Weekly Email Update 9.21.20

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
from a 2015 luncheon at Harvard

   With the passing of Justice Ginsburg this weekend and the danger to our Democracy becoming more and more apparent, there is no time like the present to get involved with our local Justice groups here in Windham County. If you are able, share this email or parts of it on your social media pages and do your best to awaken the desire for action in your circle of friends and family. Urge them to work on local campaigns and amplify minority voices, no matter where they live. Discuss voting plans with your circle, paying special attention to making sure they know when their absentee ballots need to be secured and returned by (www.iwillvote.com, www.vote.org, and the National Conference of State Legislators website can help you do that). Vote early and urge others to do so as well. 
     In the coming weeks, we are aiming to put together an Activist Resource Guide for Windham County in the hopes of making activism in our area accessible to as many people as possible. Please let us know if you would like to participate or have ideas for items you would like to see included by emailing us at admin@wecantogether.net. Thank you. 



Share the Harvest Stand
brought to you by Edible Brattleboro
Sunday, September 20th, 2020, and every Sunday during the Summer, at the corner of Elm Street and Frost Street in Brattleboro, VT, 05301. 11am-1pm. For more information please email EdibleBrattleboro@gmail.com. Please wear a mask. 
Pick up FREE fresh veggies and/or drop off surplus from your garden to share. Please supply your own bags.  



Close the Camps Vigil
Sunday, September 20, 2020, at Pliny Park (Corner of High Street and Canal Street,Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 1pm.
Masks required and social distance measures are in place. Please contact Nancy Braus nancykbraus@gmail.com with any questions or thoughts about this campaign.
One year after our last "NEVER AGAIN IS NOW" vigil, we find that the Trump administration's endless imprisonment of LEGAL asylum seekers has now taken on an even more monstrous aspect. A doctor at one of ICE’s private prison camps is involuntarily sterilizing women who are held there. This is another crime out of the playbook of the Third Reich. This time the targets are black and brown skinned people, rather than Jews, Roma, and other Nazi victims. We must refuse to accept these escalating horrors, knowing the power of our voices when come together. 
Brattleboro Area Not in Our Name says, “No!”, and, with the national group Families Belong Together, we will be holding a vigil on Sunday, September 20th, 2020 at 1:00pm at Pliny Park in Brattleboro. This is also the last day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Please join us in starting our new and critical year, during the Days of Awe, working and speaking out for justice.   


Our Vision For A Green & Sustainable Future
hosted by the Vermont Democratic Party and David Zuckerman
Sunday, September 20th, 2020, Online. 4pm. Please use this link to access the event: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwpcOyuqT4rGNeIlVyVUrMyG7G1xiS1Wbem.
Please join fellow Democrats for a virtual conversation about our environment and our commitment to addressing the climate crisis and building a sustainable and vibrant future.
This conversation is hosted by Rep. Mary Sullivan, who will be joined by Bruce Olsson, chair of the VDP, Rep. Mike McCarthy and Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, our Democratic Nominee for Governor.
The event will open with a review of the work of the Climate Solutions caucus, the importance of environmental leadership to engaging voters and growing the Blue Wave here in Vermont, and an update on the newly passed VDP environmental platform.
David Zuckerman will share his vision for building a green jobs economy that supports working Vermonters, seniors and our planet and how he will advance this as Governor. There will be time for your ideas and questions, too.
This is a campaign event, and participants will be encouraged to donate to the VDP Coordinated Campaign and/or sign up to volunteer for our GOTV events.




No Polimigra Campaign
Sunday, September 20th, 2020, Online. 5pm to 7pm
Email sfagit@gmail.com for link and info. Email will be checked all the way up to the meeting.
Justicia Migrante / Migrant Justice is waging a statewide campaign to reform police departments' Fair and Impartial Policing Policies to block communication and cooperation between local departments and immigration authorities. Groups are organizing town by town and county by county, with growing success.
A group has formed in Windham County to advance the campaign county-wide and in towns with their own police departments. This meeting will start with an overview for newcomers, updates on ongoing efforts, and then dig into education materials from around the state to put together our own public education pieces and presentations. Join the movement!


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Weekly Email Update 9.14.20

"Now is the time, if ever there was one, for us to care selflessly about one another."
Dr. Anthony Fauci
told to this year's graduating class at the College of the Holy Cross, May 2020

     We hope you are enjoying your weekend, WeCANners. There are a few new entries this week, so please take a couple of moments and scroll through to the bottom of the email to check out all the current and future events that are planned for Windham County. We look forward to seeing you from a safe distance in the near future! 

From the Editor:
On a clerical note, the WeCAN blog that houses past issues of this email (www.wecantogether.net) will be periodically offline in the coming weeks so that we can complete maintenance. If you have specific questions or need access to past issues, please don't hesitate to contact admin@wecantogether.net at any time. Thank you for your patience and understanding. 


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Weekly Email Update 9.7.2020

"(In reference to Covid 19) All of the essential workers I've been listening to in the past six months have said to me that they are holding inside themselves an equal amount of sadness and hope, and it's really hard to hold both. Because of the amount of death and infection that they've had to witness, either at the hands of police or because of the lack of personal protective equipment in their workplaces, there's a lot of grief that people are holding. But there's a lot of hope — because young people are in the streets, demanding change, and working people have either been in the streets or walking off their job, demanding change."
Mary Kay Henry
president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

     Can you believe it’s already Labor Day Weekend, WeCAN Friends? This year seems to have simultaneously flown by and dragged…but here we are, in early September, once again celebrating the workers that keep this country running. We have seen this year, more than ever before, that “essential” workers are, in fact, essential to our daily lives, our health, and our wellness. We appreciate all the work they've done to keep us safe and healthy, despite the pushback they continually receive from all sides, and we stand in solidarity in their fight for PPE, a living wage, and the right to unionize.
     Labor Day is a day meant to celebrate all workers with time off, but, alas, "all" is rarely the case in a capitalistic patriarchy. In a 2019 survey of more than 100 human resources and employee relations professionals, it was revealed that 15% of employers are making their security or public-safety personnel and technical employees report to work on Labor Day. In addition, 13% of the employers surveyed will have professional employees working Labor Day, 11% will have managers or supervisors on the clock, and 10% will have service and maintenance, sales, and customer service personnel report to work. The research found that 80% of businesses with at least 1,000 employees will require at least some of them to work on Labor Day, compared to just 29% of small businesses. The study also found that 56% of non-business organizations, such as hospitals and government agencies, will have some employees working on Labor Day, compared with only 35% of non-manufacturers and 30% of manufacturers.
     In its origins, Labor Day was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland as a means to placate sympathizers who disapproved of his inaction during the Pullman workers' strike and to pacify worker parades and uprisings all over the country. The employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company (who made luxury rail cars) were demanding better wages and time off commiserate with the work they were doing and decided to strike; they were subsequently joined by the members of American Railway Union in 1894 (which disrupted mail, for example, in entire regions of the USA). In total, 125k workers across 29 railroad companies quit their jobs rather than break the Pullman Boycott, which was met with soldiers and violence from the Federal Government. 13 people were killed and 53 seriously wounded during the riots, and the violence between troops and strikers led to $80 million in damages across Chicago. Cleveland’s decision to declare Labor Day as a holiday for workers was likely a move meant to please his constituents after his poor handling of the strike and was less about giving workers what they demanded. 
     Even in the supposed equality of the 21st century, we are starkly reminded that labor laws in this country were written to exclude many essential workers, especially those who were not white males. The National Labor Relations Act (NRLA) of 1935, for instance, explicitly excluded agricultural and domestic workers from creating unions and was a way for southern Congressmen to exclude Black employees from the New Deal in order to preserve a plantation-style agricultural system that still permeated the Jim Crow South. The language was repeated in the Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Social Security Act of 1935. It wasn't until recently that states like CA and governors like Gavin Newsom have had enough gumption to override the NRLA with executive orders and allow family care professionals to unionize after a 17 year legal battle.
     The future, though, is wide open for unions to take back labor rights and bargaining status, experts say. Because unions excluded Black, Brown, Indigenous, and those identifying as Womxn for so long, the strength and bargaining position of unions has been historically weak in proportion to population. Even now, it is estimated that only 10.5% of Americans are union members. When counting people in the private sector only, that number dips to 6.4%. When you compare it to the membership high of 33% in the 1950s, we can see how the only way to improve union strength is to include more of the working population in legislative language, not exclude them. 
     During Covid 19, we have also seen the power of unions in real time: the NBA Players Union striking in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Amazon workers are walking off the job to demand hazard pay, as well as nursing home workers striking in order to win rights to create their union at a time where their work is vital; we are seeing a tired, working America that has had enough of being excluded by those in control and is furiously fighting back in order to be treated with dignity and respect. 
     To learn how to support your local unions in rebuilding America, check out the AFL-CIO Labor Day Live event with Presidential Candidate Vice President Joe Biden on Monday, September 7th, 2020 at 4:15pm. You can find more information and RSVP here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/labordaylive/.

Resources: https://vt.aflcio.org; https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/09/10007185/labor-day-history-unions-2020; https://www.thoughtco.com/the-pullman-strike-of-1894-1773900; https://www.unionplus.org/page/labor-day-history; https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8354-working-labor-day.html


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Weekly Update 01.22.18

“There’s a gap somehow between empathy and activism. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of soul force, something that emanates from a deep truth inside of us and empowers us to act. Once you identify your inner genius you will be able to take action, whether it’s writing a check or digging a well.”
Sue Monk Kidd

     With images from Saturday's gatherings and marches in our news feeds and on our minds, the Admins at WeCAN wanted to acknowledge all the hard work and effort you, fellow WeCANners, have put forward this past year. We saw you last Spring when we gathered to meet and greet after the Inauguration dust had settled. We saw you this past Thursday evening at the WeCAN Cafe sharing your raw stories, your hearts, and your activist minds. We saw you march, gather, and vigil again and again: for Charlottesville, for Women's Empowerment, for the release of migrant workers, to mourn those we have lost, and to bring hope to generations to come. We saw you in the background, too, supporting activists by watching their children, cooking and sharing meals, opening your homes to traveling strangers, and carpooling across state lines. 
     The long and short of it is this: positive change wouldn't happen without you. The meetings and events listed below exist because of you and your activism. Keep it up, friends and neighbors. You are the change we seek and you're doing great. 

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