Dear Seekers and Friends,
Slowly but surely change is coming. We can see it in the initiatives that have begun after 16 days of BLM protests. Long over due change is coming.
Meanwhile the pandemic is still here. We have in large part been thinking of other things, but the number of cases world wide has now spiked to 100,000 a day, reminding us that it is still virulent and we need to be cautious, and careful in this new world it is creating.
This week we have resources for engaging with the BLM movement, understanding what is behind the calls to defund police, learning how to have uncomfortable conversations, ideas on what to replace those Civil War statues with, predictions about what this pandemic will look like as we more fully reopen, some movies books and podcasts to enlighten and entertain, so find a comfortable spot and enjoy!
Resources for Keeping Informed About the Coronavirus
Worldwide the number of cases has been rising. We have now reached the point where we are seeing 100,000 new cases a day! It is clear we are only at the beginning of this pandemic.
Lest we forget, our indigenous brothers and sisters are disproportionally being affected by this virus.
An interview with Michael Osterholm Phd. MPH, a top epidemiologist on what we know now about this virus.
As pharmaceutical companies rush to develop a vaccine they are encountering a ‘bizarre’ problem. There’s not enough sick people.
Scientists in Britain, the U.S. and China say a decline in cases makes their work harder.
We know that we cannot fully reopen until our schools reopen. But what will that look like? How will teachers and students who have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the disease, be protected? It is a complicated puzzle and teachers and parents are not convinced that what school districts are planning is enough.
Ridership on Metro on Saturday for the largest protest was up 150 percent over the previous weekend. That surge from protests and the region’s reopening have prompted Metro to tweak their coronavirus recovery plan.
Criminals often take advantage of people during a crises.
According to the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, cyber criminals are ramping up malicious phishing scams by using the current global pandemic and teleworking conditions. They target mobile devices by sending text messages with a sense of urgency to click on a link or send a text response to a code that they provide.
To protect yourselves please do the following:
- *Don’t click on a link in any suspicious text message or text your response to a code.
- *Don’t provide any sensitive data via text or email.
- *If sender’s name/number are known, contact them directly to verify.
- *Ensure your mobile device has a screen lock code.
- *Keep your mobile device current with the latest updates.
Resources for Getting Benefits or State or Governmental Assistance Due to Covid-19
Reposting because these are still important resources.
The first coronavirus relief stimulus payments have been issued. Here’s what you need to know about how much you and your family could receive.
If you are self employed or normally would not be eligible for Unemployment Insurance you will now be eligible under the Cares Act in Maryland (check DC and VA for their requirements by Googling Cares Act DC or Va.) This link will tell you how and where to file. Filing in MD begins today, April 24.
MD, DC and VA have suspended the processing of evictions and foreclosures during this pandemic. They will however resume once this emergency is over. In the meantime contact your mortgage holder or your landlord and try to come terms with them for the duration of the pandemic.
Everything you need to know about paying your rent or mortgage during the pandemic.
Resources for Participation in the Upcoming Election
The Get-Out-the-Vote effort is becoming more and more important as the November election looms. Here is a list of organization who are signing up people in safe districts to write postcards reminding people to vote! This is one way we can participate even during a pandemic!
And here is another opportunity with Vote Forward.
If you have not yet signed up to get a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election Please, Please do so NOW!
Trish found this great website that has clear usable information for each state about voting deadlines, registration deadlines and includes information on how to ask for an absentee ballot, etc. There are relevant deadlines in May for each DMV jurisdiction so this is a good time to get this out. The organization is called Election Protection:866ourvote
This is from the League of Women Voters:
Check your voter registration at https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch or text Check to 777-88 and update your address or party affiliation if necessary by May 27. Vote your ballot, sign the oath, and return your voted ballot by mail. You will not need a stamp- the envelope will have postage on it. Your ballot must be postmarked by June 2. You may also drop your ballot at any one of four Vote Centers or at a drop box at the Board of Elections or Rockville City Hall between May 21 and June 2 at 8 p.m. Go to the Montgomery County Board of Elections website for more details. The highly respected non-partisan Voters’ Guide from the League of Women Voters will be coming soon in both an English and a Spanish version. Check our website for updates or go to vote411.org now. http://www.lwvmocomd.org/
Resources for Re-imagining Our World After the Pandemic
A good list of ways white people can show up in the right ways:
One of the hardest things to do is to talk with relatives and friends who are much more conservative and unaware of their white privilege. I found this article very helpful in how to approach my dad who seems to think the looting and destruction of property was a justification for police violence. How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives If you’re not Black but want to support BLM, having fraught conversations with your kinda (or definitely) racist loved ones will likely not be fun, but it’s a very worthy undertaking.
Read in VICE: https://apple.news/AE-6on0gBQjyfo_o0xFa_vA
How do we talk to our kids and grandkids about race? Here are a few great resources that can help open that difficult conversation.
Why Talking About Race Matters
Talking about race, although hard, is necessary.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture offer tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.
These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids
In addition to keeping an open dialogue about racism, a way to raise children who are anti-racist is by making sure your home library has books with black people at the center of their stories.
CNN and ‘Sesame Street’ Town Hall Addressing Racism
The 60-minute special “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, talks to kids about racism and the recent protests, while also explaining how they can embrace diversity and be more empathetic and understanding. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/app-news-section/cnn-sesame-street-race-town-hall-app-june-6-2020-app/index.html
From Sandra: For those of you who may not have seen the opinion piece by Stacy Abrams in the Times on Friday the 5th, it’s worth the read:
A hotel in England decided to stay open during the pandemic and provided rooms for the homeless. In return the people who stayed are now repaying the favor by helping clean rooms, doing odd jobs and even laying a brick patio and wall! What kind of world would it be if we did this all the time? https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/hotel-stays-open-to-house-homeless-and-theyre-repaying-favor/#.Xt5Q5rMP4z8.facebook
Marc Ehrlic, the Montgomery County Executive, has this to say about the changes that need to be made to make Montgomery Co. A better place to live for everyone. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/local-opinions/how-montgomery-county-will-work-to-end-racial-injustice/2020/06/04/7275ee66-a5cc-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html
Sometimes change happens because it has to. Having to stay at home has shifted the way we think about food. More Americans are now cooking at home and as a result, one dietician thinks we may be developing other healthier habits.
Extra food is rotting on farms while Americans go hungry. This group is trying to fix that. Idaho potato farmer Doug Hess spent the past three months staring at a mammoth mountain of potatoes — enough to feed more than 6 million people.
De-escalation techniques for police exist but police departments still respond by escalating. What needs to change and where do we go fr m here? https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/de-escalation-keeps-protesters-and-police-safer-heres-why-departments-respond-with-force-anyway/
Calls to “defund” or “abolish” the police have been mounting in the wake of George Floyd’s death. What do this mean and why does it matter in the context of reimagining our world?
Many Civil War statues have been coming down, with good reason. But what should they be replaced with? Here is one answer from Sweden. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2989561781137337&set=a.109972295762981&type=3
Reposting from last week, in case you missed it:
As Van Jones, a CNN contributor, commented in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, it is time for white people to stop being innocent. The “I can’t believe something like this can happen,” kind of innocent. Here are some ways for us to shed our innocence and get to work! https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies
President Obama and Michelle have joined up with an organization called Color of Change that will help you focus on issues and ways you can help bring about the change we want.
The Black History Museum is releasing a new web portal called Talking about Race https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race
in response to the protests against the murder of George Floyd Talking About Race provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles, and more than 100 multimedia resources tailored for educators, parents, and caregivers, as well as individuals committed to racial equality. In releasing this resource now, we hope to help individuals and communities foster constructive dialogues on one of the nation’s most challenging issues: racism, and its corrosive impact.
It is clear that we need police reform. One way to encourage that is to reform the coroners offices and require independent professional medical examiners and coroners so we might begin to see greater accountability when investigations are conducted on people who die in police custody.
As I watched the protests this week I wondered what I could do to support this movement, which is pushing and protesting for a just and equal society. If you have been feeling that way too this list was something I found helpful: Resources to Help You Become a Better Anti-Racist. https://relevantmagazine.com/current/resources-to-help-you-become-a-better-anti-racist/
As an interpreter and translator I am always fascinated by the power of words. I think most people believe we think therefore we are, but I am more on the side of we speak and therefore we are. How can we change the words we use to imagine a different and better world? Watch this video and see what you think.
You'll be surprised by how much your language shapes your perspective.Watch Lera Boroditsky's full TED Talk here: http://bit.ly/2J6QI3H
Resources from Earth and Spirit Mission Group
Earth Day isn’t just a day in April. This organization has so many different ways for us to get involved in earth keeping! https://www.earthday.org/
Resources for Gardening and Growing Vegetables
Solitude takes on new meaning at the pandemic-shuttered Cloisters in New York. The medieval monastery garden was an uplifting model for something we could all use: Refuge
My back yard is mostly shady. I would love to plant some colorful plants there but didn’t have a clue what to get. Problem solved!
Resources For Sustaining Your Spiritual Life
This is a great article in Sojourners entitled, How the Delusion of Exceptionalism Obstructs Lament.
(Sponsored by Living Water Mission Group)
Convergence is pleased to offer Art as Spiritual Expression in partnership with Old Town Community Church starting Wednesday, June 17th. Join Rev. Lisa Smith and Rev. Trenda Jacocks of Convergence for four weeks of deepening your spiritual life through creativity and art on Zoom! No artistic experience is required for this interactive time of expanding your tools for prayer and Bible study.
Week 1: Visio Divina – Visual Prayer.
Week 2: Collage – Process Prayer.
Week 3: Haiku – Refining Prayer.
Week 4: Story – Imagination Prayer.
This class will be held online via Zoom on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM.
June 17th, 24th, July 1st, 8th.
The class is free but registration is required.
You may register through our website at https://ourconvergence.org/events/art-as-spiritual-expression-class-2020-06-17
Resources for Food Assistance
Reposting since these are all good resources.
- Capital Area Food Bank
- Food Assistance Resource Directory (location, hours, and eligibility guidelines for 100+ sites in MoCo where residents can access food and benefit application assistance)
- Food Research & Action Center – Updates
Resources for Cooking
Rutgers University extension is hosting a webinar on using summer herbs. June 22, at 12:00 noon.
Resources for Organizing and Decluttering
Michael Dirda wrote a column on getting rid of his books! If you are a book lover, you know how hard it is to get rid of books!
“All the books in my 300 boxes sparked joy. The lockdown made me rethink why I was keeping them. I ordered a Zippy Shell storage unit and prepared to say goodbye. It wasn’t easy.”
Resources for Mental Health, Wellness and Emotional Well Being.
This is from Sandra:
The Children’s Mental Health Network is sharing information about The Kindness Curriculum, and how teaching and learning are impacted. There are certainly insights we can all use. “Part of the curriculum involves being able to tune into sensations in the body and learn to identify them and respond to them in an appropriate way,” explained Davidson. There is also a column on the right hand side of the page that offers other articles of interest.
We know that singing can lift our spirits and our mood! This is a resource from Marcia Sprague that lets us do just that:
The Washington Revels and Carpe Diem Arts (Busy Graham) hosts a daily short program at noon that is called Daily Antidote of Song. At noon each day, there is a song presented by a musical artist (some local, some more distant), and the participants sing the song together. There is time for discussion afterwards. The program originated as an antidote to the effects of COVID-19. Here’s the link to the site where people can join on Zoom or on Facebook:
If you have been feeling anxious or depressed you are not alone. According to this article by William Wan the incidence of anxiety and depression is increasing especially in younger populations. Although the virus is hitting hard among older populations, younger people seem to be suffering from more emotional and mental distress. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/26/americans-with-depression-anxiety-pandemic/?tid=a_classic-iphone&p9w22b2p=b2p22p9w00098&no_nav=true
I am reposting this information, since I think there are some great resources here:
PEP continues to offer resources for families and children about the Coronavirus.
Anita sent me this link from the AARP:
“If you’re feeling socially isolated, you can use AARP Community Connections to ask for a phone call from an AARP volunteer Mondaythrough Friday 9 am to 5 pm EDT. Call1-888-281-0145 or share this number with others.”
Here are some more mental health resources:
EveryMind Specialists are available 24/7 to listen and provide support to either you or a loved one. This service is free and open to all members of our community. You do not have to be in crisis to connect with EveryMind. Reach out even if you are just looking for ways to support someone you are concerned about. Call/Text: 301.738.2255 or Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Manage Anxiety and Stress
- National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Managing Stress Associated with COVID-19 Virus Outbreak
- National Association of School Psychologists Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
- American Psychological Association Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus
- Harvard Medical School Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
Resources to Help You Laugh and Be Entertained
Alexandra Petri is one of my favorite columnist. In this one, How To Tell If Your Grandparent Has Become An Antifa Agent, she has outdone herself! https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/10/know-signs-how-tell-if-your-grandparent-has-become-an-antifa-agent/
TV and Movies and Podcasts
Emmanuel Acho, former NFL player has launched a new YouTube series called Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Acho says, “Racism is not a virus of the body; it is a virus of the mind, and unfortunately, it can be lethal. But you cannot fix a problem that you do not know you have. And if “ignorance is bliss”, in this case, bliss has caused bondage and pain for others. But there is a fix. We can all access the life-saving medicine that will cure the world’s most ailing, long-lasting pandemic. But in order to access it, we’re going to have to have some uncomfortable conversations.” His first conversation is with Matthew McConaughey.
Netflix has created a Black Lives Matter genre which has an incredible number of great films and documentaries! I encourage you to explore what is there!
Krista Tippet whose podcast, On Being, has become an NPR staple, is engaging with the current BLM movement in a deep and thoughtful way. Here is the list of podcasts where Tippet and others from On Being engage the hard questions of race, white privilege and how we can do better.
TV, Movies and Podcasts Recommended by Seekers
Sandra encourages those who are interested in joining her and Interfaith Power and Light for a webinar discussion of the movie, The Human Element by film maker Jim Balog.
The webinar discussion is June 17 at 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern.
Click here for the link to join the webinar.
Don’t forget to view the film in advance of the webinar. You can sign up to receive the link to view the film here: https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/2020/01/the-human-element/
Resources for Books and Reading
Left Bank Books of St. Louis, has created a comprehensive Black Lives Matter list of books. From books for children, history, contemporary issues and novels this list is one of the most comprehensive I’ve seen.
Books that Fellow Seekers Recommend
I am beginning to read The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander.
Marian and Lauren are reading it too, so we have our own little book club, which is a good thing when reading challenging and transformative books. Maybe you too can find a small group of family, friends or even your own mission group that will commit with you to reading this book or another that challenges and informs your perception of race, inequality and injustice.
I also finally had the courage to read a book about a pandemic in the middle of a pandemic! Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It was an understated but impressive book, with a fascinatingly interwoven story line that reaffirmed the power of art, music and memory to remind us of who we are.
Resources for Learning and Trying New Things
Elijah Wan’s podcasts on animals are both informative and entertaining from Crocodiles to Wolves you can learn a lot from Elijah!
Resources from Seekers
If you or someone within the Seekers community is running out of TP let David Lloyd know. We had some extra at church and we are willing to share with anyone in the community who needs it!
Our own Margreta is making and selling masks on her Etsy site. Here is the link if you need a mask!
Please contact David if you need a mask and don’t have the resources to buy or make them yourself. Margreta made a few extra to share with Seekers who need them!
Resources On How To Still Be God’s Hands and Feet while practicing Social Distancing.
This is from Sallie! Here is a list of organizations supporting anti-racism and doing great work! You can make a donation, get ideas on how to help, lots of good resources for learning and growing this movement.
Cynthia Dahlin has asked us to send notes of gratitude to the staff at N Street Village. During the pandemic they are working extra hard in difficult conditions to help the homeless women they serve. Seekers has supported the work of N Street for 20 years, but now we can also show our gratitude to the staff for all they are doing during this pandemic. Here is the address!
Frontline Heroes of N Street Village
N Street Village
810 5th St. NW
Washington DC 20001
As we begin to receive our government checks some of us are looking for suggestions on organizations in addition to Seekers with whom to share some of this money. If you have ideas for organizations to support please let me know.
Elizabeth Gelfeld suggests to donate to the following organizations:
Black Lives Matter Collective — https://www.blacklivesmatterdmv.org/
Black Visions Collective
Baltimore Action Legal Team
National Bail Out
The Bail Project is focused on paying bail for these people in a loop process – once a person goes to trial, the bail is returned to the fund to help others. Unfortunately, they are not yet active in our area, but there is a link for requests for bail.
One of my spiritual practices during this time of Covid is to incorporate more music into my life. I found this recording/video of Black Water by The Doobie Brothers (one of my favorite bands!) which I really enjoyed. But at the end they encourage people to go to the Feeding America website and find out what you can do to stop hunger! Seems like a win win all around! Great music, feed people! https://www.facebook.com/117412568715118/posts/946522929137407/
A friend of mine told me about McKinley Mutual Aid who is working with the Navajos and Zuni people whose supplies have been cut off by the Gallup lockdown. Indigenous people here in the US have been disproportionately harder hit by this pandemic. Right now the governor of New Mexico has placed the town of a Gallup in a strict lockdown because over 60% of the town’s 2,200 residents are positive for Covid-19. https://ourindigenouslifeways.org/
Direct Support for Immigrants is an organization that some individuals in Seekers have worked with by meeting immigrants at bus stations and offering support. Now those same thing immigrants are struggling in the pandemic.
This is from Julie:
I wanted to mention an organization under the possible donations/ support category. My good friends Cary Umhau and Scott Borger have a nonprofit called Breadcoin, which serves as a way to feed the hungry. Right now they’re really in need of monthly supporters to help them get food to those who need it most.
Originally, Breadcoins were physical tokens that you could purchase and pass out on the street to those who needed them. The recipients could then redeem those coins for food at vendors around DC who had chosen to partner with Breadcoin (these include Ben’s Chili Bowl). Our family has had a lot of meaningful interactions passing out these tokens in the past, but of course right now this kind of contact is not possible. Breadcoin is finding that monthly supporters is the most effective way to reach those in need. More info is here: https://breadcoin.org/membership/
Finally, in other news
The fences went up around the White House soon after that confrontation in Lafayette Park and that strange photo op with the Bible. Two miles of ugly chain link fencing surrounded the White House but soon the fence was reclaimed by the protestors who displayed signs, and art work and began to make it a wall that celebrated Black Lives Matter. It is now a testament to the fact that transformation is possible and a visible symbol of redemption.It is now not a sign of division but a sign hope.
Remember we are all in this together!