Let’s have some good news this week shall we? With our governments and institutions struggling to keep up, it has been our neighbors and communities who have been stepping up to find ways to help in this strange, scary time.
Many Portland organizations and businesses are stepping up to help the community. Shine Distillery is making free hand sanitizer from their alcohol byproducts and the Q Center has made and distributed 2,500 bottles of sanitizer to houseless folks. Po’Shines is providing free home-cooked meals for those over age 65 who need it, and similar things are happening all over the city and state, like this example from Lincoln City.
The best way to hear about these things in your neighborhood (both to get the support you need, and to volunteer yourself) is to join the COVID-19 Portland Oregon Area Community Support Facebook group, or to join your local neighborhood Next Door group or ‘Buy Nothing’ Facebook group, which have been repurposing themselves as mutual aid groups. If there is one thing Facebook is good for, it’s connecting communities in times of crisis.
Members of the community are volunteering to sew hospital masks, like our very own Defund/Divest team co-lead Sue who has sewn 35 so far! There’s a Facebook group (Crafters Aginst COVID-19 PDX) if you want to get involved yourself.
This hopeful video from 350.org sums it up best for me.
And in other good news, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota have successfully sued the US government, throwing the future of this mega-pipeline into question! In Trump’s first week of office he signed an executive order to expedite construction, but a court found the Trump administation violated the law when it issued permits, and now the army corps of engineers have been ordered to conduct full environmental review, which could take years. Major congratulations and gratitude to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for their tireless efforts, and showing that even in this administration we can fight pipelines! Read more here.
Most of our work generally happens through our 18 different volunteer-led teams, and although these teams are still meeting and organizing virtually, this current situation has finally made us work on making climate action more accessible to those of you who can’t make it to regular team meetings.
As a first step we’ve made a new webpage – 350pdx.org/action – that will have all the most effective things you can do right now from home. It will be updated throughout the week so you can check it out every time you have a spare few minutes, and I’ll also link to it in this newsletter every week. There is a lot more to come to help folks take action at home, so watch this space!
Here’s your 350PDX weekly update.
Do you need support?
Our biggest priority right now is making sure folks in the 350PDX community can get the support they need. Please use this form if you would like food and other supplies delivered to you. It is being run by an all-volunteer grassroots network that has sprung up to provide mutual aid across the city.
We’ve put together all the best advice and resources we’ve found into our own guide, with info on self care, community care, tackling bias/xenophobia, and organizing during this time. Check it out here.
We at 350PDX are mobilizing fast to figure out what we can do with the resources we have to support others in this time. Let us know what other support would be useful! Also let us know if you know of other resources we should be sharing on this newsletter! Email email@example.com.
Actions you can take to support people in our community right now
Last night the biggest stimulus package in US history passed the senate. While there is some relief for workers it’s looking like Naomi Klein’s prediction of coronavirus disaster capitalism could be coming to fruition. It’s time to fight to make sure the wellbeing of people is put over the profits of polluting corporations and their executives. It’s time for a People‘s Bailout. Join us today to demand a #PeoplesBailout and #PeopleNotPolluters!
We’re coming together with over 500 groups across the country to make our demands heard online and by flooding Washington D.C with calls before the stimulus package is decided. Can you join us?
Here are two concrete ways you can participate with us today:
– Share the #PeoplesBailout and #PeopleNotPolluters hashtags on social media with a message about the need to support workers and communities, rather than giving an unconditional handout to fossil fuel corporations.
– Call your Representative throughout the day to leave voicemails and make your voice heard.
To provide the support requested in the form mentioned above they need help! They are focusing on providing and delivering food and supplies for anyone who needs it, with priority towards folks who are sick, unhoused, disabled, quarantined without pay, elderly, undocumented, queer, refugees and immigrants, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer, including those displaced from Portland to the nearby areas. If you’re looking for something hands on to do right now to support your fellow community members then this is a good place to start.
Sign a share the petition for ‘Relief from Rents, Mortgages, Sweeps and a Request for Universal Basic Income’
The crisis around housing instability and houselessness continue to grow exponentially to new and worrying levels. Today, many of our citizens are sleeping in their cars and on the streets at this troubling time. This is both a crisis in its own right, and is also adding the health crisis with houseless folks having inadequate access to sanitation like showers, bathrooms, handwashing sinks, or any other hygiene supplies to support basic cleanliness.
UPDATE: Portland and Multnomah County have put in place a moratorium on residential evictions that will last through the state of emergency. Landlords will not be able to evict those who have fallen behind on their rent payments and may not impose late fees. After the state of emergency is lifted, tenants will have six months to repay back rent. This is a step in the right direction, but as we’ll likely be in a deep economic recession once this pandemic subsides many people will not be in a position to payback months of owed rent.
With over 3,000 members already, this support group is to help coordinate mutual aid in the Portland region during COVID-19. It provides the latest in local news, opportunities to support workers, online community events, and a place to ask for help.
Many of our favorite local businesses are struggling, and the more they struggle, the less they can provide people stable employment through this crisis. There are a couple of good guides out there, one from the Portland Mercury, and another from the Oregonian, about how to support local businesses while still practicing physical distancing.
This podcast is intended to help disseminate relevant information to help in coordinating mutual aid efforts within the Portland Metro Area in Oregon, and they have 4 episodes so far. Listen here.
The Oregon Transportation Commission is using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to forgo live, public testimony at their upcoming meeting in which they intend to vote on approving the Environmental Assessment for the $800m Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion. While Governor Brown is surely pretty busy right now, we cannot let the pandemic and economic crisis be a smokescreen to allow groups to worsen the climate crisis. More info and ways to take action here. Deadline TOMORROW (Mar 27th)
Right now having a focus on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) is more important than ever. The climate crisis goes on, and we need to keep focus on our campaigns. But going back to the reason we fight for climate justice – that we want to end the suffering, oppression and secure a bright future for all – means that we cannot ignore the current health and economic crises. Ensuring that justice and equity permeate through every aspect of our organization is the focus of the JEDI committee. Apply to join here!
(P.S. we forgot to ask for names and emails last week, so two people signed up but we don’t know who you are! If this is you then please let me know or fill in the form again! Thanks! – Chris)
- How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism
TODAY Thurs Mar 26, 2:00PM – 3:30PM @ Online (register here)An online teach-in with Naomi Klein, Astra Taylor, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. “The current crisis is laying bare the extreme injustices and inequalities of our economic and social system. We are in a battle of visions for how we’re going to respond to this crisis. We will either be catapulted backward to an even more brutal winner-takes-all system — or this will be a wake-up call.
Ideas that were dismissed as too radical just a week ago are starting to seem like the only reasonable path to get out of this crisis and prevent future ones.
We need to use every tool that we have that allows us to hear each other’s voices, to read each other’s words, to see each other’s faces, even if it’s just on screens, to stay organized and stay connected. We have to create spaces where we’re able to deliberate and strategize about what it means to protect our neighbors, our rights, and our planet. We have to have the confidence to say this is the moment when we change everything.” See Naomi Klein’s recent video on Coronavirus Capitalism for a preview of what this teach-in might be like.
- Online Film Premiere – Hike the Divide: A Conversation about Climate Action on the Continental Divide Trail
TODAY Thurs Mar 26 @ OnlineThis film comes from previous 350PDX volunteer Connor DeVane. “I was planning on releasing the film around the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but given the circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I pushed the date ahead nearly a month so y’all could watch while practicing physical distancing. That means I’m giving up a lot of time to promote the film, so I’m hoping you can help me out by watching Hike the Divide the evening of March 26th. The idea is to emulate a live premiere by getting as many folks as possible to commit to watching on the same evening. If you’re going to be stuck at home, you may as well cozy up with a narrative of hope and agency, some sublime mountain vistas and a glorious soundtrack, right?”
- Training: Using Art and Song to Grow Our Movement in Times of Pandemic
TOMORROW Fri Mar 27, 5:00PM – 6:30PM @ Online (register here)How can we use collective arts and art making to connect, work together, grow our movement and keep pushing for positive change, while remaining at home and safe? 350.org Arts organizer David Solnit will show and tell virtual art builds and other projects groups can do. He will draw on the Climate Strike Arts Kit.
Isabella Zizi from Idle No More SF Bay and a signatory of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty will tell how they had to cancel a planned public action, but were able to use art to involve over a hundred people and still deliver a strong message for their campaign to protect the San Francisco Bay from Tar Sands tankers.
Frankie Lopez and Lu Aya of The Peace Poets (“Strike with US” and “People Gonna Rise Like the Water”) will teach new songs for the moment and share ways we can use songs together while remaining at home and connecting online.
Thank you all for the work that you do, stay safe, and we’re all in this together,
Ashley, Chris, Chuck, Dineen, Lucy – the 350PDX staff