Welcome to the very first RAD Vermont monthly newsletter!
This year is already taking a toll on many of us – emotionally, politically, and physically.
During this new and uncertain period, RAD is shifting the scope of its work to support the needs of our communities while pushing for the structural change required to create safe, healthy, and equitable conditions for our collective future. RAD is responding to COVID-19 in our communities in a variety of ways, which you can read more about below.
First and foremost, we have ensured that our staff are supported and safe: Our offices are closed, staff are working remotely and all regional Chapter meetings have gone virtual. In addition, we’ve moved all canvassing and outreach work to phone canvassing, texting, and digital outreach via email and social media.
At the same time, we are excited to announce that former State Rep. Kiah Morris has been hired as the Movement Politics Director in Vermont and we have a new organizer for Chittenden County.
Read the full write-up about Kiah’s role with RAD our blog and please welcome her aboard.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and practice social solidarity.
April 13 • 6:30-8:00pm
Not Me Us: What’s Next for 2020 & Beyond- virutal event. RSVP
April 18, • 1:30-3:00pm
RAD Essex Virtual Chapter Meeting RSVP
April 22 • 6:30-8:30pm
RAD Burlington Virtual Chapter Meeting RSVP
April 27 • SAVE THE DATE
Statewide COVID Response Town Hall
April 30 • Time TBA
Rutland County Virtual Chapter Meeting
WHAT’S NEXT FOR #NOTMEUS?
Given the challenges we face with this pandemic, growing our movement and having people who represent our values running on every level is as important as ever. How can we continue the momentum built from Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign and grow the #NotMeUs movement?
Rights & Democracy invites you to join us this Monday for a special event, featuring RAD leaders and members and special guests:
- Ana Maria Archila, Co-Director, Center For Popular Democracy
- Kaniela Ing, Climate Justice Campaign Director, People’s Action
- US Rep. Ro Khanna (CA)
We will discuss what a post-COVID transformative agenda could look like and present next action steps on the local, state and national levels.
We have called on the governors in our states to do more than just stay the course during this crisis response, but to leverage federal and state dollars to ensure that any financial relief is centered on the needs of communities and not corporations. You can read, sign, and share the petition here.
RAISE THE WAGE
Before the Vermont Legislature wound down its work we did win a raise in the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour by 2022. That’s good news for the long-term and we are working to make sure everyone knows how to access federal and state money to help them in the short-term.
Chapters in Bennington, Burlington, and Rutland endorsed a total of 14 candidates for municipal and school board races. Of those 14, RAD-endorsed candidates won 12 races. Our work helped win 2 crucial races in Burlington that resulted in the first Progressive party Majority in City Council history. Our statewide Leadership Committee also decided to support the Hartford Welcoming Ordinance which ends the relationship between Hartford law enforcement and ICE, making the community safer for immigrants and their families.
Our endorsed candidate – Sen. Bernie Sanders – won both New Hampshire and Vermont (yay!) thanks, in part, to the volunteer hours put in by RAD folx across both states as well as those who texted and phone banked into other critical Super Tuesday states. Our focus will soon turn to ensuring that Trump does not win New Hampshire – as we know he’s stated that he would like very much to do so. Eff that.
We were saddened to see the end of Bernie’s campaign this week, but grateful for how much his campaign has shifted the political conversation and contributed to movement building work. Read our thoughts on it here.
RAD Vermont organizers and members have made 612 calls and 1600 texts to members to check in on needs in this time and to talk about the needed COVID response for Vermonters. Organizers and members in Rutland and Addison counties, as well as in the communities of Bennington and Essex are part of leadership teams meeting the needs of the community with Mutual Aid.
RAD Organizer Jubilee McGill has led the Addison County Mutual Aid efforts and created a partnership with United Way to get all Addison County residents into their United At Work program, which will connect them to employment services as well as gift cards for immediate needs. Jubilee has connected with four new leaders and has worked with them to make up the Addison County Mutual Aid leadership team. Jubilee’s work was featured on 92.1FM WVTK (The Bruce and Hobbes Show).
The RAD Essex chapter has been leading COVID mutual aid efforts in the Essex community.
Much gratitude to RAD member Tanya Vyhovsky, who has been a key leader in the newly formed Essex Mutual Aid group and here she is delivering groceries for the local food shelf.
In Case You Missed It….
Here are a few of our most liked Instagram posts from the past month. Our pre-social distancing handwashing meme still applies….
Canvassing on Town Meeting Day in Hartford, VT with Asma Elhuni and one of our RAD family youth. On the ballot was an ordinance furthering protections for immigrants in the community which passed. Hurray!
In March, we launched our #SocialSolidarity campaign, in which RAD staff and members share books, music, podcasts, self-care practices – anything that is getting them through our time of social distancing. Regional Organizing Director, Liz Filskov shares a favorite read.
We’d love to feature your #SocialSolidarity recommendations! Email pics or lists to firstname.lastname@example.org