“We all remember the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill in United States history. What is less well known is that B.P is claiming a $9.9 billion dollar tax deduction on the money they had to spend cleaning up their own mess and paying for damages they caused. That is absurd."
This week finances might still be on your brain with Tax Day looming (on (April 18th) and the chants of Tax Day Marches ringing merrily in your ears, but we'd like to take this opportunity to encourage you to make plans to attend Earth Day celebrations, March for Science events, and Climate Change rallies happening during the next two weekends. While all the work we all do for social justice causes is vital to our society, none of it will matter if we don't have an Earth that is habitable, water that is potable, and air that is breathable. After all, there is no Planet B.
Here are 5 easy actions you can take this (and every) week to show Mother Earth that you care:
1.) Ditch That Plastic
Gravitate towards glass, wood, and metal made materials. Use mason jars or glassware to store food and phase out your Ziploc disposable plastic containers and gallon sized bags. Ditch the plastic wrap for an eco-conscious beeswax wrap (available locally at the Brattleboro Food Coop). Look for recycling symbols BEFORE you purchase new plastic to make sure you can recycle it and always aim to reuse before you recycle.
2.) Let the Breeze Dry Your Clothes
Give your dryer a break during the Summer months and string up a line outside. If you line dry your clothes just HALF OF THE TIME you can save over $60 in a year. You'll burn 450 pounds less coal and save 1150 pounds of CO2 emissions…the work of 23 Trees!*
3.) Eat Local
Take advantage of our local New England bounty and resist buying exotic fruits and veg from far off lands like Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador. Instead, stick to what is local (100 mile radius or less) and in season. Not only will you save some pennies, but you'll also help save the environment from excessive transportation emissions, help to limit food waste that incurs with excessive transporting, and support local farmers financially so that they might be able to grow a greater variety of crops-which is, in turn, excellent for the soil.
4.) Make Your Own Household Cleaner
We shouldn't have to load up our homes (and septic systems or sewers) with harsh chemicals just to get our Spring Clean on! Instead of reaching for the name brand cleaner this week, reach into your cupboard and make your own. Not only will you save your lungs and nose from chemical exposure, you'll also help to lesson the chemical load that is dumped into our soil, waterways, and farmland...a chemical load that has led to endocrine, lung, lymph, and digestive ailments nationwide.
Simple Kitchen Cleaner Recipe:
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
3 drops tea tree oil
3 drops essential oil, your choice
Make It Like So: Put all ingredients into a 16 oz bottle with a spray nozzle and shake to mix. Spray liberally on dirty surfaces and wipe clean. Keeps for about a month.
5.) Reuse Before You Recycle
While recycling is wonderful and is preferable to trashing an item, reusing the item before you recycle it is even better. Can you reuse those water bottles and plastic take out containers as seed planters before you recycle them? Can you use the cardboard from cereal boxes to make signs for your next protest before they hit the recycling bin? Can you take those chipped glasses and cups and use them as vases for your Summer flowers? Can you cut up your excess computer printouts into scrap paper sizes to be used once again before you recycle them? Yes, WeCAN!
I bet you can think of so many more ideas of how to cut your waste and up your recycling...feel free to email us at [email protected] with suggestions! We look forward to hearing from you!
Monday, April 17th, 2017 through Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Monday, April 17th, 2017 at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). First Floor. 5:30pm-8:30pm
Youth4Change is a project of The Root Social Justice Center and is open to all youth who want to work toward racial, economic, immigrant, indigenous, gender, queer, and environmental justice. This meeting will be an art-build and strategy session for the upcoming Saturday, April 29th Climate Marches and Monday, May 1st School Walkouts and Immigrant Justice Rallies.
5:30pm: Art Build
7:00pm: Strategy Meeting
Contact [email protected] for more information.Read more
“I had many moments of disappointment, despondency, and exhaustion, but I always found that by reading the literature and showing up at my lab, looking at the data (sets) as they emerged day by day and discussing them with my students and postdoctoral fellows, I would gain a notion of what to do next.”
Eric Richard Kandel
(an Austrian-American neuroscientist and a University Professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University)
Friends, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge that this week has been particularly trying for all of us. Our hearts and minds are with those in Syria and Sweden who are suffering and our intentions and concerns lie with those who have lost so much and are in pain.
In these times it is often easy to turn to disappointment and despondency, and to truly feel the exhaustion that has been creeping up in many of us since the start of the year. It can be quite difficult to see what the next steps may be and easy to start doubting yourself and your (incredibly amazing) abilities.
This week, if you can, may we suggest that you make an extra effort to "show up" to an event, a meeting, or even to a dinner date with like-minded friends. In Dr. Eric Kandel's words, look at the facts and discuss them with your peers. Through conversation and critical thinking ("showing up") it is often easier to determine what next steps to take. Talking openly about our disappointments and fears with those we trust can relieve stress, too, which can lead to better sleep, lower blood pressure, and a better sense of well being.
And the better we feel, the more change we can facilitate:)
(For more tips to manage stress, check out this list by the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx)
Happening TODAY, Sunday, April 9th, 2017
Song & Solidarity Weekly Meeting
Sunday, April 9th, 2017 at the Atrium in Holton Hall at The Winston Prouty School (20 Austine Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301).
4th floor. 3pm.
More information can be found on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/songnsolidarity/. There, you can sign up for regular e-mails. If you have questions not answered there, send us an e-mail at [email protected]. Thank you and we hope to see you soon!
Weekly Update April 10th, 2017-April 16th, 2017
Vermont Workers' Center Organizing Committee
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 1st Floor. 6pm-8pm.
Doors open at 5:45pm.
Building a movement for workers' rights and healthcare justice in Vermont. More info: [email protected] or 802-257-4436.
Happy April fellow WeCANners! We hope you are recovering from the snow and looking forward to the warmer weather ahead this week.
This week's quote from Albert Einstein is a meditation that urges us to find simplicity in the intricate and harmony in discourse -- for in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
As many of us are beginning to Spring Clean, plan our gardens, and prepare our living spaces for Summer consider the following: are there opportunities within these cumbersome tasks where I can help my neighbor who has been affected by our current administration's policies?
-Are there extra clothes cluttering my closet that could perhaps help a new refugee be prepared for work?
-With the discourse of a busy work week making meals difficult, can I choose a female or immigrant owned restaurant to frequent when I need to eat out?
-When planning my garden, can I allocate a plot to grow vegetables that can be donated to local senior citizen meal programs?
Meditate, ruminate, and consider how Einstein's words can fit into your life. Then, send us an email ([email protected]) with how you implemented this quote into your daily life; your inspiring actions could be featured in an upcoming WeCAN Weekly Update. We look forward to hearing from you!
TODAY: Sunday, April 2nd, 2017
Non Violent Direct Action (NVDA) Training Classes
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 in the Brattleboro Food Co-op Community Room (2 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT ,05301). Enter on Canal Street. 9:30am-6:30pm. Prior registration is required. Contact Tim at [email protected] or 802.869.2141.
Trainers: Nelia Sargant, Eric Bachman, and Dorie Wilsnack.
While doing civil disobedience may not be something you are considering at present, NVDA training is nevertheless always a good thing to have done in case that day arrives when you might consider such an act (this is especially true in the Age of Trumpism).
Very few spots still available.
Local Love Brigade Postcard Making
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301).
Be Part of the Local Love Brigade. Drop by BMAC and make postcards to send out in an avalanche of love to support victims of hate. You will be part of a movement that has begun to illuminate the power of fierce love. There will be refreshments and plenty of materials to make a card. All are welcome.
Facebook Event is here.
To find out more and see the heartfelt messages of support that local folks are sending out into the world, join the Local Love Brigade - Vermont Facebook Group.
Before you dive into this week's Windham County events (of which there are many!), we just wanted to take a moment to profoundly thank the 300+ people that attended the WeCAN Spring Into Action Fair last Sunday. You filled not only the parking lot and the auditorium to the brim with your voices, open minds, and compassion, but you also filled your neighbors' hearts with hope.
One comment we heard frequently was "I haven't seen this many smiling faces in quite some time and it's giving me hope that we can get through this!". That, my friends, is all because of YOU.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your attendance and for your ongoing commitment to justice. As always, we look forward to seeing your smiling faces at an upcoming event.
Happening TODAY, Sunday March 26th, 2017
Song and Solidarity
Sunday, March 26th, 2017 in the Atrium at Winston Prouty (formerly the Austine School) (209 Austine Dr, Brattleboro, VT, 05301).
4th Floor, 3pm.
WHAT IS SONG & SOLIDARITY?
We’ve got a marathon ahead of us, not a sprint. Song & Solidarity is about sustaining ourselves for that marathon, about keeping our spirits up so we can push harder. So we sing, as have so many who have come before us. There is a simple reason why song has always played a role in the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice: it works.
It’s simple: Song & Solidarity is about building morale and community through song, and then connecting with opportunities to take action. We’ll gather regularly to sing songs of hope and freedom and we’ll generally have a speaker give short presentations on their work and activism, with an emphasis on providing direct, concrete and accessible actions that we can take during the week. We’ll close with a few more songs. That’s it. Simple as pie.
This isn’t a campaign, so there’s no obligations, no expectations. Come when you can, come when you need, we’ll be there. This isn’t a group for “music people,” either: none of us are professional singers. But somehow it doesn’t matter when you put enough voices together. It always comes out beautifully. Nor is this an activist group, per se: we’re not looking to reinvent the wheel. Song & Solidarity is about helping people connect with what’s already out there. It’s about giving people--and ourselves--the support we need to stand up for what we believe in.
Weekly Update March 27th-April 2nd, 2017
Mother Up! Monthly Meet-Up
Monday March 27th, 2017 at KidsPLAYce (20 Elliot Street., Brattleboro, VT, 05301).
Join in building solidarity amongst parents by taking action to protect the health and safety of our collective future. We'll be talking about "how to stay outraged without losing your mind." We'll also explore ways we can participate in local, state, and national climate legislation and action. A simple vegetarian meal and childcare for ages 8 and under will be provided. RSVP helpful, but not required. Contact Abby Mnookin for more info at [email protected].
Rally to Free Farmworkers' Rights Leaders Enrique Balcazar and Zully Palacios and farmworker Alex
sponsored by Justicia Migrante/Migrant Justice
Monday, March 27th, 2017 at the JFK Federal Building, Boston (15 Sudbury St, Boston, MA 02203). 11:30am-2:30pm.
Carpools from Brattleboro & Western MA: contact [email protected] or 802-257-4436.
This will be the first of several Migrant Justice Actions Kicking of National Farmworker Awareness Week!
Call to action by Migrant Justice-Vermont and Endorsed by Movimiento Cosecha, Real Food Challenge, Vermont Workers' Center, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice! United We Dream, T'ruah, Vermont Interfaith Action, Peace & Justice Center, immigrant service providers Somerville, MA, The FANG Collective, @Women's March on Montpelier: Next Steps, @ACLU of Massachusetts, The Answer Coalition, Boston, Franklin Alliance for Rural Ministries (FARM-VT), March Forward Massachusetts, Food Solutions New England, NOFA/Mass, Unitarian Universalist Mass Action, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, and NASW-VT.
We will stand together to call on ICE to stop tearing apart our families and stop targetting farmworker's rights leaders ahead of an important bond hearing for 3 Vermont workers at 1pm for Enrique, Zully, and Alex!!!
We may--if all goes well--have a group that spends the night to pick up Enrique, Zully and Alex the next day!!!
More information on their cases: www.migrantjustice.net
For a ride from Burlington, VT or (south on 89 we can do some pick ups) sign up here:
Jose Enrique “Kike” Balcazar Sanchez, 24, and Zully Palacios Rodriguez, 23, were surrounded by four undercover ICE vehicles soon after leaving the Migrant Justice office in Burlingto, VT on Friday March 17 after being followed from a Migrant Justice organizing meeting. Migrant Justice organizers arrived on the site of the arrest in time to see the two being loaded into separate vans and driven away. The detention came two days after agents arrested dairy worker Cesar Alexis Carrillo Sanchez, 23, outside the Chittenden County courthouse Wednesday morning. At the time, Mr. Carrillo, known as Alex, was accompanied by his wife, Lymarie Deida, a U.S. citizen. The two have a four-year-old daughter together.