Weekly Update 12.10.18

“To talk about race and food, we have to change the terms of engagement. We should reward not just the finished product of transformation but the process. My personal experiences, hosting public dinners on race and immigration, over the last year and a half in communities across the country, has taught me that the tensions inherent in these sorts of conversations are reconcilable only through a substantive transformation of the individual and the system. Both have to inform each other, happening in tandem, and also independently.”
Tunde Wey,
writer and host of the Blackness in America Dinner Series


     It seems like Winter is coming on fast, friends, and many of us are in the mood for family, friends, food, and, of course, resisting. While we're cozied up under our blankets and sweaters this December here are a few good (food) books that will keep your spirit hungry for progress and your soul full of fuel. Happy reading...and cooking!  

  • America the Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz: A compendium of 800 home-cooking recipes from across all 50 states of America that covers every region’s specialties and a range of cultural cuisines. America: The Cookbook acknowledges the culinary influences and contributions of both Native Americans and immigrant populations as well. (https://www.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/america-the-cookbook-9780714873961/)
  • A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet by Nicola Temple: A History of the World...explores how processing methods have evolved in many of the foods that we love in response to big business, consumer demand, health concerns, innovation, political will, waste and even war. (https://www.amazon.com/History-World-Seven-Cheap-Things/dp/0520293134)
  • Feed the Resistance: Recipes and Ideas for Getting Involved by Julia Turshen: Recipes are mindful of affordability, time, and dietary requirements, ranging from “easy meals for folks who are too busy resisting to cook” to “feeding the masses”. All proceeds from the book will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union. (https://www.amazon.com/Feed-Resistance-Recipes-Getting-Involved/dp/1452168385)
  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty: Culinary historian and author of the blog Afroculinaria, Michael W. Twitty, explores the history of African-American cooking and and how it has shaped the Southern American culinary tradition. (https://thecookinggene.com/)
  • The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action edited by Alison Alkon and Julie Guthman: The New Food Activism explores how food activism can be pushed toward deeper and more complex engagement with social, racial, and economic justice and toward advocating for broader and more transformational shifts in the food system. (https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520292147)
  • Cooking Up Trouble by Leela Cyd and Anne Parker: (from the author) We can’t do everything to fix this alternate political reality we’re living, but we can contribute in the best way we know how and give 100% of all proceeds from this book to Planned Parenthood, a place that has nurtured and protected us and so many of our friends throughout our lives. (https://cookinguptrouble.org/buy-the-book/3m6hdos50zhvun10p8fmtnv3ighovk)
  • The Food Activist Handbook by Ali Berlow:Small steps can create big changes in your community’s food quality and food security, helping to get more healthy food to more people and support a better food system. Ali Berlow shows you dozens of things that anyone can do, from creating a neighborhood kitchen for preserving fresh food to mapping farmland. (http://www.aliberlow.com/the-food-activist-handbook/)


Would you like to add your favorite book to this list? Send us your reading suggestions at admin@wecantogether.net and we'll include them in an upcoming Weekly Email Update!

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Weekly Update 12.03.18

"Information helps you to see that you're not alone."
Maya Angelou

     In recent weeks we've been asked to touch on these two queries: "Aside from the Weekly Email Update where do I find real time information about local events and campaigns?" and "Where can I find ideas on how to give or seek solidarity right now?"

     These are fantastic questions! Here are a few resources we use regularly to help stay up-to-the-minute informed about marches and vigils planned with short notice:
WeCAN Facebook Group: Open to Facebook members, this group is an extension of this email blast and is moderated and administered by local group and community leaders. Here you can find event postings in real time with the option to create your own events listings as well. 
The Rapid Response Text System by Song and Solidarity
: This system, run by the local group Song and Solidarity, texts members to alert of locally occurring protests, marches, postcard campaigns, and more. Directions for signing up are on WeCAN's website, here: https://www.wecantogether.net/rapid_response.
Brattleboro.com Event Calendar:  A comprehensive list of goings-on in Brattleboro that is updated daily.
The Root Social Justice Center's Calendar: This extensive calendar is updated regularly; their Facebook page and website reflect real time announcements of marches and gatherings happening locally. 
The Putney Huddle's public Facebook page 
is updated regularly and often reflects real time march and vigil information.

For those that would like to give or seek solidarity right now, in this moment, we offer these two resources:
To give solidarity: The Local Love Brigade: The mission of this group is to band together when there is an incident of hate and respond with giant helpings of love in the form of mailed postcards and notes. Through the reliably updated spreadsheets, you can dive deeper into the stories of people needing a bit of love and garner a larger understanding of social injustices happening at your local and national level. 
For those that are seeking solidarity: we encourage you to plan an event of your own with the backing of a local group. This website, https://www.mapsonline.net/brattleborovt/forms/standalone.html.php?id=854136589, is the town of Brattleboro's Parade and Open Air Meeting Permit Application platform and an excellent place to start. 

     We hope that by sharing these resources we can all be better prepared to show up when necessary, make our voices heard, and help our neighbors cope. To suggest other resources, please email admin@wecantogether.net and let us know how you keep up-to-the-minute informed.

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Weekly Update 12.24.18

“Instead of waiting until the holiday season - when mail solicitations flood in from worthy organizations - and making a flurry of gifts because this is the time of year to give, sit down and take stock. Identify your passion, learn about it, and direct your time, mind, and dollars to aligned causes and organizations.”
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen,
American philanthropist and author


     We'd like to wish you, our WeCAN Brothers, Sisters, and Friends, a very Happy and Joyous Christmas and Kwanzaa and a peaceful end to a very difficult year. 
     Please remember to send in your January and February events to admin@wecantogether.net as soon as they are confirmed and we can't wait to see you at a meeting or event in the coming weeks.

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Weekly Update 12.31.18

"Ring out the false, ring in the true."
Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Happy New Year, weCAN Friends! To acknowledge 2019's arrival we've put together 6 New Year Resolution ideas to help you enact social change in the coming year. Take on one of these concepts and apply it to your life for the entirety of 2019. Read on...

6 New Year Resolutions You Can Make to Enact Social Change*

1. Assume Responsibility for Your Participation
As global citizens, we participate in our immediate and broader communities — whether we mean to or not. Do you know who is making decisions on your behalf at the global and national levels? How about local levels? Do you like those decisions? As peace activist Paul Chappell says, “A democracy is as wise as its citizens.” Start by educating yourself about — and introducing yourself to — your local representatives. Next, consider running for office or closely supporting someone who is (and consider supporting a woman or a minority, if possible!). Understand that every contribution you make, every door you knock on, and every text you send from a text bank event has a direct impact and that you have some control over that impact because you participated. 

2. Live Responsibly
Global citizens know that our lives affect others and that others’ lives affect ours. The local environment is made by us and, indeed, makes us. Do you know where your water comes from? What happens to your waste? Are you nourished by what you eat, and does the way in which it was grown nourish the environment? Is your meat sustainable? How far do your vegetables travel to get to you?
If you don’t already shop for produce at local farmers markets, consider using community supported agriculture (CSA) opportunities to empower small farmers. Signing up to support them with year-round funding — or a light volunteer commitment — in exchange for a weekly box of produce can be the difference between success and failure for them and you can help tip the odds in their favor. Eat seasonally, using cookbooks or websites that match seasonal markets. Consider buying clothes and housewares at a local thrift shop and repurposing old items for new uses in the New Year, too. Strive to create responsible shopping in your life, as well as responsible gifting by buying less "new" and more "loved". 

3. Become What You Consume
If actions speak louder than words, how loud is money? Being an informed consumer can take many shapes. Visit Behind the Brands to find out who actually owns the brands you consume and how they rank on social justice issues — from women’s and workers’ rights to the protection of the environment and transparency. Let’s look at the other end of consumption: trashing compostable material should be — and in some countries is — a crime. Many areas, like Brattleboro, are banning plastic bags in grocery stores. But, what about using clean, drinkable water to flush our toilets? There is a better way.

4. Question What You Think You Know
…and then question it again. 
Who is the authoring your news? Consider checking into alternative sources like Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, Unicorn Riot, and Human Rights Watch. Even reading news coverage of the same event from different parts of the globe can be illuminating. 
Equally important: who is writing your history account? Hindsight isn’t always 20/20. Ask yourself: “Whose voice isn’t being heard?” It can be difficult but necessary to hear the other perspective of a scenario. Start with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and continue by following the work of activists like Rebecca Solnit, Eva Golinger, Nicholas Kristof, and countless more. Get inspired and dig in, especially in these cold months while parked in front of the fire place on the couch with a cup of tea. 

5. Take Smart Action
Certainly everyone is equipped to contribute differently — whether through time, money, presence, expertise, or ideas. Most importantly, ask “how is my contribution best utilized?”. Then, find the network that resonates with you - like the countless international organizations such as Amnesty International or Oxfam. Alternately, scour your neighborhood for local, grassroots organizations working on issues you care about, like an action network (you did that when you found WeCAN!) or the local chapter of an organization you care about. Can you cook? Find an organization, like Southern VT Sister District, that includes cooking in their community work. Do you sew? Offer to mend garments for Groundworks Collaborative and their shelter system. Are you great with animals? Connect with a local activist or representative and offer to care for their pet while they out doing what they do best. ALL your talents are valued and needed; if you would like help connecting to a local organization, please email admin@wecantogether.net and we will help you find a place to share your talents. 

6. Accept Complexity
These problems didn’t appear overnight and the solutions require faith, ingenuity, and perseverance. As German poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote in a correspondence with a young, doubtful poet: “Try to love the questions themselves…perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Take larger resolutions or goals and create smaller, attainable action steps to achieve success in those resolutions or goals. Above all, remember: your friends in Windham County are behind you every step of the way and if you need help or assistance you need only ask. 



Happy New Year and may 2019 bring about real, positive, systemic change for all of us. 

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