Action Alerts · Public Education · Vote with your Dollars

Remember Philando Castile by Following His Example–Pay His Schoolchildrens’ Meal Debts (Great Update, February 26, 2018)

Carry on the good work of Philando Castile by doing what he did–pay for the breakfasts and lunches of kids in his school cafeteria who could not afford their meals.

 

Great update!: As of February 26, 2018, the Philando Feeds the Children YouCaring page had erased the meal debts of the entire St. Paul Public Schools K-12 system.

 

Read the update posted to the page on that date:

St. Paul Public Schools System has 56 schools.  K-12.  And this fund, PHILANDO FEEDS THE CHILDREN, just paid off the lunch debt for all of them!!!!

That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt.

Philando is STILL reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out.  One by one.  With your help.

Your donations will fill that pocket for years to come.  Thank you for your generosity.

If you’ve already donated, tell yourself thank you.  From every parent of 37,000 children– THANK YOU!  You’ve made an enormous difference in their lives.

 

 

Original blog text follows.

 

Castile was shot and killed on July 6, 2016, by a police officer who pulled him over in greater St. Paul, Minnesota, for a broken tail light. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds,  live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Her four-year-old daughter was in the car. Castile was 32. The officer who killed him was tried on second-degree manslaughter and other charges and found not guilty. He was fired the same day the verdict came down.

 

Castile was well-loved by the children at the J.J. Hill Montessori magnet school, a public school for pre-kindergarteners to fifth graders in St. Paul. The cafeteria supervisor would often pay for the breakfasts and lunches of students who could not afford their meals.

 

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus launched a fundraiser in his name: Philando Feeds the Children.

 

It’s on the YouGiving fundraiser platform. As of September 3, 2017, it had slightly exceeded its goal of $50,000, which was extended to cover the meal debts of the entire St. Paul public school system. The fundraiser will remain open into November.

 

If the scope of the fundraiser changes again we’ll update this page accordingly, and we will update it in November to note when the fundraiser closes.

 

Update, November 12, 2017: The fundraiser has been updated. Goal is now $999,999, and will help all public schools in St. Paul and beyond. As of this date it has raised more than $94,000.

 

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

 

Donate to Philando Feeds the Children:

https://www.youcaring.com/jjhillschoolandotherschools-914378

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read a piece from The Root on the fundraiser:

http://www.theroot.com/philando-castiles-legacy-of-helping-his-students-pay-fo-1798685076?utm_source=theroot_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

 

Read about the killing of Castile (warning–some links may show videos of the confrontation, and may show the aftermath):

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/philando-castile-shooting

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/21/what-the-police-officer-who-shot-philando-castile-said-about-the-shooting/?utm_term=.53018e4bb705

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/us/philando-castile-shooting-dashcam/index.html

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Save This Tool: whatdoidoabouttrump.com

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.

 

Bookmark What Do I Do About Trump, a clearing house of resistance resources.

 

Many anti-Trump lists, sites, services, and social media accounts have sprung up since the election. Most are good, but some are better.

 

What Do I Do About Trump, an all-volunteer effort, stands out for its depth and breadth. It’s the digital equivalent of a Trump resistance supermarket, except it’s a supermarket where half the aisles are full of cool stuff you heard of once and forgot about, or had no idea existed.

 

The site also stands apart from its competitors for offering two dedicated sections of note:

 

Inspiring Friends, which explicitly recognizes the value of recruiting your friends to join you in your activism

 

Protect Yourself, which gives you resources on how to protect yourself “if some of Trump’s campaign promises become reality”.

 

Fair warning: Set aside an afternoon and get your bookmarking finger ready. You’ll be disappearing down the rabbit hole, in a good way.

 

 

Visit the whatdoidoabouttrump site:

http://whatdoidoabouttrump.com

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like whatdoidoabouttrump on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatDoIDoAboutTrump

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@WDIDAboutTrump

Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Public Education · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Vote with your Dollars

Support Striking Teachers in Arizona and Watch the #RedForEd Hashtag

Support teachers who are striking in Arizona, and watch the #RedForEd hashtag for news on the state-wide strike.

 

Arizona is the latest state whose teachers are striking not just for better pay but for fundamental changes in the way the state funds public education.

 

They will start their walkout on Thursday, April 25, 2018.

 

Arizona has cut taxes every year for 25 years, and its Republican governor, Doug Ducey, took a pledge not to raise taxes when he was a candidate.

 

Ducey has offered to raise teacher salaries by 20 percent by 2020, but the teachers are not satisfied. It only addresses one of their demands, and they fear that Ducey’s revenue projections are off and he won’t be able to deliver on the promise.

 

 

The teachers’ other demands include:

 

Reducing class sizes to a ratio of 23 students to one teacher

 

Returning to pre-2008 education spending levels

 

Yearly raises until the state’s teacher salaries meet the national average

 

 

 

To stay on top of developments, check the #RedForEd hashtag.

 

 

Twitter handles to follow include Indivisible Southern Arizona (Justice Alliance):

@Indivisible_SAZ

 

 

Arizona Educators United:

@AZEdUnited

 

 

The Arizona Education Association:

@ArizonaEA

 

 

 

You can also donate to a YouCaring page that will assist striking teachers. First order of business is getting them gift cards for gas so as many as possible can drive to Phoenix to rally outside the governor’s office. As of 9:30 EST on April 25, the campaign had raised almost $1,400 of its $5,000 goal.

https://www.youcaring.com/southernarizonateachersaidedthroughpalfandtea-1174971

 

 

 

Read an Arizona paper’s primer on the walkout:

http://tucson.com/news/local/q-a-how-walkout-by-arizona-teachers-is-expected-to/collection_07d836a2-4897-11e8-9166-976a878010cb.html#2

 

 

 

Here is a Vox story on the conditions that led to the walkout:

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/25/17276284/arizona-teacher-strike-tax-cut-funding-data

 

 

 

See a Phoenix New Times story on how the walkout could unfurl and end:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/smear-campaign-arizona-teachers-strike-walkout-pay-10352914

 

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

Read about teachers’ and volunteers’ efforts to prep meals for Arizona students who receive free and reduced-price lunches, so they don’t go hungry during the walkout:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/04/25/teachers-and-volunteers-making-sure-600-000-students-dont-go-hungry-during-walkout/547787002/

http://kjzz.org/content/636804/food-available-500-sites-during-arizona-teacher-strike

Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism · Health Care · Public Education · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Support Students for Changes, an Advocacy Group Started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students

Support Students for Changes, a nonprofit advocacy group started by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the deadly shooting on February 14, 2018.

 

Cofounded by three survivors of the attack that killed 17 of their peers and teachers, Students for Changes focuses on three things: gun safety, mental health, and school safety. The ultimate goal is to create a world where deadly school shootings are memories and not ever-present threats.

 

 

The pinned tweet on its Twitter page as of early March 2018 stated:

This Nonprofit Organization is started and led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students. We’ve made this for the express purpose of connecting and consolidating the efforts of students nationwide to change our current policies and societal notions.

 

 

During the same period, its Twitter feed thanked Delta Airlines for rescinding the group discount it had offered to National Rifle Association (NRA) members, thanked Kroger, Walmart, and L.L. Bean for raising their minimum customer age for gun sales to 21, and promised to keep fighting after the Florida state senate passed, then quickly revoked, a two-year ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

 

 

The founders intend this to be a student-led movement, and they encourage the creation of chapters in schools across America. As of March 4, 2018, SSC is filing to become a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.

 

 

Visit the Students for Changes webpage:

https://www.studentsforchanges.org

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Donate to Students for Changes:

https://www.studentsforchanges.org/copy-of-make-a-donation

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/studentsforchanges/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@students4c

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Public Education · Vote with your Dollars

UPDATED: Pay the Meal Debts of Students at Your Local K-12 School and Ask Your State Legislature to Pass an Anti-Lunch-Shaming Bill

Call a local K-12 school in your area and ask if you can pay off the school lunch debt of a student or two. Also, find out if your state has an anti-lunch-shaming bill and if it doesn’t, ask your legislature to pass one.

 

Low-income families sometimes struggle to pay the school lunch bills of their children. Hungry kids have trouble learning, but some poor kids suffer worse than a missed meal. Some have suffered the indignity of having their breakfast or lunch taken from them and thrown in the trash. Sometimes this happens in sight of their classmates.

 

In extreme cases (scroll down for a New York Times article that relays these incidents), students who owe are forced to clean cafeteria tables. The arm of a child in Alabama was stamped with the phrase “I Need Lunch Money.”

 

Being poor isn’t good or bad; it just is. No child should be made to feel shame over not having as much money as their fellow students, or made to suffer socially because their parents fell behind in their school meal payments or simply forgot.

 

One way you can fight back is to call a K-12 school near you and ask if you can pay the bills of students whose families are in arrears. Odds are there’s at least one school in your city or town that has unpaid school meal bills. A 2016 report by the School Nutrition  Association states that roughly 75 percent of responding districts had at least some student meal debt by the end of the school year.

 

This is an admittedly imperfect solution, as it lets the government off the hook for funding a service that minor children should be able to expect, but it does help where help is needed.

 

You can also ask your state legislators if your state has an anti-lunch-shaming bill on the books, and if they don’t, you can ask them to pass one.

 

First, find your state legislators by plugging your zip code into this web tool:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/

 

Then look up their biographies on your state legislature’s web site and see if either your state senator or state house rep or both sit on any education-related committees. If they do, it is extra-important for you to pursue this matter.

 

Ask your state reps to pass a bill like the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act, which New Mexico’s governor signed into law in April. It appears to be the first bill of its kind passed by an American state. It outlaws any techniques that have the effect of shaming students, and it asks schools to work with parents to satisfy meal debt or get them on a federal school meal assistance program.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

GOOD UPDATE: A Seattleite by the name of Jeff Lew has made it his mission to combat lunch debt and school practices that shame children whose parents have trouble paying for meals.

 

His GoFundMe is a clearinghouse for schools in need, and it lets you start a campaign on behalf of a school near you:

https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/erase-lunch-debt

 

You can also show support by following him on Twitter:

@biglew8

…and following his dedicated Twitter account for the cause, which is admittedly a work  in progress as of May 28:

@LunchDebt

 

 

Read this 2016 Atlantic piece on unpaid school meal bills:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/02/unpaid-school-lunch-bills/460509/

 

 

See the particulars of the New Mexico anti-shaming law:

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=374&year=17

 

 

Read this New York Times piece on the New Mexico anti-shaming law:

 

See the School Nutrition Association report that states that three-quarters of districts who filled out the survey had outstanding student debts (scan for the paragraph with the phrase “unpaid student meal debt” in bold):

https://schoolnutrition.org/NewsPublications/PressReleases/SNANationalSurveyRevealsIncreasedEffortsToPromoteStudentConsumptionOfHealthyChoices/

 

 

Read about that incident in Alabama where a kid’s arm was stamped with the phrase ‘I Need Lunch Money’:

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/06/gardendale_elementary_student.html

 

 

See more proof that school lunch-shaming is, sadly, a thing:

Some Schools Shame Students When Their Parents Can’t Pay For Lunch

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/children-shamed-so-parents-will-pay-the-school-lunch-bill/

 

 

Read about recent efforts by individual citizens to settle unpaid student meal debt:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donors-unite-nationwide-to-pay-off-kids-school-lunch-debt/

 

 

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Commit Now to Put Any Tax Benefits You Might Get from the GOP Tax Bill to Fighting Its Effects

This OTYCD entry originally appeared in December 2017.

If the GOP tax bill passes, will you benefit from it in the form of lower taxes? Commit now to put any extra money to the work of fighting its effects.

 

Yes, the GOP tax bill rewards the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Not too terribly many people who read this will belong to the group who will benefit if it becomes law.

 

Still. If you are one of those people, think about how you will use that money for good, and use it to fight the ill effects of the bill.

 

The bill treats waived graduate school tuition as taxable income. Fight this by talking to your alma mater, or a favorite public or private university, about how you can help relieve the burden the bill imposes on grad students. In particular, do what you can to assist grad students from marginalized communities, who will be hit hardest.

 

The bill removes a tax credit that employers received if they hired veterans. Look around your community, see which organizations are serving veterans and helping them find jobs, and see about pointing your gains in that direction.

 

The bill removes a tax credit for teachers who buy supplies for their classrooms. Find the neediest public school in your community and commit to underwriting those perpetual costs.

 

The variants are endless, but we should also mention yet again that in addition to what you choose to do, you should also support and elect candidates who will change the laws, fix the flaws, and help the people who will be hurt by the GOP tax bill.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Public Education

Support the Striking Oklahoma Teachers

Support the teachers who are on strike in Oklahoma.

 

Teachers in Oklahoma are among the most underpaid in America, ranking 49th out of 50 in 2016. It also ranked 47th out of 50 in that year for expenditures on K-12 students.

 

While the Oklahoma state legislature did pass a $6,100 pay raise in late March, that move fell far short of the teachers’ demands. They plan to walk out on Monday, April 2.

 

In addition to a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for support personnel, the teachers want the state to increase spending on its schools by $200 million over three years, and it wants the state to reverse certain budget cuts.

 

The budget cuts have forced teachers to deal with overcrowded classrooms. About a fifth of the state’s schools have had to adopt four-day weeks due to lack of funds.

 

You can stay on top of the walkout by watching the webpage of the Oklahoma Education Association, which will protest at the state capitol starting on Monday, April 2, 2018:

http://standwithteachers.org

 

 

Also follow the OEA on Twitter:

@okea

 

 

And like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Oklahoma.Education.Association

 

 

If you live in or near Oklahoma, you can pledge to join the walkout:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/pledge-to-walk-on-april-2nd

 

 

Another source of walkout news is Oklahoma Teachers United, whose Twitter handle is:

@TeacherOklahoma

 

 

Like the Oklahoma Teachers United Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Oklahomateachersunited/

 

 

You can also follow VOICE OKC, Voices Organized in Civic Engagement, on Twitter:

@voiceokc

 

 

See VOICE OKC’s website:

https://www.voiceokc.org

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read background on the conditions that led to the Oklahoma teachers’ strike:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/it-just-hurts-my-heart-low-pay-big-classes-are-the-plight-of-oklahoma-teachers/2018/03/30/e5e10eb8-2c88-11e8-b0b0-f706877db618_story.html?utm_term=.2de02d276181

http://time.com/5220561/oklahoma-teacher-strike-pay-raise-bill/

https://www.vox.com/2018/3/29/17164284/oklahoma-teachers-strike

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/why-oklahoma-teachers-will-walk-out-monday