Weekly E-mail Update 3-26-17
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com 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.
Vermont Workers' Center Organizing Committee
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 at the Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). Doors open at 5:45pm. Event runs from 6pm-8pm.
Building a movement for workers' rights and healthcare justice in Vermont. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-257-4436.
Climate Change Café: A Community of Concerned Citizens
A Project of Post Oil Solutions
Tuesday March 28th, 2017 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main St, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6pm. FREE. Light Refreshments Available
“We the People 2.0”
This excellent film is a visual essay about the loss of democracy in the United States, and how people are taking it back. American citizens have been marginalized, forgotten and left to fend for themselves against large corporations who for decades have engaged in toxic dumping, mining, drilling, and now fracking in their communities. This is because, by law, the people are truly powerless.
But, many have turned this around by successfully challenging the oligarchy that has destroyed their democracy, saving nature and themselves in so doing. This film describes a profound change in thinking at the grassroots level where people are building a movement, not just in this country, but around the world. It shows how and where it all began.
For more information please contact 802.869.2141 or email email@example.com.
Playback Justice Theatre Workshop
Thursday, March 30th, 2017 at the Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:30pm-8:30pm. First floor.
Playback is a collection of short improv forms that use sound and movement to reveal events and track the emotional arc of a story. Usually performed by people in organizing and the helping professions, Playback is used worldwide in social justice contexts, from anti-bullying work to recent-immigrant communities to service workers to prisons. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protest Vigils at TD Bank
Sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Friday, March 31st, 2017 (and every Friday) in front of TD Bank Brattleboro (215 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301). Noon-1pm. Signs will be provided.
Friday, March 31st (and every Friday) in front of the TD Bank Bellows Falls (2 Church St, Bellows Falls, VT 05101). 1pm-2pm. Please bring your own signs.
TD is a major investor in Tar Sands. TD helps to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. The State of Vermont Keeps Most of Our Cash in TD.
What You Can You Do (besides attending the vigils):
· If you’re a TD depositor, change banks!
· If you’re a Vermonter, demand that state funds not be deposited with a bank investing in fossil fuels.
Contact your state legislators to support the bills in the House & Senate calling for a commission to explore the possibility of a State Bank.
Founded in 2005, Post Oil Solutions is a 501c3 community organizing project in Southeastern Vermont whose mission is to help empower the people of the Central Connecticut River Valley bioregion to develop sustainable, resilient , collaborative, and socially just communities leading to a self- and community-sufficient post petroleum society. For more information please contact email@example.com or call 802.869.2141.
Let Justice Roll Down - Southeastern Vermont
March 31st, 2017 at the Guilford Community Church (38 Church Drive, Guilford, VT, 05301). 7:30pm.
Suggested donation $20 adult; $5 under 18.
This singalong concert will focus on racial justice issues. We will join together in songs that emphasize the struggles for equal rights and dignity and safety for people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and national origin.
Benefit for Black Lives Matter VT and The Root Social Justice Center.
Lea Gilmore - racial justice activist, outstanding blues/gospel/jazz singer from Baltimore, MD: www.leagilmore.com
Annie Patterson & Peter Blood - creators of the songbooks Rise Up Singing and Rise Again.
The Guilford Church Choir and House Band
Copies of the songbook Rise Again will be available to buy or borrow at the concert.
For advance tickets and information, please visit www.riseupandsing.org/events or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
sponsored by the Vermont Workers' Center
April 1st-2nd, 2017. April 1 will take place at Marlboro Grad Center (28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) and April 2 will take place at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 9am-5pm.
Cost is on sliding scale, from $30-$100. Scholarships are available and no one will be turned away because of lack of funds. Support is available for child care, transportation, or other accessibility needs.
Please register HERE by March 18th, 2017. Registration is crucial. It helps the leaders in planning the event and is also the place where you can indicate any needs you have such as childcare, transportation, or interpretation.
Solidarity School is a two-day popular education program where you can pull back from the day-to-day demands of organizing to reflect, dig deep, and learn together. The purpose is to provide a baseline common framework, analysis, and skill set for building our movement. The program is designed for members of the Workers' Center, union members, and members of partner organizations, but has application in a wide range of grassroots and community organizing.
At Solidarity School we:
--Examine the root causes of the problems our communities face
--Develop a strategic analysis around organizing, building power, and a broader movement
--Learn about using a human rights framework
--Discuss broader issues which present challenges and obstacles to solidarity
--Practice concrete organizing skills and campaign development
--Share experiences, resources and build relationships with a wide spectrum of people, fostering an atmosphere of solidarity
To ask questions or for more information, please contact Ellen Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-257-4436.
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@example.com 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 St, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 11am.
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.
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.
Youth 4 Change
Monday, April 3rd, 2017 at the Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:30pm-8:30pm. First Floor. 5:30pm doors open, 6:30pm food is available, 7:00pm meeting/activity begins.
Youth 4 Change is a project of The Root Social Justice Center, where youth build their commitment to justice into effective and creative activism. Art and education join strategy to offer leadership training and action. The youth are currently taking stock of the various local and state campaigns around racial justice, and what actions are being taken or needed. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 at Vermont Superior Court (30 Putney Rd, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 8:30am.
The three of us who were arrested for our direct action at TD Bank on 22 February—Li, Daniel, & Tim—and charged with disorderly conduct, welcome anyone who has the time and interest, to join us in solidarity and support! We’ll be pleading “Not Guilty,” and plan to eventually defend ourselves, with a Necessity Defense.
Climate Change Café
presents a special screening of the classic film
a project of Post Oil Solutions
On Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 at the Marlboro Graduate Center (28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). Room 2 East. 6:00pm.
Free; Light refreshments will be provided.
Reservations strongly suggested due to limited seating.
For reservations please call 802.869.2141 or email email@example.com.
On Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 almost 90 art house movie theaters across the country in 79 cities spanning 34 states will participate collectively in a national event screening of the film, “1984,”. In an effort to initiate a community conversation about what the film/book has to say about our present times, and how we deal with it. April 4th was chosen because it’s the day protagonist Winston Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary.
Four Corners Flashmob
sponsored by the Brattleboro Love Project
Friday, April 7th, 2017 at the corner of Main Street and High Street in Downtown Brattleboro, VT, 05301.
Calling all Vermont-based activists! We, at The Brattleboro Love Project, invite you to join us in creating a large scale, visually impactful statement of dissent, solidarity, and most importantly LOVE. Our banner which states loudly and proudly “Hate Does Not Grow Well In The Rocky Soil Of Vermont” will be hanging during April’s GalleryWalk at the intersection of Main St and High St. We invite you to meet at the four corners and FLASHMOB!
When the signal is given (during a walk signal), all will take to the street. We will all meet in the square intersection and stand together, united in our fierce compassion and unwavering convictions under OUR banner- because this banner belongs to every person who raises their eyes to it and knows that they belong here, they are accepted and embraced here and that we will stand with them. A photographer will be ready. Meet us at the four corners.
Parenting 4 Social Justice Chat
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017at the Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301). 6pm-8pm.
This is the second in a series of 3 chats (March 8, Apr 12, May 10) where we will be focusing on race and racial justice. We will share helpful resources, support each other in practicing hard conversations with our kids, and we will make a plan for how to take action with our kids. There will be a break-out discussion group for parents of kids of color. Spread the word!
Free and open to the public. Light Refreshments. All children welcome. Childcare is provided for kids ages 3 and up. Please RSVP to reserve a spot for your kids. I heard a rumor there might be a pajama party in the works... kids are welcome to wear PJs!
Parenting for Social Justice Chats at the Brooks Memorial Library are three Wednesdays from 6:00pm-8:00pm: March 8th, April 12th, and May 10th. Come to one or all. This initial series will focus on race and racial justice. We will have a break-out discussion group for parents of kids of color.
Parenting is beautiful and it is challenging. One of the things we struggle with as parents is having hard conversations with our kids. Many of us are seeking support and ideas for how to have the hard conversations with our kids about racism and police brutality, about immigration, about discrimination against Muslims, and many other racial justice issues. And we are looking to turn those conversations into action. The goal of these conversations is to contribute to successful communities by equipping parents with tools for engaging their children on social justice topics. This group provides a much needed boost of warmth, creativity, forgiveness, accountability, and love for the hard work ahead.
We will highlight resources and books. We often work in small groups, where parents share the hard social justice conversations they would like support with. We often practice those conversations to get group feedback. We always make commitments to taking action.
As Angela Berkfield wrote in her recent blog post on the Power of Community - “By sharing my parenting for social justice struggles with the world it made me accountable to continue trying, even through the struggle. Because of the support I have received from community I have seen my family shift in some subtle, and some groundbreaking ways.”
You can read more at www.act4socialjustice.com/power-of-coming-together
For more information or to RSVP email Angela@act4socialjustice.com or call 802.254.3400.
People's Climate March Art Build
sponsored by 350Brattleboro
Friday, April 14th, 2017 at the Brattleboro Food Co-Op (2 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) in the Community Room (please use the 7 Canal Street entrance for this event). 4pm-7pm.
Come join 350Brattleboro for an afternoon of activism. We'll be making signs and banners for the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. that will take place on Saturday, April 29th. No artistic skills necessary (although if you are an awesome artist then we'd love to see you there). Pizza likely. Inspiration, positivity and community-building guaranteed!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTN: DATE CHANGE!
Soil Carbon Restoration Gives Hope for Reversing Global Warming
Sponsored by Living Earth Action Group
April 14th, 2017 at the Congregational Church of Westminster West (44 Church Street, Westminster, VT, 05346).
Speakers Marilyn Chiarello and Marlene Everingham will present on “Soil Carbon Restoration Gives Hope for Reversing Global Warming”.
This is exciting new information on the ability of healthy soil microorganisms to take carbon out of the atmosphere, if we change harmful farming practices. Come find out about how it works, how you can make a difference and spread the word. For more information call 802-387-5779.
FUTURE UPCOMING EVENTS
Tax Day March
sponsored by Women Marching Forward & The Action Pod
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 in Downtown Brattleboro from 1pm-2pm.
Tentative Plan: Meet in the Marlboro Grad Center parking lot & march (along the sidewalk) to the Municipal Center for a few brief speeches. PLEASE check back in future email updates for more information.
WE THE PEOPLE demand honesty, transparency, and integrity from our leaders, and we are calling on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Without his returns, Americans are in the dark about Trump's conflicts of interest, his foreign entanglements, and whether he even pays any taxes at all.We are marching to remind Donald Trump: He works for us now.
There will also be a Tax Day March in Burlington at 1pm and marches all across the country. To find out more visit: www.taxmarch.org
For decades, presidential candidates have shared their tax returns with the public to demonstrate their freedom from financial conflicts of interest and fitness to represent America. Throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign, Donald Trump promised the American people that he—like the other candidates— would release his tax returns to prove his independence from foreign and corporate interests. Despite intense public pressure, he has not yet done so. Because of his refusal, Americans have been denied the opportunity to vet his potential conflicts of interest, and have been left wondering why Mr. Trump is so intent on hiding his business dealings and financial ties.
Within days of his inauguration, over one million citizens called on President Trump to release his tax returns, signing a White House Petition that garnered more signatures than any other in history. The Trump Administration’s response? “People don’t care.”
On April 15, we are marching to show that we do care. Americans across the country will, once again, come together to send a clear message to Donald Trump: the President is accountable to the American people, and he must answer to us.
This Brattleboro March for Tax Day will stand in solidarity with all the other Tax Day marches happening around the country (they are listed here: www.taxmarch.org). Together we'll send a message about the importance of transparency, honesty, and integrity in our leaders and demand that Trump release his tax returns so that any conflicts of interest can be appropriately vetted.
For sponsorship opportunities, please email email@example.com.
Rally for Science Brattleboro
sponsored by Positive Geek and presented in association with Patch of Sky Farm, the March for Science, and Latchis Arts.
Saturday, April 22nd at Positive Geek (12 Flat St, Brattleboro, VT, 05301).12pm-5pm. FREE, family friendly, and open to the public.
An official rally associated with The National March for Science, www.MarchForScience.com.
Homemade treats will be available.
Help Us Rally for Science and the Environment on Earth Day!
Celebrate the quest for Science and the one planet in our solar system which can harbor life as we know it.
Special events will include speakers and presentations highlighting our magnificent universe and the fragile planet on which we live.
350.org founder Bill McKibben will be addressing attendees of our Earth Day event in a special video presentation. McKibben, author of a dozen books about the environment, is one of the best-known names in the environmental movement in Vermont and around the country. Showings of his presentation will take place at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm at Positive Geek on Flat Street.
Patch of Sky Farm of Guilford (owned by WeCAN Admin Joanna Wilson Phillips) will be sponsoring the rally and Joanna will be doing a live presentation discussing how eating locally and organically benefits the environment.
Patch of Sky Farm will be providing refreshments and free seeds for attendees.
The Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) will be also be participating in this year’s festivities. We welcome one of the area's greatest environmental groups!
Community College of Vermont will be also participating in the Rally for Science Brattleboro. Welcome!
People’s Climate March on Washington
Saturday, April 29th, 2017 in Washington, DC.
The bus will leave Brattleboro at 6am on Friday, April 28th and return overnight after the March on Saturday. Seats are available on a sliding scale. and financial assistance maybe available.
The time is fast approaching for the second People's Climate March. Given the hostility of the administration in Washington DC to climate science, we absolutely need to flood the streets with passionate voices for bold climate action.
Click this link to book a seat on the bus (fill in your personal information first and then the details will follow on the next page).
The bus from Brattleboro will leave at 6 am on Friday April 28th and return overnight after the march on Saturday. Seats are available at a sliding scale and no-one will be turned away due to lack of funds. If you need financial assistance please contact us!
Major! Free Community Screening
sponsored by Green Mountain Crossroads
Saturday, April 29th, 2017 at the Latchis Theater (50 Main St, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 4pm-6pm.
This is the story of one woman’s journey, a community’s history, and how caring for each other can be a revolutionary act.
MAJOR! follows the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a 73-year-old Black transgender woman who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years.
This is the first screening of Major! in Vermont! Through Major!’s “Major to the People” Program, we are thrilled to offer free admission to the film.
We will also be collecting donations to be shared with Miss Major’s Circle of Care (missmajorfilm.com/circle-of-care) as well as local groups, Green Mountain Crossroads (greenmountaincrossroads.org) and The Root Social Justice Center (therootsjc.org).
This screening is being brought to you through a collaboration between Green Mountain Crossroads and Lost River Racial Justice (LRRJ) as part of LRRJ’s racial justice film series. Huge thanks to The Latchis for making this wonderful community event possible!
Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights, from mobile outreach and AIDS prevention to fighting the prison industrial complex, intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today.
She is a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion and was incarcerated at Attica months after the 1971 Uprising. Most recently, Miss Major has served as the executive director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a grassroots organization advocating for trans women of color in and outside of prison that is led by trans women of color.
Miss Major’s extraordinary life and personal story is one of resilience and celebration in a community that has been historically traumatized and marginalized. While mainstream gay rights and marriage equality dominate the headlines, Miss Major’s life is a testament to the fierce survivalism and every day concerns of transgender women of color, who so often live in the margin of the already marginalized.
Official trailer and more information at missmajorfilm.com.
May Day March for Dignity! / ¡Marcha para La Dignidad!
Monday, May 1st, 2017 at the Federal Building (87 State Street Montpelier, VT, 05602). 12pm.
sponsored by Vermont Human Rights Council
March to Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop to demand they implement the Milk With Dignity Program as promised nearly 2 years ago. A rally at the Federal Building to lift up Vermont voices and campaigns will follow. This is especially crucial in the face of ICE arrests of migrant workers in Vermont. Carpools or vans from Brattleboro may be available. For more info or to sign up for a carpool or van ride please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Cross Class Dialogue Circle
Sunday, May 7th, 21st and June 4th, 2017 (participation all 3 days is required) at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 9am-3pm.
Childcare and transportation available, light refreshments provided, and wheelchair accessible. This event is fragrance free.
The dialogue circle is funded through a cost-sharing process.
Cross-class dialogue circles are a powerful way for people across the class spectrum to come together to talk about their experiences with class, listen to each others’ stories and perspectives, better understand class as part of an economic system, and then to work together as change makers for economic justice. Sign-up today!
350Brattleboro Regular Meetings
Meeting Times / Locations: 1st Wednesdays (Public Forum), 6 - 8 pm, Brooks Memorial Library 2nd Floor Mtg Rm (Brattleboro); 3rd Wednesdays (Leadership Team), 6 - 8 pm, Location Varies.
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED-EMAIL COMMITTEE MEMBERS
House Appropriations is considering approximately $8M in budget cuts in order to close its remaining budget gap for the next fiscal year, FY 18. This afternoon a majority of members voted to eliminate the Cold Weather Exemption (CWE) for GA Emergency Housing.
Please email House Appropriations members as soon as possible to ask them to restore this vital program. Address your email to Rep. Kitty Toll, House Appropriations Chair, with cc to committee members and staff (see addresses below).
The specific proposal is to eliminate the CWE by cutting $344,000 from the GA Emergency Housing budget and leave $150,000 in “flexible spending” to be spent at the discretion of DCF to help address a portion of the need the CWE was designed for. Rationale for the cut is that this does minimal harm to children and overall does the least harm to DCF programs. The perception is that most folks who come in under the CWE are single adults or couples without children. There is also still a perception that this program, especially the CWE is open to abuse by people who are undeserving.
Here are some bullet points you can use in your email:
•CWE serves the lowest income, homeless Vermonters
•CWE provides safety and saves lives in dangerous cold weather
•CWE is the humane thing to do and helps protect the vulnerable
•CWE is the last safety net that homeless Vermonters have on the coldest nights of the year
•Given deep anticipated federal cuts to safety net programs, now is not the time to cut programs that assist the lowest income Vermonters
•CWE does NOT just serve adults – 1,334 children were served in FY 16, 3,370 in FY 15, and 1,558 in FY 14 (see FY 16 GA Emergency Housing Report)
•CWE serves many people who may not meet the state’s strict vulnerability criteria but are nonetheless vulnerable:
◦Pregnant women in the first or second trimester
◦Families with children over age 6
◦Older Vermonters who are not yet 65
◦Adults with medical conditions
◦Adults with disabilities who do not receive SSI or SSDI
•Even when the CWE is in effect, people do not receive a motel voucher if there’s room in a homeless or emergency warming shelter
•Community based alternatives, like Harbor Place, emergency overflow shelters, and short-term transitional housing, have enabled the state to make solid progress on reducing reliance on motel vouchers and the CWE. This year’s hot spots for Emergency Housing spending do not yet have overflow shelters. Additional savings can be expected in those areas once those alternatives are in place next year, making elimination of the CWE unnecessary.
•Abuses formerly associated with GA Emergency Housing and the CWE have been greatly reduced, including through the community based alternatives.
Thanks in advance for supporting Vermonters who are homeless,
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
(Note: Lawmakers’ names hotlinked to biographical info)
Once again, we thank you for making the WeCAN Spring Into Action Fair a bold event and for your continued presence at events all around Windham County. We couldn't do this without you and we are so thankful for you!
Your Friendly WeCAN Admins,
Ann and Joanna
P.S. If you would like to submit an event to be included in the weekly email blast, please email email@example.com by Friday at 10pm and include "Weekly Email Blast +Your Event Date" in the subject line (for example: "Weekly Email Blast 4/19/17"). Until we get our calendar up and running, we ask that all organizations please send us events EVERY WEEK, regardless if you have sent them previously. We are working on the ability to track ongoing events, but aren't quite there yet! Thank you for your cooperation and don't hesitate to email WeCAN with any questions.