“The most violent element in society is ignorance” Emma Goldman
State Street meals. CSS has been volunteering with the Friends of the State Street Family to cook and serve a meal to hundreds of people on a Saturday every other month. This grassroots organization helps hundreds of people who are homeless eat healthy home-cooked meals. Laura Smith and Aaron Hill have coordinated this effort for the past couple of years. They are moving this summer and we are hoping someone else will want to coordinate the bi-monthly meals. Let Laura Smith know if you are interested in taking on the organizational role. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Circles of Support: This program is run through Madison Urban Ministry (MUM). The people in the circle provide social support and mentoring to help formerly incarcerated individuals transition back to the community. This is a powerful, intensive 6-month weekly commitment. Let Jen Rubin (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you are interested in taking the organizational role for Circles of Support. This will include coordinating with MUM to set up.
Building Connections Across Communities: Several members of CSS met for the past 6 months with conservative members of a Middleton church to try to get to know and understand each other. This group has now ended, and others are interested trying a different project that involves meeting with a new community – religious, ethnic, or racial – through doing a joint project together or similarly related activities. Please email Jen Rubin if you want to be part of a group that meets to talk about this and possibly be involved in this type of effort.
Welcoming a Refugee Family: CSS will be resettling a family of 4 from Afghanistan. They arrive March 15. We will need help next weekend (March 10-11) and possibly during the week with cleaning the apartment, setting up the apartment, possibly fixing things in the apartment, moving furniture, possibly assembling some furniture. Then after the family arrives, we need people to give them rides to appointments, show them how to ride the bus, help them navigate life in Madison, etc. Anyone who is interested in any of this should email Meg Lamm at email@example.com.
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.
March 9 & 10: Literacy Network Book Sale
If you are looking for new books, you can get some at the Literacy Network and support their literacy education program. It is at 701 Dane Street from 10-7 and 10-2 respectively.
March 10: Storefront for Success Grand Opening Celebration. Just Bakery, a program of Madison Urban Ministry will have a ground opening of their Just Bakery store front. It is at 1708 Theirer Road from 11 to 1. More details here.
March 10: Circle Up documentary screening and local panel discussion. This is an award-winning documentary on restorative justice, forgiveness, violence prevention, healing and human dignity. A great local panel will talk after the documentary. See here for more details. It is at the Discovery Center from 2 – 5.
March 12: Voter Education Ambassador Training
At the Madison City Clerk’s Office from 5pm – 6:30pm. More details here.
March 14: All Madison High Schools Walkout to Demand Gun Control: See details here.
March 18: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Jennifer Rosen Heinz, a Shaarei Shamayim member and Madison Group Lead for Moms Demand Action, will share her insight and how to move the needle forward on this issue. Click here for more info. At RISE, 2120 Fordem Ave from 9:50-11:30.
March 20: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Educational Series: Temple Beth El presents a 3-part education al series. Part 1 is from 7pm – 8:30pm. Facilitated discussion of the book Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. Attend 1, 2 or all three sessions. Click here for more information and to register. Temple Beth El is at 2702 Arbor Dr.
March 20: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Educational Series: Temple Beth El presents a 3-part education al series. Part 2 is from 7pm – 8:30pm. Viewing the documentary 13th, followed by a panel and group discussion. Attend 1, 2 or all three sessions. Click here for more information and to register. Temple Beth El is at 2702 Arbor Dr.
March 22nd: Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice: Praising the Divine Together: An Evening of Sacred Music, Pot-luck dinner, and Conversation. From 6:00 to 8:00pm at Edgewood College. Music/sacred chanting will be shared by: Laiman Mai - Buddhist Chanting, Latanya Maymon – Gospel, Students of the Madinah Academy - chanting from the Quran and songs in Arabic, Rabbi Jonathan Biatch - chanting from the Torah and Jewish folk song. More details here.
April 17: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System: Educational Series: Temple Beth El presents a 3-part education al series. Part 1 is from 7pm – 8:30pm. Facilitated discussion of the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander. Attend 1, 2 or all three sessions. Click here for more information and to register. Temple Beth El is at 2702 Arbor Dr.
April 7: Voces de la Frontera monthly meeting
The Madison chapter has monthly meetings open to the community and voces members. They are the first Saturday of the month from 11am-12pm at Centro Hispano.
Lobby Day for Criminal Justice Reform in Madison. On March 13th, you can attend a lobby day at the Capital. From the organizers, “During a time when many states are reforming their broken criminal justice systems and closing down unneeded or unsafe prisons, the Wisconsin legislature seems intent on locking up more Wisconsinites. We do not need to borrow $350 million to recklessly build a new prison. Join Madison Urban Ministries (and others) at the Capital at 10am in the North Hearing Room to ask the State Senate to oppose SB 54, which would authorize the state to borrow $350 million to build a new prison for adult men.” Details here. Click here to let the organizers know you will be there. Find your state legislator’s contact info here.
Flippable: I know I have mentioned Flippable before. If you are someone that likes to donate to political candidates – consider donating to Flippable. They want to flip the representation in several key states and have targeted races to but their energy. They have a primer on why focusing on state races matter (state legislators often draw district maps, control voting requirements, etc.) They have a map of the state of the states and why they are paying attention to special elections. Here is a link to their Fippable Fund.
Indivisible: Indivisible puts together the most comprehensive information on taking action nationally on various issues that are currently moving forward. This is from there, ‘What Could Happen on Capitol Hill in March’ webpages. This is what they have to say about: Gun Violence Prevention, Wall Street Deregulation, A Vote to Stop Trump’s Devastating War in Yemen and Immigration/DACA.
Literacy Network is looking for tutors: They need Spanish/English bilingual volunteers with strong math skills to help tutor GED students Tuesday mornings at Madison College downtown and Friday mornings at their learning center. Training and support provided. You can apply online here.
--The Office of Management and Budget released a 2017 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act: This reportshows that the benefits from "major" federal regulations between 2006 and 2016 outweighed the costs. It estimates that the aggregate annual benefit from the Obama-era regulations was between $287 and $911 billion, while the estimated aggregate annual costs were between $78 and $115 billion, as reported in 2015 dollars. According to Vox, the regulations offered a net benefit of up to $833 billion.
--Ben Carson Removes Anti-Discrimination Language from HUD Mission Statement: The new Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mission statement removed promises of inclusive and discrimination free communities, in an effort to “align HUD’s mission with the Secretary’s priorities and that of the Administration.” More details in this article. Weakening civil rights legislation is nothing new for the Trump administration. If you want to dive into the nuance of this, read the statement by the National Fair Housing Alliance. Here is a video of some of the history of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Consider calling Ben Carson’s office and let him know what you think about the change. (And as a side note – it is a satisfying volunteer job to be a fair housing tester and your local Fair Housing council.
--DACA deadline comes and goes: From the Crooked Media newsletter, “Today is the arbitrary deadline Trump set to end the DACA renewal process for young immigrants. But recent court decisions that have stopped the termination of the program have made this heading relatively meaningless. The uncertainty surrounding protections for Dreams has led to another push for a short-term extension. A government spending bill, due by March 3, could be a way to grant some Dreamers a temporary reprieve."
--Scott Walker is doing his best to make sure any low-income person that is in need of food stamps or any other type of public assistance has to first pass a drug test. It reminds me of one of my favorite Daily Show segments, with Aasif Mandvi. He brilliantly and creatively shows the hypocrisy of only worrying about the government support that low-income people get and not what middle class people and politiicans and such get from the government.
--Podcast: I thought ‘don’t tell your story too soon” was a particularly interesting episode of Pod Save the People.
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.