“And you know, in retrospect, it doesn't matter if he doesn't see my humanity, what matters to me is that I see his. What he thinks about me and all of that, like — my humanity is not dependent upon that.” Al Letson
Friends of State Street Meal
Shaarei Shamayim's next meal for the homeless through Friends of the State Street Family is on September 16. If you would like to help make and serve nourishing food to our neighbors, host an epic cookie-baking party at your place, or do something memorable before you head to Octobeerfest, please consider signing up for our next meal. Donations are also appreciated, and can be made through the sign-up sheet here.
Voces Solidarity Challenge Celebration
CSS set an ambitious goal of raising $60,000 to help Voces de la Frontera hire a local organizer and we met that goal! With donations from $10 to $10,000, CSS raised $62,270. Voces staff are in the process of hiring an organizer, and it’s time to celebrate. The celebration is on August 30th from 6:00 – 8:00 at Centro Hispano, 810 W. Badger Road. This is a chance to meet the staff and leadership of Voces, learn about immigrant rights in Dane County, and get involved.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook so that we have enough food.
EVENTS AROUND TOWN:
Well it is no secret that this world, our country, Wisconsin and sometimes Madison can be a depressing place to live and be part of. So, in addition to organizing events and action oriented events happening in Madison I will try to be a bit more intentional about mentioning events that I think are part of actively making Madison a better, more inclusive and equitable community.
September 17: Dane Sanctuary Coalition General Membership Meeting
The first meeting of the Dane Sanctuary Coalition will be held on Sunday, September 17 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM at Madison Christian Community, 7118 Old Sauk Road. Reverend Winton Boyd will host the meeting, Sergio Gonzalez will give a brief overview of the Sanctuary Movement, our Coalition Guidelines will be presented and opportunities for involvement on the various Coalition Teams will be explained. Light refreshments will be served.
Email comments from one of the organizers after listening to a conference call about DACA. Thanks to all of you who signed up over these past weeks. We can’t predict when we will be called on to provide sanctuary. We had thought it might start on September 1, but it has taken longer to get all the elements in place, although much progress has been and is still being made. And yet…I listened to a conference call last night sponsored by organizations involved with DACA. They have heard rumors, which they feel are reliable, that the government may announce the suspension of DACA in the next few days. If that happens, we may be asked to provide sanctuary sooner rather than later. So we are trying to steer a middle course between asking people to sign up for needs we don’t yet have and being caught totally off guard. If you signed up for specific shifts, please take them off your calendar. We will keep your name and we will contact you when we have confirmation that someone is coming to stay in our building. We will also contact those of you who signed up for food prep.
September 12: Resist Trump Tuesdays: Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s Office
Meet at 1 PM at the capitol steps, where state street meets the square. (If raining just inside that entrance in the capital).
--Indivisible will be visiting Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s office – click here and see below for more details.
“We will be visiting State Senator Jon Erpenbach's office (Senate District 27) this week. His district includes parts of Dane, Green, Lafayette, and Rock Counties. We would like to bring him constituent letters or petitions, so please share with anyone in these areas (and invite them to come along!)”
September 19: Indivisible Madison Monthly Meeting
Indivisible Madison has their monthly Resistance Assembly on the 3rd floor of Madison's Central Library, room 302. Email email@example.com with any comments, questions, or suggestions.
October 8 – November 19th: Groundwork 2017 Fall Anti-Racism Workshop
Groundwork is doing an intensive 7-week workshop that examines how racism and white privilege affect our lives, communities, institution, and movements for social justice, while developing strategies for prioritizing racial justice both individually and collectively. It will be held Sundays from 3pm to 6pm at Lakeview Lutheran Church. Click here to learn more and register.
October 12: An Intimate Evening with Sagashus T. Levingston.
Mark your calendars for this fundraising event. A Fund for Women’s mission is to transform our community so that women and girls thrive. In addition to Sagashus’s talk, the Fund will highlight their 2017 grants to area nonprofits. More details about the event here.
Friends of Emerson
CSS is part of the Jewish Congregations for Social Justice Coalition and the coalition volunteers with Emerson school. There are a few opportunities to volunteer at Emerson this fall.
Tutoring. Emerson is looking for literacy mentors and math mentors. Contact Marcia Vandercook if you are interested. Mentoring will begin the second week in October.
Harvest Night: October 24 is Harvest Night, i.e. pumpkin carving. There is a lot of work in planning this, getting the supplies and pumpkins. If coordinating this sounds fun to you contact Marcia Vandercook. The event involves 100 pumpkins, small children with sharp implements, and pumpkin guts.
Backpack donations: If you would like to donate a backpack contact Marcia Vandercook. If you contact her just let her know what you pledge so she knows how many to order. A well-made basic backpack is $18 from where she is ordering.
Jewish Social Services Refugee Resettlement
Click here for the refugee/asylee/immigrant donation wish list.
Advocate for Refugees with Jewish Social Services
The timing is urgent for advocacy on this issue. The US government will determine the maximum number of refugees allowed to come into the country in the next year. Now is the time to advocate to ask your representative to support a presidential determination of at least 75,000 refugees. Click here for more information on who to call and some simple talking points.
Invest in Science to Protect Our Future
In a saner political climate, the flooding of Houston will lead to a discussion/debate on how to better understand the science of what is happening. Scientific funding is less than 2% of the federal budget but Republican lawmakers have proposed a 2018 spending bill that will shrink our country’s scientific institutions. 5 calls has some talking points and phone numbers to call your legislators about this issue.
Militarization of the Local Police
The Trump administration wants to reverse and Obama-era ban on the transfer of surplus military equipment to state, local and tribal police agencies. This means that armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, etc. can be in local towns. 5 calls has talking points for this. I keep making phone calls so there is an official record of who is for and who is against a policy, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jeff Sessions and Trump are influenced by our calls. Another route is tweet at them about not reversing the policy – this is also part of a public record. (@TheJusticeDept, @realDonaldTrump)
The State of Wisconsin is a Mess too: Protect Wisconsin’s Waters from Sulfide Mining
The Wisconsin River Alliance is doing important work to protect our waters from sulfide mining. They are hosting a great looking event on 9/2 called What a Metal Mind Means for the Menominee River. It is only $10 and involves a short kayak trip, a light lunch and a cookout and mine discussion with the Menominee Indian Tribe. Details here and registration required.
The State of Wisconsin is a Mess too: Foxconn
I have not followed this that closely. It doesn’t bode well that it easily passed the assembly. The Senate has not yet voted. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign had this to say about it, Citizen Action had this to say about it and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters had this to say about it. You can find your State Senator here.
Government is Good: In a saner political climate, the devastation in Houston could lead to a healthy and critical discussion about the useful role of government. That FEMA is important. That states need to invest in infrastructure. Etc. One of my favorite websites is by Douglas Amy and is titled Government is Good. If you are ever looking to develop your arguments for why government is a good thing for our lives check out this website.
Al Letson is a great reporter and poet and storyteller. Currently he works at the Center of Investigative Reporting and is the host of Reveal. This is an account from when he shielded a man from a beating at an anti-hate rally last week. (I had a chance to meet him when we both were invited to tell a story at an event in Brooklyn. This is the story he told that night.)
Good news about voter registration in Illinois. While it feels like we are light years away from this type of progressive voter registration law happening in Wisconsin, it is nice to know that Illinois is now the 10th state to do so. All we need to do is change our state elected officials.
Nice interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah about science.
Really interesting NYT’s article, The New Front in the Gerrymandering wars: Democracy vs. Math. The article features Wisconsin and starts off with Dale Shultz in 2011.
I listened to Trials of the Free Press while taking a walk this evening. It is interesting and I learned things I didn’t know about. If you worry that your concerns about Trump’s attacks on the press has been too narrow and you want to deepen your concern to the impact lawsuits are having on journalism – then this is the podcast for you.
If spirituality helps you ground your activism the Network of Spiritual Progressives and
Tikkun magazine are offering a seven sessions training called "Spiritual Activism: Beyond Resistance - Strategies in the Age of Trump." The next two-hours-a-week on-line training starts Sunday September 10, 6pm CT. For more info, including description of the sessions, click here.
Social Action email
I am the social action committee chair for Congregation Shaarei Shamayim (CSS) and send out social action updates by email most weeks.