Today, George Bush visits Connecticut to raise funds for David Cappiello’s bid to unseat Congressman Chris Murphy in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District. However, his visit is also bound to help raise money for Chris Murphy as well as for Jim Himes, who is challenging Chris Shays in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District.
Chris Murphy sent out an email asking for people to donate here. Charles Monaco sent out an email pointing out the CT Progressive Bloggers Act Blue page raising money for both Chris Murphy and Jim Himes.
Connecticut Opposes the War has been organizing protests for both Hartford, where Bush will “read a statement on Malaria Awareness” and in Kent. Visit their website for details.
Other upcoming political events in Connecticut include two events for Democratic State Senate candidates. Martin Goldberg, who is running for State Senate in the 28th District, Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, and Weston, will be having a fundraiser on May 4th from 2 until 4 PM at the house of Geena Clonan and Peter Schrobenhauser in Fairfield. Susan Bysiewicz, Jim Himes, John Hartwell, Dan Malloy, Kim Fawcett, Tom Christiano, and Tom Drew are all expected to be in attendance.
Also on May 4th, is the Multiple Sclerois walk. It will be taking place in several towns across Connecticut. Mike Renzullo, who is running for State Senate in the 30th State Senate district, recently sent out an email encouraging people to participate. He went to high school with Geizha Ahles, who is fighting MS and they will be participating in the Walk in Litchfield.
I like it that Mike is using his campaign to encourage people to get involved in more than just the political process. It reminds me of the Service Politics Institute up in Burlington, VT, which does a great job of tying politics and service together.
Will Service Politics be part of the discussion in the Panel discussion about 21st Century Activism and the Future of the Democratic Party taking place at Fairfield High School on May 13th? I sure hope it is. This panel will include Jim Dean, Jim Himes, Kim Fawcett and Ken Flatto and be followed by a concert by BUILT IN MOTION
In this same vein, Mitch Fuchs, chair of the Fairfield DTC has sent out an email highlighting a concert to benefit the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation. It will take place May 29th, and details can be found on the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation website.
So, whether you want to protest with folks in Hartford or Kent, attend some fundraisers in Fairfield, or go for a walk to raise money for the MS Society, there are plenty of upcoming opportunities to be involved here in Connecticut.
Yesterday, I was found out that change.org has named me their ‘Changemaker of the Week’. I was pretty excited about that.
Change.org is a social activism portal aimed at connecting people with similar interests so that they can work together for more effective actions. When I stumble across a cause that I’m interested in, Change.org is one of the first places I go to look for more information about the cause and who else is interested. In addition, when someone contacts me about an issue I try to help them connect with others on change.org
I guess it is this approach that has helped me become the Changemaker of the Week, because I don’t do anything out of the ordinary in my activism. Yet perhaps, that is an important part of the message. Meaningful activism can be very simple changes; letting other people know about good causes and good organizations trying help these causes, and then making small changes that combined with the actions of others can have a big effect.
One example is Project Laundry List.
Project Laundry List uses words, images, and advocacy to educate people about how simple lifestyle modifications, including air-drying one's clothes, reduce our dependence on environmentally and culturally costly energy sources.
Whatever change you would like to see in the world, Change.org is a great place to start.
Lissencephaly? Until today, I had never heard of it, and if it wasn’t for something horrible going on in Florida, I probably never would have heard of it. Yet from horrible situations, it is possible to bring about some good, raising awareness about health issues and how the government doesn’t always respond wisely.
Lissencephaly, which means ‘smooth brain’, is a genetic defect caused by mutations of genes on chromosome 17 and X. For the biology geeks, ‘Classical lissencephaly may be caused by mutations of genes in chromosome bands 17p13.3 and Xq22.3-q23’, according to the lissencephaly research project. The Wikipedia article about lissencephaly states that “The prognosis for children with lissencephaly varies depending on the degree of brain malformation. Many individuals show no significant development beyond a 3- to 5-month-old level. … Many will die before the age of 2”
So, what do you do for a 19 year old woman, who has managed to keep her child alive to age four, even though he has only managed to grow to ten pounds? Perhaps you find special ways of helping her with this difficult situation, provide her with extra support, or something like that.
Well, that isn’t how they handle things in Florida. Instead, she was charged with second-degree felony child neglect. She was arrested and spent more than four days locked up, held on $100,000 bail before a judge ordered her release.
Today, I received emails from a few different sources. Each of them were forwards of messages sent by Dr. David Ledbetter of the Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Dr. Ledbetter is noted for his work on Lissencephaly and was sending on a request from Dianna Fitzgerald. Ms. Fitzgerald is president of the Lissencephaly Network.
She has started a petition to Exonerate Erin and Give her child back. The petition asks Florida Governor Crist to “Drop the charges against Erin and send her son home.” Personally, I think the petition asks for way too little. There needs to be a serious investigation into how the Santa Rosa County’s Child Protection Team could have handled this so badly.
So, please, sign the petition, and use this to help raise awareness of lissencephaly and other childhood illnesses that parents struggle valiantly to cope with.
(Originally posted at SLNN.COM)
Non-profit community organizers will gather to discuss the paper Best Practices for Non-profits in Second Life on Friday at Plush Nonprofit Commons.
“I need some distraction, oh beautiful release… In the arms of an Angel, fly away from here”
- Sarah McLachlan, Arms Of An Angel
I spend a lot of my time in Second Life camping to make a Linden dollars here and there and exploring the Second Life capital markets. Linden Lab’s recent ban on banking has cut into the amount of Linden dollars that I have as spending money, but it doesn’t particularly bother me. I haven’t spent any US dollars to buy Linden dollars, so everything I’ve gotten and lost has been produced in Second Life.
Sure, I still have the hair and skin of a Noob and simply rent a small shop in Second life, but that meets my needs. I want to have experiences to shape my views of the evolution of internet technology, business and marketing online and have a little fun. I don’t need the fanciest objects to do that.
Yesterday, I went to the fundraiser for Africa in Second Life. I didn’t have a lot to give, but gave all that I could. Then, I did what I am good at, spreading the word. I wrote about it here. I talked about it on various groups I was on and got others to spread the word. Then I sat down and listened to some of the music.
A few new friends showed up, people that I’ve been meeting through my business reporting, and we settled down to listen to the music. One performer sang Sarah McLachlan’s “Arms of An Angel”. One of my new friends turned to me and commented about painful memories that she has carried from Africa for thirty years. The setting, a fundraiser for Africa, in a beautiful sim, with a live performer singing a song about beautiful distractions dredged up these memories. We talked a little bit. Did my words help? I don’t know, but I hope so.
Later, I was invited to a pajama party in Second Life. Every month Bevan Whitfield organizes some sort of gathering for business associates and friends and last night she organized a pajama party. Since I don’t have a lot of Linden dollars, I still have default skin and hair, and a paucity of clothes. I had no pajamas or anything else appropriate to wear for a pajama party, so I stood around awkwardly chit chatting for a while.
Then, I remembered a different avatar I had. A month ago, I was given one of Nimbus Rau’s cat avatars at An Art Show. Perhaps being a cat at a pajama party would be fun.
I quickly got into my role, worrying about being stepped on and tripping up people left and right. Some of the folks at the party were old friends. Others were people I hadn’t met before. I played the role and tripped up everyone equally. It was a fun evening as I escaped people trying to catch the cat and throw it in the pool, or do other unspeakable horrors to it. I did worry about if the cat was being too obnoxious, but everyone seemed to have fun. The protestations about the cat where in the general chat and not in backchannel IMs to me.
As the party wound down, and I wandered off, I did get one IM that caught me by surprise. One of the people I did not know there thanked me for tripping her up so much. She had had a day that sounded a lot tougher than really bad days that many people I know have from time to time. The playful distraction after the bad day was exactly what she had needed.
I spend my time thinking about the relationship between what is real and what is virtual in Second Life. Mostly, it is in terms of money and businesses. Yet the evening was a reminder of something else. The real lives of the people behind the avatars. There are good people in Second Life, struggling with their own memories, with efforts to help people in Africa or in other struggles. We can make real connections with these other people, and hopefully help them as they help us or help others.
Sarah McLachlan’s words came back to me. “I need some distraction, oh beautiful release.” Second Life can be a distraction, a beautiful release, and sometimes when the angels seem a little too far away, we can fly away in the arms of an avatar.