CHANGE. Am I right??!
     In the few weeks we have left leading up to the Midterm Elections we will be sharing information on Vermont's voting system, where polling locations are, and how to make sure you're registered and ready to rock your vote.
Vermont has one of the most progressive and accessible voting systems in the country which includes Same Day Voter Registration. Did you know, though, that you can not only vote early at your local Town Clerk's Office, but that those with disabilities can vote from home? It's true! Vermont’s election laws are designed to make it easy for all eligible Vermonters to vote and to register to vote. One of the specific purposes of the Vermont Election Laws is “to provide equal opportunity for all citizens of voting age to participate in political processes” 17 V.S.A. §2101.*

Your voting rights as a person with a disability:
-The right to vote (if you are otherwise qualified)
-The right to access your polling place
-The right to receive reasonable accommodations for your disability

If you (yes, YOU!) need accommodations to assist you with voting, you may:
-Contact your Town Clerk to request accommodations
-Bring a person of your choice into the voting booth with you for assistance (not your employer or union representative)
-Ask an election official for assistance with marking your ballot
-Ask an election official to bring a ballot to your car
-Bring a magnifying glass or other devices to help you use the ballot
-Bring a list of candidates into the voting booth to help you
-Ask for another ballot (maximum of 3) if you make a mistake
-Use the Omniballot tablet accessible voting system at the polls 

If you experience difficulties at the polls in VT, please contact: 

Disability Rights Vermont
141 Main Street, Suite 7, Montpelier, VT 05602
1-800-834-7890 or 1-802-229-1355
www.DisabilityRightsVT.org

Vermont Secretary of State, Elections Division
128 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
1-800-439-8683
www.sec.state.vt.us/elections.aspx

Vermont Center for Independent Living
1-800-639-1522
www.vcil.org

Green Mountain Self Advocates
1-800-564-9990
www.gmsavt.org

 

Bring a friend (or 3!) and we'll see you at the Polls, Windham County! Happy Voting! 
 

*https://www.sec.state.vt.us/elections/voters/accessibility.aspx#Vote-By-Phone

 

 

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