Helping Hands: Fast4Yemen; Fair Fines+Fees; NYS of Mind
08 April 2020
We hope the start of April has been treating you relatively well considering these challenging times. We know that you are continuing to practice good physical distancing, especially during these peak virus weeks in NYS, and we hope for all to be safe(r) and healthier than ever – and grieve, too, with those who mourn… This sacred time of year we celebrate new and renewing life. Accordingly, here’s a video on faith communities’ responses to COVID-19, featuring a variety of religious leaders (including WNYPC’s 2020 Annual Dinner keynote speaker, Dr. Cornel West!).
Tomorrow is another National Day of Action, highlighting the importance of our reverence for life. Please join us tomorrow as we Fast for Yemen from sunrise to sunset in solidarity with the people of Yemen. Together, we will abstain from food and water to call attention to the millions of Yemenis facing starvation, thirst, disease, and political violence. Visit fast4yemen.org to pledge to fast and/or donate to “share” a meal with a Yemeni. Share your video pledge using hashtags #Fast4Yemen and #YemenCantWait, and call upon others to act with us.
Please also refer to this CALL TO ACTION from the Fair Fines + Fees Coalition. Considering the national health crisis, we must shift our focus to the immediate needs of our communities. This includes not only water and housing, but also transportation. Cars are still being ticketed and impounded, so we are asking you to help us protect Buffalo residents still on the road.
Three of four of the weekly vigils are going on, while taking great care to observe physical distancing. Please join Prisoners’ Rights, Environmental Justice, and Women in Black every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, respectively. Please see regularly scheduled events below for more details.
Helping others – especially those most vulnerable – is vital right now and we will continue to share opportunities each week in this Weekly Helping Hands news. Erie County has faced recent blood shortages, and blood donors are consistently needed. Please consider donating if/when you can! ConnectLife and the American Red Cross each offer easy-to-schedule appointments in order to take all safety precautions for their staff and donors.
And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourselves. While there is a lot of work to be done, we want to remind you to please pace yourselves. New York State, which has been hit hard by the current global health crisis, has recently partnered with the meditation and mindfulness app Headspace to offer free tools to help you practice self-care. You can also continue to find support at the Buffalo Mutual Aid Network, as well as great tips and resources from WNYCOSH and the International Institute.
Peace, thanks, solidarity and yes – love.
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THURS, 9 APR: FAST FOR YEMEN
Fast from sunrise to sunset in solidarity with the people of Yemen. Together, we will abstain from food and water to call attention to the millions of Yemenis facing starvation, thirst, disease, and political violence. According to Save the Children, as of 2018 an estimated 85,000 children under five may have died from extreme hunger or disease since the war in Yemen escalated. Last year (11 April 2019), hundreds of students, activists, and individuals from 5 continents, 17 countries, and 39 states fasted in solidarity with Yemen. Donations exceeded $2,750 (over $1,425 for Save the Children and $1,368 for Doctors Without Borders). LET’S BRING AWARENESS TO YEMEN’S CAUSE – LET’S FAST FOR YEMEN! Pledge to fast and donate a meal here: fast4yemen.org
REGULARLY SCHEDULED EVENTS – continuing with physical distance guidelines fully follows:
WEDS, 15 APR: ECHC VIGIL – NO MORE DEATHS!
At the Erie County Holding Center, Delaware Ave 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 been determined to have committee 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.
FRI, 17 APR: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE TASKFORCE VIGIL
At Front Park (Vermont & Busti), Buffalo. Join the Environmental Justice taskforce every Friday from 2-3 PM to protest shipments of VERY dangerous radioactive liquid transported bfrom 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.”
FRI, 17 APR: WNY YOUTH CLIMATE COUNCIL #DIGITALSTRIKE
Due to the public 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 seflies 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
SAT, 18 APR: WOMEN IN BLACK
Nonviolence vigil at Bidwell & Elmwood; Saturdays, noon – 1 PM. 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.
TELL 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 budge by cutting money to the Pentagon: https://www.codepink.org/doublecdc
END SANCTIONS: #SANCTIONSKILL
At least 1,800 Iranians DEAD. Over 23,000 INFECTED. AN ESTIMATED 3.5 MILLION MAY DIE. Urge Congress to introduce COVID19-related legislation to lift sanctions on Iran: https://www.codepink.org/covid19diplomacy #SanctionsKill #SanctionsSpreadCOVID19
PEACE AND DIPLOMACY LOBBYING
Demand peace, diplomacy, and sane domestic and foreign policies from your Senators and/or House Representatives: https://www.panys.org/current-actions/
Hold District Attorneys across New York accountable to ending mass incarceration, plus fighting against tenant abuse, homelessness, environmental violence, and racist housing policies: https://citizenactionny.org/
LET MY PEOPLE GO
Support the campaign to free our immigrant and refugee neighbors from detention facilities during the current public health crisis: https://nyimmigrantfreedom.org/let-my-people-go/
FFJC Policy Recommendations and Reform Tracker on COVID-19
Support evidence-based policies that jurisdictions around the country should take
to help stem this public health and economic crisis:
#UNITE | #OneLove | #WeShallOvercome | #SiSePuede!