Weekly Email Update 6.7.21

“Most important, when it comes to representation, is how our identities show up in humanity and community; we can never silo someone into a singular identity. Being trans is just one piece of who I am, and yet having that experience and bringing it into the House is what allowed for such swift passage (of this Bill), really affirming the rights all Vermonters should have.”
Representative Taylor Small (P/D-Winooski)
in reference to Bill H.128, which prevents the use of the legal strategy that says a crime was justified because of someone’s identity or sexual orientation

 
    Happy LGBTQIA2+ Pride month, WeCAN Friends! This month we will be celebrating all things LGBTQIA2+ in Windham County, so please send in any content you wish to share (projects, events, initiatives, resources, etc.) to [email protected] and we will be sure to feature it in an upcoming Weekly Email Update this month. 
    This week we are highlighting some of the fantastic resources that are available to Windham County and Vermont residents. As Covid 19 may have changed some of the details of these resources, please check with the resource directly to ensure their offerings are current and accurate. 

Vermont Diversity Health Project (VDHP) (https://www.pridecentervt.org/programs/health/vdhp/): The Vermont Diversity Health Project (VDHP) exists to improve the health and wellness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Vermonters by building bridges between healthcare providers and LGBTQ people throughout the state.

Planned Parenthood Brattleboro (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/vermont/brattleboro/05301/brattleboro-health-center-2658-91770/lgbtq): Brattleboro Health Center offers the following services specifically for clients who identify as LGBTQ such as education, Hormone Replacement Therapy, resources, services referral, and PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis). All LGBTQIA2+ services are available during all business hours by appointment. 

Out in the Open (https://www.weareoutintheopen.org): Connecting rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge, and power. We envision a resilient community of communities that works toward the transformation of our economic, social, and political relationships. We are building a multi-issue social justice movement of rural LGBTQ people.

AIDS Project of Southern VT (http://www.aidsprojectsouthernvermont.org): The AIDS Project of Southern Vermont is a regional AIDS service organization providing direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS and prevention services to those at most risk in Windham, Bennington, and southern Windsor counties. Founded by volunteers in 1988 as a grassroots, community based group, the AIDS Project fills an important statewide role in making sure that Vermont’s fight against the AIDS epidemic is strong and effective.

VT Dept of Health LGBTQIA2+ Community (https://www.healthvermont.gov/interest-groups/lgbtq-community): We work for every body. Find health and wellness information and resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Vermonters.

Outright Vermont Windham County Resources (http://www.outrightvt.org/mental-health-resource-guide/windham-county/): LGBTQIA2+ friendly health care providers. 


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HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, JUNE 6th, 2021

Weekly Community Conversation with Rep. Emilie Kornheiser
Sunday, June 6th, 2021, Online. 11am.
Please sign up in advance for this meeting and we’ll send you an email with the zoom link. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtce-grD4rGNxo9FEE3R8zKpRSj_qBTz03
Emilie Kornheiser, State Representative for Windham 2-1, invites you to join her weekly community conversations: every Sunday at 11am. We’ll talk about what’s happening in the legislature and in our town. Open conversation format-- come for the full hour or just stop by for a few minutes to share a particular concern or question.

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Weekly Email Update 5.31.21

"Ceremonies are important, but our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well."
Jennifer Mulhern Granholm
Canadian-American politician, lawyer, educator, author, political commentator and member of the Democratic Party who served as the Attorney General of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and as the 47th Governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011

Memorial Day Origins: Decoration Day (Reprinted from WeCAN's Weekly Email Update 5.27.19)
     As we observe Memorial Day this Monday, WeCAN Friends, we'd like to share with you some little known information about the origins of the first celebrated "Memorial Day", then called "Decoration Day", in May of 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina. Several towns and cities across America claim to have observed their own earlier versions of Memorial Day, or “Decoration Day”, as early as 1866, but it wasn’t until a discovery in a Harvard University archive the late 1990s that historians learned about a Memorial Day commemoration organized by a group of formerly enslaved Black people less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.
     Back in 1996, David Blight, a professor of American History at Yale University, was researching a book on the Civil War when he had a once-in-a-career eureka moment. A curator at Harvard’s Haughton Library asked if he wanted to look through two boxes of unsorted material from Union veterans. “There was a file labeled ‘First Decoration Day' and inside on a piece of cardboard was a narrative handwritten by an old veteran, plus a date referencing an article in The New York Tribune. That narrative told the essence of the story that I ended up telling in my book, of this March on the race track in 1865," said Professor Blight. 
     The race track in question was the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club in Charleston, South Carolina. In the late stages of the Civil War, the Confederate army transformed the formerly posh country club into a makeshift prison for Union captives. More than 260 Union soldiers died from disease and exposure while being held in the race track’s open-air infield. Their bodies were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.

The clubhouse at the Charleston racetrack where the 1865 Memorial Day events took place.
The clubhouse at the Charleston racetrack where the 1865 Memorial Day events took place.


     
When Charleston fell and Confederate troops evacuated the badly damaged city, freed formerly enslaved people remained. One of the first things those emancipated men and women did was to give the fallen Union prisoners a proper burial. They exhumed the mass grave and reinterred the bodies in a new cemetery with a tall whitewashed fence inscribed with the words: “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
     Then, on May 1st, 1865, something even more extraordinary happened. According to two reports that Blight found in The New York Tribune and The Charleston Courier, a crowd of 10,000 formerly enslaved people, with some white missionary allies, staged a parade around the race track. Three thousand Black schoolchildren carried bouquets of flowers and sang “John Brown’s Body.” Members of the famed 54th Massachusetts and other Black Union regiments were in attendance and performed double-time marches. Black ministers recited verses from the Bible.
     Blight excitedly called the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture at the College of Charleston, looking for more information on the historic event.
     “‘I’ve never heard of it,’ they told me,” says Blight. “‘This never happened.’”
       It was clear from the newspaper reports, though, that a Memorial Day observance was organized by formerly enslaved people in Charleston at least one year before other U.S. cities recognized the day and three years before the first national observance. How had been lost to history for over a century?
     “This was a story that had really been suppressed both in the local memory and certainly the national memory,” says Blight. “But nobody who had witnessed it could ever have forgotten it.”
      Once the war was over and Charleston was rebuilt in the 1880s, the city’s White residents likely had little interest in remembering an event held by former enslaved people to celebrate the Union's dead and, in time, the old horse track and country club were torn down. Thanks to a gift from a wealthy Northern patron, the Union soldiers' graves were moved from the humble white-fenced graveyard in Charleston to the Beaufort National Cemetery. By the time Blight was rummaging through the Harvard archives in 1996, the story of the first Memorial Day had been entirely forgotten. 
     For Blight, it’s less important whether the 1865 commemoration of the “Martyrs of the Race Course” is officially recognized as the first Memorial Day. “It’s the fact that this occurred in Charleston at a cemetery site for the Union dead in a city where the Civil War had begun,” says Blight, “and that it was organized and done by African-American former slaves is what gives it such poignancy.”*+

*https://www.history.com/news/memorial-day-civil-war-slavery-charleston
+https://justseeds.org/memorial-day-and-social-justice/
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CALL TO ACTION
Contact the Governor TODAY to ask him to sign H.225 into law. We need your voice!
The Vermont legislature passed H.225 to Remove Criminal Penalties for Small Amounts Of Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is the life saving medication for people with Opioid Use Disorder and for many reasons it is not always accessible in to all communities or in all parts of the state. This bill will save lives, but we need your help.
Please call or email the Governor TODAY and let him know that you want him to sign H.225. Let him know we need this life saving bill now.  If you have a personal story of a family member or you being helped by non prescribed buprenorphine, feel free to share that story as well. We need your voice to make sure that this bill becomes law.  https://governor.vermont.gov/contact to write. Or call 802 828 3333 to urge him to sign this harm reduction bill into law. 


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HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, MAY 30th, 2021

Weekly Community Conversation with Rep. Emilie Kornheiser
Sunday, May 30th, 2021, Online. 11am.
Please sign up in advance for this meeting and we’ll send you an email with the zoom link. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtce-grD4rGNxo9FEE3R8zKpRSj_qBTz03
Emilie Kornheiser, State Representative for Windham 2-1, invites you to join her weekly community conversations: every Sunday at 11am. We’ll talk about what’s happening in the legislature and in our town. Open conversation format-- come for the full hour or just stop by for a few minutes to share a particular concern or question.

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Outside Windham County
Voices of Black Women in Vermont

sponsored by: The Rutland Area NAACP, Vermont ACLU, Castleton University See You, See Me
Sunday, May 30th, 2021, Online. 2pm-4pm.
Free and open to all, but pre-registration is required. Register on Zoom: https://vsc.zoom.us/.../tZ0sceigqjMqGt0xDcKqLDQ2AdIG-jxYmuAi
Please join us for a live virtual forum on Sunday, May 30, at 2:00 p.m. The event will feature the lived experiences of Black women in Vermont. Taiwanna Anderson, Celine Davis, and Lisa Ryan will discuss their experiences, moderated by the Rutland Area NAACP's Tina Cook. This conversation will take place live at Castelton University's Casella Theater and be broadcast on Zoom.
See our speaker bios at www.naacprutland.org/voices-women

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Weekly Email Update 5.24.21

“Do note be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth, and compassion against injustice, lying, and greed. If you…will do this, as individuals, you will change the earth. In one generation, all the Napoleons and Hitlers and Caesars and Mussolinis and Stalins, and all the other tyrants who want power and aggrandizement, and all the simple politicians and time-servers who themselves are merely baffled or ignorant or afraid, who have used, or are using, or hope to use, man's fear and greed for man’s enslavement, will have vanished from the face of it.”
William Faulkner b.1897 d.1962
Author, playwright, poet

     We hope you're enjoying the warm weather this weekend, WeCAN Friends, and are taking a few moments to plan your community actions for the upcoming week. First up, we have a call to action by fellow activist and WeCAN contributor, Brenda Siegel. Brenda has been instrumental in advocating for harm reduction in Vermont and has asked our community to help her put pressure on Governor Scott to sign H.225, a bill that decriminalizes possession of therapeutic amounts of Buprenorphine. Please take a few moments to contact the Governor, if you are able. 

A CALL TO ACTION:  Contact the Governor TODAY to ask him to sign H.225 into law. We need your voice!
The Vermont legislature passed H.225 to Remove Criminal Penalties for Small Amounts Of Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is the life saving medication for people with Opioid Use Disorder and for many reasons it is not always accessible in to all communities or in all parts of the state. This bill will save lives, but we need your help.
Please call or email the Governor TODAY and let him know that you want him to sign H.225. Let him know we need this life saving bill now.  If you have a personal story of a family member or you being helped by non prescribed buprenorphine, feel free to share that story as well. We need your voice to make sure that this bill becomes law.  https://governor.vermont.gov/contact to write. Or call 802 828 3333 to urge him to sign this harm reduction bill into law. 

 

*Bickerman, Ian J. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History. London: Reakiton, 2009. Print. 

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Weekly Email Update 5.17.21

"This is not a worker shortage, this is a wage shortage. The restaurant business, inherently and pre-Covid, was a toxic workplace. You had an enormous wage gap between the back of the house and front of the house; rampant alcohol and drug problems; harassment issues; you've got people living in or near poverty working hourly jobs with no guarantees.”
Saru Jayaraman,
director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley and president of One Fair Wage, an advocacy group pushing to raise the subminimum wage for tipped workers.

   There are more than a few new entries in this week's Weekly Email Update, WeCAN readers...so let's get right to it! We hope to see you at an event or meeting soon. 
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HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, MAY 16th, 2021

Weekly Community Conversation with Rep. Emilie Kornheiser
Sunday, May 16th, 2021, Online. 11am.
Please sign up in advance for this meeting and we’ll send you an email with the zoom link. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtce-grD4rGNxo9FEE3R8zKpRSj_qBTz03
Emilie Kornheiser, State Representative for Windham 2-1, invites you to join her weekly community conversations: every Sunday at 11am. We’ll talk about what’s happening in the legislature and in our town. Open conversation format-- come for the full hour or just stop by for a few minutes to share a particular concern or question.

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Watch Party: “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street”
hosted by Windham County Democrats
Sunday, May 16th, 2021, Online. 7:30pm-10pm.
Registration for this event is at https://events.democrats.org/event/386698/?force_banner=true&share_context=event_details&share_medium=copy_link
Join the Windham County Democrats at Building Bridges for America as we explore the urgent issues in our world through watching a documentary and having a great discussion afterwards. Our discussions are lead by a guest and our volunteers. 
May’s viewing is "Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street", a documentary that explores issues of race and equality and how PBS and Sesame Street played a role in the growing discussion and how it continues to open conversations with parents and children today.

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