On the annual winter solstice, we hope the Shortest Day means our dark winter of COVID will begin to give way to spring. Meanwhile, lots happening, including the latest on coping with COVID in Maryland, chapter notes and our recent blog posts.
Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, December 21, 2020
Today (Monday) is the winter solstice, a moment humans have often called special to our communities from the moment the fact was internalized and passed on to our children that this was the Shortest Day -- that winter (we now hoped) would reverse its onslaught and begin to recede to make way for spring, with new growth, and summer, with hope of a harvest. You could say it was part of the collection of markers that became our calendars.
In this time of COVID, when dark winter has a meaning altogether different than the succession of holidays we are used to, the solstice might stand out even more as the day things turn around.
The people who lived on and with the land we have, well, stolen for use as property -- our land’s First Nations, as Canadians more accurately term them-- recognized the solstice and revered the sun that waned and, starting now, waxed again, with a few more minutes between rising and setting every day. In one of the premier North American civilizations, the still-mysterious Cahokia Mound Builders (in pre-Columbian Illinois -- and they knew from cold weather) are memorialized by the “Woodhenge” that they left behind, an arrangement of monumental wooden poles that were clearly designed to mark this Shortest Day. And they celebrated, as we do, this oldest of human observances.
PM is setting priorities for the Maryland Legislature’s session this January
You're invited to our Annual Membership Assembly! This is an important event for dues-paying members or members of our affiliated organizations only. Please join us (virtually of course!) on January 9th, 2021 from 2-5pm so you can participate in membership elections and learn about our top priorities for the legislative session. RSVP here to secure your spot. Not a member of PM yet? No worries! You can join by clicking here and then attend our membership event.
Last week’s COVID Town Hall hosted by Progressive Maryland was an important conversation for building trust and good information, especially about the rollout of the new vaccines in Maryland. See it here.
- Call to Action
Virus cases keep surging in Maryland and in many states across the U.S. Here in Maryland we have logged some of the highest single day totals for fatalities during the month of December. Close to 5,500 residents in the state have now died from the coronavirus. As of today the global death toll has surpassed one million seven hundred thousand. Staggering, sobering, and heartbreaking. Our condolences go out to all the families, friends, neighbors and co-workers who have lost loved ones. Unfortunately in our country we have seen a reckless and disastrous handling of the crisis by the Trump Administration. It’s good to know their days are numbered. Our plea to our Congressional delegation, to our local leaders, and to the House Speaker, the Senate President and the Governor is: Lead! Do more! All hands on deck! Speak to residents every day, share information, set and communicate clear health guidelines, meet with community members, set sensible safe school policies, support healthcare workers and non-profits, and bring our state together! Find and move all of the health resources Marylanders need to survive this crisis.
Help us send the message on the COVID response we need. Sign and share far and wide:
2.Stay Safe, Keep Others Safe, Save Lives
The vaccine, especially once it’s widely available and administered (sometime next spring or summer) will help us get the virus under control. Throughout the medical and scientific community there’s confidence in the efficacy and safety of the vaccines that are being vetted and approved. We can make a difference, too. Public health experts are reporting that we can save at least 100,000 lives if we simply do the following for the next few months: Adhere to wearing masks, practice social distancing, avoid crowds, wash our hands frequently and monitor our health. Getting tested. We also need to prepare and plan to continue these practices for the next several months. We can save lives by following these simple guidelines.
During this holiday season, it’s a must to follow the latest state government and local advisories and requirements when it comes to travel and indoor dining. Please stay home for the holidays, don’t socialize with folks outside your immediate households, eliminate trips or outings that aren’t essential.
Educate and inform yourself about the vaccine. Start by listening to a recording of our COVID Community Forum on December 17. You’ll hear about the vaccine and where we are with distribution and allocation plans.
National Activist Notes
After months of NOTHING, our DC legislators at last moved to provide something....a $900 billion federal relief package. And, it was thanks to all of you for keeping the pressure on that things like direct cash payments were included in the deal and these much-needed checks didn't push out the equally important need for extended Unemployment Insurance, reports Sandra Youdelman for People’s Action. More details in PA’s news release and relief bill roundup. What we know: This is just a down payment on a real People’s Bailout.
Because (as Charlie Daniels said) “the devil went down to Georgia” in this case looking for a runoff election (or two) to steal for the big-spending GOP, it will take people power to get leverage in the Senate for the new administration’s agenda and real relief from the pandemic wreckage left by Trump’s amazing negligence. People’s Action offers phone banks (ppls.ac/phones) and text banks (ppls.ac/tt) through year end for improving turnout in Georgia, and our blog has already noted the work PA is doing on the ground in that critical state.
Contact our Chapter organizers here:
TODAY Monday, December 21 @ 6:30pm (Virtual) -- Baltimore Transit Equity Solidarity Day
On this date 64 years ago, the Montgomery Bus Boycott ended in victory after a one-year struggle. Celebrate our frontline transit workers (and riders) today and sign our petition for a Baltimore regional transportation authority.
Sunday, January 3
2 – 4:30pm | MoCo DSA January Branch Meeting Virtual, details at link
Our recent blog posts
Reading the Progressive Maryland BlogSpace: our recent blog posts are shown below, but if you want a handy way to keep track – and never miss a blog post – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email. Remember this is your blogspace and your participation is heartily invited. See something going on that you don’t like – or that you do like and hope to see more of? Send us your thoughts; submit to the moderator at email@example.com
December 19, 2020 "Deep Canvassing" comes to Georgia at a crucial moment
Georgia is the center of the political universe right now, but how can hi-n-bye GOTV efforts build lasting change? People's Action, the national affiliate of Progressive Maryland, is one of the organizations trying to bring "deep canvassing" approaches to make relationships that last between elections, and build power in communities that need it. "We can't afford to just contact people every four years," said a PA organizer. "What does that build? We need to build power from the bottom up."
Read about how PA is making it happen in Georgia. It's a model Progressive Maryland and other groups are bringing to make change in our state.
December 14, 2020 Progressive Maryland's Weekly Memo for Monday, December 14, 2020
The Electoral College meets after Trump's last ditch is filled with the trashed reputations of the House GOP's dead-enders. Meanwhile, progressives fight to keep the Biden transition more aligned with today's needs rather than Obama's dashed dreams. But you knew that. More to the point, here's what progressives are doing to make Maryland better and help us all slog out of the COVID morass. Read the Memo and get the picture.
December 11, 2020 How Progressive Maryland is preparing for 2021. You are included.
This past Tuesday evening Progressive Maryland hosted our virtual Member Welcome meeting to build community and learn about what it means to be a member of Progressive Maryland. We were joined by both the longtime and relatively new members who make our organization what it is.
We want to build momentum from this meeting and head into 2021 ready to increase our grassroots power across the state, so this post is to carry that meeting’s messages to those who were unable to participate. Here's how we work together to make change in Maryland.
December 07, 2020 Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, December 7, 2020
UP FRONT: TOMORROW Member Welcome Meeting:
As we prepare for the new year Progressive Maryland will bring its members, old and new, together on the evening of Tuesday, December 8 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm for a Member Welcome Meeting. We’ll share critical information for EVERY Progressive Maryland member, whether you have been fighting alongside us for just 3 months or for the past several years.
December 03, 2020 Reduce police encounters with the public by decriminalizing poverty
Because the harsh economic and social conditions in many parts of Maryland bring desperate people to seek shelter, employment and sustenance in ways the law calls criminal, police are charged with enforcing those laws. Homelessness, sex work, recreational drug use and typical adolescent behaviors are all unrelated to actual public safety but currently criminalized, increasing police encounters with the public and inevitably going tragically wrong in all too many cases. The remedy starts with decriminalization, write two with deep experience in this high-risk area.
Wednesday (Dec. 2) a group of activists organized by a new Judiciary Task Force successfully halted an illegal foreclosure sale. Following a concerted effort by policy experts, a federal mortgage fraud whistleblower, and an intrepid group of interfaith leaders, Progressive Maryland was able to stop a sale scheduled for 11:30am.
🎉 Exciting news: The Catalogue for Philanthropy has chosen Progressive Maryland as one of the best nonprofits in the DC region! We were selected from a competitive applicant pool by passing through a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 170+ pro bono reviewers from foundations, corporate giving programs, peer nonprofits, local government agencies, and the philanthropic advisory community. We are so honored to be part of this powerful cohort of local changemakers! 🔥
REMEMBER – these blog posts are frequently expressions of political opinion from our wide-ranging membership and circle of allies. They are not expressions of opinion by Progressive Maryland. Don’t be surprised if they sometimes vary in their political content. You might even disagree with them – a good reason to contribute a blog of your own. Send it to the moderator, Woody Woodruff, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
>>Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace from June 2015 through December 2016 are all available with descriptions and links here. You can follow blogs for 2017-18 starting from here