In Support of COVID Vaccine Mandates

It is disappointing to learn that a substantial number of our community’s first responders refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but it is astonishing to see their unions and leadership assert that special accommodations for these members are the solution. The message you are sending is that the personal beliefs and feelings of individual members are more important than the health and safety of your colleagues and those you serve.

We expect our public health and safety professionals to keep us safe. We require – and provide – training, equipment, and proactive measures to keep our community safe and healthy. Compliance with these measures is a requirement for the job and the vast majority of our first responders participate gladly. We don’t give exemptions for gloves or masks or any other measure for protecting both firefighters and community members; why would we do so with the COVID-19 vaccine? 

We ask first responders to risk their personal health and safety in the line of duty, and in return, we commit to minimizing that risk to the best of our ability. Reducing COVID-19 transmission at their workplace is one way we can reduce risk to our first responders, just as it is for the many workplaces requiring vaccination. Now their union is using their dues to fight improved workplace safety, and their leadership are going along for the ride. 

Unions and leadership are using fear tactics, imploring us that they will be so understaffed they will be unable to respond to all emergencies. There are two solutions to this problem which we prefer over providing special exemptions.

  1. Reduce the number of unvaccinated first responders. How are we helping hesitant staff choose to be vaccinated? People can and do change their minds about vaccination. Strategies known to be effective include: providing on-site, on-shift consultations with trusted doctors, modeling information-based decision making, scheduling on-site vaccine clinics, granting paid leave for a vaccine appointment, and providing incentives. Clear and consistent messaging is key, and leadership should openly support the mandate so it is clear to first responders that the vaccines are safe and effective and no special exemptions are forthcoming.
  2. Hire new staff. Refusal to participate in a safe and effective public health measure is disqualifying. We know that specialized first responder jobs require training, and that training takes more time that we have before the mandate goes into effect. We also know that firefighting positions are highly competitive, well compensated, and represented by a powerful union – these are coveted jobs. Public safety leadership, what do you need to ramp up hiring? How can we rely on “volunteer” firefighters to fill in? How can we use this opportunity to recruit a more diverse workforce? How can we hire already qualified staff who live locally but work in other communities? As of today, the number of firefighting job openings on the City of Bellingham website is zero. Let’s rally around a recruiting and training push that results in better fire and police departments.

Eighteen months into a pandemic, with our hospital reaching record numbers of largely unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, with multiple safe and effective vaccine options, we support vaccine mandates for workplaces, especially for public health & safety first-responders. 

Leadership involves doing what’s right in service of your community’s most vulnerable. We look to our leadership for creative and compassionate problem-solving, not special exemptions.

Sincerely,

Riveters Collective Board of Directors
Elizabeth Hartsoch
Krystal Rodriguez
Sarahbeth Bede
Dena Jensen
Teizeen Mohamedali
Bridget McShane
Eowyn Savela
Kris Lytton
Roman Stadtler
Jasmine Goodnow
Arlene Feld
Zenda Boss-Hall
Misty Manherz
Kelly Krieger
Morgan Kay
Delaney Manherz
Melissa Bird
Brenna Manherz
Sandy Robson



Tell Whatcom County Council to declare racism a public health crisis

**UPDATE: On November 24, 2020, Whatcom County Council approved a resolution Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis.**

Contact Whatcom County Council Members ASAP to call for their support of the resolution Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis

Source:
Riveters Collective Justice System Committee

Description:
Call or email County Council Members immediately to urge them to support all the actions called for in the resolution proposed by the Public Health Advisory Board on October 6, 2020.

Background:
Here is a link to the text of the original resolution, Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis:
https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8823936&GUID=13668448-68F0-46D0-AA9A-711C831294CD.  County Council Members, acting as the Health Board, discussed the resolution on October 6, and voted in favor of having Council Members Elenbaas and Browne work on “updating the resolution.” They referred it to committee for a later date, possibly by October 27. There are excellent actions proposed in the resolution, to ensure racial equity, equity of access and service and further to ensure the equitable treatment of all people, regardless of race or ethnicity.”
We do not want these actions – Sections 1-6 of the resolution – to be removed or weakened!

Contact info and suggested script:
Phone numbers:
Rud Browne: 360-820-9494
Todd Donovan: 360-483-8474
Tyler Byrd: 360-778-5021
Kathy Kershner: 360-220-7535
Ben Elenbaas: 360-778-5025
Barry Buchanan: 360-224-4330
Carol Frazey: 360-778-5024Email Addresses:
Whole Council (for the public record) <council@co.whatcom.wa.us>;Barry Buchanan
<bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Todd Donovan <tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Carol Frazey <cfrazey@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Rud Browne <rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Tyler Byrd <tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Ben Elenbaas <belenbaa@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Kathy Kershner <kkershne@co.whatcom.wa.us>

Dear Whatcom County Council:I agree that racism is a public health crisis in Whatcom County. I am calling on you to either strengthen or retain, as written, the actions in Sections 1 through 6 of the resolution proposed by the Public Health Advisory Board on October 6, “Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis,” and to approve the resolution with those actions included.
I also call on you to take the actions recommended by the Public Health Advisory Board to “support County membership in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity,” and “approve allocation of resources within County budget process to address race equity issues, including staff training and outreach and engagement with communities of color.”Sincerely,
[Name and Location]

Additional info:
Link to the Health Board discussion form: https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8823938&GUID=626559C2-FB47-49A4-A076-7F47142D2446
Link to the Power Point presentation, “Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis”: https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8823939&GUID=F3DDCC63-9ED9-4C63-8A5A-DEAEA95FE48A
Link to the video recording of the 10:45 a.m. October 6, 2020, Whatcom County Council as the Health Board meeting: http://whatcom.granicus.com/player/clip/428?view_id=1&redirect=true

Sewing for our Community

Riveters Collective ‘Mask Makers’ group is sewing cotton face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for donation to vulnerable people in our community. We’ve burned through everyone’s fabric and elastic stashes sewing more than 3000 masks. Your donation will allow us to purchase materials in bulk. Like our namesake Rosie, we’re stepping up to meet our community’s needs.

Want to help or donate materials? Contact Kelly Krieger or join our Facebook group.

Mask Materials

$400.00 of $500.00 raised
$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

All funds raised through this campaign will be used to buy materials to sew PPE for donation locally. Any remaining funds will be donated back to local partner nonprofits.

masks mask Kelly Krieger delivering masks to Tim Ballew Tyvek suit masks

Let’s get to work! Jan 2020

RC Endorsements 2020 Needs You!

2020 will be a very important election year. Do you want to help shape Bellingham and Whatcom County ballots, meet candidates, and learn more about local issues? We’re accepting applications for our endorsement committee and we are looking for additional people who can help support the committee

Fill out this form to tell us how you’d like to get involved!

Childcare and food will be provided for all meetings. We can also provide transportation, if needed. Accessibility details will be posted once we have meeting locations confirmed.

Other ways to help include: donating any amount of financial support to this worthy cause, coordinating food and/or providing food for meetings and interviews, assisting with childcare, providing tech support before, during or after interviews, captioning videos, calling candidates to schedule interviews. Want to help in a way that’s not listed? Tell us about it in the form!

 

Empower Happy Hour

Join us for our monthly casual hang out on Wednesday the 15th at 5:30 at Elizabeth Station. Come chat with board members about how to get involved in new committees Riveters Collective is forming for 2020, events and progressive actions, or feel free to just have a drink and enjoy the company of others trying to get stuff done in this crazy political moment.

 

MLK Human Rights Conference

We are honored to be tabling at the 22nd annual Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr Human Rights Conference on Saturday the 18th. Find us in the Syre Center Exhibition Hall and come say “Hi!” as you enjoy the sessions.

In the words of the organizers from Whatcom Human Rights Task Force:
Now in its twenty-second year, the Conference provides a space for the community to come together and renew our commitment to the ideals that Dr. King held dear and believed deeply that this country could attain only by working together and acknowledging our shared history: ideals of equity, freedom, and self-determination. The Conference offers a rare opportunity for people of all ages and walks of life to share our stories, lift our voices to call out injustice, and take actions that will help make Dr. King’s ideals reality.”

 

2020 Womxn’s March

Also on Saturday the 18th (it’s a busy day!), we are co-sponsoring the 2020 Womxn’s March along with Planned Parenthood and Indivisible Bellingham. We are happy to provide support to this worthy cause. This year we are marching for a myriad of issues that affect women, femes, and non-binary people, including reproductive rights, immigration, and climate change.  Meet at the Bellingham Courthouse at 11:00 for speakers and then get marching.  Want to volunteer? Sign up here.

Step Three to Taking Action

Now you are informed and ready- time to act! Your best two tactics are your money and your time. Let’s talk $$.

Photo by Newton Free Library on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

First, donations.

There are a bajillion organizations working to do good. Many run on donations. It can be hard to figure out who to donate to. What do you care about? Which organizations are legit? How much money? How often? What about local groups vs. national organizations?

Narrow it down
This might be difficult. Many of us care about all of it- the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, etc. Try picking your top three issues and start with those. Maybe even make a calendar where you focus on different issues each month or quarter.
This is a good list of ideas (check the comments, too): http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-wo…

Find legitimate organizations
Charity Navigator is a great tool to help you decide who will use your donation effectively.

Every bit helps
If you only have a few bucks to spare and are wondering if it’s even worth donating that much, know that it DOES HELP. We are working on a scale of millions of people making donations. A buck or two adds up.

If you can swing an automatic monthly donation, go for it.

Think globally, act locally (and nationally and globally)
Don’t forget about your hometown organizations. You can often have the most impact with these small fish. Use our Civic Tithing tool to help find local organizations and set up monthly donations. Also, Charity Navigator has a rich search function, including a way to look for local charities: https://www.charitynavigator.org/in…

 

It’s also time to boycott

You can also make a difference with your everyday spending habits.

Anti-Trump
You can choose to spend your money at places that do not support Trump or his family’s businesses. Shannon Coulter started the #grabyourwallet boycott in late October. Here is the current list of business to boycott, scripts to use to tell them why you’re boycotting, and alternative businesses to use instead: https://grabyourwallet.org/

Pro-justice
You can also sign up to participate in the Injustice Boycott, which began last December. This boycott is about preventing police brutality and racial injustice.
Do you know of any other current boycotts?

That’s your first action: donate and spend wisely. Next up, how to use your time to make a difference.

Missed step two? Read it here.

Ready for step four? Read it here.

Civic Tithing

Civic tithing can stabilize funding for our local organizations in an uncertain economic future. And that future will arrive on January 20. From the Old English for “one-tenth”, tithing has traditionally meant giving part of one’s income to a church or government. In civic tithing, we take the routine giving concept and apply it to civic and community organizations in Whatcom County. Together, our group could improve and stabilize the financial outlook for organizations serving our community in 2017.

First, decide how much of your income you could part with on a monthly or yearly basis, whether 0.1% or 10%. Take the annual cost and divide by 12. Then set up monthly donations to an organization in that amount.

To help you identify organizations, a few Riveters Collective members curated this list for us. Improvements to this list and tool are coming, but we’re pushing this in draft form so you can start using it now. You can search by topic; that’s pretty much the only bell or whistle.

Please note: As always, we welcome your constructive feedback (especially if it is packaged with an offer of help in improving the online accessibility of this list)!

Womxn’s Marches – Bellingham, Seattle, DC


We’re getting a lot of questions about the Women’s Marches.  Here are links to information for marches in Bellingham, Seattle and DC.

Womxn’s March on Washington – Bellingham

Event Information
Website
Facebook page
Facebook event

 

Womxn’s March – Washington State – Seattle

Event Information
Website
Facebook group
Facebook event

Transportation
Our bus is full, and there are at least three buses departing from Bellingham for the march.  I will update this as I get new information.  If you don’t have a ticket and you want one, watch the Pantsuit Bellingham Facebook feed and then bus event closely, I have seen several posts selling tickets in the past couple of days.

If you purchased a bus ticket through Pantsuit Bellingham and Bellair Charters, your bus departure information:
Sunset Square Kmart parking lot at 7a.m. on 21 January 2017.
Join the Facebook Event for some pre-march pep-talking and organizing.

If you have a ticket for a bus chartered by Whatcom Democratic Women’s Club, event details can be found here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-charter-bus-round-trip-bellingham-tickets-30571121046

 

Women’s March on Washington – D.C.

Event Information
Website
Facebook page