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.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Daily Action: No to DeVos, and No to DAPL

Friends, today is going to be a long day. I just received this response from my senator regarding the upcoming vote for Betsy DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education.

What does that even mean, "concerned"? So I'll be on the phone today getting some clarification from staffers in Durbin's offices today. If you live in a state with a Republican senator, please call them today (especially Pat Toomey (PA) or Rob Portman (OH)). Call all their offices. Tweet at them. Fax them if you have that capability. Tell them No on Betsy DeVos.

Also, the Department of the Army is accepting public comments leading up to the Environmental Impact Statement on the DAPL. If you have a few minutes, please do one of the following actions (as found in this article): 

Send a letter or email to:
Mr. Gib Owen
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon 
Washington, DC 20310-0108
gib.a.owen.civ@mail.mil (Use subject line NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing)
Use this form created by the Standing Rock Sioux to send a letter.
Use this form from the Sierra Club to send an email.
Finally, if you're looking for upcoming protests in your metropolitan area, check out your local TimeOut guide. I was pleasantly surprised to see a list on Chicago's site, and imagine other sites will follow shortly, if they haven't already.

Friends, stay safe and stay warm - don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today (it's cooold out there every day). (Thank you for indulging my Groundhog Day humor)


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Daily Action: Save the Dates

Friends, I'm a planner by nature, and I keep finding great events that I'd like to attend in the upcoming weeks/months. Here's what I've got scheduled so far:

This film opens nationwide in two days. Make plans to see it this weekend, next week, or next weekend.

The Chicago Public Library is hosting multiple events, every day, to celebrate Black History Month. I'm particularly interested in my coworker's event, where he will be speaking about his book, Pioneering Cartoonists of Color. I got a chance to look at the book, and it's truly wonderful. Check out your local library's listing of events, and if nothing is scheduled, see if you can get an event together.

Organizations are signing folks up to do phone banking to save the Affordable Care Act. This is a list of dates and places in Illinois, but check your local area to see if there is a phone bank being organized near you. 

If you're looking to get some face to face time with your Representative, check out this google spreadsheet that has a running list of upcoming town halls. There is an email address included in case you have updates or additions. I'd also encourage you to call your reps if you don't see something scheduled, and ask when the next town hall is planned. Nothing planned? Get your fellow constituents together to call and pressure the rep to plan a town hall (here's an example of that method working).

If you're interested in taking part in the upcoming Scientists March on Washington, DC (or getting details about satellite marches), sign up for information about the April 22, 2017 event here: https://www.marchforscience.com/ 

Also in DC, there will be a People's Climate March on April 29, 2017. You can find details on that here.

Finally, a little beacon of hope: the Boy Scouts will allow transgender kids to join its ranks. I was super pleased to hear this, and after reading this article, fully intend to announce my agreement of this out loud:

Friends, don't forget the self-care this week. You deserve it.