Action this Week – April 3, 2020

Join Our April meeting, Sunday, 2 pm on Zoom

We have a a terrific agenda for our meeting Sunday, April 5th, 2-4 pm, and we hope to see you there!  If you haven’t practiced using Zoom on the past two Sundays at our Political Pop-Ins, please refer here for a “get started with Zoom” tutorial from one of our Indivisible friends in New Rochelle.

Since our focus for April is “Climate Crisis” in honor of the 50th Earth Day on April 22nd, we have a representative from one of our ally groups joining us.  Eric Stenzel, a Sunrise Movement organizer from Hamilton College, will talk about what they are working on when it comes to the Climate Crisis fight.  We are asking everyone to make a small sign (8.5 x 11 is fine) to hold up for a group photo over Zoom.  It should have a Climate Crisis or Earth Day message or graphic on it.  For those of you with art skills or just time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to show off what you can do!

We’ll have an update from Lucy and Jacob on the Brinidisi for Congress campaign as well. We are all very curious to find out how we can start helping the campaign get off the ground with voter contact under the new social distancing guidelines.

Finally, we’ll have time to connect with each other on the challenges we are facing, and the ways we can re-energize our many political activism projects in creative new ways.

Announcements for the whole group will go in the Chat (a feature of Zoom meetings on laptops and tablets).  If you are dialing in on the phone and don’t have access to Chat, you can email them to IndivisibleMohawkValley@gmail.com. We will compile and share them.  Here is how to join the meeting:

Event link. Sign up, share!  If you need a number to call in rather than video conferencing, you can find it here.

Join Zoom meeting directly:
https://zoom.us/j/507554481

Guess Who “Popped In” Last Sunday?

IMVers who showed up for our Zoom Political Pop-In this past Sunday got a surprise, because so did Rep. Anthony Brindisi, freshly released from his two week self-quarantine!

Anthony answered questions about how Congress has responded to COVID-19 and what kinds of legislation may be needed ahead.

He also talked about his popular tele-town halls and the importance of getting accurate information and needed supplies to NY22, and how hard his staff is working to respond to constituent issues during the crisis.

Finally, he offered a heartfelt thank you to everyone who collected signatures to get him on the ballot for the fall.  We are appreciative of his time, sense of humor, and willingness to engage in dialogue with grassroots activists.  Plus, he really surprised us when he showed up!

Check Out This 50th Earth Day Calendar

IMV’s Climate Crisis Work Group encourages everyone to celebrate the 50th Earth Day throughout the month of April even during the pandemic. There’s an action for every day of the month on this calendar.  Enjoy, and please share widely!  If you want to volunteer to help plan the virtual Earth Day event, please contact Maggie Reilly at margaret_reilly@mac.com.

New Sessions from Indivisible’s Training Team

Indivisible’s Training Team is dedicated to assisting Indivisible groups as they transition how they organize during this difficult time. They have just  announced a new month-long webinar training series focused on organizing in the time of COVID-19.

The trainings each have two dates to sign up so you can make it work with your schedule. Take a look in our IMV Grassroots Organizing (GO) calendar below and sign up!

We the People, Five Months On

Guest Column by Jennifer Boulanger

Five months ago, with a few thousand other disenchanted citizens I participated in the “We the People” march in Washington, DC.   To say it was an exhilarating experience is an understatement. It was affirming and inspirational, immersed as I was in the center of fired-up, dedicated activists, making our way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. We chanted and cheered; we pleaded with Congress to do its job. Most of all, we called for the impeachment of a woefully unfit President who had shown himself, time and again, to be motivated by self-interest and ego rather than the welfare of the people.

As I remember it now, the experience, like many meaningful, larger-than-life occasions, seems surreal and fantastic, almost as if I imagined it. This is partially because at this moment with all of us in quarantine, donning gloves and masks for a simple, three-block trip to Price Chopper, I cannot imagine high-fiving in the midst of thousands, taking a plane or a taxi, mingling with crowds at the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian, or even having a beer at the hotel bar.

But the more important point is this:  We could not have known then what we all know now.  Yes, we knew that Trump’s racist rants inspired hatred; we were horrified by his wall-building and the caging of refugee children; we were aghast at his denials of science, his blatant disregard for the changing climate and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. And then there was his less-than-“perfect” call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, which blew up in the media just as we returned home from Washington.

But what we could not have known then was that his self-absorption, his ignorance, and his political greed would actually land some of us in the hospital, gasping for breath, or worse.  That his willful negligence would lead to catastrophic shortages of medical equipment and protective gear for health care workers. That his utter denial, despite all evidence to the contrary, his insistence that the pandemic could be contained, that “It’s going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear” stated as recently as February 27, would leave most of us untested and doctors unable to track disease progress. That his lack of action would send us scrambling inside our homes, only to be given misinformation about “cures” and “treatments” at daily briefings that neither inform nor reassure; indeed, they obfuscate and contradict. And sometimes, they have disastrous consequences. Trump’s proclamation that one drug, hydroxychloroquine, could treat COVID-19 and would be “one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine” ended with one believer dying and his widow seriously ill.

Today we can only wonder what might have happened if Trump had, just this once, listened to intelligence sources that warned of a global threat as early as January.  If he had, incomprehensible as his denial seems now, heeded the World Health Organization’s early entreaty to “test, test, test” as they distributed 1.5 million tests to 120 countries. If he hadn’t, in perhaps the most blatant gesture of American exceptionalism, made the decision to develop our own test instead, stalling the medical community’s ability to track transmission, thus leaving all of us to wonder: have we been exposed?  Now, the global problem has become a local problem: our local COVID-19 test sites in Rome and New Hartford closed 8 days after they opened, with officials citing a “supply shortage.” And as of today, I know one person, an old friend that everyone called “a prince of a man,” who has died of the virus.

It’s true that Donald Trump did not cause a global pandemic. And some would say that looking back and blaming is counterproductive.  I’m all for looking forward, planning for a better, healthier future. However, if we do not examine our failings, there is no chance we will avoid mistakes going forward.  Moreover, the serious consequences of this administration’s negligence should do more than inform all of us. It should provoke and arouse us –to move, to organize and campaign, to act up!

Looking back, I believe every single effort, large and small, to elect true leaders was and will continue to be our most critical work.  Yes, I protested. I also went door-to-door for my Congressman, Anthony Brindisi (who, unlike Senator Rand Paul, self-quarantined to protect others) . I wrote post cards. I called constituents. I wrote editorials. And, of course, I voted.  And I did only a tiny percentage of what my esteemed counterparts did. For them, I am eternally grateful.  Their dedication should inspire us all to get us off our couches and into the streets, shouting from the rooftops if we have to, until we have the leaders that America deserves— servant leaders whose love of the common good trumps self-love.

But not yet: for now, stay on the couch, hug the ones you love, wash your hands, and hug the ones you love again. And in quieter moments, think about what you can do when this is over. And it will be over, and, with collective, undeniable will, we shall overcome.

Wishing you all health, comfort, and love,
Jennifer Boulanger

Stay Strong and Stay Together!

These are hard times for sure, and the IMV Steering Committee wants you to know that we are here for you.  If you are looking for a way to get involved virtually and not sure how to start, please reach out.  We became a community of activists because we saw a need and stepped up.  We now have the capacity to connect people, help in the community, and the power to advocate effectively for the policies and resources that are needed in this time. We still have work to do, even though it is mostly virtual.

Thank you for all you are doing in to help neighbors, keep yourself and others safe, and build the resilience we are going to need months from now when we are ready to activate in person once again!

IMV Steering Committee
Betsy, Deborah, Jen, Jennifer, Joelle, Maggie, Sarah
IndivisibleMohawkValley@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter using @indivisiblemv and of course our Facebook page and IMV Activism Group.

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