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!