Crisis~=Opportunity: Let this radicalize you rather than lead to despair
Updated 23 March
We have made it through our first full week of “social”/physical distancing. We hope you are all getting through this challenging and uncertain time as well as can be. At the end of this email you will find a list of resources, from health tips to details on unemployment and ways to help vulnerable populations. There is a long road ahead, but the social distance doesn’t mean an end to social justice work and collective action. You are needed now more than ever.
Moreover, Crisis~=Opportunity! Please check out Naomi Klein and Joseph Stieglitz on Democracy Now!’s 3/19/20 edition. We offer you information on continued activism that you can get involved with from the comfort and safety of your homes. This should include reminding those friends and family members who are unplugged about the upcoming Census, which can be completed by mail, by phone, and online. STAY COUNTED – AND SPREAD THE WORD! We must also lobby Congress for money to go towards individuals and families, not industries!
We know these are unprecedented times, and it is natural to feel uncertain about the future. But we are part of a community, and our mission can continue only if we decide to work #AloneTogether. Taking care of each other… in small ways, and big. The Buffalo Mutual Aid Network is a great group, organizing on Facebook. We also need to be ready to stop fascist propaganda and/or power grabs (or unwillingness to relinquish). For inspiration please check out this TED Talk by Alia Braley on nonviolence literacy.
In answer to the question many of you may have had regarding our weekly vigils, three of four – Environmental Justice at the Peace Bridge; Prisoners’ Rights at the Erie County Holding Center; Women in Black at Elmwood & Bidwell – are each currently on autopilot. This means that they have been shifted to be individual activities; so if you join and others are participating, please keep enough distance between you so that it’s clear you are not part of a group. And remember to bring your signs! The Immigrant & Refugee Justice vigil at Delaware North (home of the ICE Buffalo field office) is on hiatus due to the public health emergency. We will continue to share information in our IRJ taskforce FB Group on how to stay involved digitally. The WNY Youth Climate Strike has also moved to digital.
Peace, thanks, solidarity and yes – love.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Here is a summary on how to stay involved (with more details on various items directly below):
* TELLING CONGRESS TO DOUBLE THE CDC BUDGET: The spread of COVID-19 has exposed a rot at the center of American society: that we siphon 55% of our discretionary budget into the Pentagon — $738 billion — while we allocate only 1.5% of that — $11 billion — to the Centers for Disease Control. Tell Congress to double the CDC’s budget by cutting money to the Pentagon.
* BEING INFORMED, GETTING INVOLVED, AND TAKING ACTION on issues that affect Buffalo Niagara by making your voice heard to government and media.
* PEACE AND DIPLOMACY LOBBYING – demanding peace, diplomacy, and sane domestic and foreign policies from your Senators and/or House Representatives.
* #DEMANDJUSTICE #HOUSINGJUSTICE – holding District Attorneys across New York accountable to ending mass incarceration, plus fighting against tenant abuse, homelessness, environmental violence, and racist housing policies.
* VIRTUAL SPRING LOBBYING – be an effective changemaker to address the climate emergency.
* LET MY PEOPLE GO – supporting the campaign to free our immigrant and refugee neighbors from detention facilities during the current public health crisis.
* COVID-19 Crisis: FFJC Policy Recommendations and Reform Tracker – supporting evidence-based policies that jurisdictions around the country should take to help stem this public health and economic crisis.
* INSPIRE IN ISOLATION – join the conversation on how to create a connected global team of peacemakers.
* GLOBAL DAYS OF LISTENING – responding as a human family to global crises.
* COMPLETING CENSUS 2020 – The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of blllions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.
* And as always, REGISTERING TO VOTE OR ENSURING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION IS UP-TO-DATE.
PEACE AND DIPLOMACY LOBBYING
Resources at Peace Action New York State (PANYS) that includes current legislation and co-sponsors, scheduled lobbying meetings, Town Halls in New York state – and most importantly – lobby packets and one-pagers that you can take to your Senators or House Representative. The only way to influence our Elected Representatives is to get their attention –
through calls, letters, in-district meetings, and public events. Not sure who your Representatives are? Go to whoismyrepresentative.com to find out. Current issues include: Iran, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Venezuela, Yemen, and Opposing Israel Anti-Boycott Act
#DEMANDJUSTICE AND #HOUSINGJUSTICE
Together with Citizen Action! New York, you can help in building two movements:
* to hold District Attorneys across New York State accountable to end mass incarceration! Learn how to take action to ensure our District Attorneys full implement the new pretrial laws that were passed in 2019 to keep thousands of legally innocent New Yorkers out of jail while they await trial. Tell state legislators that you support the new pretrial laws that will keep thousands of legally innocent people out of jail, and to implement them without any changes.
* fighting the NYS real estate industry which prioritizes profits over the safety and security of the 50% of our residents who are renters. Half the state’s tenants are unable to afford their rent, and over 90,000 people are in homeless situations on any given day. Support the campaign against tenant abuse, homelessness, environmental violence, and racist housing policies.
LET MY PEOPLE GO
During the current public health crisis, Justice for Migrant Families (JFMF) is working urgently to free our immigrant neighbors from detention facilities, where access to medical care and sanitary facilities is severely limited and even hand sanitizer is confiscated as contraband. We know that prisons and jails are already sites of violence and death. In times of crisis, conditions only worse, including increased reliance on solitary confinement, cancellation of court proceedings, and the potential for lockdowns that prevent anyone from getting free. Let My People Go. Because Never Again Is Now. #FreeThemAll
INSPIRE IN ISOLATION
As we continue to see communities around the world impacted by COVID-19, we are also witnessing the best of humanity rising up to care for each other and the most vulnerable among us. We see shifts taking place in our systems as people are prioritizing the collective good over self-interest, practicing self-care for ourselves and the planet, and discovering new ways to build community. This is the shift that the Nobel Peace Laureates and PeaceJam youth have been fighting for for decades. We are inviting the PeaceJam community to join our Nobels to be the antidote to fear and isolation through inspiration and collective action. To do this, we need to take PeaceJam online, and we need your voice in the conversation on how to do create an even more connected global team of peacemakers.
WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH: ECHC VIGIL: NO MORE DEATHS!
At the Erie County Holding Center, Delaware between Church @ Eagle Streets, Buffalo. Join the Prisoners’ Rights taskforce for their weekly vigil/protests on Wednesday from 4-5:30 PM. The ECHC has significantly higher deaths than similar facilities. The Sheriff’s Department has misreported and has been determined to have committed homicide by medical neglect per the DOJ! The Sheriff’s Administration is a public health emergency! *** All are welcome; please bring signs. *** Also,
please call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 to urge him to remove Sheriff Howard as he is clearly not up to the job.
FRIDAY, 27 MARCH: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE TASKFORCE VIGIL
At Front Park (Vermont & Busti), Buffalo. Join the Environmental Justice taskforce every Friday from 2-3pm to protest the shipments of very dangerous radioactive liquid transported from Canada over the Peace Bridge. Due to the public health emergency, please bring your own signs. You can also call Governor Cuomo’s office to DECLARE A CLIMATE
EMERGENCY! Phone: 518-474-8390, press 1 when the recording begins. Script: “Governor Cuomo, please declare a climate emergency for the state of New York, which means an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. I’m calling from zip code xxxxx.”
FRIDAY, 27 MARCH: WNY YOUTH CLIMATE COUNCIL #DIGITALSTRIKE
Due to the health emergency, the WNYCC had to cancel their in-person Buffalo Climate Strike on 20 March. The goal of the strike, to ask our Common Council members of Buffalo, is to pass a Climate Resolution. The strike has now become a weekly (every Friday!) digital strike – please join them by sharing selfies and pictures with your rally signs and posters for the Buffalo Climate Strike to Declare a Climate Emergency on social media, and use the hashtags #DIGITALSTRIKE #WNYYOUTHCLIMATE #DECLAREACLIMATEEMERGENCY
SATURDAY, 28 MARCH: WOMEN IN BLACK
Nonviolence vigil at Bidwell & Elmwood; Saturdays, noon-1pm. All are welcome; you don’t need to be a woman or dress in black. Please bring your own signs due to the current public health emergency.
SUNDAY, 29 MARCH: BACK FROM THE BRINK WEBINAR WITH DR. IRA HELFAND
Participate online at 7pm. In place of his Upstate NY in-person tour, Dr. Ira Helfand is offering a webinar on the Back from the Brink Campaign to Prevent Nuclear War (BFTB). This will include: 1) the dangerous state of current nuclear brinksmanship; 2) an overview of the campaign, demands, structure, bills in Congress, and successes so far and 3) Ideas for connecting BFTB with work you are already doing, and 4. Opportunity for your questions to be answered. If you are interested in participating, or if you have questions, please contact Vicki Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org); Diane Swords (email@example.com); or Sally Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org).
SUN, 29 – TUES, 31 MARCH: VIRTUAL SPRING LOBBY WEEKEND
Join the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Virtual Spring Lobby Weekend, where hundreds of students, recent grads, Quakers, and young adults will gather online to learn and virtually lobby Congress on one critical issue: climate change. The climate emergency requires urgent action by individual, companies, investors, and communities. We need to push Congress to adopt ambitious federal laws to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Join FCNL online and make your voice heard!
#UNITE | #OneLove | #WeShallOvercome | #SiSePuede!
#UNITE | #OneLove | #WeShallOvercome | #SiSePuede!