The marvelous Malvina Reynolds tells it like it is.
The marvelous Malvina Reynolds tells it like it is.
This month we’ve been reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This story explains the importance of HeLa cells – ones which reproduce and survive seemingly endlessly from a single source. We’ll be discussing this book at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30 AM on April 28, 2018.
Here are ten triva facts about cells:
I used to hit the streets, picket sign in hand, on a regular basis, but now I’m more likely to accomplish small but significant acts of activism while I’m at home. Here are some things you can do that DON’T involve being outside!
It is usually not helpful to call senators who don’t represent you, although there are exceptions. Your senator wants your vote, so they are more likely to listen to you. Don’t want to call? Write a letter (handwritten is best). Need something quicker? Send them an email. If they are already supporting the causes you support, thank them – you know they are taking a lot of heat from conservatives in their districts.
Here’s a website that can help you find your senator:
And here’s one to find your representative:
Having regular reminder to write or call about issues is helpful, especially since the reminders usually come with a lot of information on the topic. I love My Civic Workout, which gives me different topics to call about (and different actions to take) once a week via email. I know a lot of people like getting text notifications from Everytown for Gun Safety. Amnesty International sends out action texts, as well. Just pick and choose your causes, so that you don’t end up getting ten texts and emails a day.
Most of the time you need to think local, but Postcards to Voters gives me access to voters in other states without being very invasive. I text them as often as I want to and promise to send as many handwritten postcards as I want to, to voters in swing states or districts. It’s something I can manage on my own time and I think (I hope) it makes a big difference in filling government at every level with people who support what I care about. It doesn’t involve calling anyone or knocking on doors. Special bonus – I think my handwriting is improving.
What is happening in your own community? How are your neighbors doing? Think carefully about school board elections and so forth – they have a major effect on what life is like at home. If you are interested in volunteering but don’t know where to start, check out VolunteerMatch.org.
Our April Book Club pick is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We will be meeting on April 28. at Arden Dimick Library, from 10:30AM – 12.
In 2017, HBO released a movie version of The Immortal Life, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne.
It’s on sale at Amazon.com and at iTunes, but is not currently available on Netflix or Hulu. Luckily it is available for free at the Sacramento Public Library!
Midterm elections are coming up and there’s so much to do. Luckily there are so many ways to do it. Whether you are a marcher with tired feet who wants to sit down for a while, or someone with writer’s cramp who wants to get up, or a person completely new to activism, there is something out there that will fit into your schedule and your preferences.
There are so many options that I’m going to split them into different posts. For this one, let’s look at a few of the larger scale marches and events coming up.
“Marching is the new brunch,” they say, and there are some big marches coming up while the weather is (theoretically) good.
Science: The March for Science is happening in Washington D.C. and other cities on April 14.
Gun Control: The next National School Walkout is on April 20. Adults can walk out of their workplaces in support. This student-led action lasts from 10AM – the end of the school day. The times at your local branch may vary. Info is at the link.
Earth Day: Earth Day is on April 22. Local events will vary. Some cities do a march, some have a fair, some have a party, and some cram all of those things into a single, noisy event. Here’s a list of some of the events that are happening across the US.
LGBTQIA: Yay Pride Day! Pride Day in the United States is usually a joyful occasion. The date and events vary from location to location, but most cities have a parade/march that happens in the summer. This link has a list of national and international events, including parade dates for various cities. If you live in Sacramento, the parade and festival is on June 10.
Just for Fun: Here’s a list of all the marches on Washington, D.C., from 1893 – March 2018.
This month in Between the Lines Book Club we are reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. We will discuss the book in person on April 28, 2018, at Arden Dimick Library.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a non-fiction book that tells three intertwined stories. One is a biography of a black woman named Henrietta Lacks. When Lacks died of cervical cancer, some of her cells were collected for resear uses. That cell line is unusually hardy, meaning HeLa cells have been used ever since Lack’s death, even in experiments in space.
The second story is that of the cells and how they have contributed to science. It’s also a story about ethics and consent in an era in which we can sequence a person’s genome.
The third story is about Lack’s family and their quest to know more about their mother and her cells. Rebecca Skloot spends a lot of time with the family helping them understand the science behind Lack’s cells. Today they continue efforts to encourage stricter practices with regard to consent.
One of the fun elements of Rebecca’s website is her FAQ page, in which she answers pretty much every question that I would think to ask. Should you care to peruse it, you’ll discover that she was kicked out of a lot of schools,
Rebecca has also given a lot of interviews. Here she is on NPR’s All Things Considered
Here she is on NPR again, this time on Fresh Air.
Just for fun, here’s Rebecca on the Colbert Report!
A thing I actually said last week:
“I can’t go protest today because I have to wait for the plumber.”
Bring it on, middle age, bring it on.
Photography by Linden Tarr
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