Friday, March 31, 2017

Daily Action: Download This Self-Care Printable

Friends, it's been a bit of a week, so when I stumbled on this fantastic tumblr post, it inspired me to take some time away from social media and pay attention to my needs. It's also available as a PDF, if you want to download it and hang it on your fridge.

YES. I needed some guidance, and this was it.

Friends, take care of yourselves this weekend. I plan on unplugging and crafting, and I hope you are doing something equally relaxing :)


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daily Action: Call Your Favorite Hotel About Soap

Friends, I love to travel, and I especially love using the fabulous little soaps that are provided to me at hotels. I try and use up what I open, but every once in awhile, a tiny bar of soap will get left behind. I had no idea that some hotels were involved in rebatching until I read this article on Clean the World

You can search for their hotel partners (for instance, I searched for Hiltons), and see if your favorite location is involved with the program. You can also view their "soap stats":

It's an amazing program, and the Top Performers have been making an incredible impact:

If you're a frequent traveler, or if you regularly visit a hotel or bed and breakfast location, or even a cruise ship, check out this list and see if your location participates in the program. If they aren't listed, give them a call! Your favorite destination might not be aware of the program, and may be willing to give it a shot.

XOXO, and as Rick Steves says, "keep on travelin'!"


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Daily Action: Find Out Where Your Senators Stand on Judge Gorsuch

Friends, it's been a crazy few days. The ACA repeal was defeated (HOORAY!! Thank you for calling your reps!!). It's been great to celebrate that victory, but I'm trying to remind myself that just because the ACA was saved, it doesn't mean the attacks on health care will stop. If anything, we'll have to be more vigilant in making sure both parties come to the table to fix issues with the ACA.

Right now, the focus is on Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearings and vote for the Supreme Court. Currently, the Senate Panel vote has been delayed for a week. That gives us time to call (or fax) our senators. Mine have not issued any statements on Gorsuch, and I'd like to push them to have their opinions out before the end of this week. 

I dislike Gorsuch for many reasons, but a big issue I have is he sides with employers more than workers (especially in the frozen trucker case). According to this article, "has sided with employers 21 out of 23 times in disputes over the U.S. pensions and benefits law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA." I like to keep this in mind when I contact my senators, so I can have specifics to mention when asking them to vote No. I can also bring up some of his responses to questions during the confirmation hearing.

If you have a few minutes today, please call your Senators and make your position on Gorsuch known, and also find out where they stand. As we've seen with the ACA, our calls are making a difference. Thank you!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily Action: Make a Change in Energy Suppliers

Friends, I am more than a bit frustrated with the current administration's efforts to defund and deplete the Environmental Protection Agency. In an effort to combat these cuts, I've been calling my representatives and making some changes in my own life. 

Yesterday, I signed up to change energy suppliers. In the past, I was regularly getting mail from companies asking me to switch suppliers, but their language was never clear, and I could not understand what was being asked of me. On Sunday, during a meeting of our local huddle group, one of the members said she had switched energy suppliers, and was now using CleanChoice Energy. (You guys, I LOVE hearing testimonials from people I know.) We peppered her with questions, and after finding out that CleanChoice provides 100% renewable energy from wind and solar sources, we wouldn't need to worry about multiple bills (ComEd will still be delivering the energy to our homes), and the change in cost is nominal, we were sold. Three of our group switched suppliers yesterday. I am so excited about this change, and cannot seem to talk about anything else! 

CleanChoice also supplies energy in the below states, so if you're interested, make the switch here

I've also been doing the following:

I've asked nearly every one I know in Illinois to fill out a witness slip in support of this bill, which would reinstate container deposits in our state. YES to keeping recyclables out of landfills! 

I've also been throwing my support behind a bill that would eliminate dark or green non-compostable bags in retail establishments, which has led me to researching compostable bags for my own home.

Since I can access the electrical outlet that is used for my microwave, I unplug my microwave after every use.
I cut up some old tee shirts to use for rags (sorry, Hard Rock Cafe!)

In an effort to get rid of some of our dependence on plastic for food storage, I've been reusing glass jars from purchased spaghetti sauce, soups, etc. I also tried out some DIY goo gone to get rid of the labels. These jars are also SUPER handy for craft storage (hey, button stash).

I called the landlords to weather seal our porch door, which has definitely helped with heating the apartment, and I haven't needed to use the space heater at all this year.

It's officially Spring, which means it's time to clean out my closet of anything I haven't worn in a year. I'm currently gathering items together for a clothing swap at the end of next month. (If clothing swaps aren't your thing, you can also do a household item swap, or a book swap!)

I've been in contact with a local composting service to help reduce our trash output (as we don't have the space for a composting bin right now).

I've started knitting swiffer cloths. I love having clean floors, and the cost for purchasing wet wipes is getting a bit prohibitive!

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I had a conversation with my partner about what I would like to see change in our home. I'd like for us to recycle what we already have, conserve where we can, and make changes for a more sustainable future...and they agreed! 

Friends, I'd love to hear about any changes you've made or are making in your life to become more eco-friendly - let me know in the comments below!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Daily Action: Join the Sanctuary Restaurant Movement

Friends, today's action comes to you from the fabulous weekly newsletter, Wall-of-Us. The Sanctuary Restaurant movement is for restaurant owners, workers, and consumers alike:

If you believe in this movement, there are several things you can do as a consumer. Eat at a sanctuary restaurant, of course, but you can also encourage your favorite restaurants to join the movement by leaving behind diner cards on your table. You can also sign up to get information about restaurant workers' rights here.

The majority of us go out to eat, so let's make sure we are supporting the workers and owners of the places we like to frequent while eating delicious food.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daily Action: If Obamacare Has Helped You, Share Your Story

Friends, the White House is asking folks to share their Obamacare stories with them via an online form. While it appears they are asking for stories of hardship under Obamacare, the form can also be used to show the good side of the Affordable Care Act. If you've been helped, or your family, or your friends, share it here. 

For me, the Affordable Care Act wasn't around when I graduated from college. I was living in an even smaller town outside of my small university town, and I was working at an office supply store to make ends meet. I wasn't making ends meet very well, and I relied on my credit card quite heavily (which I'm so close to FINALLY paying off). I tried to get on my employer's insurance plan, but never received the paperwork, and probably didn't work enough hours to qualify. 

One day, the pad of my ring finger swelled up like a balloon. It swelled about 1/4" - 3/8", and I was completely freaked out. I was concerned that metal shavings were lodged in my finger from working in the copy center, and after MUCH debate, decided to drive over to the local hospital to get it checked out. 

The nurse taking my information asked if I had insurance, and after I said no, I waited. And waited. And panicked. Finally, a doctor came over to me in the waiting room. He didn't even bother taking me back to a patient area - he examined my hand right there. After shining a flashlight at my fingertip, he pronounced that I had contracted a STD in my finger. I said, "Excuse me, what?" He showed me how my blood vessels appeared in the light from the flashlight. He said it was common for folks who worked in the medical field to contract these things sometimes, but here I was, wearing my office supply store uniform. "Sir, I'm not exposed to any health things like that. I make copies all day." He stuck to his diagnosis, said the flare up would go away eventually, but that I would always have the STD. 

And then he got up, walked away, they handed me my paperwork, and I left, completely distraught. The encounter with the doctor had last five minutes and cost me $900.

I couldn't pay. I couldn't feed myself on a regular basis, and I couldn't make ends meet enough to cover $900 for a five minute (incorrect) diagnosis. I had to call the hospital, and I was blunt - "I can't pay this. I can't even eat." The woman was very kind, and said they had a program in Ohio for hardship cases like mine. If I could pay a smaller portion of it, that would be fine. I scraped together what I could, borrowed some even, and decided that anything else I needed would go on the credit card. I paid the portion they asked for, and thanked those nice ladies profusely for telling me about the program when I dropped off my payment. 

Sitting here now, writing this, I can't stop crying. That fear and anxiety about paying my bills, even after they lowered the amount, the news about my lifetime diagnosis - none of it made any sense to me, and it still doesn't.

When I got bronchitis, I did not go to the doctor. When I had a pregnancy scare in my abusive relationship, I did not go to anyone. When my truck went into a ditch during a snowstorm, I did not even care if I was injured, or was at risk for hypothermia from landing in a waist deep puddle when I managed to get out. 

I did not have insurance again until I moved to Chicago and started working for a law firm, and even then, it took almost a year before I went to a doctor. I was doing my laundry in my tub, I was surviving on potatoes and PB&J, and if a doctor found anything wrong, I would not be able to pay for it. 

I've since joined a new company that has great benefits, that allows me to see the best doctor I've ever had. And you know what? She runs regular blood tests, and she's never found anything that matches up with the ER doctor's diagnosis.

I'm lucky now - I have insurance through my employer, and my pre-existing conditions (which is a whole different post) do not matter. I cannot forget, though, what it was like to be so scared about bills and my health, and to decide that it was better to do without care than risk the financial burden. This is my story of life before Obamacare, and I would not wish that life of worry on anyone.

As always, thank you for reading.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Daily Action: Track Gender Neutral Bathrooms on Yelp

Friends, Yelp is currently "inviting users and business owners to identify establishments that offer locking, single-stall bathrooms that are available to individuals of any gender." We can help speed this process along (since they'll need results in order to create a filter) by installing the Yelp app and tracking these restrooms as we come across them. It's something simple, but so important and helpful. 

The weekend is right around the corner, so here are the things that have been keeping me going this week:

This Ohio bookstore turned all male-authored fiction books backwards on their shelves in an effort to highlight women's authors this month.

Something to keep an eye on: a climate lawsuit brought by 21 children against the US government.

Girls knit their way to a math career (YESSSSSS!)

Three Confederate monuments will be removed from New Orleans within a month's time.

Daniela Vargas was just released from Immigration detention!! 


Alejandra Campoverdi is my SHERO of the Week.

I'm really looking forward to this weekend: tomorrow, I'm going to a volunteer training and meeting up with a fellow organizer for tea, and on Monday I'll be phone banking for a mayoral candidate and hosting a postcard writing party. I definitely feel most at home when mixing social outings and resistance :)

Have a great weekend, all!


PS. I (and some great friends of mine) spent some time today blowing up the Twitter feed of this Illinois politician. If you have a moment, please tweet and help him understand how insurance works. Thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Daily Action: Celebrate International Women's Day

Friends, today is International Women's Day, and also "A Day Without a Woman." If you're looking to participate in today's strike, whether you have to work or not, there is an outline below:

While I have to work one of my jobs today, I'll be wearing red and avoiding shopping (unless at women and minority-owned businesses). 

If (like me) you're not able to unplug today, here are some excellent links to help you celebrate today:

The Women's National Book Association is sending a book for each day of Women's History Month to the president and his staff. The list of books they are sending is pretty amazing!

Here's a list of 13 Feminist Documentaries that are currently available on Netflix for streaming.

If you're looking for some music to listen to, check out this Spotify playlist compiled by Feminist Fight Club.

Here's a growing list of women owned businesses! If you notice some are missing from your area, add them in the comments!

If you're thinking of getting a feminist tattoo in the near future, here are some beautiful ideas.

If you're ever traveling and in need of assistance on a range of health issues, check out Gynopedia. If you have good information to contribute for your area, go to your city and add that information! For instance, here is the page for Chicago:

I've been running low on postcards lately, and with the Ides of March coming up, I'm thinking of restocking from this store.

Friends, how are you celebrating International Women's Day today?

XOXO and much love,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Daily Action: Call Your State's Attorney General

Friends, now that the new travel ban is out, it's time to hop on the phone with our state attorney generals. This Wall-of-Us post has a great explanation on the power that state attorney generals have, as well as which attorney generals opposed the previous ban before it was defeated in court. I called the Illinois AG for the first time yesterday and was able to pass along my thanks to a very surprised staffer. I then saved the number in my phone in case I need it for future use. Wall-of-Us gives scripts for if your AG opposed the travel ban, or if they said nothing.

CAIR Chicago has launched the Travelers Assistance Project (TAP), which would help at-risk travelers with legal assistance on the ground. It's a pilot project here in Chicago, and will most likely expand once it find partners in other markets around the country. 

If you're looking for an airport protest near you, check out this list here. Also, let them know if a demonstration is coming up so the site can list that as well!

If you're looking for something to do closer to home, print off one of these signs and hang it in your window, My neighborhood is full of them, and it's beautiful.

On the subject of travel, the TSA has begun warning local police about its new pat-downs, which may result in travelers calling to report harassment or "abnormal" federal frisking (!!!!).

Finally, tomorrow is A Day Without a Woman. Here is the official link regarding the purpose of the day, and also includes way to participate in the day, whether you have to work or are able to take the day off. I have to work one of my jobs tomorrow, but tomorrow evening, I'll be joining in some events in my local community to celebrate the spirit of the day. Also, I'll be wearing red in solidarity.

XOXO and stay safe,

Monday, March 6, 2017

Daily Action: Watch Chicago Ideas Presentation on Reimagining Prison

Friends, I hope you had great weekends. I managed to unplug on Saturday, and I'm feeling refreshed and ready for action today. 

Last week, Chicago Ideas hosted a conversation on Reimagining Prison, a 75 minute program on re-envisioning the prison and justice system in the USA. Here was the panel present for the discussion:

I wasn't able to attend the program in person, but luckily, the entire program has been posted online for streaming. Here is the link for the program, and if you're not able to watch the entire 75 minutes, they do include separate segment videos at the bottom of the page. 

Also, we had some good news in Chicago recently in regards to monetary bond: Foxx agrees to release of inmates unable to post bonds of up to $1,000 cash. While this initiative will only impact a few dozen of the 7,400+ inmates in Cook County Jail (and only those with "nonviolent charges"), it's a necessary step towards eliminating monetary bond in Cook County altogether. 

Finally, I'll be watching the developments of this class action lawsuit very closely: Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. The impact of this lawsuit could have far reaching effects across our entire prison system, especially regarding our dependence on prison labor.

Stay safe out there, my friends, and as always, thanks for reading!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Daily Action: Learn Some Basic Self Defense Moves

Friends, a quick daily action before we all shut down for the weekend. I recently came across this video on Facebook, which outlines four basic self defense maneuvers for women. I didn't realize how helpful I found it until I was walking home late last night after my second job, and on my dark street, found myself going over the moves in my head. Granted, nothing happened on my walk home, but feeling prepared helped me feel a bit safer. If you're interested in more self defense videos and tips, a quick search on YouTube will offer many options, as well as this article from Lifehacker

Here's some things that are keeping me going this week (in between all the news about Russian contacts and meetings):

You can stream the Broadway Cast Recording of "Come From Away," a musical about Gander, Newfoundland on and after September 11, 2001, and it's quite good!

If you have extra time on your hands, you can help the National Museum of American History transcribe Phyllis Diller's 50,000+ jokes on file. No need to be in D.C. to assist! 

You can watch a video of a tortoise eating a strawberry (narrated by Alan Rickman) and it will help charities. It's a win-win situation.

If you're not able to take the day off work, here's how you can participate in the Day Without Women on March 8th.

This 10 Year Old CEO is launching a hijab company for teens and tweens. You can donate to her campaign and help her achieve her dream here.

Friends, have a great weekend, stay safe, and try to unplug if you can!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Daily Action: Find Out Where Your Reps Stand on Jeff Sessions

Friends, every day we find out more and more about the current administration's ties with Russia. Yesterday, we found out that Jeff Sessions had contact with the Russian ambassador prior to the election, something he denied during his confirmation hearings for the position of attorney general. Today, I'm asking you to call your reps and find out where they stand on an independent investigation of this administration's ties with Russia, or more specifically, what actions will they propose to take regarding Jeff Sessions involvement with the Russian government.

If your rep has come out publicly with a statement on the situation, please remember to thank them! If they haven't, please ask their staff when they plan on making a public statement about the issue. It's important to have their opinion on record for all of their constituents to see.

(I love my Congresswoman. I usually find out about breaking news from her Facebook feed before most other sources. I consider myself very lucky to have her representing my area in Congress.)

Keep safe, keep sane, and thank you for reading,

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Daily Action: Go to a Community Meeting/Rally/Event

Friends, lately I've been getting more and more involved in my local community. Last week, I went to my first Indivisible rally, and it was very informative and inspiring. I took the below picture right before we reached capacity and moved outside to fill the sidewalk. 

There were less than a hundred of us, but Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss stayed and answered any questions we asked for over an hour (and it was COLD). My senator also showed up, but wasn't able to stay. Still, it was great to be able to shake her hand and say thanks to her and Senator Biss for sponsoring progressive bills in Illinois.

On Saturday, my partner and I went to a rally in support of transgender rights. It was chilly, but we felt it was important to have as many people out there as a show of support for our families, friends, and neighbors. We filled a 7/11 parking lot, and the speakers were all amazing. 

For today's daily action, I'd like for you to mark one upcoming community meeting/rally/event on your calendar. It can be in support of a marginalized group, or just a general meeting with like-minded folks to talk out a plan of action or learn more about how local government works. I receive daily emails from my local Indivisible chapters (both city and district wide), which help me to discover events I'd like to attend. If you're interested in signing up for those emails, including ones localized for your area, you can do so here

If you're not able to get away from the house this week, maybe invite some folks over to watch a PBS special on female trailblazers, Maya Angelou, or Jimi Hendrix, or watch the address to Congress tonight. You could write postcards or letters to your reps while you watch, or knit hats for a local shelter, or make cookies for a local group who makes your community a better place (hey, local chamber of commerce!). Even if it's something small, it still makes a difference.

XOXO and take care of yourself,

Friday, February 24, 2017

Daily Action: Stand Up For Transgender Rights

Friends, the news coming out of the White House about the rescinding of bathroom rules for transgender students is incredibly disheartening (and for me, hits pretty close to home). Through my anger and disappointment, I'm working to find ways to protect transgender students and adults.

1. Speak up on social media. Say you think the rescinding of the rules is wrong, Even if you are the only person on your news feed sharing something, be it humorous or bleak, this is the time to raise your voice in solidarity.

2. Follow these instructions:

4. Research your local school boards. Do yours have provisions in place for the protection of trans students? Is there someone you can call and ask what protections are in place, and if none, what is the process for getting some enacted? Do you know someone on a school council board? Call them. Use your contacts. 

5. Find out what you local officials are saying. My awesome Congresswoman tweeted the following, and the mayor of Chicago released a full statement on the decision. If they are saying something you agree with, thank them. If not, call their office and ask them to reissue their statement, or to make a statement against the rescinding of these rules.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go an Indivisible meet up in Chicago, where I heard several elected officials speak, and even met my State Senator. It was lovely to be able to shake her hand and say thanks in person. Show up, say thanks, and share your thoughts. I had been feeling really low about not being able to engage some of my friends in the activist work I've been doing, but being around people who are as committed as I am was the best comfort I could have asked for.

Have a good weekend, all - and go to a trans rights rally if you find one in your area. I'll be attending this one in Chicago. Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Daily Action: Learn About Living Waste-Free

Friends, this morning I am feeling inspired. In an effort to clean out my Saved folder on Facebook, I stumbled on this video that I had saved months ago: Lauren Singer on living waste free for four years. I definitely appreciated that she gave simple tips on how to get started if it's something you're interested in. With environmental regulations being rolled back, I think I would like to begin moving more towards a waste free life. Here's what I've been doing so far:

This week, I started using these bags for my produce at the grocery. They are fantastic and I love that they are all large, so I don't have to fuss to find the right color/size. One for green beans, one for onions, and one for zucchini. Good to go! 

In Chicago, a bag tax has taken effect, so reusable bags are everywhere for purchase. I prefer to sew my own with fabric scraps, and I make sure to have a few extras on hand to use as waste free wrapping paper (it's like double the gift, right?)

Last week, I ordered a Diva cup. While I've tried using menstrual cups in the past, I wasn't successful, but I'm willing to give it another shot so I won't have to use disposable tampons and pads. Also, I am in love with Thinx. I have five pairs. They are absorbent and discreet, and if you flop around in your sleep (like I do), you will love these.

I have three reusable water bottles, and each serves a specific function. This one is a favorite, because it's great to throw in my bag, rolls up for traveling, or hides (totally full!) in my blazer pocket at my second job. 

I feel like I've made a good start towards living a waste free life, but I'd like to go even further.

I'd like to start composting my table scraps. I'm currently doing the Whole30 challenge, and most of my trash is vegetable peels or egg shells. I found a compost bin that would work well on my tiny front porch, but will need to save up a bit before making that purchase.

After reading this article, I'd like to purchase a reusable straw, or a spork like this, to carry with me while I'm out.

I'd like to find a way to properly recycle/reuse my plastic bags. While there are drop off points around the city for plastic bags, I'm also looking into making "plarn" and crocheting some mats. If I begin crocheting mats, I'll be asking my friends to donate their leftover plastic bags to the cause :)

Friends, do you have any tips on how to live a waste free life? How did you get started? Let me know in the comments below!


PS. I'm not being paid for my opinions on these products. I genuinely love them and want to share them with you, because you're my friends and I want you to be happy, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Daily Action: Donate to Repair a Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Friends, my frustration grows every day at the antisemitism that is becoming more prevalent and rampant in the US. The most recent act of hate happened in St. Louis when a historic Jewish cemetery was vandalized. Per this news article, it's believed to be the work of an entire group, not just one person. So, today I'm asking you to push back against this group and donate to this fundraiser to repair the cemetery. Whatever you can give would be greatly appreciated. 

While they are very close to reaching their goal, any additional funds (after the cemetery is repaired) will go towards any other vandalized Jewish center.

Thanks so much, friends - for reading and for giving.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Action: Watch Birth of a Movement on PBS

Friends, I'm a huge PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) fan. I get to watch several great miniseries, Rick Steves, and the occasional documentary. Last week, I watched Omo Child, which was a fascinating (and fantastic) documentary. This week, I'm watching Birth of a Movement, which is " the story of William Monroe Trotter, the nearly forgotten editor of a Boston black newspaper who helped launch a nationwide movement in 1915 to ban Hollywood's first blockbuster movie, the later controversial The Birth of a Nation." 

I'm off to watch it myself, knitting in hand.

XOXO and have a good evening,

Friday, February 17, 2017

Daily Action: Take These Lists, Check Them Twice...

Friends, in the last few days I've had some amazing lists shared with me that I would love to share with you. 

First, the Albert Einstein Institution has published a list of 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action. I encourage you to read the whole list and spread it to your action groups, but here's a snippet for you to peruse:

The People's Calendar over at RiseStronger.Org is a comprehensive list of activist events happening around the country. I recommend using the filters to sort by your local area, or you can scroll through (like me) and look at all of the events taking place around the country (I find it to be pretty inspiring):

Lastly, I find myself focusing more and more on my city and state issues. I'm lucky to have two Democratic Senators and an amazing Congresswoman, and I call to thank them on a regular basis for voting for issues I believe in. My city and state need a little work, though, so I was so pleased to come across this list of 101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City

Friends, take time to rest up and enjoy your weekends, and please, if anything resonated with you off these lists, let me know!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Daily Action: Support #ADayWithoutImmigrants

Friends, if you haven't yet heard about #ADayWithoutImmigrants yet, here's the purpose: it asks foreign-born people nationwide, regardless of legal status, not to go to work or go shopping in a demonstration of the importance of their labor and consumer spending to the United States’ economy. 

How can we support this effort on our end? Find out what businesses in your community are closing in solidarity, and like their Facebook pages, send them a 'thank you' on Yelp, and when they reopen, take your business there. 

Resolve not to purchase anything today, if you can.

Some businesses are donating proceeds from today's sales to immigrant causes. If you need to purchase items today, try one of these businesses, or an immigrant owned business that wasn't able to close in solidarity.

If there is one happening in your community, attend a rally in support of immigrants. Offer to carpool, rideshare, or go on public transit with your neighbors and friends.

Input a raid hotline number into your phone. Here are some from a recent National Immigration Law Center training, but this is not a complete list:

Finally, donate to an immigration advocacy group. Find a group that is doing great work in your communities and/or across the country, and volunteer your time and efforts with them. I personally like United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center, and Mijente.

As always, if I've missed something, please let me know! The more ways we have to support our immigrant communities, the better.

XOXO and stay safe,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Daily Action: Print This Card, Hand It Out

Friends, today I am asking you to print out this card from the National Immigration Law Center and hand it out in your communities. There are options to print it out in multiple languages, and you can fit four to a 8.5"x 11"page to save paper.

You can also download and hand out cards from United We Dream, which outlines what to do if ICE comes to the door. Again, these are available in multiple languages. 

While ICE is increasing their raids across the country, it is also good to note that the Department of Homeland Security is becoming more visible as well. They were checking bags at Chicago's Addison Red Line stop today (which is NOT normal).

Make note of the things that are not normal, and be vigilant in your neighborhoods.

Also, as always, stay safe.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Daily Action: Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

Friends, the week of February 17-26 is the first district work period (“recess”) of the new Congress, which means your representatives will likely be home and hosting town halls. While my Senators and Congresswoman are doing a great job in office, if they are speaking nearby, I'd love to see them. Currently, I'm more focused on my Illinois General Assembly Representative and Senator, as I've not heard them speak, and I find it's more difficult to keep track of what they are doing due to a chaotic ILGA site. 

Today's daily action is to do some research and find out when your Congressional reps or state level reps are hosting town halls in your districts, and plan to attend if you can. If you're having issues finding a town hall for your rep, check out this Indivisible Guide on Missing Members of Congress. Also, here's a great list from Indivisible Guide on how to have a successful town hall. I'm already planning a list of questions, and I hope to rally my Huddle group from last week to go with me. While my reps' offices appear to be closed for today, I've left messages and will try to call again tomorrow about bills that are up for discussion, as well as when I can come see them, face to face.

XOXO and good luck,

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Daily Action: Spring Clean Your Woolen Items

Friends, apologies for the delay in writing - the huddle I hosted last week was so successful that I've been busy organizing and setting things up since!

Today's action is something you can do if you have a few minutes to spare today. Since we're now in the thick of winter, gather up any woolen (or non-woolen) winter items that you have not used so far this season, and donate them to a shelter in your area. Wash them if they've been used and you're ready to part ways, re-block if necessary, and bag it all up to go to those who are in need.

Here's my pile below:

Also, if you have organizations in your area that are in need of yarn, spring clean your stash and donate to them as well! I found a group called the Yarn Mission, and sent them a box last week.

Finally, if you've got leftover skeins of pure wool yarn, you can use these to make dryer balls. I'm working on making some for my holiday party that is ten months away, but will be focused on gifts that are eco-friendly and reduce waste in the environment.  

There's going to be lots coming up this week with ICE raids, new executive orders, and final confirmation hearings for cabinet members, so my next posts will be focused on those topics. 

Make sure you take time to take care of yourself, and thank you so much for reading these posts. I greatly appreciate you being here.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Daily Action: Sign Up to Speak With Potential Candidates

Friends, this week has been more than a little frustrating, with Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos being confirmed and the DAPL given the go-ahead. Here's where we can put our efforts next:

Since the election, Run for Something has been flooded with people who want to run for office for the first - over 4,300 people have signed up to take those first steps. They are looking for volunteers to speak with potential candidates right now, and even if you don't have any campaign experience (like me!), you can sign up for training conference calls to see if that is something you would like to do. If chatting with candidates isn't your thing, you can also donate to sponsor these campaigns. You can also sign up to run for something if that is what you want to do! 

If you are a fiber artist or quilter, Threads of Resistance is looking for you. If you've never made a quilt before, but one of the proposed themes speaks to you, go for it - now is the time to give it a try. This will be "a juried exhibition of work created to protest the Trump administration's actions and policies." (Many thanks to Nettie for the tip!)

The Illinois Senate is currently discussing a bill that would require general election presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose at least five years of federal tax returns before being allowed to appear on the ballot. New York, Massachusetts, California, and Maine all have similar bills pending right now, as well as several other states. If this is an initiative you agree with, I recommend calling your state senator and stating your support. If your state has not yet proposed a similar bill, ask your state senator if the plan to introduce such a bill in the upcoming weeks.  

Standing Rock and Native Nations are marching on Washington, DC on March 10, 2017. Details can be found here.

And for something not political:

I've been listening to many StoryCorps stories lately, and this one warmed my heart (and made me laugh out loud). If you have two minutes, I recommend giving it a listen.

Ok, off to finish cleaning the apartment as I am hosting a huddle tonight! I'm very excited and nervous at the same time. Fingers crossed that things go well!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Daily Action: Video Visitation in Prisons

Friends, this post is going to be short, due to a raging sinus infection, so please forgive me.

For today's daily action, I'm asking you to sign a petition. Senator Duckworth has sponsored an act in Congress (Video Visitation in Prison Act), and Maya Schenwar is working to get the signatures to encourage members of Congress to pass this act. Part of her story is below:

After seeing the 13TH documentary, I'm highly aware of how companies (and states) are making profits off prisoners and their families. Please sign this petition, which would allow in-person visits in addition to video visits at prisons.

Stay healthy and warm,

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Daily Action: Live Stream State of Washington & State of Minnesota v. Trump

Friends, onto the next challenge we go.

Today at 3:00pm Pacific, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing arguments from the Trump administration on reinstating the travel ban. You can watch the live stream here


Monday, February 6, 2017

Daily Action: Last Chance to Oppose DeVos

Friends, we are now less than a day away from the Senate voting on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Democratic Senators are currently in the middle of a 24 hour protest of her nomination before the vote. For your daily action today, I ask that if you have a Republican Senator, please call and ask them to oppose DeVos for Education Secretary.

Today is the last day to make your voice heard, so if you have a few minutes to call, please do!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Daily Action: Celebrate the Victories, No Matter How Small

Picture found here

Friends, I'm not going to lie - I definitely went into this weekend with a bit of doom and gloom, especially remembering the events of last weekend...but some good things have happened. A federal judge overturned the travel ban, and then a federal appeals court denied the request for immediate reinstatement. Also, #grabyourwallet seems to be making headway in the retail industry.

So I'm going to spend the rest of this weekend celebrating these victories by working my second job (which I love), planning the huddle I'm hosting this week, and getting coffee from my local coffee shop. Also, possibly a book from my amazing local bookstore. Oh, and some Tim-Tams from my local grocery if they have them in stock.

Also, I'll be watching this again, I'm sure (because laughter is important).

Enjoy the rest of your weekends, friends!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Daily Action: AdStrike

Friends, when I have a few minutes to spare and I don't feel like doing the dishes, I log onto AdStrike

It has a pretty simple premise:

Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants on Twitter) notes which companies advertisements are being featured on Breitbart, and publishes the companies and screenshots onto the AdStike site. You can then tweet at the companies directly from AdStrike, letting them know they are being featured as advertisers on Breitbart.

According to the Sleeping Giants database, 818 companies have pulled their advertising from Breitbart so far. It's a small, quick thing to do, but it all adds up and makes a big difference when it comes to dismantling hate speech.

Much love to you all,

Friday, February 3, 2017

Daily Action: Preparing for the Weekend

Friends, last night I went to an amazing event called "Art, Now. Act, Now: A Night of Art and Action for Refugee Rights." The performers and representatives from the organizations were all wonderful, but there was one speaker whose words stuck with me. He was an attorney with CALA (Community Activism Law Alliance), and he advised that if you were not born in the USA and are detained at an airport, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. Not even if you have gone through the process of becoming a citizen, not if you are on a Green Card, nothing. Sign nothing. While they have not seen it YET, they  (and other immigration and refugee groups) expect people to be asked to sign away their citizenship while being detained.

Another thing that was mentioned was raids. While on a call with other immigration and refugee groups on Wednesday night, the consensus was shared that they are expecting raids this weekend. Raids on undocumented immigrants, at home and at businesses, and since the immigration ban order, possibly other people as well. So, here is what I am asking you to do: get out into your neighborhoods this weekend. Have a fully charged phone. Say hi to your neighbors, shop at immigrant and locally owned businesses, and be a witness to anything that may happen. Don't get arrested, but be a voice for your neighbors and your friends. 

There is a rumor going around that an order will be signed to end DACA. Here's what we are looking at if that happens:

Let's make it our mission to get out and know our neighbors, to be present in our communities, to go to events that benefit immigrants and refugees, to march next to them, to raise our voices on their behalf. Let us be their witnesses and advocates. Let us not "wait and see" what is going to happen next.

Last weekend, we joined together to protest the immigration ban. If anything is signed today that would result in the disruption of our communities, let us go out and stand against it as well.

Be safe out there.