Oxygen Masks

Dear Friends,
I was recently reminded by a friend that there is a reason why on an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before assisting your neighbor. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the world but I have found a huge amount of comfort in this reminder in the last few weeks. For me, this speaks true on several levels. First, it is the obvious reminder that we must care for ourselves. Second, our work doesn’t end once we are breathing and safe. The goal of this policy is that ultimately everyone on the plane is breathing and as safe as they can be.

I have heard it more times than I can count, “What a crazy year we are having!” In reality, most of what has gone on in 2020 is not new or particularly unique. So what is different this time? There are so many reasons that contribute to what is happening this year in the United States but the simple answer is more people are remembering to help neighbors put on their oxygen mask. There is so much work to do, masks to help with, and many communities that don’t have masks at all.

So Is your oxygen mask secure today? If not, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it is, don’t be afraid to offer help.

Carol Schwartz

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19th, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger issued an order stating, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

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Happy Birthday Jeannette!

June 11, 2020
“Until all the factors that make up a social problem are taken into consideration, no social problem can be solved, certainly not until primary factors such as fears and desires of the masses of the people are taken into consideration. To work out the problems of cooperation between the nations, that cooperation must be based on all essential factors making up the problem of each nation. The international group cannot proceed on the basis of the desires of the individuals forming the group but upon the dominate attitude of the component groups. Therefore, a program that is genuine must take into consideration the actual facts that make up the conditions in this country as well as in every other. It must be based on the thinking and fears and desires of the masses of the people, for in the end we must agree with Jefferson to the extent that governments derive their just power from the consent of the people.

Our peacetime expenditures for war are greater than any time in our history. Europe is spending for war far beyond what they can afford. Some may come before you and tell you which nation is going to attack which nation, and why, and when, and so on. This is all beyond me, but there is one thing I do know, that the nations of the world are going to be like the little boy who received a gun and diary for Christmas. The day after Christmas he wrote in his diary: “Snowing, can’t go hunting.” The next day he wrote: “Snowing yet; can’t go hunting.” and the next day: “Snowing still, shot grandma.” We don’t know whether the nations are going to shoot grandmother or the baby, but we know that they are going to shoot and it is for all of us to do all in our power to prevent the catastrophe.”

Jeannette Rankin
Excerpt from Mass Action and it’s Effects on International Cooperation for World Peace
Address given at the Institute of Public Affairs in Charlottesville, Virginia July 8, 1937

Black Lives Matter

June 5, 2020

There has been much talk this week about how much turmoil the US is in right now. The sobering fact is that this turmoil, grief, and outrage is an everyday reality for many across the country who are confronted with the injustice of our systems regularly because of the color of their skin.

I am a white person who grew up in a small town with enough diversity to fill a teaspoon. I cannot speak to the experience of my Black brothers & sisters and I can never truly understand what it is to walk in your shoes. What I can do is listen, learn, educate, speak out, and elevate your voices which have gone unheard for too long. I can take the time to acknowledge my white privilege and that I have not always been the ally I need to be for the BIPOC community. I can also acknowledge that it is my privilege as a white person that makes my silence an option and that I have benefited from systems that are unjust, oppressive, and racist. I share this with you because in order to be better and do better we have to understand, reflect on, and acknowledge our privileges, biases, and what we don’t know. There is work to be done and we all have a part to play. Continue reading