Weekly Email Update 8.26.19

“Imagine a man without lungs. Imagine Earth without the Amazon rainforest.”
 Vinita Kinra
Indo-Canadian author, activist, and public speaker best known for her collection of short stories, Pavitra in Paris

     When the state of the world seems overwhelming, as it may seem right now, retreating into your comfort zone can feel like a reasonable response. We encourage you, our WeCAN friends, to step out of that zone of comfort and attend a meeting or event this coming week; work alongside your community to help create positive change in the world in which we live. Putting hands and minds to work creating the change you wish to see is a great way to cope with the overwhelm today's current events can provoke. We would be thrilled to have you take the seat beside us as we strive to create a just and sustainable Windham County. We look forward to seeing you this week! 

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HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, AUGUST 25th, 2019

Share the Harvest
hosted by Edible Brattleboro
Sundays through October 27th, 2019 at the Edible Garden at Turning Point (corner of Elm Street and Frost Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 11am-1pm. For information please email ediblebrattleboro@gmail.com. Please bring your own bags.
Edible Brattleboro’s "Share the Harvest" stand is open every Sunday from 11am-1pm, in their help-yourself garden at Turning Point, corner of Elm and Frost Street (diagonally across from NYET). All produce is free. 
Thanks to the generosity of local farmers and gardeners, Edible Brattleboro distributed approximately 2500 pounds of free produce last summer. Feel free to drop off produce from your garden during the Sunday hours. You may also visit either of Edible Brattleboro's two public help-yourself gardens to harvest whatever is ready. Simply look for the green flags and instructions on how to harvest. The two public gardens are located at the Co-op (rear parking lot) and Turning Point. Edible Brattleboro is fully volunteer run. If you would like to help out or would like more info, contact Marilyn at ediblebrattleboro@gmail.com or visit www.EdibleBrattleboro.org.

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HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, AUGUST 26th, 2019-SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1st, 2019

 

Mother Up! Monthly Meet-Up 
Monday August 26th, 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. This month, we'll be sharing stories from July's family trip to Healing Turtle Island.

 

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Protest Vigil at TD Bank
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Friday, August 30th, 2019 (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 and Roundtable Discussion: "Dancing with the Cannibal Giant”
Friday, August 30th, 2019 at the Westminster West Congregational Church (44 Church Street, Westminster West, VT). 5pm.
Chris Wood of BALE (Building a Local Economy) and Anne Macksoud (film editor and interviewer) will join us and lead the discussion; these people are about community-building, and as Helena Norberg-Hodge said recently in an interview with Charles Eisenstein, ’the future is local.’ In case you can’t read the fine print below, the last line is “Getting at what emerges in community is a core intention.”  We hope you will join us for this intriguing and thought-provoking conversation.  

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Critical Mass Ride: Bike Back to School!
hosted by 350 Brattleboro, 350 VT, Brattleboro Community Bike Clinic, and VBike; Image credit: Hugh D'Andrade
Friday, August 30th, 2019 at The Brattleboro Common (Park Place, the intersection of routes 5 and 30, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5:30pm-6:30pm.
We're continuing with our monthly rides with rotating themes on the last Friday of each month. This month, we're putting a twist on the ole "Back to School" by celebrating "Bike to School!" 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 the Brattleboro Common. We'll begin by getting organized, signing in, decorating bikes, and going over our route.
6:00pm: Begin Critical Mass ride. This will be a high-visibility downtown route!
6:30pm: End ride back at the Brattleboro Common OR continue on to the Marina for a dip in the West River.
Help us spread the word to help make this another successful critical mass ride!

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We Celebrate Democracy/Civil Rights for All Labor Day Banner Raising
Sunday, September 1st, 2019 at the Corner of Main and High Streets (Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 8am. The Works will be open for restroom use and breakfast.
You are invited to watch the banner raised over Main Street and show your support for Democracy and the workers of the world, as many workers have no rights at all.
The fire company hangs Main Street banners on Sunday mornings at 8am or a little after. Please do not block the sidewalk or the street.
It is good practice for us to learn how to stand up together in public in a positive way that makes friends, not enemies, for democracy. We can do this by supporting the Banner Raising. It’s satisfying and fun, too! Come to the Banner Raising and help us carry on with humanity's great work. We hope to see you there.

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Alley Lane Cleanup
hosted by Ask the River, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, VT Center for Photography, Town of Brattleboro, Brattleboro Area Hospice, Brattleboro Prevention Coalition, with artists Evie Lovett, Andrea Wasserman, and Elizabeth Billings
Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 in the Transportation Center Alleyway off of Flat Street (77 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), between the VT Center for Photography and Experienced Goods. 4pm-6pm. Public metered parking is available directly across from the Alleyway.
Together we can do this! We invite you to help reimagine the transportation center alleyway off of Flat St. between Vermont Center for Photography & Experienced Goods. There will be three project days to clean up the area, mulch, garden and brainstorm.  The date: July 3rd, July 31st, and September 4th from 4-6 PM. 
This effort is part of a larger placemaking effort to transform the area into an inviting and inclusive area for community use and engagement. The effort will culminate with a  pop-event during the September Gallery Walk on Sept. 6th. 
Who is making this happen? Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, VT Center for Photography, Town of Brattleboro, Brattleboro Area Hospice, Brattleboro Prevention Coalition,  a team of regional artists– Evie Lovett, Andrea Wasserman, Elizabeth Billings and all of you! 

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Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Open House
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at the Brattleboro Health Center (6 High Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-7pm. Please RSVP by September 4th to 802-448-9704 or email supportus@ppnne.org. Refreshments will be served. 
Join us for an introduction by community activist Lisa Ford, a poem by Verandah Porche, reflections by former Senior VP and PPNNE Ann Fielder, remarks by PPNNE President and CEO Meagan Gallagher, and a Community Q and A. 

 

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RePeopling Vermont: The Paradox of Development in the Twentieth Century (part of the Community Conversations Series)
hosted by the Vermont Historical Society, Brooks Memorial Library, and the VT Dept of Libraries. A joint project of VHS and the Vermont Department of Libraries. Support provided by the Vermont Humanities Council and Northern Vermont University
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 6:30pm-8pm. Free and open to everyone. For more information please go to www.vermonthistory.org/community-conversations.
Join fellow Vermonters in your community to learn about how the state has handled questions of development and progress in the past and how we might use those lessons to discuss a path forward to the future. The programs will open with Northern Vermont University professor Paul Searls, who will review themes and events featured in his newly-published book "Repeopling Vermont: The Paradox of Development in the Twentieth Century". In the book, he highlights the stories of different communities and their responses to difficult questions as part of his inquiry into how Vermont balanced competing visions for the state in the last century.
Following Searls’s presentation, attendees will be invited to share their own perspectives on their communities. How can we use the lessons of history to frame our planning going forward? What is important to preserve, and when is it important to move forward? How can we balance different interests and create a Vermont that works for everyone?

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Vermont Climate Strike & Week of Action
Friday, September 20th, 2019 - Saturday, September 28th, 2019
Actions and events happening throughout the week all around the state (and the world!), including September 20th Brattleboro strike and non-violent direct action training (see other listings below for more details).
Greta Thunberg and other young climate justice leaders chose the word “strike.” Adults in the movement are supporting the young leaders in how they’re telling the story of this movement. We’ve heard repeatedly that “strike” is a word that is important to them, as it conveys the urgency of the climate situation. “Strike” also invites workers to shut down business as usual by one method utilized by labor movements. Certainly there’s not a lot one individual’s actions can do. But when we come together and act collectively, history has shown that we become immensely powerful, and we can literally move mountains. Coming together is what has to happen to make change. Everyone matters.
Organizers say that it is on course to be the largest global mobilization against climate breakdown, with over 6000 people in 150 countries pledging to organize events to date. Read more here.
Join Our Climate Strike! Our house is on fire: let’s act like it.
The September climate strikes and week of action in Vermont are being organized by a statewide coalition, including people from the following groups, as well as students from a number of schools from around the state:

 

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Non-Violent Direction Action Training - Brattleboro
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at Centre Congregational Church (193 Main Street, Brattleboro). 1:30pm-5:30pm. Register at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc02qbKGjxqZ6Re7RhTid-OrNhuaumXBhIvgeu97g6EdA2vgg/viewform?usp=sf_link. This training costs between $20-$75 based on your ability to pay. Please contribute as you can—if you are able to give more, you can support others to attend. No one will ever be turned away for lack of funds, and we are happy to figure out a plan that works for you! Questions? Contact Sonia at trainings@350vt.org.
Join 350 Vermont in Brattleboro for a workshop on non-violent direct action – a powerful tool for social change! Through role plays and exercises, we will learn the importance of collective action and its connection to collective liberation, the basics of NVDA (non-violent direct action) theory, creative tactics for shutting things down to open them up, and legal factors to consider, all with a focus on how to use NVDA strategically within a campaign. This training follows a youth-led climate strike at Pliny Park as part of the Global Climate Strike and Week of Action September 20th - 27th, 2019.

 

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Looking Back, Moving Forward: 4 Decades of Queer Activism in VT
hosted by the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 7:30pm-9:30pm. Admission is free.
Vermont is widely regarded as one of the most queer-friendly states in America. In 2000, the state was the first in the nation to legalize civil unions for same sex couples, and in 2009, Vermont became the first state to allow same-sex marriage by legislation rather than by court ruling.
But how did that come to pass? At least one important factor has been the tireless activism and advocacy carried out over decades by, and on behalf of, Vermont’s LGBTQ+ community. Presented in partnership with the AIDS Project of Southern Vermont Prevention and Out in the Open - formerly Green Mountain Crossroads and sponsored by The Samara Fund of the The Vermont Community Foundation, this event looks at the key individuals, organizations, and moments in the history of queer activism in southern Vermont from the 1980s to the present day.
This event is presented in conjunction with DONA ANN MCADAMS: PERFORMATIVE ACTS, a retrospective of work by the acclaimed photographer and activist Dona Ann McAdams. McAdams credits her friendship with civil rights icon Harvey Milk with inspiring her lifelong devotion to using photography for social change. The exhibit includes McAdams’ photographs of queer liberation and AIDS activism protests across several decades.

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Climate Support Group
sponsored by Post Oil Solutions
Group Begins Wednesday October 2nd, 2019 at Brooks Memorial Library (224 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301) in the History Room. 6pm-8pm.  (Oct. 2 Only)
Regular Meetings will occur on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the Month from 6pm-7:30pm. A conversation with one of the two facilitators is required prior to the start date to ensure that this is the right group for you.  There is no charge to participate, and group size is limited to 10 people. For more information, and to apply, please contact Tim Stevenson at bereal@vermontel.net or (802) 869-2141.
Post Oil Solutions is sponsoring a 10 session support group to provide a safe and supportive place for people to share their feelings about the climate emergency, and the very real possibility of societal collapse--grief, despair, rage, guilt, powerlessness, as well as explore with each other how we can adapt to this existential crisis, and take care of ourselves and each other by coming together within resilient, transformative communities. The group will be co-facilitated by Tim Stevenson and Connie Baxter, both experienced group leaders. This is a peer support group, not a therapy group. It will be closed (not open to drop-ins); we are thus seeking people who will commit to attend the 10 sessions. 

 

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A Community Letter from Brattleboro Federation of Nurses-AFT

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Nurses are Calling for Community Support: Your Solidarity is Needed!
To Our Community,  
As your community’s nurses at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, we write asking for your support.  We ask that you stand with nurses by adding your name to our community petition here
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) is located in Brattleboro, Vermont, serving a population of more than 60,000 people in 22 towns in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. 
As members of the Brattleboro Federation of Nurses-AFT, the nursing staff is currently in contract negotiations with the Administration of BMH.  The central goal of these negotiations is to make key changes that would result in the recruitment and retention of our quality nursing staff here in our community: 

  • A safe workplace with the necessary tools and staffing to foster the best care that our friends and family rely on.
  • Parity with other area Hospitals as a means to reducing the reliance on travelers and to recruit and retain trained nurses, technicians and ancillary staff here in Windham County. 
  • Improved benefits to ensure that nurses can retire with dignity and have expanded access to area health care.

By signing our petition, you are deciding to stand with us as we work to improve the quality of care here at our local hospital. You can sign here
Our Community Hospital is bleeding nurses. BMH Administration needs to address nurse retention as a quality of care issue. 
Is this the best way to spend BMH’s resources?
The Impact of Turnover on Patient Care
Nurse turnover regularly leads to a shortage of nursing staff that negatively affects a patient’s experience and outcome. When nurses leave a healthcare organization, they create a vacancy that can affect the cost of operation. The vacancy is also costly to other nurses, who may have to work overtime and can experience burnout due to long hours and a high patient load.
The Shocking Cost of High Turnover
                
High and increasing turnover is a recognized problem in the medical field. However, it presents an even bigger than average challenge at BMH. While the national turnover rate for bedside RNs is 14.6%, the RN turnover rate at BMH was 21% in 2018. Not only does this present a dangerous situation for patient care, but it also presents a huge financial cost. “A study in the Journal of Nursing Administration found that it may cost anywhere from $97,216 to $104,440 in today’s dollars to replace a nurse, including pre-hire recruitment and aspects such as unstaffed beds, overtime, and losses in productivity.”[1]  BMH reported 121 FTE RNs to CMS in 2018. At a 21% turnover rate, using the estimates from the previously cited study, that turnover cost BMH at minimum $2.4 million

Travelers
In the face of high turnover and lack of adequate recruitment, BMH contracts with an outside agency to provide traveling nurses. These nurses come at a tremendous cost to the hospital, both financially and in terms of continuity of care. Over the last three years, BMH has spent a yearly average of nearly $1.5 million on travelers.  

Overtime
Overtime is often a result of a lack of nurses. Over the last three years, BMH has averaged 8,466 hours of per year of nurse overtime hours.  

Executive Compensation 
While the hospital seems to struggle financially year to year, compensation of its top executives has steadily increased. Between 2013 and 2018, while the hospital’s total revenue only increased by 3%, CEO Steven Gordon’s base pay increased by 24% and his total compensation increased by 20%. For reference, the median household income in Brattleboro, VT is $39,402. In 2017, BMH’s CEO made 9 times more than the average household in the community. Please sign our petition in support of improving BMH. Sign here.

 

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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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ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING 

Indigo Radio
Sundays at 12pm on Brattleboro Community Radio 107.7FMTo stream live: Visit www.wvew.org 
Indigo Radio, deepening understanding and making connections! IndigoRadio is a group of area educators seeking to learn through engaging with others in our community and throughout the world. We will be talking about educational and social issues both globally and locally and connecting them to our lives and Brattleboro community. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigoradiowvew/. For archive recordings of past shows: https://soundcloud.com/user-654648353.

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       Thank you for your time and your activism this week, Friends. Our actions mean now more than ever and we are so thankful for the work you do in your community. Have a wonderful week. 

Your Friendly WeCAN Admins,

Joanna and Leslie