Friday, July 3, 2020

Feel Good Friday - The American Flag Foundation

It's the first Feel Good Friday in July, Independence Day is tomorrow and U.S. flags will be flying high. That makes today a great day to brush up on your flag facts with The American Flag Foundation.

Chartered in 1982 and based in Baltimore, Maryland, the mission of The American Flag Foundation is "to encourage Patriotism in children and adults, achieved through our education and outreach programs, focused on the American Flag."

Over 100 volunteers at AFF work with school systems, all levels of government and other organizations to provide educational opportunities to understand the history and origins of the flag. Resources for teachers can be found here.

For example, did you know the original flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes was adopted as the national flag in on June 14, 1777, but it was another hundred years before the first national observance of Flag Day in 1877? It wasn't until 1949 that the holiday was made permanent by a Congressional resolution.

If you have questions about flag ettiequte and Public Law 829, aka "The Flag Code" you'll find answers in this pamphlet. Some facts I found interesting... DO raise it briskly and lower it slowly and ceremoniously, DON'T use it for any advertising purpose, on anything intended to be discarded after temporary use or as part of a costume. So much for that parade.

There is a rather dramatic reading of the Star Spangled Banner origin story at this link and, if all of this information has inspired you to buy an American flag (or a state flag or the flag of another country), you can do that here. No social media links for The American Flag Foundation, though you can always make a donation to support their work. 

Have a wonderful, socially distanced, 4th of July! 


Friday, June 26, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Victory Fund

It's the last Feel Good Friday in Pride month and it's election season so today I'm highlighting the "only national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ officials", Victory Fund.

Victory Fund was founded in 1991 with a mission "to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government."

Modeled after EMILY's List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women, Victory Fund recruits, trains and supports openly LGBTQ candidates for public office around the country.

Candidates are given strategic, technical and financial support. In addition, endorsements from Victory Fund help increase the candidates' exposure to potential donors.

These methods work. In 1991, the first candidate Victory Fund ever endorsed won her election. Sherry Harris became the first openly lesbian African American city council member in Seattle. Since then, Victory Fund has helped over 600 candidates win elections all across the country! You can read more of their success stories on their history page and visit this interactive map to view 2019 election results.

Victory Fund wants to ensure the LGBTQ community has a voice at the table and there are many ways you can get involved to help them. Search this list of current candidates to see who needs your vote in November. Support multiple candidates with a donation to Victory Fund.

You can also join a virtual Sunday Social on June 28th to hear elected officials discussing the impact of LGBTQ leadership and how current events will influence their decision making.

To stay in the loop for future events, like Victory Fund's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @VictoryFund. Happy Pride!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Movement for Black Lives

Today's Feel Good Friday falls on Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. The Movement for Black Lives has put together a list of events for Juneteenth which I'll share at the end of the post after we learn about M4BL.

Formed in 2014, M4BL is "a national network of over 150 organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize, and take action."

Their website explains that M4BL was created "as a space for Black organizations across the country to debate and discuss the current political conditions, develop shared assessments of what political interventions were necessary in order to achieve key policy, cultural and political wins, convene organizational leadership in order to debate and co-create a shared movement wide strategy. Under the fundamental idea that we can achieve more together than we can separately."

Their work is organized around six areas: policy, organizing/base building, electoral justice, the rising majority, culture, and resource. Groups within those areas organize strategy and programming that supports M4BL's long term visions.

These visions are outlined in a 5-year plan titled Black Power Rising 2024. Goals include: mass engagement (of 4 million Black people in the US), local power (establishing self-determined Black communities), building across movements/multiracial strategy, leadership development (training 500,000 Black organizers, activists and strategists) and an electoral strategy that aims to prevent the rise of white-nationalist and authoritarian rule.

Read more about M4BL's specific policy platforms at this link and visit this page to find out how you can create a customized week of action in defense of Black lives. From low risk activities like donating to bail funds or organizing a Twitter storm, through higher risk activities such as engaging in civil disobedience, there are many options of how you can participate and resources to help you.

If you want your activities to coincide with Juneteenth, here is the promised list of resources so you can find an event near you! 6.19

If you'd like to support the work of M4BL directly, you can join a virtual event, make a donation and amplify their message by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Mvmnt4BlkLives.