Action this Week – March 27, 2020

Join Us for IMV’s Second Political Pop-In

We had such a good experience at our Zoom meeting last Sunday, that we are doing another one this week, on March 29, 3-4 pm.  Please join us here.  This is the direct link to the Zoom meeting: Join IMV’s Political Pop In Zoom Meeting Sunday at 3:00 pm: https://zoom.us/j/558155786

We’ll get everyone familiar with Zoom features, including breakout rooms and managing your own video and audio.  Plus, we’ll talk about how to create a Twitter account, and become an activist in the world of social media.  There will be something for everyone, and a chance to connect with IMV friends in the midst of social distancing.

IMV’s Monthly Meeting on April 5th will be on Zoom!

Our next group meeting will be on Sunday, April 5th, 2-4pm.  Here’s the zoom call information: https://zoom.us/j/507554481   In honor of the 50th annual Earth Day celebration in April, we’ll hear from youth activists from the Sunrise Movement about their work locally and beyond to meet the climate crisis head on.  We continue to work together to make progressive political activism local, bite-sized, and fun. Following public health guidelines, this meeting will occur via Zoom video conferencing.

Make sure you put this one on your calendar now!

Call Rep. Brindisi Now for a Better COVID-19 Response Package

Keep making calls to let Rep. Anthony Brindisi know what we expect from the third COVID-19 bill.  Here’s the script you need to make you call.  The bill tentatively agreed upon is a big step forward, but it is lacking some critical items, and if they don’t make it in before the House vote, then we’ll have to fight for them in the next package.  Here is what we still need for democracy and economic justice:

  • Increase election security and access to voting, including financial support for states to implement vote by mail before November,

  • Add guardrails for the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate bailouts in the bill (e.g. requiring that companies that get bailouts retain ALL of their employees and can’t waste money on executive bonuses or stock buybacks)

  • Provide universal paid sick leave, not just for some people — everyone,

  • Improve the cash assistance provisions of the bill by making the payments recurring and available to all people, including immigrants, and

  • Support patients and health care workers by expanding federal Medicaid funding, ending surprise billing, and ensuring frontline workers have the protections they need to stay safe.

Help Make Masks for MVHS

We’ve had some IMV members making masks now for almost two weeks, so we are well-prepared to answer the call from MVHS (Mohawk Valley Health System) to sew cloth masks that can be used by those not providing direct patient care.

The materials needed to create a mask are cotton fabric, elastic (or ribbon if elastic is unavailable), thread and a sewing machine.

If you are in need of materials, JoAnn’s Fabrics, located at 120 Genesee Street, New Hartford, is offering free fabric mask-making supply kits. Orders can be made for curbside pick up Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. When you arrive at the store, call 315-733-4969 and tell the person on the phone you would like a kit. The kit will have enough materials for ten masks. Once all ten masks are sewn, they can be brought back to JoAnn’s for distribution to MVHS. Then, a person may receive another kit of materials to create more masks.

Other sites are mentioned in the press release link above, but IMV recommends avoiding shopping at Hobby Lobby because of their many public attacks on women’s and other civil rights, and also Walmart because of their longstanding poor treatment of workers and hostility to organized labor.

Our Earth Day Celebration is Going Virtual!

For 49 years, Earth Day has been celebrated in festivals and outdoor community events.  In 2020, on the 50th anniversary, IMV’s Climate Crisis Working Group will be creating an April calendar of Earth Day Actions and planning a virtual Earth Day event.  If you want to be involved in the planning, please contact Maggie Reilly (margaret.reilly@mac.com)  or Mona Perrotti (monap414@yahoo.com).

Take action for Immigrants in Buffalo’s Detention Center

Most of us are in safe locations, in the comfort of our own homes, and able to socially distance ourselves  Essential workers are using protective measures as much as possible as well. However, the immigrant detention center in Buffalo, is currently holding more than 500 people, and ICE and CBP have failed to follow COVID-19 safety policies.  Immigrants in detention centers are especially vulnerable to the virus, and three is nothing they can do.  We are the ones who must advocate for them.

Please, review this action guide, and participate in three critical actions.  The first is a phone zap, which is when we try to deluge the head of the detention center with our calls.  The second is a petition to the Governor, and the third is sharing on social media  Detainees right here in upstate New Your are depending on us for their lives.  Please, take a few minutes today, and TAKE ACTION.

Act Now So New Yorkers Get the Healthcare We Need

Due to the coronavirus pandemic in New York, this year’s budget negotiations are even less transparent than usual: the Senate and Assembly did not release one-house budgets, and negotiations between Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins are well underway. We could see a final budget for this fiscal year as soon as this week. This crisis has made it more apparent than ever that Governor Cuomo’s yearly austerity measures in the budget are disastrous for New Yorkers – our communities have been left vulnerable and in harm’s way during this unprecedented pandemic. We’re hearing that legislative leadership is falling in line behind the Governor and his austerity budget, despite his proposed $2 BILLION cut to Medicaid. In the middle of a pandemic.

Now is our chance to tell our legislators and communities that this is unacceptable. All New Yorkers deserve health care and crucial support services during this time, and we need budget justice to get there. Here’s how you can get involved (remotely!):

  • Make and post a Budget Justice video using Indivisible’s Soapboxx tool by clicking this link. The question we are answering is “What does budget justice mean to you? Why do you think our electeds should be fighting for it?” Please mention Medicaid funding in your video. We will process your video and return it to you. Upload to twitter using the hashtag: #BudgetJustice. Be sure to tag your NY state senator, NY Senate Majority Leader @AndreaSCousins and @NYGovCuomo.
  • Please be sure to also email your reps asking for budget justice and to preserve Medicaid funding during this critical time. Your Senator’s e-mail address can be found here, and your Assembly member’s email address can be found here.
  • Keep related messaging coming on Twitter and via your representatives’ Facebook pages, compiled in this spreadsheet. Don’t call the Albany or district offices; no one is there to answer, and the voicemail needs to be kept clear for constituent services. But do take the opportunity to ask and encourage them to hold Facebook Live office hours.

Stay Safe.  Use Your Power.  Take Action.

These are trying times.  We urge everyone to be safe.  Our elected representatives have put the most up to date guidelines and contact information for assistance on their webpages, and we encourage you to seek those out.

Rep. Brindisi held his second Teletown Hall on COVID-19 yesterday, and once again, it was an excellent source of accurate information from local experts.  Constituents asked questions and received answers  His office has also been responding to a high volume of constituent need requests.  We have an excellent Representative in Congress.  Can you imagine what would be coming out of Tenney’s mouth right now if we hadn’t picketed and canvassed and voted her out of office?

Now, in the midst of this crisis, our first job is to follow public health orders and guidelines. Our next job is to support our community and reach out with compassion to meet the needs of our neighbors as much as we can. Then as a political activism community, we need to continue the work we began in early 2017. 

If you missed the Emergency Indivisible National Activist COVID-19 call last Friday night, this is the video recording.   Check out the message from Ezra Levin who kicked off the call. Start at the end of the second minute through the end of the 12th minute.

Ezra reminded us all that , “Indivisible is a community led movement that is in many ways built for this moment… we were made for this…We started three plus years ago in a moment of fear and chaos and we found ways to help.”

He asked us all:  “How are you standing indivisible with those who are must vulnerable?...COVID is a threat to all of us–old, young, poor, rich, black, white. In this sense the virus doesn’t discriminate. But the impact of the virus won’t be the same for everyone.

Then he asked: “How are you using the privilege and power that your Indivisible group has built over the last last three years to make your group a LOAD-BEARING PILLAR of your community? Indivisible is defined by action and impact. We are defined by what we DO.” 

Finally, he noted that this crisis reminds us that legislation that doesn’t put people first is exactly the what the GOP has advocated for for years, and it’s exactly what they’re gong to continue pushing and succeed in accomplishing unless there is a different force that is pushing back.”

PUSH BACK. Check out Indivisible’s new People Over Profits web page and get creative. All the tools are there. Make a video. Write a letter to the Editor.  Send an email to Anthony.  Volunteer for mutual aid.  Keep pushing back against the forces that will use this crisis for dismantling democracy and securing corporate profits while people suffer.

IMV began in a moment of chaos and fear to defend the vulnerable and to fight for democracy.  We were made to be a load bearing pillar of our Mohawk Valley community, and we are defined by what we do.  Democracy, even in a pandemic, especially in a pandemic, is not a spectator sport.   Play safe though, friends. 

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