RAD Immigrant Rights Organizer Maria Perez (bottom left) with US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and US Rep. Cori Bush in DC supporting the Build Back Better Plan last week.

Teddy Waszazak, RAD member, elected champion, and former board member is working to make free school lunches the norm in Vermont.

Kids have been getting free school meals, regardless of their family’s income, since the start of the pandemic thanks to temporary federal waivers. Schools are reporting that stigma around the school meal program has been wiped out, more students are eating at school, and students are more attentive and ready to learn because they are not hungry and worrying about when they will eat next.

Learn more about Teddy and Hunger Free Vermont’s campaign!

VT Movement Politics Director Kiah Morris was named co-chair of the Vermont Commission on Women!

VPR’s Weekly Round-Up featured our call to change Vermont’s education funding formula.

RAD leaders and allies flooded the streets alongside Indigenous groups, grassroots activists protesting the Line 3 pipeline.

In Brattleboro, dozens of RAD members took part in the Rally for Reproductive Freedom.

RAD’s Dan Fingas and Kiah Morris joined the 2021 Energy Action Network Summit, more on RAD VT Instagram

 

VT’s Commission on Women announcing Kiah as a co-chair, via Twitter

I hope you are taking a moment this week to slow down and enjoy the view; we are all feeling deeply how much is at stake right now, and have been showing up in so many ways to shift the political landscape. Be gentle with yourself, and let’s take inspiration from all the powerful work we did together in September.

As corporations have lobbied against the Build Back Better plan, we have kept up the pressure with our partners, held the line with progressives in Congress, and stayed firm in our demands for a package that leaves no one behind and includes all of our major priorities – from pathways to citizenship, to real healthcare expansion, to bold investments in climate action.

Speaking of climate, in tandem with the global climate strike on September 24th, we rallied in Burlington in solidarity with the fight to stop Line 3 and joined Vermont Youth Lobby for an event spearheaded by Vermont Renews BIPOC Advisory Committee member Iris Hsiang. At the state level, we have also been rallying supporters to speak up for a Vermont Climate Action Plan that is just and effective, and joining efforts to win equitable funding for our schools.

You all bring so much to this movement everyday, and I look forward to continuing the fight alongside you this fall. Check out events coming up, including an education funding equity conversation with legislative champions, and our annual Membership Assembly is right around the corner – so mark your calendar for November 14th!

In solidarity,

Dan

P.S. If you are wondering what the buzzword “reapportionment” is all about, check out the recording of the event we co-hosted with VPIRG, examining how this re-drawing of electoral lines following the 2020 census will impact Vermont’s political landscape for the next 10 years.

The Vermont Climate Council is gearing up to develop a Climate Action Plan that will serve as a roadmap for our state into the future.

We’ve joined 350 Vermont and the broader Vermont Renews Coalition in pushing for a plan that ensures effective climate action and a just transition – and we are encouraging all of you to do the same!

Education Justice

Two core issues in the fight for equity in our schools have been at the forefront: fair funding and honest and inclusive curricula.

Alongside the Coalition for Vermont Student Equity we’re calling for a school funding “pupil weighting” formula that takes into account the specific needs of rural, low-income and ELL-heavy districts and gives struggling districts the power to make the decisions that are best for their students.

Meanwhile, in Springfield we were thrilled to see the community successfully organize and defeat an “anti-Critical Race Theory” proposal aimed at shutting down meaningful classroom discussion of race and gender issues. Huge shoutout to Brittany Watson, RAD Member Springfield resident, a cohort member of our sister organization’s Catalyst Leadership program for her contributions to this effort.

Housing Justice

Activists who have been fighting for an extension of the emergency motel program in Vermont recently secured an important win, with Governor Scott extending the program for 30 days.

The decision came after the delivery of letters from activists including Josh Lisenby, who is currently experiencing homelessness and has spearheaded efforts to win the extension; youth advocate Addie Lentzner; RAD member leaders Brenda Siegel and Jubilee McGill, and RAD-endorsed legislators Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky, and Rep. Mari Cordes.

The fight continues to extend this program through at least December 31st, to guarantee that people will remain safely and consistently housed.

Wednesday, October 13th, 7-8:30pm
Education Funding: A Conversation on Equity, Current Policy + Impacts on our Local Communities RSVP

Every Wednesday, 5-7:15pm
Wednesday Phonebanks for Justice RSVP

Thursday, October 28th, 7:30-8:45pm
RAD Addison Chapter Meeting RSVP

We leave you with a fun, powerful collection of short stories from the Grist Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors.

“Whether built on abundance or adaptation, reform or a new understanding of survival, these stories provide flickers of hope, even joy, and serve as a springboard for exploring how fiction can help create a better reality.”