Friday, November 25, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Native Land Digital

As Native American Heritage Month comes to a close, take a Feel Good Friday moment to find out whose land you’re on by visiting Native Land Digital.

Created in 2015 by Victor Temprano, and incorporated as a Canadian not-for-profit organization in 2018, Native Land Digital is a website dedicated to helping people across the world learn more about their local Indigenous history. They do this by mapping Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages with the goal of bringing awareness to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

In their own words, “we strive to map Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see history and the present day. We hope to strengthen the spiritual bonds that people have with the land, its people, and its meaning.”

You can input your location on the map to find out whose land you’re on, what languages were/are spoken and what treaty was used to take that land for the U.S. government. While there is a very visible Indigenous community in my neighborhood - headquarters for the Native American Health Center, a monthly Indigenous Red Market, graffiti reminding us “this is Ohlone land” - I didn’t know many specifics. After using the Native Land map I learned that I live on territories of the Ohlone, Muwekma and Confederated Villages of Lisjan. The language spoken is Ohlone and the area is covered by the treaty, Cession 281

In addition to the map, Native Land provides a Teacher’s Guide, a guide to Territory Acknowledgement, a blog, and other educational content in an effort to “correct the way people speak about colonialism and indigeneity, and to encourage territory awareness in everyday speech and action.” If you want to know whose land you’re on while you’re on the move, be sure to download the Native Land mobile app.

If you want to support the work of Native Land, you can make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the Native Land Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @nativelandnet. We are ALL on #NativeLand

Friday, November 18, 2022

Feel Good Friday - City Harvest

Thanksgiving is next week and I’ve got food and family on my mind. That’s why I want to spend today’s Feel Good Friday talking about an organization dedicated to feeding hungry New Yorkers, City Harvest.

Founded in 1982, the mission of City Harvest is “to end hunger in communities throughout New York City.” They do this through food rescue and distribution, education, and other innovative solutions. This one-minute video gives a great overview.

Before we talk about the work, let’s talk about hunger in New York City. According to statistics on the City Harvest website, 1.5 million New Yorkers are struggling to feed themselves right now, including one in four children. Food insecurity has surged 36% since the beginning of the pandemic. 

This is where City Harvest comes in. Every day they have a fleet of 26 refrigerated trucks on the road, rescuing 300,000 pounds of nutritious food from donors such as farms, restaurants, grocers, and manufacturers. This food is then delivered to hundreds of soup kitchens, food pantries and other community partners in all five boroughs across New York City. To date, City Harvest has rescued and delivered more than 1 billion pounds of free food!

Nutrition education programs are focused on teaching people how to prepare delicious, nutritious meals and shop for healthy foods on a budget. While in-person workshops are still on hold, you can sign up for a virtual class or access recipes and video tutorials here.

Additional programs include: Mobile Markets, where community members gather in farmer’s market settings to receive fresh produce and participate in cooking demonstrations; Healthy Retail, which helps corner stores increase fruit and vegetable sales; and Plentiful, a mobile app available in nine languages that people use to locate food pantries near them and make reservations to pick up food without waiting in lines.

If you like what City Harvest is doing to feed New Yorkers, help them out by supporting their work. If you live in New York City you can volunteer your time. The rest of us can make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the City Harvest Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @CityHarvest (while it still exists) and Instagram @cityharvestnyc. #WeAreCityHarvest 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Honor Flight

Today’s Feel Good Friday coincides with Veterans Day, a day to honor those who have served in the United States military. One group that is making sure veterans get the recognition they deserve is Honor Flight. 

Founded in 2005 by by Jeff Miller and Earl Morse, the mission of Honor Flight is “to celebrate America's veterans by inviting them to share in a day of honor at our nation's memorials.” Coordinating with a network of 128 Honor Flight hubs around the country, veterans are transported to Washington, DC to visit the memorials and monuments dedicated to their service and sacrifice. 

The inaugural Honor Flight Tour took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II Veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC. Now commercial airlines are used to accommodate as many veterans as possible.

Top priority is given to America's most senior veterans, survivors of World War II and any veteran with a terminal illness who wish to visit their memorial. Next in line for the program are veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War and all other veterans who served, on a chronological basis. The Honor Flight network, as a whole, serves over 22,000 veterans each year and, since they began in 2005, over 245,000 veterans have traveled Washington DC.

There is an Honor Flight Bay Area hub, founded in 2014, which covers California from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Oregon border. You can keep up with them by joining their Facebook page and tune in to KRON, channel 4 tonight at 6:30pm tonight where they will be showing a special segment on Honor Flight on their news broadcast. If you can’t wait until tonight, you can watch this 8-minute video highlight of Honor Flight from CBS Sunday Morning.

To honor and celebrate a veteran in your life, make a donation to Honor Flight and help them achieve their vision of “a nation where all of America's veterans experience the honor, gratitude, and community of support they deserve.” Happy Veterans Day!

Friday, November 4, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Voter's Edge California

The U.S. midterm elections are only four days away and today’s Feel Good Friday is here to prepare you for the polls with a little help from Voter’s Edge California.

As you’ve likely gathered from the name, Voter’s Edge California (VEC), is “a comprehensive, nonpartisan online guide to elections covering federal, state, and local races in the state of California.” It’s a joint project of MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund that began in 1996 as the election information site,

The purpose of Voter’s Edge California is to help you “get the facts before you vote.” Start by entering your street address and zip code on the VEC homepage. You’ll get a personalized ballot that includes in-depth information on candidates and measures for the state, your county, your city, and your district. 

You can read candidate biographies, top priorities, and answers to questions, as well as see photos, policy videos, endorsements, and detailed information about who funds their campaigns. I found this useful because, while at a state level I only have to decide between a Democratic and Republic candidate for each position, there are ten people running for Mayor of Oakland and this site helped me learn more about all of them.

With the ballot measures, you can read unbiased explanations and find out who supports, opposes, and funds them. The site lists the top 10 donors for both the “yes on” and “no on” campaigns and also shows a breakdown of how much money is coming from inside and outside of California. Fascinating when you dig in to the funding of the gambling measures on the ballot. There are also explainer videos from CalMatters that give one-minute overviews on the state measures.

While researching everyone and everything on your ballot, you can use VEC to keep track of your choices and make filling out your ballot much easier. There’s also information on how to mail back your ballot, drop it off, or vote in person and then track it once you’ve voted.

If you like what Voter’s Edge is doing to help people in California make more informed choices you can support them with a donation. You can also help your fellow voters get educated by sharing this information on social media. Like the Voter’s Edge California Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @VotersEdge (if you’re still on Twitter) and Instagram @votersedgeca.