The Confrontation

Igor wrote an article about last week’s rally, which was finally published a couple of days ago. When being at the rally, he took a lot of pictures, of which I wanted to show these two.

Pro-life and pro-choice activists face off
Pro-choice counter-protesters move to a pedestrian island

Can’t stress enough – it’s scary when there are fifteen of you against the five hundred. Marching with thousands feels good. Standing against the big crowd requires courage.

The Counter Rally Against Pro-Life Activists

The first political protest I ‘ve organized happened on January 2017, and that was a very successful one. But back that everybody was freshly angry with Trump, and in three days it grew from four people going to come to seven hundred people who came. But again, it was back then. And a reason for the protest was an elected official who didn’t want to meet with his constituents. 

That time was different. Only 15 people had shown up. And a protest itself was different.

***

Igor forwarded to me this facebook event more than two months ago. The pro-life people were planning a big rally in my hometown. My first reaction was: I can’t stay silent. I thought that if I don’t speak, any woman in Palatine who faces abortion will feel like committing a horrible sin. My second reaction was: that’s my hometown. A small one. Everybody knows everybody. I knew the rally was going to be huge. I felt scared to stand against my neighbors. 

And then, this email was sitting in my inbox for quite a while. And after quite a while, I forwarded it to one of the escort leaders. She replied – thank you! We will send somebody. And then again, nothing happened. Then I’ve sent it to the leader of the women section of the local OFA. 

Things finally started to get in motion, and I saw that the counter-rally began to appear on the calendars of many progressive groups. At some moment, I was still not sure whether anybody would come. As I’ve said, there were only 15 of us, and when the pro-life people came, they blocked our signs, and we had to move to the opposite side of the intersection. Their rally was massive. We learned later that many of the rally participants came from other places, but it felt like the whole town is against us. 

We are getting ready
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A Letter from the Night Ministry CEO

As most of my friends know, I am a long-time friend and supporter of the Night Ministry – an organization that provides food, shelter, medical services, and emotional support for the homeless population of Chicagoland.

Below is the email I received as a Night Ministry supporter several days ago. I have nothing to add to it, except of now, since the president is going to deny a health coverage for millions of people … time for another post, but first – email.

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About Homeless, Internet, Cellphones, and What is a Necessity

When Igor told me about this event, I was surprised I didn’t know anything about this program, and if you think about it, it’s a great idea. And by “idea,” I do not mean the MediaLabs, I mean the discounted internet access. Igor’s article says:

The Internet Essentials program offers qualified customers to get 15 megabits per second of Internet use (an average Internet speed for most American households), for a little over $10 a month. The program also lets customers buy discounted desktop and laptops for around $150. Customers can also receive free classes on Internet literacy, basic skills, and useful tips for getting into college or applying for a GED.

Originally, Internet Essentials was only open to families of students who receive free or reduced lunches. It was subsequently expanded to families that either live in public housing developments or receive Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers, as well as college students eligible for Pell grants and low-income veterans.  

Now, Comcast opened eligibility to any resident who receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Low Income Home Energy Assistance; Supplemental Security Income; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and WIC. 

I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that internet access is no longer a luxury, or entertainment, or something you can save on. The internet has become a vital necessity, comparable with food and housing. And it’s great that organizations are starting to recognize that fact.

I often hear comments about homeless people with cellphones. For some reason, when people spot a cellphone in the hands of a homeless person on the street, they immediately think that this person is not really poor, but just pretending. But it is very far from being true.

In fact, many organizations work on collecting used cellphones to donate them to disadvantaged people, including the homeless. Those people, even more than others, need to be informed. Where hey can get assistance. What’s the weather is going to be. I lost count how many times I was trying to explain to somebody how they can find a Night Ministry bus. The stops vary by day, and not everybody is familiar with all the city neighborhoods. 

We often take these things for granted and saying, “it’s easy to look up!” while it is not really that easy. At least not for everybody.

And while I am on the subject of homelessness, I also wanted to paste here an article, which appeared in Chicago Tribune about three weeks ago. I copied its text because the ability to access the Chicago Tribune content is limited, especially outside the US. And the reason I wanted to paste this text here is, that this is one of the subjects of which the general population is so often unaware. 

Same as those folks who commute to work by train every day do not know, that there is a Family Planning clinic just two blocks from the train station, and antis are going wild there. Same as many people do not understand why a student can’t buy a registration for a professional conference to be reimbursed later. Same way as twenty years ago, people would say they never met a homosexual person in their lives. 

The same way people often do not understand how close to them is the homelessness. Here comes the article. 

Continue reading “About Homeless, Internet, Cellphones, and What is a Necessity”

Labor Day in Pullman

I have four hours on the Wolverine train to Ann Arbor, MI. I have a comfy seat, an electric plug, and the internet available, so it’s a good time to catch up with everything :). I returned from Wisconsin on Saturday of the Labor Day weekend, so I still had two full days and a little bit for myself. Usually, on Labor Day, I try to do something meaningful, something related to the holiday. And most of the time it means visiting Pullman.

Igor talked me into visiting it for the first time in 2014. I didn’t know anything about its amazing history back then and readily absorbed all the information. At that time, everybody was talking about getting Pullman the status of National Park, and in 2015 this happened.

This year I thought there is no way I can spend almost the whole day on this trip. But then I made some calculations, and due to the new Metra weekend schedule, it all appeared to look doable. So the decision was made, and I told Igor that I am coming.

We were hoping that the new status would escalate the restoration efforts, but the Florence Hotel is still closed to the public, and the factory restoration is still in process.

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