Weekly Update 06.29.20
“Even the statement, “Let’s invite more Black people to the table,” implies ownership of the table and control of who is invited. Racism is about power.”
Bernice A. King (b.1963)
American minister and the youngest child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King
There are quite a few submissions this week, WeCANners, and we are so thankful for the effort each and every one of you continues to put forth into our community. From protests and counter protests to feeding our neighbors during this pandemic to taking a good look at our own inherent racial biases, Windham County residents are demanding progress and we are excited to witness it! Thank you!
As an added bonus this weekend, we’d like to share with you some thought provoking music to enjoy while you peruse this week's Weekly Email Update. Afro-Caribbean-Canadian singer and songwriter Kaia Kater, who studied Appalachian music at West Virginia's Davis & Elkins College, often references the Black Lives Matter movement within a music form that doesn't exactly snap to mind as being in dialogue with modern issues.
These days, Kaia Kater records for Smithsonian Folkways and some of the songs she brought to this Tiny Desk Concert come from her recent recording Grenades, a record she worked on while exploring her father's home country of Grenada. It's a country that has "experienced a lot of political turmoil," she says. "My father left when he was 16 years old and he came to Canada as a refugee, on his own. It's a story I ran away from for a long time, where I didn't want to reconcile with myself being this kind of hyphenated Canadian." Kaia Kater tries to come to terms with that history on the last song at the Tiny Desk, also the title track of Grenades. "Rain heavy like carpet bombs, sweetgrass, and lemonade / Fold the memory into your arms and whisper it away." The imagery is stunning, her Tiny Desk Concert sublime. (From NPR Music Mar 20, 2019) Enjoy!
(Click the image for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert featuring Kaia Kater. Many thanks to Lissa Schneckenburger for the recommendation on Facebook)
HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, JUNE 28th, 2020
Share the Harvest Stand
brought to you by Edible Brattleboro
Sunday, June 28th, 2020, and every Sunday during the Summer, at the corner of Elm Street and Frost Street in Brattleboro, VT, 05301. 11am-1pm. For more information please email EdibleBrattleboro@gmail.com.
Pick up FREE fresh veggies and/or drop off surplus from your garden to share. Please supply your own bags.
Edible Brattleboro Volunteers Needed the Week of June 28th
Edible Brattleboro needs volunteers to help install two gardens in collaboration with Brattleboro’s Growing Resilience campaign. The projects will be at The Root Social Justice Center and Mountain Home Park (TriPark) in West Brattleboro. Email Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Seeing and Disrupting Racism: A Focus on White Fragility
hosted by Peace & Justice Center
Sunday, June 28th, 2020, online here: https://www.pjcvt.org/event/seeing-disrupting-racism-a-focus-on-white-fragility-2/. Tickets can be purchased here: www.pjcvt.org. 2pm-3:30pm. This workshop was developed for predominantly white audiences, but all are welcome. Space is limited, registration is required. Suggested donation $10, no one turned away for lack of funds. View our sliding scale document on the registration form. Also happening on July 1. For more information, contact: email@example.com or 802-863-2345 x9.
This introductory-level workshop defines racism and white fragility, explores how white fragility perpetuates racism, and gives ways to disrupt that cycle.
Details for the July 1st event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1358885091169030/
HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, JUNE 29th, 2020-SUNDAY, JULY 5th 2020
Somatic Practices Lab
sponsored by Brattleboro Community Justice Center
facilitated by the SUSU Healing Collective.
Monday, June 29th, 2020 via Zoom (the zoom link can be accessed by clicking the "Go to Online Event Page" button and upon getting the the event page clicking the grey rectangle under Zoom Link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/somatic-practices-lab-tickets-110337269744?fbclid=IwAR3403Fu1kOVDRxjJI0BCAVhbrd1FsKsc-QAhIfoetKeskZfh023-xeOBz4 ). 4pm-5:30pm.
Closed Captioning offered with request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Culture shapes and shifts often unconsciously, the body's experience of fear based tendencies and habits that suppress primitive trembles, shakes, and spontaneous body movements. In this lab we will explore somatic practices to connect with the body's ability to move through and with discomfort, so that we may increase our innate ability to experience joy, safety, and pleasure. This will be a sampler experience to invite our curiosity toward befriending ourselves first, each other, and our world.
Here's a bit about the SUSU Healing Collective who will be facilitating this lab: Their "mission is to offer an affirming space for people to practice community reciprocity; The act of giving from a place of abundance and receiving from a place of deep love and reverence while learning how to engage in community practices that dismantle systems of oppression and build systems of health, healing, wellness, and magic."
This is 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 that folks need to prevent, respond to, and heal from instances of interpersonal harm while addressing the harm's systematic roots.
Renew New England Launch Rally
Tuesday, June 30th, 2020, Online, 6pm.
Join us as we launch Renew New England – a groundbreaking new coalition of leading racial justice organizations, labor unions, frontline communities, and environmental advocates fighting for a region-wide Jobs Guarantee to tackle mass unemployment, economic and racial inequality, the coronavirus pandemic, and climate change.
We’ll hear from Bernie, Ayanna, Varshini, Ro, and Rev. Mariama, introduce the slate of 100+ candidates, and explain how you can get involved to elect the bold leadership New England needs right now.
Grassroots Organizing in a Global Pandemic
hosted by Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund
Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 via Zoom . 6pm-8pm. Registration is required, so sign up today!
Fighting for what's important doesn’t stop during a global pandemic--it only changes how we show up!
Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund, Rights & Democracy VT, ACLU-VT, Pride Center of VT, the Peace and Justice Center, Food Not Bombs, and the Burlington Tenants Union will help you answer the question: "how do I take action during a pandemic?” in this online event.
These stellar organizations will share their organizing tactics and success stories for being effective on the “front lines” in a virtual movement. Our goal is to connect attendees with real actions and next steps on the issues they care about!
Where Do We Go from Here?
sponsored by Brattleboro Common Sense
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2020 at a TBA Brattleboro location. 6pm. Free, BYOM (Bring your own mask). Register by email info@BrattleboroCommonSense.org and choose your dinner: omnivore, vegetarian or vegan. BrattleboroCommonSense.org.
This will be a sit-down dinner and face-to-face discussion.
- advocacy methods beyond protests and free speech
- civics under social distancing
- specific policy proposals
Image caption: A BCS worker and BPD Chief Fitzgerald dispute police use of force on young climate emergency protesters at the Heifer Stroll parade last June
In(ter)dependence Day Save the USA Croquet
sponsored by Sister District Project Southern VT
Saturday, July 4th, 2020 and Sunday, July 5th, 2020 at Peg Alden and Toby Welch's backyard at 7 West Street, Putney, VT (parking on Main Street). 10am-4pm. Masks required and teams will be spread out by different tee times. We will sanitize balls and mallets between teams, or feel free to bring your own.
Sign up for a slot to play Southern Vermont Sister District's creative, fun, and political Croquet Course with your own team (up to 4 players) on In(ter)dependence Day weekend. The course is located in downtown Putney in Peg Alden and Toby Welch's backyard at 7 West Street and parking is available on Main Street. Make a donation in the amount of your choosing directly to our current Sister District candidate, Brittney Rodas, who is running for a strategic house seat in Pennsylvania with hopes of flipping that state Blue. Donations will be accepted at the starting wicket by check or can be made by smartphone using an Act Blue link. Sign up for a tee time here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4dacad2aaafe3-interdependence.
Free Food Event in Marlboro
hosted by the Marlboro Community Center
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 at the Marlboro Community Center (534 South Road, Marlboro, VT, 05344). 3pm-5pm. To ensure availability of lasagna and cafe items, feel free to pre-order by emailing: email@example.com.
In cooperation with Marlboro Cares and the Marlboro Alliance, we will be giving away grocery bags of non-perishable food (such as pasta, flour, rice and canned goods), portions of Lauren's super-popular lasagna and our frozen house-made soups & cookie dough. All food is FREE. Donations are welcome, as always.
Tables will be set up outside from 3-5 pm for socially-distanced distribution. Individuals or families will be asked to maintain 6 feet of distance. 1 bag per household with a possibility of a 2nd bag if supplies allow.
Deliveries will be made through Marlboro Cares for those needing assistance. Please call Marlboro Cares at 258-3030 in advance to arrange a delivery.
Dining Dems - Online French Cooking Class
Tuesday, July 14th, 2020. Sign up at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dwithd. 5:30pm-6:30pm. Requested donation is $15.
Celebrate Bastille Day and pick up some new cooking techniques with Chef Justin Thompson of Wantastiquet Catering. Chef Thompson will demonstrate and help you prepare a delicious French meal in your own kitchen.
Sign up now at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dwithd and you will receive:
- Zoom link for the class
- All the recipes
- Ingredient list with recommendations
- Wine pairing recommendations
Requested donation is $15 and it goes to Windham Votes! and supports our Get Out the Vote efforts.
Visit with Emily Long, State Representative
Saturday, July 28th, 2020 at Moore Free Library (23 West Street, Newfane, VT, 05345). 11am-12:30pm.
Chat with Rep. Long about what's on your mind and learn what the VT Legislature is doing, has done, and plans to do. All voters in Windham-5 are welcome (Marlboro, Townshend, Newfane). THIS IS AN OUTDOOR EVENT. BYOM (Bring your own mask).
What the US Constitution Offers Us: 2nd Amendment
with Meg Mott, Ph.D, Professor of Politics Emerita, Marlboro College
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 at Moore Free Library (23 West Street, Newfane, VT, 05345). 7pm-8:30pm.
An outdoor, salon-style discussion of the 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution with Meg Mott, Ph.D, Professor of Politics Emerita, Marlboro College and "Constitution Wrangler." In case of severe weather, the event will be held the next day (Thursday) at the same time.
2nd Amendment: Why the need for an armed citizenry? In the 21st century, the Second Amendment took on a new life. In two recent Supreme Court rulings, the right to bear arms was transformed from a collective right of state militias to a personal right of self-defense. We will consider why the Framers wanted an armed citizenry, how the Second Amendment lost ground during the tragic failure of Reconstruction, and what the emphasis on individual self-defense tells us about the health of our democracy.
Upcoming BLM Solidarity Events In and Around Windham County
Updates from Lost River Racial Justice
Welcome to our many new members! See below for ways to get involved.
We haven’t posted an update since the week of the murder of George Floyd because there has been so much to organize and respond to. We would like to take this moment to update our community about what we have been working on and where we will be continuing our efforts moving forward, as the uprising unfolds. While we have not been the primary organizers of protests, we support our co-conspirators and have been showing up in the streets alongside many of you. So grateful for the efforts of the community and the amazing turnouts we have seen!
Our work continues to be the slow and steady work that sustains us for the long haul. We have been here long before this and we will be here until all people are free. We are continuing to work diligently, often many hours a day (unpaid and in addition to most of us having full time jobs), in support of our BIPOC community, and under their leadership. Our foundation is our shared long-term commitments to healing and relationship building as strategy for creating a new culture. All of us are maxed out on any given day which is why it has taken us a minute to reach out and let you know what projects we are focused on during this time and as we do some re-prioritizing. White folks please see below where you can plug into the work and be useful!
* Our relationship with The Root Social Justice Center’s BIPOC Caucus, both organizationally and personally, continues to be our priority. We have been working closely with them through the pandemic to support their Mutual Aid Support Network efforts while they work hard to meet the needs of their BIPOC community by keeping up with their vital programming. We are so grateful for all they do and for the relationships we have built and continue to tend. Please click here to access the network’s many pages and see where you can plug in to help your community members. Thank you to all who have contributed!
* Our biggest project is the monthly Racial Justice Organizing Meeting that is co-hosted with the BIPOC Caucus of The Root and is held every fourth Monday. This meeting began as the Black Lives Matter southern-hub in 2015 and transformed into what it is today in 2016. Normally help in person, we are now meeting on zoom and use this time for educating ourselves about white supremacy culture, supporting BIPOC needs (personal and community needs), and plugging into tasks. It's essentially an on-going mutual aid support network and relationship-building/healing meeting, which we believe are the foundations of what create a healthy multiracial and multiethnic community. At this meeting, we have breakout spaces for white-identified caucus and BIPOC-identified caucus to connect and do the work. Each of these caucuses has separate meetings each month as well.
* Lost River meets on every second Monday for our LRRJ Working Group Meeting where we dig into tasks and action steps. We are doing some restructuring of these meetings to meet the demands of this moment, particularly a large influx of white folks wanting to get involved. With such a small leadership team, we are trying our best to do that! Let us know if you'd like to help.
* Besides working closely with The BIPOC Caucus as our accountability partners, we have liaisons working/meeting with The Root Social Justice Center, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Out in the Open, Migrant Justice, the Brattleboro Food Coop, the Community Equity Collaborative of Brattleboro, and Brattleboro Solidarity.
* We developed and maintain an annual Rural Racial Justice Organizing Study Group and we were about to launch our Intro to Anti-Racism Study Group this spring (in deep collaboration with Out in the Open and Amber Arnold of The Root's BIPOC caucus) but then Covid19 hit and we had to postpone. New dates TBD.
* An upcoming project is working with The Root to support their Statewide People Of Color Caucus in which we are being asked to help replicate the two-caucus model we co-developed here in Brattleboro, around the state.
* We also have a letter writing point person to initiate public responses to events happening in town that are racial justice related. Currently a letter is being written about what “defunding the police” means and could mean in our rural community. If you’d like to be involved, be in touch.
* And of course an additional chunk of time goes into managing email lists to keep folx updated on what we're up to and what our co-conspirators are up to, as well as keeping up with leadership meetings twice monthly, social media, website edits, and non-profit financials.
Upcoming/Ongoing projects we need more folks to help with:
* A group focused on Legislative efforts related to racial justice is forming. Wichie Artu, from the BIPOC caucus, is taking the lead and a couple of our nucleus members are joining him. Please be in touch if you would like to help with this vital work- we need more folks on board, especially if you have experience in this area.
* We encourage you to join the national org Showing Up for Racial Justice at www.showingupforracialjustice.org . We are an affiliate. You will receive information about upcoming trainings, phone calls with rural organizers, and events. There were 100,000 members a month ago and now there are 200,000. The accountability partners are M4BL, Cosecha, and Color of Change. We have some connections with other Vermont chapters/affiliates. New folks needed! Please contact Claire Halverson, our liaison to SURJ, if you’d like to get involved. firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
* A group focused on having conversations around "defunding" the police, in collaboration with other orgs, including a possible forum with BIPOC and other leaders who have been doing this work for a long time. Do you have experience in this area? Or do you want to help coordinate?
* A group in collaboration with other local organizations to make sure we stay in the streets as much as possible. Do you have experience organizing protests/rallies/stand-outs or being part of a street safety team during these types of events? Even if not, and you want to help/learn, be in touch.
** Please know that while we are here and working hard to maintain our on-going projects, we do not have the capacity to create and maintain lots of new projects so please, if you have the capacity and the experience and want to organize something, please be in touch with us (for white folx) via email@example.com or The Root (for BIPOC folx) at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to support you and work with accountability.
** Please use your financial resources to support black owned businesses and projects, especially The Root and The Root’s MASN, as well as the Susu Healing Collective's gofundme to buy land for black farmers and healers.
** If you are able to dedicate time and energy to helping raise funds for this work, The Root Social Justice Center has a fundraising team that can always use more people to help with phone banking, data entry/management, mailings, etc. This is a great way for white people to get involved with the Root and support these important programs happening within the community and beyond. Please contact Anne Louise (email@example.com) if you are interested in getting connected with the Fundraising Team.
** Alongside doing active work in the community, please dig into the work of undoing racism in your body and mind, by educating yourself and even starting your own study groups and book groups based on our Reading List with your friends and family everywhere. We always encourage using a knowledgeable facilitator where possible and a focus on body-based practices, such as those offered by Resmaa Menakem in his book My Grandmother’s Hands. This is how we do the inner work to change our implicit biases and ultimately, change harmful white supremacy culture into a new culture based on care and connection. However, book groups alone will not stop the violence against our community members so be sure to get involved in other ways like the many listed above!
Thank you all for showing up! See you on Zoom or in the streets!
Lost River Leadership
(Anne Louise, Claire, Lis, Ethan, Brittany, & Branch)
Prison Should Not Be A Covid-19 Death Sentence: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/
COVID19 is impacting families all across Vermont and the nation. We have known from the beginning that group living settings are particularly susceptible to rapid infection. We have seen in other countries and states that the outcome of not taking strong preventative measures in prisons is a spike in cases of infection. We have also seen effective examples of precautions being taken.
Join Brenda Siegel, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor; Representatives Mari Cordes, Kevin Christie, Selene Colburn and Brian Cina; House rep candidate, Tanya Vyhovsky, Chittenden County Senate Candidate; Kesha Ram, Barre City Councilor; Teddy Waszazak, Burlington City Councilor; Zoraya Hightower, and other elected officials in demanding health justice for all Vermonters. Please add your name to ask Governor Phil Scott to take preventative and reactive measures to protect Vermont's Prison Population, Corrections Officers and Staff, along with the greater community. Elected officials and candidates will be added as we connect and they respond. Today I ask all of you to join us! https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/prison-should-not-be-a-covid-19-death-sentence/
COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPPORTUNITIES
Out in the Open Rural QTBIPOC/LGBTQIA+ Mutual Aid Fund
The Mutual Aid Fund is offering requests up to $400 and support for: Groceries, supplies, housing support, medical support, and other thriving and survival needs.
Queer Joy= Mutual Aid
Mutual Aid= Voluntary, reciprocal, participatory support among equals and being with, not for, community members.
We are here for our community, our community is here for each other.
Ask: request funds for support weareoutintheopen.org/mutualaid
Offer: to donate, weareoutintheopen.org/donate
The Mutual Aid Fund will distribute money to LGBTQ+ folks, prioritizing QTBIPOC folks requesting funds. Priority will also be given to folks in Southern Vermont, southwestern New Hampshire, and then elsewhere in Vermont and New England, where funds of this type are critically needed. Additional priority will be given to those who live at the intersections of systematically oppressed experiences & identities.
To request funds and for more information: weareoutintheopen.org/mutualaid!
To donate, visit: weareoutintheopen.org/donate
"We Need Each Other" image credit to @itsmonicatrinidad
LGTBQIA+ Resources via Out in the Open
Out in the Open is offering a lot of resources & virtual spaces for rural LGBTQ folks in this time, friends. The full list and calendar is on our website here. We have a Community Care Offers & Asks list, and a list of Rural New England Mutual Aid opportunities, with specific resource links for LGBTQ and QTPOC folks. Out in the Open also has a Slack channel for rural LGBTQ folks to share resources and connect outside of social media. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Are You Sewing Masks? We have patterns and more information here: https://www.wecantogether.net/masks
Masks Needed for Local Schools by August
needed In Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney, Vernon
Can you sew masks for this need?
Can you donate cotton fabric or ⅛-¼ in. elastic?
Can you cut out masks if given material and a pattern?
Can you donate bandanas?
Cloth masks will be needed for students and teachers and school staff and bus drivers for the reopening of school (in late August).Hundreds of masks are needed in all sizes, from kindergarten through adult sized.
If you are capable of sewing masks, here are some samples of mask patterns:
Rectangular pleated mask, adult and child sizes https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask/Documents-Mask/Mask-Information
Contour face mask, several sizes https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O3IvcoVqyYqSTekwzLlnLI0t0GxSm-zA/view
Keep in mind, please:
1) Child size masks should have elastic loops, no ties (choking hazard).
2) All masks should be made of at least 2 layers of fabric.
3) Masks can be dropped off in marked bins Mon-Fri at any of these locations, and will be distributed to students and staff in the school district:
Brattleboro: Windham Southeast Supervisory Office, 53 Green Street or Oak Grove School, 15 Moreland Ave
Dummerston School, 52 Schoolhouse Rd
Guilford Central School, 374 School Rd
Putney Central School, 182 Westminster Rd
Vernon Elementary School, 381 Governor Hunt Rd
Please email Nurse Julia Duke (Green Street School) with questions: email@example.com or contact Judy Siler if you'd like ready-made kits for sewing or if you need elastic: 802-275-2627, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share this information widely! Thank you!
Online Religious Services
All Souls U.U. Sunday Services
Sunday Mornings at 10am.
To get the current information on an upcoming service or vespers check the All Souls web page at www.ascvt.org.
COVID 19 RESOURCES: VERMONT
Statewide Mutual Aid
organized by Brenda for Vermont
Localized Mutual Aid has been organized in Brattleboro and Putney and hyper local neighborhoods in Marlboro. If your community does not have mutual aid or you can't find it, please sign up to volunteer or if you are in need of help. All of us will likely be on the side of being able to help and needing help at times. Please don't hesitate to ask for help.
Sign up here if you would like to help your neighbors or are in need of help:https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/help-your-neighbor/
The links below will take you directly to the mutual aid forms.
To Volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfkRnbDKtNX_SacVaHWPyIAnsSXDGLsDMZE8vys25nzTgUo5A/viewform
If You Need Help: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfw7gg12KNq6n4s7SDUxf1ghMx-0MD3S0RCWQtxqmPTJQI8QA/viewform
A Message to Vermonters from Senator Bernie Sanders
As a member of the United States Senate, I want to make sure that the citizens of Vermont receive all of the federal benefits and help to which they are entitled. Although I cannot guarantee a particular outcome, I want you to know that my staff and I will do our best to respond to your concerns.
To contact Senator Sanders with a question, concern or comment please use this link: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/services/casework/.
If you want to contact me about your views and concerns regarding legislation and other issues important to you please use the COMMENTS FORM
If this is an emergency, please call: 802-862-0697 (Out-of-State 800-339-9834).
Note: We are currently experiencing a high volume of inquiries. As we do our utmost to assist vulnerable Vermonters, please only complete the form above if you are requesting assistance. Go to General Comments to leave comments and opinions.
Social Justice Resources
ROOT SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER MUTUAL AID & SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
The Root Social Justice Center is collecting a list of contacts and resources to help support and assist with the needs of their Root community members. Join if you are in need or are able to help.
COVID 19 INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO WINDHAM COUNTY, VT
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Information
BMH maintains a COVID-19 information page at https://www.bmhvt.org/coronavirus and reminds all who have primary care physicians to check with those providers if they have questions or concerns about their health.
FREE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD IN WINDHAM COUNTY
Brigid’s Kitchen, St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut Street, Brattleboro 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072
Grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mon, Weds, Thus, and Sat, 11:30am-12:20pm.
Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church 193 Main Street, Brattleboro (802) 254-4730
Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12pm.
VT Foodbank and Veggie Van Go will be at Brattleboro Union High School (Fairground Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the parking lot, on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 10am-2pm. Drive up, touchless pickup. Walkers welcome, too. Call VT 211 for more information.
Foodworks, the food shelf program of the Groundworks Collaborative https://groundworksvt.org (802) 490-2412, ccolascione@GroundworksVT.org
Households in need of food are asked to call or email to coordinate delivery. There is an urgent need for volunteers, and Foodworks has set up protocols to keep staff, volunteers, and clients as safe as possible. Please email us at volunteer@GroundworksVT.org if you are able to help.
Guilford Food Pantry
Every Thursday at the BBCC (3940 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT, 05301). 5pm-6pm.
We know that supplemental food can make such a big difference in one's budget. That is why we are stocking our shelves for our neighbors. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, dairy. Guilford Cares welcomes anyone in need of supplemental food for themselves or their families.
Vermont WIC is Responding to Covid 19
We are moving to phone appointments to align with social distancing efforts. If you have opted in to email and text notifications, you will receive important program updates, including information about local office hours and changes in operations. Our website will be kept up-to-date as well. Contact your local office with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition or shopping. Call 1-800-649-4357 or email WIC@Vermont.gov with any questions about WIC nutrition services and enrollment.
P-EBT (Pandemic EBT) is Available in VT
Many families in Vermont were notified that they would be receiving a food benefit called Pandemic EBT (or P-EBT). P-EBT is loaded on a card and can be used to purchase the groceries at many grocers and farmers markets. If you have school-aged kids, contact your school district to apply for free school meals. If approved, you'll automatically receive P-EBT.
If you’ve already received P-EBT and also participate in WIC, use your WIC benefits first, as WIC benefits do not rollover month-to-month. dcf.vermont.gov/press-releases/P-EBT
COVID 19 GENERAL VERMONT INFORMATION
Weekly Summery of Vermont Covid19 Data
NEW: Weekly Summary of Vermont COVID-19 Data is a new feature, where you can see a deeper level of demographic and other detail. You can find out more about testing trends, outbreaks, pre-existing conditions and prevalence of symptoms.
Information for Those Traveling to Vermont: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/traveling-vermont
The Path to Restart Vermont
Just a reminder: Covid 19 is still very much prevalent and is not gone, despite the feeling you may get as VT and other states reopen. Please continue to wear masks and gloves when out in public, wash your hands whenever available, bring and use hand sanitizer often if hand washing isn't available, clean commonly used areas like door knobs and counter tops often, and stand at least 6 feet apart, even outdoors.
Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development Covid 19 Recover Resource Center: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19
Schools, Childcare, and Summer Camps: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/schools-and-child-care-programs
NEW THIS WEEK:
Covid 19 Recovery Resource Center: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19 and https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19
For more information on:
- COVID-19 health information, guidance and case data, visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid19.
- The Governor’s actions, visit governor.vermont.gov/covid19response.
- The state’s modeling, visit dfr.vermont.gov/about-us/covid-19/modeling.
Testing at Popup Locations information can be found HERE.
New on Healthvermont.gov: Race and Ethnicity Data
The Health Department is now including data about race and ethnicity on its data dashboard at healthvermont.gov/covid19. We recognized the need to include this information to help us understand how Vermonters were being affected by COVID-19, but in our earlier efforts to respond to the pandemic, race and ethnicity data was not always collected for each patient. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy – especially those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other systemic inequalities. Therefore, our epidemiology team collaborated with Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL) to cross-reference medical records to gain more robust race information about COVID-19 cases in Vermont. At the end of March, race was unknown in 73% of cases, but through our joint work, we have brought that number down to just 8%. We have been able to partner with VITL through a state directive issued in response to the State of Emergency. We can use this data to help to prevent the spread of illness, improve care for patients, and present a more complete picture of how COVID-19 may be affecting everyone in Vermont. The Vermont State Health Assessment reports on what we know about the health status of Vermonters. Updated every five years, most recently in 2018, the assessment provides vital data for examining health inequities by race and ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and geography. See the report and learn more at healthvermont.gov/sha.
Cloth Face Coverings
The department recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home, since COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms. Facial coverings are encouraged for essential workers in stores and their customers.
We still need your help! Please sign up to support the state’s COVID-19 response: https://vermont.gov/volunteer.
Guidance for Vermonters
Who to contact:
• If you have questions: Use the Ask A Question tool on healthvermont.gov and review the FAQs.
• For non-health related questions, dial 2-1-1. If you have trouble reaching 2-1-1, dial 1-866-652-4636.
• If you are sick: Stay home and contact your health care provider online or by phone. Do not go to the hospital, except in a life-threatening situation.
Call the Health Department at 802-863-7240. We’re ready to respond to COVID-19 health-related questions. Calls are answered 8am - 6pm, seven days a week. Outside those hours, leave a message and your call will be returned.
Enjoy the Outdoors Safely
Spring in Vermont is great – so take the proper precautions and go outside. Just be sure to stay close to home, practice social distancing, choose low-risk activities and respect all signs for closed areas and Covid-19. For more info visit: https://fpr.vermont.gov/COVID-19.
Ticks are Terrible at Social Distancing
As you go safely outdoors, remember that the ticks are starting to come back and are hungry for their spring meal. It’s up to us to stay away from them. Use insect repellent, avoid wooded and brushy areas, and always do a tick check when you get home. Get more tick tips at healthvermont.gov/BeTickSmart.
VT Health Dashboards
VT Open Geodata Portal: https://geodata.vermont.gov/search?q=covid
Are You an Uninsured Vermonter?
To enroll in a qualified health plan, you must sign up during an enrollment period. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Health Connect has opened a Special Enrollment Period until June 15, 2020. During this time, any uninsured Vermonter can sign up for a Qualified Health Plan through Vermont Health Connect. Qualified families can also get financial help paying for coverage.. Please call us at 1-855-899-9600 to learn more.
- Learn about health insurance basics.
- Try our Plan Comparison Tool to find out if you qualify for financial help, and to see estimates of the total cost of each plan choice. Most Vermonters can either get free or low cost coverage through Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur, or get help to lower their monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs.
- Ready to apply? Set up an online account with Vermont Health Connect and fill out your application there, or call us at 1-855-899-9600 and speak to a customer support representative. If you'd like to talk through health insurance terms or the application process in person, you can meet with a trained, certified in-person Assister near you
RESOURCES FROM THE VT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
For daily Department of Health updates please use this link: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus
VERMONT ESSENTIAL PERSONS INFORMATION
Vermont Emergency Management Has Issued This Essential Persons List for Covid-19 Response
It includes staff and providers of childcare and education services, healthcare providers, public health employees, firefighters, first responders, pharmacy staff, grocery workers, and many more. The full list is here: https://vem.vermont.gov/sites/demhs/files/Essential%20Persons_03182020.pdf
WSESU Essential Worker Request for Childcare
According to the state, "Essential Workers" will now be able to get childcare from the public school system. If you are classified as an Essential Worker and have no other adult available to provide childcare while you are at your job, you should complete this form. Once your form is submitted, you will be contacted by school personnel with more information.
If you have questions, please contact the school counselor where your student is enrolled.
NEIGHBORLY ASSISTANCE PRECAUTION RECOMMENDATIONS
While Vermonters are staying home or choosing activities that maintain social distancing as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19, some are stepping up to ensure their neighbors have what they need. This type of community support is crucial, but we need to make sure our helpers and volunteers are still using social distancing practices to protect our most vulnerable Vermonters.
Any volunteers bringing items to those who need to stay home should:
- Keep a distance of six feet away.
- Avoid entering the recipient’s home.
- Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you feel sick or learn that you have had contact with someone who is sick, stop doing community support work immediately.
- Keep a list of anyone you come into close contact with in case contact tracing is required.
- Wear clean gloves when handling items that may be given to people with a weaker immune system, and when you are close to someone who may be sick.
Common sense practices can go a long way while Vermonters take care of each other.
Want to help? Consider signing up for the Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteers can be deployed locally in the event of an emergency, support first aid stations at community events, educate the public on preparedness, and assist in promoting various health and wellness activities. You can also reach out to local community groups/organizers like rotary and lion clubs, soup kitchens and check out your neighborhood Front Porch Forum group.
Fact Sheets: Coronavirus and Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks from The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (Vermont Department of Mental Health)
Managing Anxiety and Stress (CDC)
Slide Presentation on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS
Department of Labor FAQs for Employers and Employees
Specific Guidance for Employees:
Employee Assistance (Unemployment Claims): 1-877-214-3332.
Specific guidance for Employers:
Employer Assistance (Unemployment Claims): 1-877-214-3331.
Vermont’s unemployment rules have been relaxed to be able to help folks. Their phone lines are swamped, so here is a link where you can start the process of applying for Vermont Unemployment Insurance. https://appengine.egov.com/apps/vt/dol/unemploymentinsuranceclaim
MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE
Vermont Support Line from Pathways Vermont (833) 888-2557
The Vermont Support line is a free, anonymous resource for all Vermonters who are looking for someone to talk to. The Support Line is staffed by individuals who acknowledge that they have experienced a broad range of struggles of their own and are willing to be open about them.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Covid 19 Information and Resources can be found here:
CDC Tips for Managing Anxiety in the COVID-19 Outbreak
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugsexternal icon.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
IF YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER IS ILL
- Stay home. Many people who are mildly ill can manage their symptoms at home with rest, drinking fluids and taking fever-reducing medicine (Tylenol), when needed. Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.
- Call your doctor and ask to be seen for an evaluation. Do not go to the doctor's office unless instructed to do so. Anyone who does not have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to be connected to a clinic in their area.
- Do not go to or visit any hospitals or long-term care facilities unless absolutely necessary. This is to protect everyone’s health, including patients and staff.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and animals in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick around other people and pets.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- Caring for Someone at Home(link is external) (CDC)
- Caring for Yourself at Home (link is external)(CDC)
- Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick(link is external) (CDC)
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.
ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
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.
Until next time, WeCAN readers. Be safe and healthy. We look forward to connecting with you soon.