Weekly Update 01.06.2020

Weekly Update 01.06.2020

"We're losing ground. This planet is losing ground...Things need to happen and they need to happen quick. Our message should be -loud and clear- there comes a time when the home needs protecting and the line needs drawing and anybody that dares cross it acts at their own peril."
Diane Wilson (b.1948)
American environmental activist, anti-war activist, and author

     As we finish up the first week of 2020, dear WeCAN Friends, we invite you to double down on your efforts to effect positive, lasting change in Windham County. This increased effort could look like bringing a guest with you to a local meeting or event, adding a new monthly group meeting to your schedule, taking on more responsibility as a member of a group you are currently in, or taking the leap and starting a new group yourself. Our country and our community need YOU and your abilities now more than ever; if you don't know where to start, scroll through this week's Weekly Email Update and check out all the positive initiatives happening right here in your area. We look forward to seeing you at an event or meeting in Windham County soon!

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HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, JANUARY 6th, 2020-SUNDAY, JANUARY 12th, 2020

Drugs and the CIA, with Nick Biddle
part of the Brattleboro Democracy Forum and sponsored by We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights for All
Monday, January 6th, 2020 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the Main Reading Room. 7pm-9pm.
Drug-running has been fundamental to CIA operations, strategy and funding throughout its history. The US Senate Kerry Committee Report of 1989 detailed CIA drug-running through the 1980s to fund terrorist wars in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Professor Alfred McCoy, University of Wisconsin, and Professor Peter Dale Scott, Emeritus University of California, have written extensive histories of CIA drug-running from its inception in 1947 to the present. The facts are known and so little regarded. This presentation will review CIA drug operations to ponder why the facts matter and are simultaneously ignored. Nick Biddle, PhD in History, retired professor of history, Brattleboro resident since 2013, co-owner of Artrageus1 (Elliot St). 

 

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Breaking the Chain of Command at the Brattleboro Select Board Meeting
organized by Brattleboro Common Sense
Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 at the Brattleboro Municipal Center (230 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:15pm.
For more information pleas email info@BrattleboroCommonSense.org or call 
802 490 9363. 
A proposal was announced this past Thursday for a way to interrupt the chain of command for illegal orders to start a war against Iran. It was widely predicted that Trump would start a new war in order to distract people from his impeachment trial. Now, two days later he has started the war by assassinating a general in Iran. This is a flagrant act of war and a violation of international law and U.S. law. Though not in peril of our lives like so many Iranians and dark-skinned people around the world, the American people are hostage to a maniac. But we cannot simply wait for his impeachment trial to remove him.  Instead we must address this new emergency with forceful action to interrupt the chain of command through which Trump acts. 
Trump doesn't perpetrate all his -- his crimes himself. Whether he's putting immigrant children in cages or blasting innocent confused people to bits, he does it by giving orders. If people refuse his orders, as many heroes and whistle-blowers have done, then Trump himself will not put those children in cages.  He will not himself bomb those innocent crowds. So, we need to remind U.S. military officers that their oath is to the Constitution of the United States, and not to the president. We must remind them that their duty under the Nuremberg Principles is to refuse illegal orders.  And we need to honor them and start a legal defense fund for them, and we need to do this NOW. 
Wars are more than ugly enough, with civilians who know nothing about the conflicts that envelop them, and have no idea why fiery death falls on them from the sky, why they suffer for the conflicts between leaders of governments they don't support, just as we don't support this one. For such horrors conscience drives soldiers to insanity. Let's help our officers act on conscience now. 
Let us see our select board ASAP -- Tuesday, January 7th, 2020, 6:15pm at the Brattleboro Municipal Center -- about emergency measures to boost our military officers, set up a defense fund, and establish an office of Justice Coordinator to supervise this effort. Actually BCS prepared petitions for this during the late Bush administration; how sad that such things don't go out of date (to be posted at BrattleboroCommonSense.org). Meanwhile contact the soldiers you know, so that they are not dishonored by unlawful orders from Trump. Tell them that they must resist such illegal orders, and that we have their back, for such a hero will deserve the thanks of the nation and the world. 

 

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Impeachment and the Rule of Law with Tim Kipp
part of the Brattleboro Democracy Forum  and sponsored by We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights for All
Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (157 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 12pm-1pm.
This is the 2nd of a 2 part lecture /discussion.
The concepts of a “nation of laws and not of people” and the “rule of law” are as old as the nation-state itself. Elbowing aside the “divine right of kings” this new system would become the very foundation of democracy.
What happens when the president violates the oath of office? Through the lens of history and contemporary politics this lecture/discussion will examine the roles of the Constitution, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Council, the 25th Amendment, and impeachment in addressing presidential misconduct. The conclusion will ask, “How well is the US living up to the principle of the Rule of Law?”
Tim Kipp, retired US history and political science teacher of 39 years and a political activist since the 1960’s.

 

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Cannabis in the Capitol: Statehouse Advocacy Day
hosted by Heady Vermont
Thursday, January 9th, 2020 at the Vermont Statehouse (115 State Street, Montpelier, VT) from 8am-1pm.
With the Vermont legislature primed to work on - and potentially pass - a tax and regulate bill in the 2020 session, it’s a great opportunity for the state’s cannabis community to step up, make our voices heard, and ensure the passage of high quality, just and equitable legislation.
Join the Marijuana Policy Project, Heady Vermont, Middlebury attorney and pro bono drug policy reform advocate Dave Silberman, and a broad coalition of Vermont’s cannabis advocates on Thursday, January 9, 2020 for Cannabis In The Capitol. It’s a day to meet with legislators, promote the benefits of regulation, champion social justice, and highlight the economic development opportunities inherent in and around the cannabis industry - from growing and making to ancillary services such as security, testing, product tracking, insurance, banking, and canna-tourism.
Tentative schedule:
8am-10am at the Statehouse, in the Cafeteria on the 2nd Floor:
Informal meet-and-greet breakfast with legislators. A discussion about the benefits of regulation, with a focus on social justice and economic development. Complimentary coffee, bagels, and pastries.
11am at the Statehouse in the Cedar Creek Room on the 2nd Floor: Press Conference with legislators and advocates.

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The People's State of the State Address, PAN-Demonium!, and Climate Rally
Thursday, January 9th, 2020 on the Vermont State House Steps (115 State St, Montpelier, VT 05633) at 12pm.  Every effort will be made to make this event accessible and welcoming for all. Click here to view the map indicating handicapped-permit parking spots. An adjacent map identifies accessible restrooms as well as gender neutral restroom locations. The principal wheelchair accessible entrance into the Statehouse is on the west side of the building, adjacent to reserved accessible parking. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns so that we can better prepare. For questions or media inquiries please email xrvt@protonmail.com. The rally will be followed by some “pan-demonium” and ruckus raising, to ensure that Phil Scott is aware that we are here and ready to fight for our future. Bring a pan, a pot, a wooden spoon or other banger for this lively part of the day. 
Please join Extinction Rebellion Vermont and a coalition of climate justice partners from around the state to rally outside the State House and join together as a collective to offer an alternative State of the State address. 
On January 9th we will gather for a People’s State of the State Address to raise our voices and our noise makers to demand that our elected officials join with Vermonters to acknowledge the climate crisis and enact emergency measures during the 2020 legislative session to eliminate carbon emissions and promote social justice, a new democracy, and a regenerative economy. 
We will meet on the State House steps for speakers, songs and chants, and to unite our hearts and minds in support of calling on all Vermonters to declare a climate emergency. Come with your friends and neighbors to show your support for the implementation of “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” which scientists say are required to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future. 
The People’s State of the State Speakers will include:
·front-line people who have been directly and negatively affected by climate change and failed energy decisions
·scientists who can tell the truth about the climate crisis we all are facing
·activists able to point the way toward what we need to do to minimize damage to the world and its ecosystems and to all life and people everywhere, including right here in Vermont.

 

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UPCOMING EVENTS 

Healthy Communication Lab
presented by the Brattleboro Community Justice Center and facilitated by Emily Megas-Russell of With Great Heart
Monday, January 13th, 2020 in the Brooks Memorial Library Community Room (224 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301 ). 6pm-8pm. The Community Room can be accessed via a ramp from the street level to the main entrance; an elevator will take you to the third floor and there is a ramp from the Municipal Parking Lot to the third floor entrance as well. There are single-use, gender neutral bathrooms available and light snacks will be provided.
In this lab you will be experimenting with how you can communicate your needs in a way that is authentic and non-violent. Test out identifying, expressing, and
putting boundaries around your needs and feelings while respecting others' right to do the same. 
It's a part of Community, Accountability, Safety, and Harm (CASH) Labs, a series of "labs" put on by the Brattleboro Community Justice Center that seek to build the skills folks need in order to prevent, respond to, and heal from instances of interpersonal harm while addressing the harm's systematic roots.

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Celebrate the Underground: A Hands-On Cooking and Eating Veggie Experience
Sunday, January 12th, 2020 at the Brattleboro Food Coop (2 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). in the Community Room (please use the 7 Canal Street Entrance). 4pm-6pm. Free; donations accepted with gratitude. Register with shareholder services (802-246-2821) or via email - ediblebrattleboro@gmail.com.
Edible Brattleboro has invited a guest chef to help prepare the menu for our next cooking and eating experience that will feature the underground vegetables. Join us for a wonderful experience preparing a 3-course meal and then sitting at the communal table to enjoy what we made.

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Brattleboro Community Homelessness Awareness Vigil
Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 at Pliny Park (Corner of High and Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:30pm-6:30pm

Please join us at Pliny Park to hear from those working to support our neighbors struggling with homelessness and to raise awareness about this significant community need.
Feel free to bring a personal story to share! We will also share the names of those we have lost, and honor them with a moment of silence. 

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An Evening with Bill McKibben
hosted by 350 Brattleboro and 350 Vermont
Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 at Centre Congregational Church (193 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:30pm-8pm. There will be an ASL interpreter and a Q & A will follow.
For more information, please visit: www.billmckibben.com.
Join us for an evening with Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. He will be talking about the current climate crisis, what's at stake in 2020, and reading from his latest book, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.
The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.”
A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors . In 2014, biologists honored him by naming a new species of woodland gnat— Megophthalmidia mckibbeni–in his honor.

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Book Club: On Fire by Naomi Klein
hosted by Everyone’s Books
Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 at Everyone’s Books (25 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:30pm-7:30pm.
Please join us as we discuss 'On Fire' by Naomi Klein on Thursday, January 23, 2020. 

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Intro to Anti-Racism Study Group
(Register by January 17th, 2020 in order to get your study materials in time.)
Saturday, February 1st, 2020-Saturday, April 7th, 2020. The group will meet in Downtown Brattleboro; the exact location will be disclosed at the time of registration. Times vary.
The group is limited to 15 people total and acceptance is on a first come, first serve basis. You can register here:
https://forms.gle/KDLaPHS8mGAhVqF7A

Join Lost River Racial Justice and Out in the Open for a six session Introduction to Anti-Racism Study Group. As white people it is our duty and responsibility to take action to work to dismantle systems of oppression such as white-supremacy. Working from a direct ask from the BIPOC Caucus(Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and from learnings from last year's study group we are creating a space for white people to begin their journey into understanding racism and white-supremacy. During this study group participants will engage with each other, readings, video, and podcasts. We will have space for group discussions, journaling, action, and other forms of processing. 
Sessions will run from February until April, and it is expected that you are able to attend at least four out of the six sessions. We will meet in downtown Brattleboro (exact location to be share upon registration). 
-Session 1
Saturday, Feb 1st, 2020; 1pm-5pm: How Racism Shows Up in My Life
-Session 2
 Tuesday, February 11th, 2020; 6pm-8pm: What is Racism?
-Session 3
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020; 6pm-8pm: Micro aggressions
-Session 4
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020; 6pm-8pm: Intervening in Interpersonal Situations of Racism
-Session 5
Tuesday, March 24th, 2020; 6pm-8pm: On Being a POC (Person of Color) in Vermont
-Session 6
Tuesday, April 7th, 2020; 6pm-8pm: On Being an Anti-Racist
A little more about the co-facilitators:
Claire Halverson is a member of the nucleus of Lost River Racial Justice. She has facilitated learning programs aimed at undoing racism for many years.  She is a retired professor at the School for International Training where she taught in the Social Justice in Intercultural Relations Master’s degree.
Eva Westheimer is the Programs and Volunteer Coordinator with Out in the Open. She has facilitated several study groups aimed at challenging white-supremacy. She is a recent transplant from Pittsburgh, PA where she was part of WHATS UP Pittsburgh (Working and Healing to Abolish Total Supremacy Undermining Privilege) and several other projects. 

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Medicaid Assembly
sponsored by the Vermont Workers’ Center
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 at the Vermont State House (115 State St, Montpelier, VT 05633). 9am-4pm. For more information or to sign up for a carpool from Windham County contact windham@workerscenter.org or Ellen at (802) 257-4436.
On Tuesday, January 28 the Vermont Workers’ Center is holding a Medicaid Assembly at the State House to advocate for the preservation and expansion of Medicaid and for universal health care. The Assembly runs from 9am-4pm and will feature a story share and opportunities to meet with legislators and to observe relevant Committee meetings. One in three people in Vermont—including half of Vermont’s children--is on some form of Medicaid (Green Mountain Care or Dr. Dynasaur) or uses a Medicaid-funded service. For many of us, Medicaid has been a lifeline in uncertain times. As healthcare costs rise, the federal government is moving to defund and dismantle Medicaid by allowing states to impose work requirements and other obstacles to enrollment.
In Vermont we have the opportunity to move in the opposite direction,  but it will take many voices to ensure that Medicaid is not only preserved, but also expanded, and that we keep our eye on the prize of health care for all. In 2019, lawmakers took an important step forward by doubling the adult Medicaid dental benefit. Now it’s time to increase funding for home- and community-based services, ensuring wages for low-wage health workers and continuity of care for people who count on their care.
Join us on January 28th to stand up for health care justice!

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Refugee Theater: Kurdish and Yazidi Women Speak Out
hosted by the Vermont Humanities Council and Brooks Memorial Library
Wednesday, February 5th, 2019 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 7pm-8:30pm. Free.
Rojava, a revolutionary experiment in Kurdish Syria, attempts to create an inclusive democracy safe from ISIS, Turkish incursion, and Syria’s civil war. Smith College professor Ellen W. Kaplan discusses the process of interviewing women, activists, refugees, and fighters from the Rojava region, and transforming their experiences into theater. Part of the Vermont Humanities First Wednesdays free lecture series.

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Community Film Screening Opportunity

     Lean Left VT is coordinating a series of statewide showings of Suppressed: The Fight to Vote in late January and February. It is a 35 minute film about voter suppression.  Its focus is on the voter suppression that was rampant in the GA governor’s race and ultimately undermined Stacey Abrams bid to become governor and it also talks about voter suppression as a problem that impacts millions of Americans.  We are partnering with local groups to host public showings. Do you or your fellow group organizers have any thoughts on other groups or contacts who might be interested?  
     Here is a sketch of what we envision:
·A local group would secure a venue, promote the event and host and facilitate the event.
·There would be a brief introduction, then a showing of the film followed by a moderated discussion about voter suppression.
·Lean Left will do some statewide promotion including how to find local events.  
·Lean Left will supply support materials for promotion, fundraising etc. 
·There would be information supplied to attendees about both the local group and Lean Left so that people can leave their knowing how to take action.
·The event would be a fundraiser for Fair Fight, the Stacey Abrams organization. 
·We hope to get a short personal pre-recorded video of Stacey talking to Vermonters.
      Let me know your thoughts. Here is a trailer. https://vimeo.com/374725118

     Best,
     Ann Smith (asmithinvt@gmail.com)

 

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RESOURCE FOR WeCAN: Rapid Response Text Alert System
When WeCAN began, Song & Solidarity set up a Rapid Response Text Alert System for WeCAN Groups. Directions for signing up are on WeCAN's website, here: https://www.wecantogether.net/rapid_response. We are grateful to Song and Solidarity for providing this service.

 

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STANDING REGULAR MEETINGS  

Women Veterans Weekly Coffee and Tea Social
Thursday Mornings at Brattleboro Legion Post 5 Inc. (32 Linden Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 9am-10am.
All female veterans are invited to join in the Women Veterans group coffee held at the American Legion.  All women veterans are welcome. You do not need to be a Legion member.

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Youth 4 Change
Meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month from 5:30pm-8pm. 
For more information please contact Youth 4 Change at youth4changeaction@gmail.com.
Agenda:
5:30pm: Drop in homework time and art making
6:00pm: Food
6:30pm: Meeting and Organizing
Youth 4 Change is for local-area youth 12-22 interested in political organizing around local/state/national social justice issues that are important to them. Brattleboro area advocates and educators are holding a space, and assisting youth in building a strong personal tool kit to organize for change. Using a variety of creative methods, we aim to enable youth with tools for resilience, courage and compassion, while fostering their ability to speak up about issues that matter to them, and to take action in the name of love and liberation for all people.  Come explore issues of racial, economic and gender justice through art, movement, first-hand accounts and contemplative practices. Connect with area youth around the issues that matter to you and strengthen your tool kit for action! 

 

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Windham County NAACP Regular Meetings
Monthly community meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at The Root Center for Social Justice (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) on the First Floor from 6pm-7pm. For more information please email info@windhamnaacp.org. All are welcome. 
The meetings are open to anyone interested in racial justice. The Mission of the NAACP is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

 

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Brattleboro Common Sense Open Meeting and Orientation for New Volunteers
Every Sunday at 16 Washington Street (Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 10:30am. For more information please call 802.490.9363 or go to www.BrattleboroCommonSense.org.
Come and check out Brattleboro's kick-ass group that makes global issues local. 
This summer our proposal for renewable-sourced municipal electricity and our petition for a sustainability coordinator were approved, but other terms of our Climate Crisis forum and common sense conservation lost their first vote in March. Brattleboro voters also approved our Youth Vote Amendment in March.
CURRENT AGENDA :
We are very glad to improve our unique and aggressive DECLARATION of CLIMATE EMERGENCY with Selectboard input that sets all Americans equal across the political divide, establishing compassion and unity for the sake of climate rescue; Local Wall Street Tax; police safety; basic social research
BACKGROUND : in 2010 EMDOVY v Brattleboro: Superior Court order that ends censorship of petitions by the Selectboard; in 2014 We promoted Brattleboro's Declaration that climate change is a real and human-made, and that carbon be listed as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

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ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING 

Indigo Radio
Sundays at 12pm on Brattleboro Community Radio 107.7FMTo stream live: Visit www.wvew.org 
Indigo Radio, deepening understanding and making connections! IndigoRadio is a group of area educators seeking to learn through engaging with others in our community and throughout the world. We will be talking about educational and social issues both globally and locally and connecting them to our lives and Brattleboro community. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigoradiowvew/. For archive recordings of past shows: https://soundcloud.com/user-654648353
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     Thank you for devoting your time and energy to creating a better planet, country, and community for all of us, WeCAN members. We are so thankful for all that you do. Until next week...


Joanna and Leslie 
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