Heard on the Street and in the Forest | February 2021 Newsletter
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Editor's Note

Black History Month calls upon Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." It was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Black History Month's 2021 theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.”


History has shown us that courage can be contagious,
and hope can take on a life of its own. –Michelle Obama
From the Street to Inform Us
Bridging Divides

Are you concerned about the dissension and discord in our nation?

As bad as the Capitol siege was last month, it was only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. We have since learned that many elected officials do not agree publicly on the outcome of the verified presidential election and most everyday people do not believe that they can communicate with “the other side.”
 
Our society has become fragmented and increasingly polarized, posing a “clear and present danger” to our democracy. The EAN Civic Values and Culture Team is addressing these issues and has identified the following concerns:

  • A lack of shared understanding about democratic values and our system of government
  • Disagreement about what constitutes truth/facts with a;
  • Prevalence of disinformation; and, decline in critical thinking skills
  • Fragmented media; the effect of biased traditional and social media
  • Acceptance/promulgation of division, hate, and sometimes violence as a solution to resolving conflict; and, a low value placed on peaceful protest and other means.

We need to find ways to get beyond our personal views and assumptions. It is hopeful that people are waking up to the call for “bridging the divides” – understanding that we must begin talking and listening to each other with the intention of finding common ground.
 
EAN will be offering several webinars in the coming months to address these issues, and we've identified two organizations with interesting programs.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Expanding Perspectives and Finding Common Ground
February 20, 26 & March 6. A zoom workshop offered by our partner, S.A.G.E. in Portland. Join young leaders and other elders in learning skills to find common ground.

Difficult Conversations: The Art & Science of Thinking Together
April 5, 7 & 9. An excellent and interactive workshop to explore ways of approaching people with ideas that conflict with your own. Learn More & Register

The EAN Civic Values and Culture Team is working to identify ways EAN and our members can work to strengthen democratic values, civic understanding and contribute to healing political divisions and related issues. If you have a strong interest in these issues, contact Linda Warner at ldhwarner@gmail.com.

Two organizations, among many, that bring people together. Check them out!

  • Braver Angels brings Americans together to bridge the partisan issues and strengthen our democratic republic: to overcome the fear, division, and isolation challenging America.
  • Living Room Conversations provides a conversational model to facilitate connections between people despite their differences and to identify common ground and shared understanding. Healing begins with conversations.
Joy is the gift of love.
Grief is the price of love.
Anger is the force that protects that which is loved.
–Valerie Kaur, See No Stranger
Elders In Action

Alone and together concerned Elders are speaking up, and responding to their community’s needs. For more stories, view Elders In Action on the EAN website.
Kris Soffa, age 67
As a child Kris Soffa remembers running through a cloud of DDT that was being sprayed where her family was camping, “We were told it was safe.” Now she knows better. Kris is a member of Toxic Free Philly, founded by a small group of six women to address the public health and environmental impacts of pesticides in our landscape. 18 months later this dedicated group of advocates celebrated as City Council passed the Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces Bill. Philadelphia will now join over 100 U.S. cities in severely restricting the use of toxic herbicides on all City grounds, including parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers. This bill will protect wildlife, city workers, pets, and most especially our children and communities of color that use our public spaces as primary sources of recreation and enjoyment. "I found it outrageous that our public health was being put at risk – without our knowledge or permission – and we did something about it!"
Donnie Andrews, age 73
Donnie Andrews, a Vietnam Veteran, kicked off his annual 30-day commitment against violence, in response to the murder rate in Philadelphia, which was at a 30-year high; with his own sign that read: “Murder in Phila. Cain you got to stop killing your brother Abel.”

Don't ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Dr. Howard Thurman
Do Just One Thing...
Sustainability Team suggests:
Sustainable and healthy, wooden cooking utensils are a smart choice to use in the kitchen. Wood does not conduct heat, is durable, and won’t scratch your pots and pans. And, it adds a touch of beauty to your home. (Thanks to Melissa Ribner)
Anti-Racism Team suggests:

What is 'implicit bias'? Implicit bias operates outside of our awareness and can be in direct contradiction to our espoused beliefs and values.

Learn more in this short video:
What's Happening Within EAN?
Spotlight on Elders for Social Justice (EASJ)
Not just for Elders!

"Now that we know, what can we do?" is asked by Elders for Social Justice (EASJ) in their two monthly meetings. The third Thursday is “Curious Listening” with speakers on social justice topics, followed by discussion and potential actions on the fourth Thursday. With a January/February focus on racism and white supremacy, EASJ folks have been reading Caste,The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson along with the Book Study Group and participating in the Me and White Supremacy workshop, beginning again in May.

JOIN US for any of our discussions! Taera Kamei will speak about immigrant children being separated from their families in March. In April we’ll engage with the issue of “bridging divides.” Learn More & Register
Elders Climate Action (ECA)
Monthly National Call
Climate Policy in the Biden Era:
The Look Ahead with Joel Stronberg
February 23
4:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm ET

Joel B. Stronberg, MA, JD, is a senior executive and attorney with over 40 years of experience in federal and state energy, environmental, and sustainability issues; and, is the founder and principal of The JBS Group, a Washington, DC consulting firm advising and representing public and private sector organizations and companies since 1981.

Stronberg is a recognized thought leader in the fields of climate and clean energy. He has served several times as a Special Counsel at the secretarial level at the US Department of Energy. Learn More & Register
Choices for Sustainable Living Workshop
Open to ALL AGES! Not for Elders only!
March 1 – June 21
Every other Monday
9:00 – 11:00 am PT / 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET

The term “sustainability” is used so freely, it’s difficult to understand what it can mean. At its essence, sustainability embodies hope for a healthy, just and bright future for us all. Choices for Sustainable Living provides participants with a powerful opportunity to explore sustainability more deeply and learn its unique meaning from individual, societal and global perspectives. Learn More & Register
Are you a new EAN member?
Welcome to EAN Webinar
Friday, March 5
10:00 – 11:00 am PT / 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Join us for a one-hour gathering for new EAN members to learn about the work we do and how you might participate. This will be an in-depth introduction to our different action groups, an opportunity to meet other Elders and EAN leaders, ask questions, and determine how you might like to get involved. Learn More & Register
Regenerative, Sustainable Living (RSL) Monthly Meeting
Thursday, March 11
4:00 – 5:30 pm PT / 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

Katrin Kaufer PhD, of the Presencing Institute and MIT Community Innovators Lab, will talk about using money as a tool to build a more equitable and sustainable society; and her new book, Just Money: Mission-Driven Banks and the Future of Finance. Learn More & Register
Empowered Elder Workshop
Tuesdays: April 6 – May 18
10:00 am – 12:15 pm PT / 1:00 – 3:15 pm ET

Together we will grow a community of interconnected Elders during our seven interactive webinars. The Empowered Elder Workshop provides a safe space for Elders to explore and share deeply what is on their hearts about the world, the future and their roles as elders. We investigate what it means to be an elder, why the world today especially calls us to step up as elders to address the social and environmental challenges humanity faces. Learn More & Register
We’re building a network of elders – and we need you!

  • Web Content Editor – as we look to update our website
  • Social Media Maven – to help build this movement
  • Do you have skills that you would like to contribute? See a “need” that could use your expertise? Join the team! Contact Lynne Iser: lynnei@eldersaction.org
From the Arts to Inspire Us
...Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it

Excerpted from “The Hill We Climb,” Amanda Gorman’s poem for the Inauguration, calls for unity and justice – both reckoning with the nation’s past and looking towards its future.
Thank you, Nancy Margulies, for these stunning images. Her focus is on art with meaning and import in order to address social issues.
From the Forest to Awaken Us
While I stood there I saw more than I can tell 
and I understood more than I saw; 
for I was seeing in a sacred manner 
the shapes of all things in the spirit, 
and the shape of all shapes
as they must live together like one being. –Black Elk
Being “naturalized' to a place...
means to live as if this is the land that feeds you;
as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. 

To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie within this ground. 
Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. 

To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. 
Because they do.”
–Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
In Parting...
A Sampler from 50 Things That Are Already Better
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
  • You can ignore Twitter
  • Fact-checkers are not overworked
  • We have a White House staff that looks like America
  • We have a national COVID-19 plan
  • We have “First Dogs!”
  • The administration wants as many people as possible to vote
  • Manners are in, bullying is out
  • Masks and social distancing are required in the White House
  • The Muslim ban is gone
  • Amanda Gorman is a household name
  • We are back in the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization
Do you like what you see?
If so, share this newsletter with your friends and family.
Tell them what you like about EAN,
invite them to join you in exploring Elders Action Network, and
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