Friday, February 28, 2020

Feel Good Friday - CREW

Concerned about ethics violations in politics? So is Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, aka CREW, and that's why they're today's Feel Good Friday organization.

CREW is a non-partisan legal watchdog group that was founded in 2003. As explained on their website, "in a political moment where profits are prioritized over ethics and anonymous money damages the democratic process, CREW highlights these violations of the law and abuses of power through aggressive research and legal action."

As you might imagine, they've been quite busy lately and have taken over 450 legal actions since the beginning of the current administration.

Their work focuses on three areas: legal, research and policy. The team at CREW researches the flow of money in politics and identifies violations of campaign finance, ethics, tax or other rules. The first step is to file complaints asking the appropriate government agencies to investigate. If those agencies don't follow up, the second step is to file lawsuits to compel them to enforce the law. CREW also supports government agencies and public organizations working to reform campaign finance systems, strengthen federal corruption laws and increase government transparency.

You can go to this link to read up on the latest actions such as filing a complaint against Rudy Giuliani for violating the Hatch Act, requesting DOJ records on Roger Stone's reduced sentencing and requesting Army records on the removal of Lt. Col Vindman. These were some of the latest stories when I was writing this on Tuesday. Who knows what will be there by the time Friday rolls around.

There's an entire section of their websites devoted to reports they've compiled on unethical behavior. Reading them will get you riled up and ready to act. Then what? If you're an attorney, you can sign up with their pro bono program to volunteer your skills. Everyone else can make a donation so CREW can continue their work or send in tips if you've found evidence of unethical behavior. Keep up on the latest news by reading their blog, liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter @CREWcrew.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Feel Good Friday - NAACP

Happy Feel Good Friday! We're celebrating Black History Month with a post highlighting the NAACP.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded on February 12, 1909 and, as they explain on their website, it is "the nation's foremost, largest, and most widely recognized civil rights organization." With 111 years of history, half a million members and over 2,000 volunteer branches nationwide, it's worth a visit to their website or a branch to find out more. You can also watch this short video from the History channel for a great overview.

The mission of the NAACP is "to secure political, educational, social and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons."

Some of the early focus of the NAACP was fighting Jim Crow laws, ending school segregation, and lobbying for the civil rights and voting rights acts. Current efforts are directed at six game changers: economic sustainability, education, health, public safety and criminal justice, voting rights and political representation, and expanding youth and young adult engagement.

In practical terms that means activities such as awarding scholarships to outstanding students and advocacy to combat gun violence and encourage voter participation. There's also the NAACP Image Awards, "the nation's preeminent multicultural awards show from an African American point of view." The 51st annual awards show is airing Sunday!

To get involved supporting the work of the NAACP you can become a member, make a donation or attend the annual convention in July. You can also share the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @NAACP.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Feel Good Friday - WomenHeart

Happy Valentine's Day! Today is all about matters of the heart, which is why our featured Feel Good Friday organization is WomenHeart!

Founded in 1999 by three women who formed a support group after having heart attacks, it is the "first and only national patient-centered organization dedicated to serving women with heart disease."

48 million women in the US are living with or at risk for heart disease and it is the number one killer of women. That's why the mission of WomenHeart is "to improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease, and to advocate for their benefit."

They do this while embracing the values of empowerment, equality, inclusiveness, collaboration and quality. WomenHeart believes that education, support and training will enable women to take charge of their heart health and inspire them to advocate for other women. In the 20 years they've been around, over 900 women heart disease survivors have been trained to be community educators.

WomenHeart has also developed 100 patient support groups in 30 states, hosts advocacy institute conferences to train women to become public policy advocates, created the educational Red Bag of Courage program and held the first National Policy and Science Summit for women's cardiovascular health.

Not only that, their website is full of resources that help you prevent, diagnose, and treat heart disease. You can also find information to educate yourself, connect with a support group and learn to become an advocate for women with heart disease. Get some information and inspiration in this short PSA video.

You can support WomenHeart in the traditional ways by making a donation or becoming a volunteer. You can also knit a red scarf as part of the HeartScarves program. Your scarf will be donated to women heart patients in hospitals to offer them comfort and support. Since this program started in 2009, over 5000 scarves have been delivered. Get on it, knitters!

Other ways to spread the love? Like the WomenHeart Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @WomenHeartOrg.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Detroit Hives

What happens when you transform vacant lots into urban bee farms? You get featured on Feel Good Friday, that's what.

I first learned about Detroit Hives a few months ago from this PBS Newshour story. It's an organization founded by Timothy Paule and Nicole Lindsey with a mission "to raise bee awareness and to protect the conservation of honeybees within the City of Detroit."

There are approximately 75,000 vacant lots in Detroit. The goal for the team at Detroit Hives is to buy and revitalize 45 of those lots in the next five years and expand their operation to 200 hives. Bees play an important part in pollinating blossoms. When hives are nearby community gardens, it increases the yield of the those gardens. Plus, you get honey!

The team at Detroit Hives also engages urban communities by creating cultural experiences focused on education and conservation. They are dedicated to teaching conservation and sustainability, especially to young children, by encouraging them to grow gardens in their yards and helping them overcome a fear of bees. You can learn more about their work by watching videos on their YouTube channel.

Whether or not you live in Michigan, you can support the work of Detroit Hives by shopping for merchandise and honey, making a donation and showing the love on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @DetroitHives. #Workhardstaybumble