Weekly Update 01.27.2020

“Corruption is when people in public office use that public office for private or selfish ends. This is one of the most central debates in the last 40 years in law, 'what is corruption?'…what we've seen in the Supreme Court is a fundamental struggle over the definitions. (The definition I just gave you) is a definition that goes back thousands of years (and) was certainly the way that the founders of our country understood corruption and they took it very seriously. In the last few decades, there's been a rising alternate definition of corruption, one that I radically disagree with…(T)he (majority of the) Supreme Court, although it used to be the minority of the Supreme Court, (advocates that) corruption is essentially when there is some kind of explicit quid pro quo exchange between someone in public office and someone else saying, "I will divert this train 'cause you're giving me 50 bucks…(T)here’s a false sense of certainty around the modern definition.”
Zephyr Teachout
Anti-corruption expert, American attorney, author, and Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University

     We hope you all are staying warm this January, WeCAN friends. This week's email is chock full of events that will fire you up and get you motivated to create positive change here in Windham County. Grab that calendar, a pen, and make some plans to join your neighbors at an event or meeting this week. We look forward to seeing you there! 

HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, JANUARY 26th, 2020

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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HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, JANUARY 27th, 2020-SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd, 2020

PETITIONS DUE MONDAY, JANUARY 27th, 2020
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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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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Protest Vigil at TD Bank
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Friday, January 31st, 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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Critical Mass Bike Ride
hosted by 350 Brattleboro, 350 VT, Brattleboro Community Bike Clinic, and VBike; Image credit: Hugh D'Andrade
Friday, January 31, 2020 at 134 Elliot Street (Brattleboro, VT, 05301. NOTE LOCATION CHANGE). 5:30pm-6:30pm. 
We're continuing with our monthly rides on the last Friday of each month. Kids and families welcome! Critical (and "Kidical") Mass rides have a unique way of energizing folks around bike mobility, transportation solutions, and amplifying our collective ability and power to begin reclaiming our streets and communities. We need this, and we need YOU!
Agenda:
5:30pm: We'll be starting AND ending at 134 Elliot St. *NOTE LOCATION CHANGE.* We'll begin by getting organized, signing in, decorating bikes, and going over our route.
6pm: Begin Critical Mass ride. This will be a high-visibility downtown route!
6:30pm: End ride back at 134 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT. 
Help us spread the word & make this another successful critical mass ride!

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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
h
osted by Poor People's Campaign
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2020 at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew (8 Church Street, Greenfield, MA 01301). 7pm-9pm. Tickets are available here: https://actionnetwork.org/events/greenfield-ma-mass-meeting-we-must-do-more-national-tour
Join the 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.

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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, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) 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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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED 

Want to make a direct impact on the lives of individuals in our community? The Brattleboro Community Justice Center needs you! For more information about how you can help in this important program contact michelle@brattleborocjc.org.
The BCJC works with individuals recently released from incarceration in Vermont. This is an opportunity to connect with and support individuals who have struggled to make a successful & healthy transition back into the community.
We need volunteers to work with us to help support these individuals through joining weekly teams called COSAs (circles of support and accountability). 
Each new volunteer needs to attend two trainings to participate in our programs. We have two options coming up for the required 90 min DOC training: Feb 19 at 4:30pm in Brattleboro or March 19 at 6:45 in Bellows falls. There are also two trainings for the CoSA preparation training. Feb 7 evening & Feb 8 in Springfield or March 20 evening & March 21 in Brattleboro.

 

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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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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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Racial Justice Organizing Meetings Hosted by Lost River and The Root’s BIPOC Caucus
hosted by The Black, Indigenous, & People of Color Caucus 
and Lost River Racial Justice
Next Meeting: Monday, February 24th, 2020 and
Every 4th Monday of the Month afterward at The Root Social Justice Center (The Whetstone Studio for the Arts, 28 Williams Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:45pm-8pm.
Dinner is provided; Childcare is available; Fragrance-free, nut-free, wheelchair accessible space. To learn more visit: http://lostriverracialjustice.org/racial-justice-organizing-meetings/ or contact LostRiverRJ@gmail.com.
All those who wish to join the movement for racial justice are encouraged to attend our monthly RJO meetings. These meetings focus on education, organizing, relationship-building, and collective healing. We work together in a multiracial group as well as in breakout groups for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-identified and white-identified people.

 

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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, as always, for your unwavering dedication to Windham County, WeCAN family. We appreciate the time and effort you put in to all that you do to create a more just and fair environment for everyone in Vermont. Until next time...

 

Joanna and Leslie 
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