Dear Seekers and Friends,
It has been a week!
Suddenly news about the virus and the pandemic slipped from the front page and we were confronted with the consequences of long simmering inequalities, the disempowerment of huge numbers of our fellow citizens and police brutality that disproportionally affects our black and brown brothers and sisters.
More than ever it has become clear that the world we lived in before this Great Pause is not something we want to return to.
Included in this email are resources and information to help us become aware of the systemic injustices that have lead us to this point, resources for how to become a better anti-racist, stories of hope, recipes of comfort and information about this virus which affects all of us.
May our hearts be opened,
Resources for Keeping Informed About the Coronavirus
There is a growing body of evidence that says that rather than being only a respiratory illness that the Coronavirus is also a blood vessel disease. This could completely change the way we look at and treat the disease.
Italian doctors are seeing a slow down in the rate of being infections and the severity of disease. But experts say it is not because the virus is becoming less lethal.
The world has been watching Sweden and its experiment in trying to achieve herd immunity. This week the architect of that plan, Dr. Tegnell, admitted that they had not done enough, particularly among older populations, to protect its citizens from the virus. In the last seven days Sweden’s death rate has soared keeping pace with Italy and the UK rather than with their Scandinavian neighbors whose death rates are significantly lower. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/03/architect-of-sweden-coronavirus-strategy-admits-too-many-died-anders-tegnell
Lest we forget the more than 100,000 who have died in the pandemic, here are the names and stories of the first 1,000 who died. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/24/coronavirus-dead-victims-stories/?tid=a_classic-iphone&p9w22b2p=b2p22p9w00098&no_nav=true
Parts of Virginia will enter phase 2 of coronavirus shutdown recovery and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he may further ease restrictions later this week.
Resources for Getting Benefits or State or Governmental Assistance Due to Covid-19
If you or someone you know needs health insurance and lives in Maryland, the time to apply has been extended due to the pandemic. Now is the time to apply and get the health insurance you need! https://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/coronavirus-sep/
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
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
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. http://bit.ly/2J6QI3H
You'll be surprised by how much your language shapes your perspective.Watch Lera Boroditsky's full TED Talk here: http://bit.ly/2J6QI3H
Reposting from last week just in case you missed them.
Cities are closing streets to make way for restaurants and pedestrians
As restrictions begin easing, officials are examining the lasting impacts of coronavirus-related closures.
This pandemic has exposed some big gaps and inequities in our health care system. From the absurdity of tying healthcare to jobs to supply chains that are compromised, these are some ways healthcare could change radically in the future. https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/coronavirus-us-healthcare-trends.html?cid=smsp-23844336072660660_2940782372618971_23845073356630660_23845073357050660&gclid=CL6M6pXez-kCFYbuswodB0QIYg&gclsrc=ds
This article entitled Grieving My Way Into Loving the Planet may give us a glimpse of how we grieve and move forward into this new world we are reimagining.
The virus has simply exposed the illness that was already there, says John Pavlovitz in this reflection.
Sometimes we have to celebrate the new stuff that is emerging right now as our world is changing. Crayola has just released a collection of 24 skin-tone colors. Finally, every child can color a picture of themselves in the correct color. https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/141766/crayola-skin-tone-crayons/
Resources from Earth and Spirit Mission Group
Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading, cutting edge network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.
This week is Black Birder’s week!
Bird-Watching While Black: A Wildlife Ecologist, Drew Lanham Shares His Tips. (Video is 2 min long)
Colonialism, The Hidden Cause Of Our Environmental Crisis
Families in Nature has wonderful nature based activities for all ages. https://familiesinnature.org One resource is this list of books that will help you get your family or your group outside
Resources for Gardening and Growing Vegetables
Here are two YouTube videos that Judy found helpful:
5 Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide on Plants and Gardens
How to get Garden Pinks to Re-bloom
Because Mary Mehala is in a bit of limbo with her living situation, her gardening segment is also in limbo. We are thinking of you, Mary and your family, during this time of disruption!
Resources For Sustaining Your Spiritual Life (Sponsored by Living Water Mission Group)
A poem entitled, A New Beginning by John O’donahue
Deep, unknown, loving Mystery,
we give ourselves to you in this hour
to hold, with you, this time
when things come apart
and fear grows and compassion is scarce.
We ask to be knit together in your imagining,
your longing, your acting Presence
for the new time being born.
May we, united inside by your love,
become ground prepared
to bear the fruit of mercy and hope.
Resources for Food Assistance
Reposting since these are all good resources.
- Manna Food Distribution Centers
- 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
One of the largest impacts on the environment is food waste. Here are some ways to learn not to be wasteful during this pandemic! https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/05/27/food-waste-coronavirus-pandemic?utm_campaign=npr&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=nprnews&fbclid=IwAR0HH8zFTZRpaIYcKVuWsn5AQ4JoVqpVok87zIfSpAR9e_wPnr3s0n34x2k
In the midst of all the disturbing news and the stress of re-opening, I have found myself grateful for certain foods and recipes that are comforting. I have been making this granola for years. I got it from my mom who made it while I was growing up. I would say this is a recipe that has been used in our family for almost 60 years!
Something that old has to be good!
My Mom’s Crunchy Granola
4 cups oats
1 cup coconut
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped nuts
½ cup toasted sesame seed
½ t salt
½ cup veg oil
½ cup honey
Set oven to 300.
Place parchment paper on a large sheet pan. Mix dry ingredients on the sheet pan and then add oil and honey and mix to coat. Spread evenly on the pan and place in oven. Stir occasionally until golden brown. Variations: add chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or use olive oil. On a large sheet pan you can easily double the recipe for more delightful goodness!
Resources for Organizing and Decluttering
One of my goals is to clean out and organize some of our financial documents which have overflowed two large file cabinets. But first I had to find out how long I was supposed to keep these records according to the IRS! https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records
As I explored further, however, I realized it wasn’t that simple. No wonder I have been procrastinating on this project!
Don’t forget that Montgomery County residents are entitled to 5 large item pickups per year. So if you have been procrastinating about getting rid of some large trash items, schedule your pick up here! https://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/Solutions.aspx?SolutionId=1-2GNHRW
Resources for Mental Health, Wellness and Emotional Well Being.
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 Is on hiatus this week.
Instead here are some resources to help us become more aware of systemic racism and to help us be in solidarity with our black and brown brothers and sisters.
This is a list of movies and other streaming content recommended by Black Lives Matter. Some of these like the movie Just Mercy are streaming for free!
TV and Movies and Podcasts
Here is what is coming to Amazon Prime this month!
TV, Movies and Podcasts Recommended by Seekers
Elizabeth suggests the following podcast:
“Seeing White” from Scene on Radio
“1619” from the New York Times
And the following movies:
13th (2016), on Netflix
When They See Us (2019), on Netflix
Resources for Books and Reading
Time asked black publishers and bookstore owners what books they would recommend to become more aware of racism and its affects. Here are thirteen books to read now! https://time.com/5846732/books-to-read-about-anti-racism/
Books that Fellow Seekers Recommend
Some great recommendations from Jackie McMakin:
Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron – pithy short pieces that never fail to help me wake up.
Enlightenment Now by Stephen Pinker and also his website that has some good interviews.
Elizabeth Gelfeld recommends the following:
Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
How to Be Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
Resources for Learning and Trying New Things
Have you been curious about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badger Ginsberg’s and her personal trainer? Well, wonder no longer. Here is a low impact, 10 minute training session with Bryant Johnson and now you to can train like a Supreme Court Justice!
Christo has died at the age of 84. His unique art of architectural wrapping was unique and shattered our conceptions about art. This is a 2018 interview with Christo and his artistic collaborator and wife, Jeanne Claude.
This is from Fern:
This wonderful email from MOMs Organic Market gives lots of ways to learn and be involved environmentally. By collaborating with various organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation they encourage you to learn and become active in protecting and appreciating the natural world!
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.
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
A friend of a friend, because that is how our world is linked together these days, posted this on FB. It is a lovely poem/story of hope and connection, something to hold onto in these dark times. Something to aspire to as we reimagine what our world can and should look like when we emerge after this Great Pause.
Remember we are all in this together!