Matthew Lawler Interview: Poet for all time

via Interview with Matthew Lawler

Community Mental Health Meeting June 27, 2022

Chicago Mental Health Advocates

Community Mental Health Meeting
Monday, June 27, 2022 6:00 PM

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
(For supported devices, tap a one-touch number below to join instantly.)

United States: +1 (872) 240-3311

  • One-touch: tel:+18722403311,,589991277#

Access Code: 589-991-277

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Homeless Student Rule Stifles College Success 

This system is a sickness!

Housing Justice Now

Michael Donley Co-Founder

Peoples’ Institute For Housing Justice

In February of this year, I received an offer an opportunity to be housed; and I believed that finally, after being homeless for nine years. I would be able to have a place to call home, a place to rest and study. But I did not expect that attending college full-time would be the reason I would have to remain homeless.

I am a fifty-five-year-old homeless U.S. citizen. In 2019 I decided to attend college online and earn my bachelor’s degree. It is easier to obtain a student loan than qualify for a home loan. Though one will argue both are costly and can take decades to pay off.

I am an advocate for tuition-free colleges. Which; existed in California until the late former President Ronald Reagan became Governor of California in the 1970s. But there is another issue that I find…

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CDC Prioritizes a Healthy Public or a Healthy Economy?


The Multiracial Unity Blog

by Ellen Isaacs

February 10, 2022

It is not possible to serve two masters with opposing goals. In the case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has not always been obvious that such a dichotomy exists, but it has become ever more apparent since Trump and Covid-19. Before that, many of us relied on the CDC for accuracy, integrity, public health science, and sound policy. Indeed, most of those who labor there do their utmost to live up to that ideal, and the CDC has had many notable achievements, such as the eradication of polio and control of Ebola. But, like the FDA, the CDC is not an independent agency free from corporate or political pressures, which has now been brought into excruciating focus. Indeed, the CDC is now openly complicit in the capitalist dictate to prioritize the health of the economy over that of workers…

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Why Schools are the Most Important Places for Children & Adults to get COVID Vaccine

Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH

People’s Response Network (PRN)

Monday, November 1, 2021

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 2, 2021, the CDC will approve Pfizer COVID Vaccine for 28 million 5–11-year-olds in the United States.

Last week, the 600th U.S. Child tragically died of COVID.

250 children have died just in the last 3 months since schools reopened.

To date, nearly two million children, ages 5 to 11, have been infected with the COVID virus, thousands of whom now have Long COVID and/or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). 8,300 have been hospitalized. A third of those hospitalized were admitted to intensive care units, and at least 170 have died, the majority African American, Latino & Native Americans.

U.S. Children are the most undercounted of any age group for infections, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths due to underreporting and no reporting by private providers, clinics, hospitals, health departments to each state and the federal government.

Since U.S. Schools reopened in August, children under 19 years old have had the greatest increase of infections, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions of any age group:

Children now make up 1 in 4 of all COVID cases.

100,000-251,000 children have been infected every week since schools reopened 3 months ago, for a total of 2.3 Million new COVID cases.

COVID has now infected 1 in 12 U.S. Children: 6.4 Million total

There have been 7,400 Child Hospitalizations in the last 3 months, 24,500 since COVID began.

5,271 children have had Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C)

1 in 7 to half of all infected children may get Long Covid.

65% of MIS-C & Deaths are among African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans

Hundreds of teachers & school staff have died since school began in August.

Despite all these heartbreaking statistics, after 6 months, only 12 million of 28 million or 42% of

12–18-year-olds, have been fully vaccinated for COVID, leaving at least 44 Million children 5-12 years old unvaccinated.

Only 1/3rd of all African American & Latino youth, ages 12-18 years old, are fully vaccinated

140 million people in the U.S. remain completely unvaccinated, with African Americans & Latinos having far less access to the vaccine where they live, work, and go to school, even though they are 2-3 X more likely to get infected, hospitalized and die.

All this despite the fact that the CDC has sent states & cities $56 Billion to combat COVID

Both Presidents and every Governor and Mayor have competed against each other to give almost every dollar of the $Billions of our federal money for COVID relief to both for-profit capitalist corporations and to the non-profit industrial complex, resulting in surge after surge infecting and killing those most at risk: frontline workers, those in overcrowded housing, without housing, unjustly incarcerated and those who work and study in schools, daycare centers, colleges and universities.

There are 131,000 public schools in the U.S.

In 1850 Massachusetts became the first state to begin vaccinating children and adults in schools for smallpox.

For 160 years, including the 2010 H1N1 Flu Epidemic, School Mass Vaccination Sites have had the greatest success protecting both children and adults from every communicable disease outbreak, epidemic and pandemic, including polio, measles, smallpox and more when vaccines are available.

Schools and both school and public health nurses are some of the most trusted places and people among students, parents, and community residents.

The CDC has just expanded who qualifies for a 3rd COVID Vaccine dose to include 85% of all adults, including the 8 million U.S. public school teachers & staff members.

Public health goes out to and among the people where we live, work, go to school, play and pray. During outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics we must all work together to get the greatest number of people protected through vaccination and other means as quickly as possible, starting with those at highest risk.

We cannot protect the greatest number of people safely and quickly, especially those at highest risk, by forcing them to go into the racist, class and gender biased medical system of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies to get their vaccines.

There are less than one-half of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in African American, Latino, Native American and rural zip codes than there are in urban, whiter, wealthier zip codes.

Despite these racial, class and geographic disparities the Biden Administrations and all Governors have privatized almost all of their COVID Responses: Testing, Contact Tracing and Vaccinations rather than rebuilding state and local public health departments, who lost 100,000 workers in the 40 years Before COVID began.

Both the Democrats & Republicans have created an absolutely uncoordinated, non-system for each part of their hodgepodge COVID response that at each and every step have penalized the poor and working class unable to leave their 2 or 3 minimum wages jobs during hours they are working, to drive a car 1/3rd or more of them do not have, to get a COVID test or vaccine outside of their neighborhoods or far away from their workplace.

All of this, including their “new” plan to have 28 million 5–11-year old’s go to pediatrician offices, clinics and pharmacies, has exacerbated pre-COVID Racial, Class, Gender and geographic disparities not just in health but in housing, income, food access and more.

After having been pressured by one of the most intense, “feel guilty” propaganda campaigns in U.S. history by almost every elected official, every media “talking head” and the vast majority of sell-out academics to send “your kids back to (unsafe) schools or else they will fall further behind and be more emotionally damaged” now parents are told to take off from work, lose a day’s pay and possibly their job(s) to go to a doctor, clinic or pharmacy to get their precious children vaccinated rather than just signing a consent form to get it done in the school they are already in as hundreds of millions of us did for 150 years until the neoliberal agenda wiped out most public health & school nurses.

The New York Times reported Sunday, October 31st, 2021:

“The Biden administration said last week it had 15 million doses ready to ship immediately, and that it would make them accessible at children’s hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers and pediatricians’ offices.

Some experts have warned, however, that the same inequities that plagued the vaccine rollout for adults earlier this year could hinder the rollout for children.

“We cannot see what we saw in the earliest stages of rolling out the vaccines for adults, in which advantaged persons and persons of means figure out a way to be first in line,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, the President of Meharry Medical College, a historically Black institution.

He said that school nurses, churches and local health officials would be key in reaching some children and families who might not have insurance or access to pediatricians.

Black and Hispanic children are less likely to be tested for the virus but more likely to be infected, get hospitalized and die from Covid-19 than white children are, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Hospitalization rates in the 5-to-11 age group are three times as high for Black, Hispanic and Native American children as for white children, according to the C.D.C.”

While everyone who has access to the existing medical care system has the right to go wherever they can to get vaccinated, this is primarily an option for those in the mainly white middle class and above.

Even if frontline workers have access to the health care system for themselves, and/or their children and families, taking off from work is not an option or luxury they have.

They should not be forced to make a choice between their life-saving jobs needed to feed, clothe, and house their children and a life-saving vaccine.

Every part of the medical system: hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, are already overburdened with all types of patients seeking care for all types of diseases and are more and more understaffed as COVID continues to take a disastrous toll on health workers, many of whom still do not have adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

The medical system facilities lack the space, social distancing, hours, capacity, and staff to vaccinate 44 million children and tens of millions of adults safely & quickly.

The failure to open schools as mass vaccination sites, the failure to take the vaccine into the workplace instead of dangerously telling each worker to leave work and get a shot on their own, and the failure to vaccinate door to door, has resulted in millions of U.S. residents getting infected, sick, and dying unnecessarily.

This massive delay in coming anywhere close to the at least 90% vaccine coverage needed to possibly get to herd immunity has also resulted in creating continued fertile ground for COVID variants to develop in both the Global South and within the colonized U.S.

The federal government gave $Billions to schools, state, and local governments to hire new school nurses and other health workers to combat COVID.

There are hundreds of thousands of health science students and faculty and retired health workers in the Medical Reserve Corps throughout the U.S., who all qualify to vaccinate all eligible children & adults in school mass vaccination sites 12 hours a day x 7 days a week.

As in the past 170 years, this can safely be done for all students, teachers, and staff during the school day and for everyone else after school in the evenings and on the weekends.

Tens of thousands of U.S. public schools were opened a year ago for polling places during the Presidential election, before there was any COVID vaccine. Now, staffed by vaccinated health workers, they are even safer to open as mass vaccination sites.

Parents, Students, Teachers, School Staff and allies must build a Direct Action Mass Movement to Save Lives Now by demanding President Biden, his two chief COVID Advisors, Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and every Governor stop prioritizing vaccine to private pediatricians, clinics and pharmacies and instead prioritize sending it to schools where tens of millions children and adults should get vaccinated ASAP.

We must demand that states, cities, public school systems and public health departments use ALL the $556 Billion they have already gotten and more specific emergency funding to quickly and safely open neighborhood schools as mass vaccination sites.

This includes the demand that thousands of new public health nurses and public school nurses be paid a competitive salary to be hired to work directly with hundreds of thousands of new public health and public school community health workers, including school parents from African American, Latino and Native American and poor rural zip codes, all of whom have been hardest hit by COVID.

We call on all students, parents, teachers, staff and workers to Join the People’s Response Network (PRN) every Wednesday @ 6 pm U.S. Central Time to build this movement

People’s Response Network (PRN) Weekly Meetings

Every Wednesday, through Dec 22, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting:    Meeting ID: 834 6520 8585

Dial from any phone: 1-312-626-6799

#COVID19, #Schools, #Vaccinations, #Pediatrics, #Community, #PublicHealth, #Ehrman

Perspective: When it comes to hurricanes, the U.S. can learn a lot from Cuba

Cuba leads the world in disaster preparation, IMHO.

Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba

A man kayaks down Route 51, which was flooded and impassable to vehicles by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 31 in LaPlace, La. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

According to an independent study on Cuban disaster preparedness, Cuba has created “an innate culture of hurricanes, resilience and safety,” ensuring “that the population is aware of the country’s risk reduction system, educated in risk consciousness and disaster mitigation, able to use the lifeline structures in an emergency and actively participate in disaster preparation.” As a result, disaster preparation has been successful at saving lives in Cuba.

A perspective piece by Mikael Wolfe,assistant professor of history at Stanford University, highlights what the U.S. can learn from Cuba.He is currently working on a book project titled “Rebellious Climates: How Extreme Weather Shaped the Cuban Revolution.”

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Mass Media Misleads

It would be nice to think we have won. It’s not even close. These are blitzes that do not provide the needed permanent systemic changes that we need.

From this article, Chicago Targets 15 Hard-Hit Communities For A Vaccination Blitz To Fight Called Protect Chicago Plus, the program started in Belmont Cragin this past weekend, administering a whopping 1,500 doses in just two days. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

These are blitzes with vaccines distributed by the public sector. “There are 14 other neighborhoods that will see similar vaccine blitzes under Protect Chicago Plus in the coming months.”

These are “closed” registrations that probably mean cherry-picked populations with connections to private organizations. There is no public outreach. That means people who live off the grid don’t even know.  “We decided to opt for a closed registration system, which means that we did not circulate flyers, materials, or any sort of publicly available registration tool,” Rudyk said. Instead, about 50 different individuals and institutions booked appointments for people, including the local alderman and state representative.”

There are communities missing.  Pilsen comes to mind. ” Little Village, Gage Park and North Lawndale in mid-February; “Montclare, Englewood and West Englewood in late February; Austin, Back of the Yards and Archer Heights in early March;; Roseland, Washington Heights and South Deering in mid-March; and Humboldt Park and Chicago Lawn in late March.

One population that is totally neglected are persons with disabilities. Consider this:

This is not a system like The People’s Response Network to COVID-19 to rebuild a PUBLIC system; it’s a mish mash of smoke and mirrors to shut people up. It’s a media blitz, not an equity blitz.

The Sun-Times does no better:

About the low positivity rate the Chicago and Illinois cites, that is an average for the whole area. Some areas are in the 20+% rate. Mass media does not report that.

What will we do when the next pandemic hits, with no public health accountability? We can do better now.

Homeless James Thomas

(parody of Eleanor Rigby)

Ah, look at all the homeless people!
Ah, look at all the homeless people!

Homeless James Thomas
Picks up a tarp and the mat where his home tent had been
Breathes in dirt air.
Limps on the sidewalk
Begs snippy NIMBYs for fast food or change they might spare.
Nothing is there!

All the homeless people,
Where do they all come from?
All the homeless people.
Where do they all belong?

Homeless James Thomas
Wipes off the salt sweat that drips from his fever-pitched brow
Coughs up green phlegm.
Look at him dying,
Wears dirty dust he collects that’s continually there
Nobody cares.

All the homeless people,
Where do they all come from?
All the homeless people.
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the homeless people!
Ah, look at all the homeless people!

Writing Tragedy by Jack Todd

Truth, truth, truth!

QWF Writes

In any life, there are events that shake us to the core. Some occur when we are very young, and they remain the reach of memory. Others persist in detail so heightened that it verges on the surreal, as if painted onto our retinas by a Salvador Dalí employing a tiny brush.

When I was eighteen months old, I was trampled by a boar hog with tusks. He ripped my head open, left a deep dent in my skull and nearly took out my left eye. Had my father not been able to kick the five-hundred pound beast away just in time, he would have eaten me for breakfast.

I have no recollection of the event whatsoever, except what I was told by my parents, and the occasional nightmare, in which hogs are rooting around in my bed.

More than forty years later, I stood in the season’s first snowfall…

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Top 10 Empathy Trends in 2021

I assume the cynicism referred to herein refers to distrust, Facts must be researched before trust is ascertained. Knee-jerk distrust leads to more distrust. I’m a big fan of critical thinking. Empathy is acceptance, not submission.

Empathy Lessons

“The Year 2020 in review: One Star – definitely would not recommend!” Good things to say about 2020? As Dave Barry quipped, nobody got killed by the murder hornets. Many of my empathy trends for 2020, prepared in December 2019, were blown up on the launch pad by February 2020 as the pandemic accelerated. “Empathy interrupted!”

The year 2020 was not an ordinary year in any sense. Obviously. The really tough thought gradually dawns on us: “Ordinary” willnevermean the same thing again in quite the same way.

The fundamental meta-trend of trends is to process that there is no going back to the way things were in exactly the way they were in December 2019.

I ask your understanding, dear reader, in that the pandemic features prominently in the first few trends, but since this is in the nature of a top ten list and the pandemic touches…

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