activism refresher

Yesterday, I was able to attend two events that were updated but familiar.

First, I went to a presentation on sustainability in our area, hosted by SUNY BEST. Four speakers talked about different aspects of sustainability, including community revitalization, energy, and building/infrastructure.

My favorite presentation was by Amelia LoDolce of VINES (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments). Daughter T was involved with this cause before it became a formal organization and I was thrilled to hear about how it has grown and all the good work it is doing and planning to do in the future. Their projects include community gardens, an urban farm in Binghamton which increases the availability of fresh produce for low- to moderate-income folks, youth employment, and educational outreach for schools and community.

It was nice to reconnect with some of the people that I met during the fight against fracking in New York. We have been hard at work continuing to fight against new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure projects, as well as advocating for renewable energy and increased efficiency. Still, we don’t see each other as often as we used to in the days of frequent rallies…which leads to…

I left the presentation and proceeded to a press conference/rally at Senator Schumer’s local office, part of a coordinated effort around New York State. Senator Schumer is now the Minority Leader in the Senate, so he is vital to leading the opposition to DT’s agenda. We stood outside in the cold and snow to get our message out. Speakers called on Senator Schumer to vote against several of DT’s appointees. There were several speakers who talked about environmental concerns, particularly about Scott Pruitt’s nomination as EPA chief. We were happy that one of Senator Schumer’s staff members came and spoke to us; she passed out two-page documents that had quotes from Senator Schumer’s press releases of which nominees he is opposing and the reasons for his opposition. It was nice to be acknowledged and to know that the Senator is doing what he can to protect our rights and our environment.

Today, I finished watching a video of the Washington Women’s March. Daughter T and I participated in the Binghamton March. It is encouraging that so many people are banding together to fight for social and environmental justice. The people and groups are diverse, but we are stronger together as we support one another in these tumultuous times.

 

Fear (not)

I have been writing for months about how scared I am of DT.

Over the weekend, though, I have been getting lots of messages to not be afraid.

At the Women’s March in Binghamton and from speakers that I saw on video from other locations, the message was repeated over and over. “Don’t be afraid. Grab a clipboard and get signatures to run for office.”

At church on Sunday, we heard in readings and the in the homily to not be afraid. We sang a psalm response, “Of whom should I be afraid?”

I wish I could say that I am suddenly not afraid. I’m at least less afraid, because I feel that there are so many others who are going to be working to limit the damage that DT plans/executes. There is strength in numbers, especially when we are working together for the common good.

I doubt, though, that I will ever be brave enough to run for office. Years ago, when I was doing extensive volunteering in our local school district, numerous people tried to convince me to run for school board. I knew that I had the intellectual skills needed, but did not think I could muster the stamina needed for long, contentious meetings.

That still holds true.

I will just have to show my (developing) fearlessness in other ways.
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Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/22/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-23rd-compromise/

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Women march around the world!

Yesterday, T and I joined with over 3,000 other women, men, and children in a Women’s March in Binghamton, New York, held in solidarity with the Women’s March in Washington, DC.

An idea to march in defense of women’s rights the day after the inauguration grew into a worldwide phenomenon with sister marches and rallies held around the country and on every continent, including Antarctica!

The marches were peaceful and stood for the rights of women and of all other groups who have been attacked for their religion, race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, beliefs, education level, or sexual orientation.

The attendance at many of the events exceeded expectations. Our Binghamton March had expected a few hundred people, so to have over 3,000 was a fantastic surprise. The Washington March drew a half a million people, many more than the inauguration had drawn the day before. (In a press briefing that illustrates what we are in for in the DT administration, the press secretary insisted that the press was universally lying about the crowd size and that the inauguration had been the largest ever, which is demonstrably untrue.)

Our march was relatively short, beginning at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue at the Peacemaker’s Stage along the Chenango River and proceeding a few blocks down Court Street to the lawn of the 1897 Courthouse, where we held our rally. Our permit was for sidewalk march only, but the police helpfully stopped the traffic so we could stream through the crosswalks.

We had a full slate of speakers that included elected officials, representatives of local chapters of organizations such as the NAACP and Citizen Action, health care advocates, and members of diverse faith communities, with poetry and music interspersed among the speeches. There were calls for respect for women’s rights, reproductive rights, religious freedom, access to quality, affordable health care for all, indigenous rights, Equal rights for the LGBTQ community, and more.

The speakers and the crowds around the world made me hopeful, especially after the darkness of the inaugural address.

Our rally also echoed the universal theme to get and stay involved. That is the real source of hope. The marches were not a one-day phenomenon. We are all heading back to our hometowns to continuing to advocate for civil rights.

As the chants say, “Women’s rights are human rights.”

“The people united will never be defeated!”
*****
There is still time to join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January. Prompts are available, but any post qualifies. Learn more here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/22/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-22nd-contempt/

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