Thursday, June 12, 2008

Call-in Dates.....Take your story to the Capitol

June 15th of every year is the constitutional deadline for the legislature to have a state budget passed and placed on the Governor's desk for his/her signature by July 1st - the start of the next fiscal year.

Well, Community Voices knows that this is not happening because the state is multi billions of dollars in debt and the Governor and the Republicans are trying to decimate social service programs and basically kill working poor families. Well, kill is a harsh word, but at least starve them to death, keep them from working better jobs or getting ahead, make them pay a progressively larger anount of taxes, and kick them and their children off of various health care programs. So, maybe kill is harsh, but dehumanize is definitely apt.

So, what do we need to do. Call, call, call the capitol. Here's how.

Community Call-In Day
to Stop the State Budget Cuts!
Call Toll-Free to your Assemblymember and Senator:

Thanks to the California Teachers Association (CTA), we have this free phone number to call our representatives and let them know that we need more budget choices, not just budget cuts! The Governor's proposed budget cuts would mean the loss and reduction of crucial services and jobs for all Californians. But a cuts-only approach isn't the right way to solve the state's budget problems. We need a more balanced solution that guarantees that everyone pays their fair share. By taking care of our children, families, seniors and workers, we are investing in a better California for all of us!

Community Call-In Day is Friday, June 13th!
Call 888-268-4334

Individuals and community groups should call in on this day to show the power of our communities. Get out this number to your members, families and neighbors so that we can get a flood of calls into the Legislature!

Tell your Assemblymember and Senator:
"My name is ______________ and I live in (your town).
I'm calling to let you know that cuts to human services and education will hurt (my family, my neighborhood). This is because (examples: my children go to public school; I use the community clinic in my neighborhood; CalWORK helps me put food on the table for my family).
California needs more than a cuts-only approach to fixing the state budget."

Call 888-268-4334 on Friday, June 13th to Deliver the Message: Stop the Cuts!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Finding the flexibility to survive

Last night while I was entering in my other blog, I happened to catch the following "article" on the radio. It was so moving that I thought I wanted to share. I also had to think to myself: how many families are out there with this same story? How many of our own families in Community Voices are facing these same realities?

The transcript:
Every Friday night the cashier at the Chevron gas station food mart on Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 40 offers us a discount on all the leftover apples and bananas. To ensure the best selection possible, my mother and I pile into our 20-year-old car and pull up to the food mart at 5 p.m. on the dot, ready to get our share of slightly overripe fruits.

Before the times of the Chevron food mart, there were the times of the calculator. My mother would carefully prop it up in the cart's child seat and frown as she entered each price. Since the first days of the calculator's appearance, the worry lines on my mother's face have only grown deeper. Today, they are a permanent fixture.

Chevron shopping started like this: One day my mother suddenly realized that she had maxed out almost every credit card, and we needed groceries for the week. The only credit card she hadn't maxed out was the Chevron card, and the station on Eagle Rock Boulevard has a pretty big mart attached to it.

Since our first visit there, I've learned to believe in flexibility. In my life, it has become necessary to bend the idea of grocery shopping. My mother and I can no longer shop at real grocery stores, but we still get the necessities.

Grocery shopping at Chevron has its drawbacks. The worst is when we have so many items that it takes the checker what seems like hours to ring up everything. A line of anxious customers forms behind us. It's that line that hurts the most — the way they look at us. My mother never notices — or maybe she pretends not to.

I never need to be asked to help the checker bag all the items. No one wants to get out of there faster than I do. I'm embarrassed to shop there, and I'm deathly afraid of running into someone I know. I once expressed my fear of being seen shopping at Chevron to my mother and her eyes shone with disappointment. I know that I hurt her feelings when I try to evade our weekly shopping trips.

And that is why I hold on to the idea of flexibility so tightly. I believe that being flexible keeps me going — keeps me from being ashamed of the way my family is different from other families. Whenever I feel the heat rise to my face, I remind myself that grocery shopping at a gas station is just a twist on the normal kind of grocery shopping. I remind myself that we won't always have to shop at Chevron — that just because at this point in my life I am struggling does not mean that I will always struggle. My belief in flexibility helps me get through the difficult times because I know that no matter what happens, my mother and I will always figure out a way to survive.

Independently produced for All Things Considered by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.