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Um, I Agree With Ted Cruz?

Um, I Agree With Ted Cruz?

At March On Texas we pretty much never agree with anything Senator Ted Cruz says or does.  Until now.

Senator Cruz is one of the reasons why Mitch McConnell pulled the Republican version of the healthcare bill from the floor without taking a vote but is trying to put it up for a vote by Friday.  The senate needs 50 votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, meaning only two Republicans could vote against it, and Senator Cruz was one who flat out said no.

Yay!

Now granted, the reasons why he said no (the bill was too generous) versus why we said no (22 million people would lose their coverage, Medicaid would be cut – kicking out old people from nursing homes and pregnant women from prenatal care, the bill would raise premiums up to five times higher than the youngest for adults in their 50’s and 60’s, it tries to dismantle Planned Parenthood and while giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and insurance companies.)

They say that politics makes strange bedfellows and this is one of those times.  So let’s be supportive to Senator Ted Cruz and continue to tell him to vote NO for the repeal and replace bill.

In case you needed some facts (real ones, not the alternative kind) here are some highlights of what the Republican bills would do, and how it would potentially affect Texans:

  • CBO estimates 22 million people would lose their healthcare coverage.  That includes 2.6 million Texans with the number of uninsured Texans increasing by 58% by 2019.
  • Women could be charged more for insurance just for being women.  Prior to Obamacare, women in Texas were charged as much as 56% more than men for the same coverage.
  • Pre-existing conditions would either be decided directly by the states (House bill) or would allow states to request the ability to reduce essential coverage, meaning that the people who need that coverage would have to pay substantially more and insurance companies could impose lifetime caps on what they have to pay (Senate bill).
  • The oldest adults (ages 50 – 64) can be charged five times more for insurance.
  • Medicaid (insurance for the poor, disabled, kids and pregnant women) would be cut off from federal funding starting in 2020.  Approximately 4.7 million Texans, about 16% of the state’s population, rely on Medicaid for their health insurance.  The majority of Medicaid funding goes to people with disabilities.  Under this plan these services will likely be cut.
  • A one year block would be placed on Planned Parenthood reimbursement, which CBO estimates 15% of women would lose access to family planning services increasing the birth rate.  (And remember that Medicaid for the poor would also be cut, which includes care for pregnant women and newborns, and women could be charged more for insurance.)
  • If you are wealthy, according to CBO you get $563 billion in tax cuts over 10 years under the Senate bill, while the poor, pregnant, sick, elderly and disabled pay higher health costs for worse coverage.

For more information, you can read the full articles used to reference these numbers:  Who Wins, Who Loses With Senate Healthcare Bill and Defending Healthcare in 2017, What is at Stake for Texas?

The time to act is now.  This bill is set to go back to the floor this Friday.  Call Senator Cruz and pressure him to continue to vote no.  Our reasons may be different but a no vote from him will ultimately benefit Texas families.

 

Artist/Activist Lisa Anne Auerbach

Artist/Activist Lisa Anne Auerbach

Lisa Anne Auerbach is well known for her politicized knitwear—sweaters and other types of clothing hand and machine knit that include symbols or text that have a political meaning.  But in addition to knitting, she has also been working with other forms of textiles, photographs, zines, and in gouache.   She is interested in the ways in which humans communicate with each other, especially non-verbally through architecture and symbolism.

Lisa Anne Auerbach, “My Jewish Grandma is Voting for Obama/Chosen People.

During the election, Auerbach developed a series called “Make America,” a spin-off of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.  Auerbach said that,
“during the 2016 Presidential Election, one of the candidate’s slogans was “Make America Great Again,” which of course implies that America is currently not “great” but once was and could be again. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I have some ideas for other things America might prioritize in the future.”

Image by Lisa Anne Auerbach

Since the election, she has continued with this “Make America” series but instead of in red, blue, and white, she is now working in black and white, resonating the sense of hopelessness many Americans are feeling—or symbolically representing the stark contrast between Obama and Trump’s version of America.

Image by Lisa Anne Auerbach

Auerbach said of the painting “Hurt People Hurt People” that, “One of my students said this in class in reference to bullying and I thought, “well, wow, maybe that explains it.” Hurt people like to blast off missiles and then they don’t hurt enough people so they drop a giant bomb and that doesn’t hurt enough people so they try to defund Planned Parenthood… I don’t feel sorry for the guy because he’s hurt; I just want him to take his slithering, destroyed, impaired and crackpot brain and get it someplace where he can’t hurt any more people. Outer space would be fine, as long as he can’t tweet from there.”

Image by Lisa Anne Auerbach

Auerbach has some words of wisdom for all of us resisting the agenda of hate. “You think it can’t get any worse; then the sun comes up and a new day brings even more chaos and scandal. The challenge is to stay informed but not let it make you nuts. Don’t go on total news strike, just take a day off. Don’t cancel your newspaper subscription; without a functioning press we are sunk. Take time to pull weeds or listen to some music or go on a hike. It’s Saturday and a beautiful day even though it seems like everything is shattering, the waters are rising, the air is clouding and our leadership is a simmering crock pot of madmen.”

Consider purchasing one of her grayscale paintings; the income from these works is being donated to organizations working to help Americans when the government fails them.


See more paintings on Auerbach’s instagram account @auerbachtoberfest

Check out Auerbach’s website for more images and information.

Texas Artist Activist Suzann Thompson is “Celebrating Doilies”

Texas Artist Activist Suzann Thompson is “Celebrating Doilies”

Textile artist Suzann Thompson believes that hand work is a deeply engrained element of activism in women’s culture and speaks to the ties between “stitching” and activism, citing how American women have engaged in these kinds of activities since the Revolutionary War when they boycotted British shipments of finished cloth and instead, wove their own rough cloth to make clothing and protest the Crown’s taxation policies.

Continuing in this tradition, her upcoming exhibit “Celebrate Doilies!” honors this heritage of needlework. She says that, “that Texas, especially rural Texas, has a deep heritage of crochet.” Women might not have had much, if any, expendable income but they could usually buy thread and used that to beautify their homes. Crochet was a cheap way to relax, be creative, and unwind, especially after a long day on the farm.

Thompson’s artwork uses vintage and antique doilies, combined with other fibers and embellishments, to create new works that honor and highlight the original doilies. She has been collecting doilies for a while, not certain what to do with them, when she overheard a man comment that he had many doilies made by female family members and that he did not want to part with them, but he didn’t know how to “deal with them,” either. That’s when she decided she would work do a series of doily inspired artwork that focuses on family heritage and legacy.

Two themes run through the upcoming “Celebrate Doilies!” exhibit: frugality and art as therapy. She tells the story of how a woman told her that her father crocheted at the end of the day to unwind. There were five kids in the family and he said that he had to crochet because it “calmed himself down.” She tells another story about a doily that was made entirely out of the string saved from chicken feed sacks. Talk about frugal!

To test out that possibility, Thompson saved the string from five large bags of cat food and was able to crochet a small heart. She knows now how many dozens of bags of feed it required to make that large doily and yet this homesteader persisted, using what materials she could pull to hand to beautify her home and, without realizing it, left a legacy of her own creativity.

Art by Suzann Thompson. Image by Suzann Thompson.

Thompson says that doilies and other handwork “tie us to our past and our families.” She recalls a quote from a woman that she once read who said of a crocheted blanket, “every inch of this yarn went through my grandmother’s hands. Her DNA is on this afghan.”

I’m not sure if the pussy hats knitted and crocheted over the last several months will be equally as valued in the future as have crocheted doilies but they are a current example of how handwork and craft are inherently personal acts that cross over into the political. If the “personal is political,” as second wave feminists like to say, then crocheted doilies are a prime example of how such small, inconsequential items can reverberate over time, becoming embedded with deep meaning.

Learn more about the Celebrate Doilies exhibit and Suzann Thompson’s art work. You can also find her on Facebook.

In addition to Thompson’s art, poet Sandi Horton is also featured in the “Celebrate Doilies!” Horton’s poetry and family crochet are included, and she will read a selection of her work at the show’s closing reception August 19th at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council.

This traveling exhibit begins in Stephenville and then moves to Granbury. If you are interested in hosting this exhibit, please contact the artist via her website. (link)

Additionally, Thompson is raising funds through Kickstarter to help the exhibit reach more people.

 

 

5 Progressive Candidates Won in Texas Runoffs!

5 Progressive Candidates Won in Texas Runoffs!

March On! Texas wants to give a big shout-out to all progressive candidates who made it to the runoff elections this past weekend and, more importantly, to all of YOU for showing up and voting.

In the initial election last month, to recap, Marchers identified 70 progressive candidates; 11 won and 16 had runoff elections.  Just counting the winners, that’s a success rate of about 16%.  Not great, but at least 9 of those 11 candidates were women, which is success in and of itself and also this is Texas.

Here’s the news that we find particularly encouraging.  Of the 16 candidates in runoff elections, 5 progressives won!  That’s about a 31% success rate.  Now there are lots of reasons why that number may have increased, but we have to think that voter turnout played a part.

Ron Nirenberg, winner San Antonio Mayor

So again, we want to take this moment to THANK YOU for tuning in, getting friends and family to vote, and showing up yourself on election day.  It clearly made a difference.

Let’s build on this momentum.  The 2018 midterm elections are barely 500 days away.  Do you want to turn Texas blue?  Because we sure do.  There will be volunteer opportunities coming up to help register people to vote, so stay tuned for more on that.

Do you know a Progressive candidate running in 2018?  Please let us know!  Email lisa@marchontexas so we can add them to our spreadsheet.

We CAN make a difference.

March on, y’all!

 

 

Artist Activist Lisa Congdon:  Women Stay Fierce

Artist Activist Lisa Congdon: Women Stay Fierce

As a fine artist and illustrator known for making whimsical illustrations, Lisa Congdon makes no excuses when it comes to her activist art, despite pushback from some of her fans who say they’d rather just see her “pretty pictures.”  But Congdon refuses to be silent, even at the risk of losing followers.  She argues that as an artist, she must speak her “truth.”  By this she means expressing herself as a “whole” person, not compartmentalizing her private life and opinions apart from her art but rather integrating them so that she gives voice to the things that matter to her. 

The things that she most cares about come from her place as a woman and a lesbian in an American culture that regards both as secondary—the female as subordinate to the male and homosexuality as, at best, inferior to heterosexuality, or worse, as illegal or “immoral.”  Congdon is navigating how to situate these experiences through art so that she serves as a voice for women, lesbians, and others who are marginalized and do not have as strong of a presence or platform.

Having worked with both the Clinton and Obama campaigns, the Human Rights campaign, and other progressive causes, Congdon is no stranger to speaking her truth but she is committed to doing even more.  Here’s a plan of action she set out recently in a blog post and one she encourages other activists to follow:

“+Use your pain to express yourself.
+Make time to express your feelings and beliefs through your art.
+Own your anger or frustration. Do not let others tell you to “settle down.”
+Be authentic: say what you feel and in a way that you would say it. Speak your truth!
+Stop worrying about whether people will stop following you or like what you post.
+Participate in fundraisers with your work.
+Support causes you care about through your art — raise money, encourage others to donate, do pro-bono work for them.
+Connect with other artists who are also interested in using their work and platforms to shed light on political issues and human rights issues you care about; collaborate with them!
+Research workshops in your community that teach about activism for artists. Participate in local initiatives.
+Follow and support fellow artists who are using their platforms to express themselves. This is a time to unite!”

Pictures are copyrighted by Lisa Congdon and kindly shared here.

lisacongdon.com:  website and blog

lisacongdon:  instragram

Interview originally posted on www.howtocopewithtrump.com–an online community for new political activists.

When Will Texas Get Equality?

When Will Texas Get Equality?

Texas is a very supportive state…if you’re heterosexual.  But if you’re not, the Republican-led Texas legislature supports some very strong policies against you.

One such bill that passed this session allows faith-based, child-welfare service providers that contract with the state to refuse LGBTQ parents from providing a safe and loving home for thousands of kids.  Siting religious belief is not only a form of discrimination, it also denies kids a chance to join a family sooner.  How is this helping anyone?

And now that Governor Abbott has decided to hold a special session, the “bathroom” bill is sure to make another appearance.  We can expect another heated debate over which bathroom transgender individuals can use.

We at MarchOn! Texas believe that the government should not discriminate against its citizens based upon who they love or how they identify themselves.

You can show your support for the LGBTQ community by attending the Texas Equality March this Sunday, June 11, noon – 4 pm at the Texas Capitol.  For more details about this event click here:  Texas Equality March.

Show your support and show your pride!

 

The Voting App:  “The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How” of Local Elections

The Voting App: “The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How” of Local Elections

Don’t want to vote in today’s election because you aren’t sure for whom to cast your ballot?

Not to worry, there’s an App for that. F. Joeseph Santori and Jeff Cardenas, co-founders of an Austin-based technology company developed The Voting App, a free nonpartisan tool that aggregates the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of local elections, according to address.

Santori and Cardenas developed this App to increase voter turnout. When looking at the best place to test the application, they chose San Antonio because it has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation. Reports estimate that less than one out of every ten registered voters actually voted in San Antonio in the past.

After successful launches in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, the App is now available state-wide. The tool will include other states soon, and the company is coordinating with many organizations to expand the applications’ capabilities.

No more excuses. Get the App and get to the polls by 7 p.m. tonight.

Find out more about the Texas addition of the App and download now.

 

5 Ways You Can Save Planet Earth

5 Ways You Can Save Planet Earth

President Trump may not care about the impact of global warming, but we at MarchOn! Texas sure do!  Like many other mayor, governors and business leaders, we’ve got to take matters into our own hands.

You may be wondering, “I’m just one person.  Can anything I do really make an impact?”  The answer is a resounding yes.  Here are five things you can do in fact.

usa – green environment concept. Photo: LoftCommunications

5 Ways You Can Save Planet Earth

  1. Watch your water usage.  Water is our most precious resource and we tend to waste it.  Turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth.  Use cold water to wash your laundry when possible, and wait until you have a full load.  Switch your yard to a Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-escape), which is fancy for low-water/low-maintenance plants.  It will save water, maintenance and money.
  2. Eat less red meat.  According to a Guardian article, giving up beef could reduce your carbon footprint more than giving up your car!  Why?  Because it takes 11 times more water and 28 times more land to raise cattle than chickens or pigs.
    Photo: Nature.com

    As a nice side bonus, you will get healthier in the process.  Chicken and port are leaner meats than beef.  Not ready to give it up entirely?  Cut it down to just twice a month.

  3. Drive smarter.  Whenever possible, take public transit or ride your bike instead of your car.  Buy the most fuel efficient model available; consider a hybrid for your next purchase.  When you have errands, group them together so you are doing all of them in one trip instead of multiple ones.  Slowing down when you drive helps your fuel economy and checking your tires for proper air levels will reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions.
  4. Make your house more energy efficient.  Turn off the lights when you leave the room.  Raise the A/C temperature when you leave the house.  Close the window blinds to prevent your house from heating up in the summer.  Make sure your doors and windows have proper seals so they aren’t leaking out air conditioning or heat during the winter.
  5. Reduce, reuse, recycle.  We Americans generate a lot of trash every year.  The average person generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day!  Recycling reduces greenhouse emissions by using up less landfill space.  Take the extra time and sort your trash.  If you have a water bottle, refill it with tap water instead of buying new plastic ones.  Compost if you are able.  Go to the park or beach this weekend and pick up some trash.

We have one planet and it’s everyone’s responsibility to care for it.  Just being more mindful and making some of the small changes helps.  It’s up to us now!

Artist Activist Kim Werker:  Get a Free Pussy Hat Pattern

Artist Activist Kim Werker: Get a Free Pussy Hat Pattern

Kim Werker: artist activist

Kim Werker published a free Pussyhat pattern prior to the Women’s March and it has opened the door for her feminism and activism to become more integral to her work as a crochet pattern developer and creative counselor.  But activism isn’t new for Werker, who grew up in a “politically literate family” where her mother was a union activist, showing her the strength that women have in the home and at work.  Since holding her first elected position in a high school youth group, Werker has been determined to “leave the world in better shape” than she found it.

Hundreds of women have downloaded her Pussyhat pattern and signed up for her newsletter that highlights the intersection of craft and activism, a new project that has Werker excited because she has finally found a platform that combines two of her strongest interests—crafting and activism, or what is known as “craftivism.”

But she’s not alone in combining these two pursuits.  If you weren’t aware that this is an actual thing, it is.  There are many artists and crafters working to make a difference in the world through their hand-made objects, such as crocheted and knitted blankets, for example.

I asked Werker how “regular” people could combine their crafting with political activism and she offered some suggestions:  find a craftivist group near you.  There are groups located all over the world.  You can start by locating quilting or sewing circles, yarn-bombing groups, or an arts collective.  You can also start with a bigger organization and see if they have a craftivist group associated with them.

Werker said, “The way I see it, craftivism is about using craft as your voice to express the change you want to see in the world – whether it’s to highlight injustice or to present a solution to it, whether it’s to add your voice to a collection of others or to be as bold and loud as possible on your own. For many of us, especially women who are trained from a young age to be polite and smile, it can be intimidating – or downright terrifying – to speak up about what we believe in. Allowing our craft to serve as our voice can be a great way to bootstrap into being more literally vocal. And once we’re comfortable using our actual voices, our craft can be a way to amplify them.”

Click here to get the Pussyhat pattern and detailed instructions, including videos.

Sign up for Werker’s Action and Craft weekly newsletter here. 

Visit Werker’s website and check out her book, Make it Mighty Ugly.

Who Are Your Heroes?

Who Are Your Heroes?

A hero is usually defined as someone who acts courageously in extraordinary circumstances.  We think about the three brave men who fought a white supremacist shouting at two Muslim girls on an Oregon train; two of the men were stabbed to death while the third remains in the hospital.

We think about superheroes in comic books and movies, like Wonder Woman and Superman.  We think about soldiers facing bullets, firefighters facing flames and police officers killed in the line of duty.

But does heroism require facing death?  What about everyday heroes?  From parents, to teachers, to kids who stand up to bullies on the playground there are brave actions taken daily.

Do you know an everyday hero who you’d like to give a shout-out to?  Post their story with the hashtag #EveryDayHero on our Facebook page.  Let’s inspire each other.