Interested in REAL healthcare reform? Don’t miss the Butte County Health Care Coalition’s big town hall meeting tonight (Monday) @ 6:30 PM at Trinity Methodist Church, 5th & Flume in Chico
Featured speakers will be James Haslam, director of the Vermont Workers Center http://www.workerscenter.org/ & Donna Smith, organizer extraordinaire from National Nurses United, plus local speakers, including ILSNC Executive Director, Evan LeVang. Doors open at 6:00. See you there! For information, call Forest Harlan @ ILSNC: 530-893-8527. Learn more about the path to universal, comprehensive and affordable health care for all at www.buttesinglepayer.org
Congratulations to Linda Furr – recipient of the 2011 Peace Endeavor Award presented by the Chico Peace and Justice Center on October 20, 2011. Linda is a tireless – and joyful – activist for too many causes to list here, but all falling under the banner of peace and social justice. We at ILSNC deeply appreciate her contributions to the Northern California State Budget Alliance as we work to preserve vital, lifeline programs and services for people with disabilities in California. Thank you, Linda, for all that you do. For more information on the Chico Peace and Justice Center, visit: www.chico-peace.org
We need to be a visible presence at the OccupyChico camp. The disability rights movement has historically been part of broader social justice issues going back to the 1960’s. We have been an integral aspect of the historical civil rights campaigns. With the birth and growth of the Occupy movement, we have an opportunity to embed ourselves into this new movement. To do so will give us the chance to secure additional rights to employment, housing, living assistance and other necessities of dignified living.
It seems as though many consumers and service providers are feeling beaten down and depressed after years of fighting the cuts in services from the State of California. It has been said that activism is the best cure for depression and feelings of powerlessness. Instead of fighting losing battles over the budget cuts all by ourselves, now is the chance to engage in the Occupy movement to secure new allies in the struggle to save our lifeline programs and services. See you at the encampment. General assemblies are held at 7 PM nightly on the sidewalk near 4th St along Broadway.
In other cities, disabled people have been active in their Occupy encampments and marches. ILSNC participated in a conference call this week to learn about the involvement of disabled activists in the Occupy movement in other cities. We heard from activists in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco. In those cities, disabled people have taken leadership roles.
Evan LeVang and others from ILSNC have been marching on Saturdays in support of the OccupyChico encampment. Included is a picture taken at last week’s march downtown. Our numbers are growing locally, nationally and everywhere else.
The movement needs you and you need the movement. Join us this Saturday at Noon at the Hands sculpture (4th & Wall St) for a march and rally.
This Saturday, October 15, the next large rally is planned in support of OccupyChico. So far, the disability community has been largely absent from the rallies and ongoing occupation. This is the issue of our time. We absolutely need to be part of the effort.
ILSNC director, Evan LeVang, sees hope in the Occupy Movement for re-activating the long-dormant disability community. “Over the past few years it has become clear that – despite our best efforts at community organizing – too many members of the disability community simply don’t participate in the effort to save disability programs from budget-cutting state legislators. Sadly, as threatened and actual program cuts have become more severe over the past few years, our local disability community has actually become less active and less visable. People tell me that they feel exhausted, beaten-down and powerless in the face of unrelenting cuts made by legislators unwilling to consider alternatives to gutting social programs in order to balance the state budget. But people need to understand that it’s going to get much worse – and happen very soon – if we don’t start taking action and getting involved. In the current state budget agreement there are “trigger cuts” to programs like In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) set to take place in December if certain tax revenue levels are not met. We could be looking at a 20% cut in IHSS services if we simply sit back and hope for the best. This would be a catastrophic disruption in people’s lives,” says LeVang.
He continues, “IHSS is just one of several programs that people with disabilities depend on that are facing deep cuts. But rather than becoming despondent about our prospects for the future, we now have a reason for hope – an incredible opportunity to re-engage and push back – through the emerging “Occupy” movement. I’m calling upon people with disabilities, our families, friends and allies to show up to lend your presence and your support to the Occupy Chico, Occupy Redding or Occupy wherever this Saturday, October 15.”
We must all get out front and center to ensure our visibility. If we fail to show up, we risk being forgotten in all the commotion. Only by showing up frequently and verbalizing our issues will we have the chance to be part of the change we need. This is far more effective than begging legislators for mercy. See you at the Occupation!
For more information, visit OccupyChico on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/occupychico/