Weekly Update 01.20.20

Weekly Update 01.20.20

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" (1967)

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20th, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the Day of Service call to action that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. There are many opportunities listed below in this week's email that will help you get involved locally and we encourage you to take advantage of all that Windham County's activism scene has to offer. Don't hesitate to send us some pictures and details of what you accomplished during this year's Day of Service and we'll include it in next week's Weekly Email Update (admin@wecantogether.net)!

HAPPENING TODAY, JANUARY 19th, 2020

Film Screening: 13th
sponsored by Windham Votes!, a program of the Windham County Democratic Committee
Sunday, January 19th, 2020 at the Latchis Theater (50 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301) at 4:30pm.
A free screening of “13th” an Ava DuVenray documentary at the Latchis Theater will take place on Sunday, January 19th. The documentary examines the criminal justice system in America as an extension of institutionalized racial injustice. The screening will be followed by presentations from Steffen Gillom, Co-Founder, President of Windham County NAACP, Rep. Nader Hashim, Vermont Legislature, and Windham-4 / Fair and Impartial Policing Committee Mel Motel, Director, Brattleboro Community Justice Center.

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Registration Ends Today
Equity Solutions' Virtual Cross Class Dialogue Circle
Begins on Thursday, January 23rd, 2020; Registration closes today, January 19th, 2020. Sign up at www.equitysolutionsvt.com
This program runs on seven Thursday evenings in a row starting on January 23rd, 2020and ending on March 5th, 2020, from 6pm-8:30pm EST. These sessions take place using the free webinar software Zoom and is conducted entirely online. This Circle is open to anyone from any class background who wants to talk and listen, deepen understanding and connections, gain new communication skills, and work towards economic justice.
Cost: We are now using a guided sliding-scale model.
The economic divide in the US is growing, yet we rarely talk to each other meaningfully about class. Cross Class Dialogue Circles are a powerful way for people from all different economic backgrounds to come together and talk about their own experiences, listen to each others’ stories and perspectives, and then work together as change makers for economic justice.What you need to attend: We use zoom, an online video platform. You need a computer (with webcam/internal camera and a microphone: most laptops have these) and internet access to be part of the circle. If you would like to participate and do not have access to a computer with a webcam, contact us and we'll brainstorm how to get you connected.
Accessibility: We strive to make this online offering as accessible as possible. Please check the registration materials for more info.

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 HAPPENING THIS WEEK, JANUARY 20th, 2020-JANUARY 26th, 2020

News and Brews: Southern Vermont Spotlight
hosted by Vermont Public Radio; sponsored by Brattleboro Savings & Loan
Wednesday, January 22rd, 2020 at Robert H. Gibson River Gallery (157 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:30pm-8:00pm.

A meet-and-greet with VPR reporters, including Southern Vermont Reporter Howard Weiss-Tisman, Upper Valley & Arts Reporter Betty Smith and Statehouse Reporter Peter Hirschfeld. Meet the journalists dedicated to covering issues that matter to you and tell us about your community. What issues and stories matter most to the people where you live? And how are you approaching statewide issues at the local level — from economic development to fostering a thriving arts community?

 

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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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Protest Vigil at TD Bank
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Friday, January 24th, 2020 (and every Friday) at TD Bank Brattleboro (215 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT). In front of the building. 12pm-1pm. Signs will be provided
TD is a major investor in Tar Sands. TD helps to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. What You Can Do (besides attending the vigils): If you’re a TD depositor, change banks! 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 in this era of global warming and climate change to develop sustainable, resilient , collaborative, and socially just communities leading to a self- and community-sufficient post petroleum society.

 

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Film Screening and Discussion: CitizenFour
presented by Brattleboro Solidarity
Saturday, January 25th, 2020 at Epsilon Spires (190 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:00pm. $5-$10 donation - no one turned away for lack of funds.  Donation goes to Epsilon Spires. Light refreshments will be available. Following the film will be a discussion, connecting 2014 events to today, surveillance and whistle-blowing.  
Brattleboro Solidarity and Spark Teacher Education Institute monthly movie screenings begin again January 25th!  Join us for CITIZENFOUR.
The 2014 Academy Award documentary CitizenFOUR gives audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).

 

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Heading for Extinction and What To Do About It
Maria and Ward Ogden, presenters
Sunday, January 26th, 2020 at The Putney Public Library (55 Main Street, Putney, VT). 3pm-4:15pm.
With advance notice, childcare may be possible (contact maria.ogden@gmail.com).
Concerned about climate change and not sure what to do about it? Join us for a presentation about Extinction Rebellion, the international, apolitical climate movement that is using non-violent direct action to enact change. The talk takes about one hour with optional Q&A time afterward. Find out about the many ways you can join the climate movement!

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Mother Up! Monthly Meet-Up 
Monday January 27th, 2019 at KidsPLAYce (20 Elliot St., Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:30pm-7:30pm. A vegetarian meal and childcare for ages 10 and under will be provided. RSVP helpful , but not required. Contact Abby Mnookin for more info at abby@350vt.org.
Mother Up!: Families Rise Up for Climate Action is a project of 350Vermont that brings together families to talk about the tough realities of climate change and to participate in the transition to a healthier and safer world.

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What Rights Does the Second Amendment Protect?: A Structured Debate With Meg Mott
sponsored by wecelebratedemocracycivilrightsforall.org, promoting positive and non violent public action for democracy and civil rights for all people.
Monday, January 27th, 2020 at the Marlboro Community Center (524 South Road, Marlboro, VT). 6:30pm-8:30pm. Coffee, tea, cookies, juice, and talk. For more information please contact Woody at 802 464 3154.
“What’s fun about these constitutional conversations,” says Meg, “is hearing what sort of evidence people can muster to support their political preferences.” By the end of the discussion, each side should have some sense of the legitimacy of the opposing viewpoint, even if they don’t agree. 
Meg welcomes participation from gun owners and from those who are concerned about gun safety. For more information on Meg’s constitutional conversations, please visit www.megmott.com. Meg Mott is Professor Emerita, Marlboro College & Putney Town Moderator. 

 

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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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Trump and Malignant Narcissism
part of the Brattleboro Democracy Forum and the Brown Bag Lunch Series
Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (157 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 12pm-1pm.
In August 2019 on MSNBC, Harvard psychiatry professor Lance Dodes diagnosed President Trump as a "malignant narcissist." Two and a half years earlier Dr. John D. Gardner of Johns Hopkins University concluded the same. 
In this presentation local psychiatrist Dr. Neil Senior will provide clinical definitions for the characteristics of malignant narcissism. Tim Kipp and Nick Biddle will describe policy actions, tweets, and behaviors of Trump that exhibit malignant narcissism. Audience members will be asked to pitch in. Nick says: When I say “failure to accept responsibility,” and you think Trump, what comes to mind? 
-Tim Kipp, taught US history, political science and law for 39 years. He has been a political activist since the 1960s.
-Nick Biddle, PhD,  retired professor of Latin American history, and  Brattleboro resident since 2013 
-Neil Senior, MD is a child & adolescent psychiatry specialist in Brattleboro, VT and has been practicing for 50 years.
Visit wecelebratedemocracycivilrightsforall.org, promoting positive nonviolent public action for democracy and equal civil rights for all people

 

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February Meeting of the Windham County Democratic Committee
Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at the Winston Prouty School (20 Austine Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) in Holton Hall on the 4th Floor. 6:30pm. Please contact John Hagen at windhamcountydemocratsvt@gmail.com for additional information.
The Windham County Democratic Committee (WCDC) is meeting on Monday, Feb 3, at 6:30 pm on the 4th floor of Holton Hall on the Winston Prouty campus in Brattleboro.  This month, the state chair of the Vermont Democratic Party, Terje Anderson, will be joining the meeting.  During the meeting we will be discussing Get Out the Vote efforts and our issue-based strategy for engaging with voters. We will also receive our first legislative update of the session.
Meetings of the county committee are open to the public and all are welcome to attend and share their perspectives and ideas on the issues being discussed.

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A History of Voter Exclusion and Suppression in the United States with Tim Kipp
part of the Brattleboro Democracy Forum 
Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at the Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 7pm-9 pm.
The United States is typically referred as a beacon of democracy, a “City on the Hill”, an example to the world. One aspect of that image is our enduring system of regular and fair elections. The last presidential election raised serious questions about the integrity of the voting process. With the 2020 presidential election underway attention is again rightly focused on the security of the electoral process in particular, threats from computer hacking- domestic or international. 
While the United States does have a stable electoral process having endured wars and depressions, the history of voting in the U.S., also includes serious actions of exclusion and suppression of particular groups in our society.  This presentation will explore that history and offer a forum for discussion of how we can make our electoral system more democratic. 
Tim Kipp, a retired history teacher of 39 years and a political activist since the 1960s
The views expressed by presenters and participants do not reflect the views of Brooks Memorial Library. 
Visit wecelebratedemocracycivilrightsforall.org, promoting positive nonviolent public action for democracy and civil rights for all people.

 

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We Must Do MORE Tour
Hosted by Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revivial and six other
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2020 at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, 8 Church Street, Greenfield, MA 01301). 7pm-9pm.
Join t
he Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in Greenfield for the 11th stop of the We Must Do M.O.R.E. national tour as we Mobilize, Organize, Register and Educate. We will hear from people directly impacted by systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the corrupt moral narrative. We will also hear from Rev. Barber and Rev. Theoharis, Co-Chairs of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. This tour will lead into the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington, where thousands of poor people and moral agents will gather at the nation’s capitol on June 20, 2020 to demonstrate their power. TICKETS https://actionnetwork.org/events/greenfield-ma-mass-meeting-we-must-do-more-national-tour


 

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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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Welcome Party: Out in the Open
Saturday, March 7th, 2020 at Cotton Mill Hill (74 Cotton Mill Hill) in Suite A206. 3pm-6pm.

See the new community space, meet new staff & board members, and celebrate rural LGBTQ community! 
More information about the afternoon coming soon!

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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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Creating Good Governance for Our Local Schools: Run for School Director for Windham Southeast School District

In June of 2019, the Putney, Dummerston, Brattleboro and Guilford School Districts were merged into the Windham Southeast School District (WSESD), a single district with nine schools.  Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro Area Middle School, Dummerston School, Guilford Central School, Putney Central School, the Brattleboro elementary schools Oak Grove, Green Street, and Academy, and the Windham Regional Career Center are currently governed by a body of eight school board members (School Directors). As of November, 2019, two additional seats were added for School Directors residing in the town of Brattleboro, effective March 3, 2020. 
The first turnover of seats on this new board will take place Town Meeting Day - March 3rd, 2020.  Voters from Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney will elect six School Directors: two who live in Dummerston, one who lives in Putney, and three who live in Brattleboro. All School Directors in the WSESD represent all four towns. 
In order for our nine schools to thrive we need to identify people that will serve in this important role.
School Directors are participating in the creation of a new school district.  Accomplishments since merger include: Expanding Restorative Justice work by adding a coordinator position; Expanding efforts to support all students by funding diversity programming; Committing to expand efforts to address the Climate Crisis, and; Creating school-based Leadership Councils to include teachers and community members in developing a community vision for our schools.
Job Title:  School Director for Windham Southeast School District.
How to Run:  Contact your Town Clerk for a petition. Gather signatures and submit your petition, with the correct number of signatures, to your Town Clerk’s office by the end of business on Monday, January 27th, 2020. Election Day is Tuesday, March 3rd.
Board Member Responsibilities Include:
-Engage with and represent the communities of the District.
-Review of school finances, procurements, and budgets. 
-Review and update School District Policies/Bylaws.
-Ensure School District’s commitment to maintaining an equitable and inclusive environment for all students, including special education students, students of color, LGBTQ students, and low-income families and children.
- Align programmatic equity throughout the district.
- Monitor student performance and ensure the schools and administration are meeting a high standard.
Time Commitment:  Two board meetings a month, lasting from two to four hours, plus at least two committee meetings and one leadership council meeting a month, as well as time spent researching and communicating. Depending on your level of commitment and the nature of issues before the board, these other commitments may take as little as two hours or as many as twenty hours a week.
Compensation: Board Chair, $6,000 per year, Other Members, $4,000 per year. 
Please contact any current board member with questions about serving on your school board.

 

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WSESU School Board Wants Your Input on Their Search for Superintendent
Do you live or go to school in Vernon, Guilford, Brattleboro, Dummerston, or Putney? 
The WSESU School Board wants your input to help them in their search for a new Superintendent. Whether you are a parent/guardian, teacher, administrator, community member, or student, the School Board wants to hear from you. This will inform the Board as they develop the search criteria for the next Superintendent.There are two ways to participate (choose one or both). Feedback is being gathered by a local, independent organization (Thrive, LLC), which the School Board has engaged to assist them. Thrive, in consultation with Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, is conducting both the survey and the community forums.
Please, take this survey and hare your perspectives. All responses are completely anonymous. Please share this link with your friends, colleagues, and family and encourage them to participate. Thrive will gather, compile, and report the results to the School Board. The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and is open until January 20th.
Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WSESU-survey
Forum: Join one of the forums to share your perspective in person. These conversations, facilitated by the staff at Thrive, will be based on the same questions in the survey. Forum summaries will be included in the report to the School Board, but individual responses will not be shared, or individuals identified.
Please attend the remaining forum: 
Dummerston (anyone in the community): January 20th, 2020 5:30pm-6:30pm at the Dummerston School
Questions or comments? Contact Thrive at 254-5875 or email help@thriveeap.com.

 

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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 107.7FM. To 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, WeCAN activists, for your time and energy this and every week. We are so grateful for all that you do and look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event or meeting this week.

 

Joanna and Leslie 
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