Ariel Brown is the Board President and Founder of The Emotional PPE Project, an organization that connects health care workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help. Ariel is also an Associate Director, Medical Science at Sage Therapeutics. She is a neuroscientist who has done research on the brain in ADHD and bipolar disorder and helped develop the first drug approved for postpartum depression. She started The Emotional PPE Project merely by asking a friend “how can I help?” and by tapping into the goodwill of her personal and professional network.
Good News from the Resistance: It’s starting to feel a lot like the months leading up to the 2018 midterms. Think back: We were still suffering from 2016 Election PTSD, and not quite sure what tricks the GOP had in their playbook to steal House seats. With nothing less than our Democracy at stake, we educated ourselves, organized, and Got Out The Vote. No down-ballot race was trivial enough for us to ignore.
The outcome? Record-setting voter turnout. Democrats won 10 million more votes than Republicans, the largest margin in a midterm election ever. Voting rose most dramatically within groups favoring Democrats – youth, Black, Asian, and Hispanic voters. Our Blue Wave was a Tsunami. Two years later, we are angrier, more motivated, and better organized. Mark my words – we’re going to boot the Occupant of the White House out with such force he’ll leave an Orange Smudge on the Oval Office carpet. Which Biden’s people happily will clean up with stockpiled Clorox Wipes. (Note to Biden: Save some Wipes for McConnell and Collins).
Here’s a run-down of what he’s recently lost:
- The ability to fill an arena with pro-COVID fans.
- The skill to walk down a ramp without looking like a Blow Up Clown Punching Bag about to tip over.
- Power Republicans, who are organizing pro-Biden PACs, like 43 Alumni for Biden, Republican Voters Against Trump, The Lincoln Project, and Right Side PAC.
- Supreme Court decisions, that, despite the Grifter-in-Chief’s best efforts, expanded LGBTQ Americans’ workplace rights, allowed DACA recipients to remain in the U.S., maintained safeguards in the Clean Water Act, and upheld California’s Sanctuary Law.
- Legal decisions, that give former felons in Florida the right to vote, and green-lighted both the pyramid scheme charges against the Orange Grifter and his family, and the emoluments case, which accuses him of accepting foreign government money via his D.C. hotel.
- His campaign against Colin Kaepernick’s knee.
- The ability to ensure the candidates he endorses win.
- His battle to keep Bolton’s book off the shelves.
Yet, we will have to get through a few very difficult months. When you feel yourself slipping into a Trump-loathing abyss, or lacking confidence in the stellar poll numbers, try this visualization exercise. I think it will help.
Close your eyes and imagine a bloated yam topped by a mop of combed-over, pineapple-yellow hair riding an escalator in Trump Tower. Like the day It kicked off Its presidential campaign, the bloated yam is riding that escalator Down. But now, the look on Its face is pure terror, as half-way down, the elevator speeds up so fast that Its hairspray has no chance of maintaining the integrity of the heavily-shellacked pineapple comb-over. The escalator comes within inches of crashing into the marble floor (recently buffed to perfection by a poorly paid, though uncaged, undocumented worker on Its payroll). The bloated yam of combed-over, pineapple-yellow hair alternately flails Its arms and frantically grabs onto the rails, but there is nothing It can do to stop it. Some of us cringe in horror, others applaud with glee, as we watch the escalator smash through the marble floor, the bloated yam screaming, blowzy pineapple-yellow hair askew, holding on for dear life. But it keeps going, pushing full speed ahead towards the bloated yam’s final destination: Hell.
Yes, there’s more Good News from the Resistance:
- Learn why the TikTok generation is filling on-line MAGA shopping carts
- Thank Pizza to the Polls for feeding hungry voters
- Wonder if the Trump campaign will steal this idea from the Barcelona opera
- Make a deposit in this hilarious guy’s Venmo account
- Chuckle when you learn that Trump lives on Black Lives Matter Street
- Send your extra yarmulkes to these kids
- See the formerly extinct bird that’s back
- Root for these awesome Girl Scouts
- Watch Sarah Cooper
- Take Action: Check out Together for 2020 to learn what you can do to help take back the White House, Senate, and flip down-ballot candidates in competitive races across the country.
Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.
Aixa Beauchamp has worked in philanthropy for over twenty years. She is the president of the Latino Legacy Fund, which she co-founded in 2013 as a partnership between Latino philanthropists, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and The Boston Foundation. The work of the Fund has taken on a new sense of urgency with COVID, as Chelsea, the cultural anchor of the Latino community and home to thousands of immigrants, became the epicenter of the pandemic in Massachusetts. In a recent Boston Globe Op-Ed, Aixa argued that philanthropic funds too often overlook communities like Chelsea. “We would like to believe we can bring about a fair process of funding, but long-held unconscious and implicit biases, cultural differences, decision-making power, and unequal access to funders make this impossible.”
Jocelyn Harmon is a co-founder of BlackHer, a new media company built for the 24 million Black women in the U.S. The online content, provided in BlackHer Weekly and BlackHer Guides, educates and inspires powerful Black women to take action for personal and collective economic and political change. To beat Trump, Jocelyn believes the Democratic Party needs to muster the humility to follow the lead of people who know the landscape, and to expand the electorate by investing in local Black groups now and forever. Read more Good People:
Elaine Ivy is a middle school teacher in Malden, MA, one of the most diverse communities in the state, where over 60 languages are spoken in the schools. She describes her students as funny and sensitive, touched by poverty, mental illness and domestic abuse, children of business owners, refugees, parolees, and war. Now that school is closed, she’s doing her best to stay connected to all of them. Ms. Ivy keeps her spirits high by thinking back to favorite pre-COVID moments with her students, chief among them, presiding over a Gingerbread House Baking Competition.
Good People for the Resistance is a monthly interview with people who give me hope. Today, meet Charles Daniels, who with his wife Samantha co-founded Fathers’ Uplift, an organization that helps absent fathers become part of their children’s lives, and provides counseling to children growing up without their fathers.
In a few short years, Charles has gone from an entry-level social work job to a 2019 Obama Foundation Fellow who’s earned national recognition for his work, appearing on CNN and Good Morning America. Last year, President Obama sent Charles a Father’s Day Twitter greeting, announcing, “This man has a brilliant solution to helping fathers reconnect with their kids.”
How’s Charles do it? Through a lot of hard work and, over the years, internalizing the teachings of his childhood hero, Mr. Rogers.
Good News from the Resistance: Last week I participated in a 9-person Zoom call. Our faces appeared on the screen in a 3 x 3 matrix, three heads across, three down. The set-up seemed vaguely familiar – where had I seen that image before? Suddenly it came rushing back: We looked like the set of the 1960’s TV game show Hollywood Squares. In the show, nine mostly B-list celebrities sat behind desks arranged in a 3 x 3 matrix — just like Zoom! — and answered questions posed by host Peter Marshall. I loved that show, particularly the actor featured in the all-important middle square, the famously snarky Paul Lynde. Don’t ask me what happened during my Zoom call – I spent most of it burrowing down the Hollywood Squares Wiki rabbit hole.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about “the good ‘ole days” — as I left my empty milk bottles on the porch for the delivery guy to pick up, mail-ordered Charles Chips to my mother, baked cookies for the first time in 30+ years (with my hand-held Hamilton Beach mixer, circa 1979), and searched (unsuccessfully) for yeast to bake bread.
With the country on lockdown, many of my fellow Baby Boomers have been catapulted back in time: Family meals have made a comeback; old-fashioned hobbies like puzzles, board games, gardening and sewing are seeing a significant uptick; we’re playing (socially-distanced) Bingo with our neighbors; we’re turning to our screens for exercise classes, like we once did with Jack LaLanne; sidewalk chalk art is flourishing; we’re checking in with our distant parents and grandparents more often, teaching them new skills like FaceTime (Note: I love this woman. She’s not my mother, who’s been in isolation for a month, but she’s damn close!) and Zoom; neighborhoods are organizing scavenger hunts for kids. Icing on the cake? The Beatles released a new single.
The Greatest Generation also may be experiencing a bit of déjá vu; Mutual Aid societies — created to provide safety nets for our most vulnerable citizens when the government shirks its responsibility — have been resurrected; modern day Rosie the Riveters are answering the call to make face masks for front-line healthcare workers.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not longing to return to the idealized days of WWII or June and Ward Cleaver. Just sayin’ … when this nightmare is over, let’s hope we have the wisdom to hang onto what’s good.
Yes, there’s more Good News from the Resistance:
- Say hallelujah! for Michelle Obama’s comeback
- Call this toll-free number to hear what these kids are saying to grandma and grandpa
- Give it up for this Creative Family Vacation
- Figure out how to make this cake
- Chuckle when you understand, “If you can see the peen, we need more space between.”
- Know that Barack Obama broke the Internet
- Wonder what Indianan Mike Pence would have done if he’d been on this Zoom call
- Root for these sea turtles
- Cheer for 93-year old Badass Olive Veronesi
- Take Action: Are you getting a stimulus check? If so, consider doing this: #ShareMyCheck
Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.
Good People for the Resistance is a monthly interview with people who give me hope. This week, meet Harvard Medical School student and Soros Fellow for New Americans, Natalie Guo. While eating breakfast the morning of March 15, Natalie had an idea: A way to restore restaurant jobs to the most vulnerable workers, and at the same time provide nutritious meals to hospital workers at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. By dinnertime that same day, Natalie had arranged for two of Boston’s most renowned chefs – Tracy Chang and Ken Oringer — to deliver meals to emergency room and ICU staff at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Three weeks later, Natalie’s new organization, Off Their Plate, has served over 6,000 meals to COVID frontline workers across Boston, New York, San Francisco, L.A. and Pittsburgh, and has provided $30,000+ in wages to restaurant workers she has kept in a job.
Natalie’s goal is to stay ahead of the predicted “peaks” in each city, a Herculean, and at times a heartbreakingly impossible task. Each of us can help. I urge you to contribute what you can.
NOTE: I typically report Good People for the Resistance in an interview format. However, because of the immediacy. and intensity of Natalie’s work right now, I decided not to ask her to spend an hour on the phone for an interview. Rather, I pieced together a Q&A using notes from a Zoom conversation that a small group of us had with Natalie last weekend, in which she briefed us on her work and funding needs, documents Natalie and her team have created outlining their business plan, and an interview Natalie did with the Soros Foundation last Spring. Read more Good People
Good News from the Resistance: You’d think that someone who writes a blog called Good News would have a helluva time coming up with content the week she panic-bought frozen spinach, honey peanut butter, and green curry paste, and went to three stores in search of out-of-stock toilet paper. Yes, I wake up most mornings with a feeling of dread. Yes, before I get out of bed I check the New York Times to see if the world has come to an end, or if Mitch is feeling feverish. But then something happens: I read my Facebook feed, and I’m reminded how friggin’ clever my “Friends” are. My will to face another day of lockdown returns.
What did you do Week 1 of the Acknowledged Apocalypse?
My highlights: 1) Whispered in my dog’s ear that mummy and daddy have been vegetarian for 30 years, therefore it is highly unlikely that we’ll eat her if the food system completely crumbles and we run out of tofu and beans, 2) bought an iRobot Roomba and followed it around the house for an hour, giving it helpful feedback like, “bitch, you missed that corner!,” 3) got all judgey with my husband when, after teaching his first on-line class he opened a bottle of wine at 4 p.m. — then soon after I read a stranger’s Facebook post confessing she’d been starting at 3:15, which prompted a generous pour and apologetic bottoms up!, 4) practiced making dinner using only frozen food and canned items (I had a refrigerator full of fresh produce), just to see if I could do it, then spiraled into a self-loathing depression when I cheated and added fresh parsley. I’m fine. Really.
We’ve been training for this for decades. Remember all the moaning we did about the evils of the Internet and social media? Take it all back! Thanks to a burst of rapid-fire creativity and technical know-how, we can now live our best lives without leaving the house.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, there is a panoply of on-line activities for kids like story time, drawing lessons, home-schooling, and joke books; there are DIY pantry recipes, live-streamed cooking lessons, meditation and yoga classes, opera, too many concerts to keep up with, museum tours, Broadway musicals, and stunning dance performances.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, if you’re locked-down in Italy you can watch Pornhub for free, if you’re sheltering-in-place in the U.S. you can get fresh food delivered more ways than you ever imagined, and if you act quickly, you can get Passover in a Box (Seders will be cancelled because of a plague. Isn’t it ironic?). With more time to cook, we can be inspired any time of the day by Julia Child. Sunflower Farm has shown us the calming power of goats, and it’s reassuring to know how to make a DIY face mask.
Thanks to the Internet and social media, we know that the Field Museum in Chicago let a dinosaur run free, and the aquarium let the penguins out. Already there’s an excellent resource on How to Plague. We know that drive-in movies will be making a comeback, Major League Baseball has a heart, neighborhoods are creating Kindness Committees, Care-Mongering and Mutual Aid Networks, that good samaritans with 3-D printers are making respirator parts and so are glassblowers. People are replacing books with food in their Little Free Libraries, and San Franciscans are signing up to send meals to overworked medical clinicians.
Here’s what I also know: What we’re living through is horrible. And in the 3+ years I’ve been writing Good News, there has never been too much Good News to fit into an issue — until now. The seemingly boundless creativity and kindness of our fellow humans is awe-inspiring. Yes, we can do this.
Now, about Mitch: If he does get sick, I plan to start a campaign urging everyone to mail Get Well (Not!) cards, offering our Thoughts and Prayers. You in?
Yes, there’s lot of FUNNY Good News from the Resistance:
- Cheer for the teachers who are learning how to teach on-line
- Read the first lines of famous poems revised for the Age of Coronavirus
- Watch what happens when Trevor Noah sings from his balcony in NYC
- Listen to the Liberal Redneck’s dispatch from isolation
- Chuckle at the first lines of famous novels that have been rewritten for Social Distancing
- Choose your favorite Quarantine Tweet
- See if you can watch this video and not cry (even if you never liked The Carpenters)
- Give to No Kid Hungry to help get food to kids who normally get it in school. And avoid these items when you are in a food store.
Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.
Good News from the Resistance: Just when we thought the Orange Grifter could no longer surprise us with his mendacious ineptitude, he was presented with a problem he could not Tweet away. (Though he tried). The Grifter’s cheerleaders were out in full-force, running with his head-in-the-sand message. Matt Full-of-Hot Air Gaetz (R-FL) made light of the pandemic by wearing a gas mask on the House floor as he voted for a virus-fighting appropriation bill. Kellyanne “Truthy” Conway said the virus was “being contained.” And Fox continues to do a bang-up job convincing its viewers that COVID-19 is a liberal hoax. Which led a friend of mine to muse, “Maybe this will become a Republican disease.”
Gas-Mask Gaetz is now in self-quarantine after shaking the hand of a virus-positive man at the Conservative Political Action Conference; Ivanka, Kellyanne and William Barr met recently with a newly virus-positive Australian official (I wonder if they shook hands or bumped elbows?), and a Brazilian official who partied with the Grifter and Praise Jesus! Pence at Mar-a-Lago last weekend has it, too. Could that have anything to do with the sudden about-face, state-of-emergency declaration?
The Good News? State and local governments, the private sector, and those of us who do not rely on Sean Hannity or Kellyanne for our news got to work well before the Grifter came to his senses, filling the gaping lacuna created by the federal government’s “it’s only a cold” attitude.
The Icing-on-the-Cake Good News? Humor and creativity keep breaking through. As in:
Tired of singing Happy Birthday to You (twice) while washing your hands? Here are 10 more awesome songs that will do the trick. Or better yet, use this easy tool to learn how to wash along to your favorite tune (I used “All Along the Watchtower.” It’s fun!).
Learn new ways to say hello! that don’t involve cooties.
Read a TrumPoem.
And before you go off to wash your hands after reading this on your germ-laden laptop or phone, consider all of the happy dog news that continues in the midst of our national nightmare:
Canadian service dogs watched a live musical as part of their training; monks made a stray an “honorary friar” (he looks so cute in his little friar outfit!); a vet is providing free care to the pets of homeless people; a kid is making bow ties for shelter dogs to help them get adopted; Bailey, a very good dog, ate the whole burrito.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and continue to seek Good News.
Yes, there’s even more Good News from the Resistance:
- Know that it’s okay to eat Blue Bell ice cream again
- Applaud for this Delaware barber-principal
- Wonder what you’d do if your 8-year old won this at a hockey tournament
- Buy this soap
- Support this ski industry idea
- Learn these fun facts about your potato chips
- Thank the (GOP) Senate for saying no to Cruella DeVos
- Chuckle over Stella McCartney’s runway cows
- Make a donation to an arts or cultural organization that’s had to close its doors
Sign Up. Show Up. Never Give Up.