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The Justice & Peace eWeekly is a weekly survey of upcoming events, local news and activism opportunities. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

 


Week of April 6, 2020


 

U.S. Jobless Rate Soars to 10 Million in Two Weeks

Virus Will Leave Deep Recession in its Wake

Journalists could scarcely find appropriate adjectives March 27, when new claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. exceeded 3 million, a figure dwarfing any single-week rates seen in the Great Depression, let alone the 2008 financial crisis. But on April 2, claims for the following week hit 6.6 million, more than double that of the week before. Economists are certain that unemployment rates in the second half of 2020, even assuming the virus is in abeyance, will be 15 to 18 percent, and may well reach 20 to 25 percent. Covid-19 will leave a national and global shambles in societal infrastructure that will last for at least a year, perhaps much longer.

At the end of last week, the number of worldwide cases of Covid-19 hit 1 million, with deaths exceeding 55,000. The U.S. had the largest number of confirmed cases art 245,175, with just over 6,000 deaths. Colorado had 4,100 confirmed cases and  111 deaths. There were a few signs at the end of last week that Colorado’s rate of new cases was beginning to slow, likely the result of severe stay-at-home measures implemented March 27. But Dr. Anthony Fauci of CDC warned that even with social distancing, deaths in the nation could top 200,000.

El Paso County citizens appeared to take the warnings more seriously in early April than the week previous, with streets emptying out except for essential workers. In downtown Colorado Springs, the only lunchtime traffic was near Marian House, where the homeless were receiving bag lunches to carry away, rather than a sit-down meal. Marian House remains in need of such items as disposable bags and utensils, peanut butter, lunch meat, canned tuna, fresh fruit and vegetables, and granola bars. You can contact them at (719) 475-7314, for times to drop off donations at the soup kitchen at 14 W. Bijou.
For rural families in need, Fresh Start Center (formerly High Plains Helping Hands) needs virtually every food item for its food pantry. The center is located near the corner of Woodmen and Black Forest, at 7375 Adventure Way.

Colorado’s near-total quarantine is expected to remain in place through the end of April. Even as the virus spread begins to ease in mid-spring, limited social contact may have to be practiced into the summer months. Obviously, this puts the local and national economies in desperate straits as workers are laid off and companies large and small face bankruptcy. Our most vulnerable residents, including the homeless and undocumented workers detained at the border, are often the ones left in the most perilous state.

Activists may be restricted to home during the quarantine, but that does not mean opportunities for caring have disappeared. One of the most useful clearinghouses for information relevant to El Paso County is the new Facebook group, Mutual Aid in Colorado Springs During Covid-19 Epidemic, organized by Anthony Maro and Tammy Carlen Jagels. You can find the group HERE.  

We urge all members and friends of PPJPC while homebound to not give in to depression and fear.  Always feel free to reach out to others of similar interests through our Facebook page or web site. The pandemic crisis may still lead to better societal organizing possibilities. Place hope before fear.

 

Peak Environment Podcast 57 Returns to Critical Issue of PFAS Contamination

This is our third podcast on this subject (though not in a row), and this may be our latest and greatest.

The PFAS Story in El Paso County Colorado
You can’t escape toxic PFAS chemicals. They are everywhere. Get an update on what we know and what’s being done about water contamination by PFAS (Perfluoroalklsubstance). Groundwater and surface water in portions of the Pikes Peak Region is known to have PFAS contamination, due to years of firefighting exercises at Peterson Field and the Air Force Academy (PFAS have been an ingredient in firefighting foam for decades). 

You can find the latest podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-environment-57-pfas-story/

And don’t forget to check out Podcast 56 on wolves, created in conjunction with Pikes Peak Area Sierra Club, which examines the necessity of wolves in the Colorado ecosystem. Colorado needs wolves – not merely to restore a natural balance or the wildness that we all seek – though wolves will do that if they are present for long enough, in sufficient numbers and with wide enough distribution  – but also to ensure that we pass on a Colorado intact, with a complete suite of native wildlife, to enrich future generations.
Podcast 56 is at:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-env-56-co-needs-wolves/

 

Active for Justice Podcast Covers Plowshares Nuns' March 5 Speeches

Thanks to Greg, Dave, Rick, and everyone at Studio 809 (who are currently on a virus semi-sabbatical) for editing the presentation Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert gave at All Souls Church on March 5. We were lucky to host the sisters for several events prior to the quarantine being enacted locally. We have also listed the latest two Peak Environment podcasts of Studio 809 below, though it may be a few weeks before additional podcasts are added.

Plowshares Podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/active-justice-yes-humanity-mar-05-2020/
 

Colorado Springs Utilities Still Working on Energy Survey

At press time, Colorado Springs Utilities still had not put an expected April survey on coal use and the Drake Power Plant online, though no official postponement has been announced, The Beyond Coal project of Sierra Club, in association with several groups opposed to Drake Power Plant, plans to mobilize its members to fill out the survey as part of a final push to get Drake closed by summer. The link to the online survey is expected to be at csu.org soon, with a link from the home page labeled “Survey.”

From Lindsay Facknitz: We need you to become a grassroots organizer, particularly with the LAST ONLINE SURVEY that will be up on April 1st. This survey matters. It’s the LAST survey, the LAST time we can easily tell all the decision makers that getting off fossil fuels is important to us. Our goal is to get 2,000 people to fill it out. How do you help? Easy!

Make a phone chain! 
1) Make a list of 10 people right now that you know and tell them about the survey (you can keep it as simple as "Care about climate change? Help me make a big local difference! Colorado Springs Utilities is deciding how quickly to switch to renewables and they want our input. We can greatly reduce our community carbon footprint if we fill out this survey! Help me!") Call them right now and ask them to make a list of 10 friends they can call. And so on and so forth. 

2) Make a reminder in your calendar to look for CSU Survey and "CALL My People!" 

It doesn't matter how old you are, doesn't matter if you are college student, doesn't matter if you live at the same address as your parents and they filled out the survey too. If you are a customer of CSU (and all of you are), then you can fill out this survey. 
Social media is nice to spread the word too, but I personally think calling people actually 1)gets them to fill out the survey and 2) gets people excited to help spread the word. I personally am going to call everyone in my phone who are CSU customers... with a glass of wine in my hand. 

We need people to make public statements!
In April, May, and June, we need people to come and make public statements to UPAC and city council at their public meetings. These meetings are during the day and really are more affective than any e-mail we can send to CSU, UPAC, or the board. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, please consider coming and making a public statement.
 

PPJPC Offers Sound System for Community Group Rental

PPJPC has partnered with Studio 809 to purchase a portable sound system appropriate for indoor or outdoor use. If you are interested in arranging the use of this sound system, contact Victoria at (719) 632-6189.

Blanket Donations Still Needed at Springs Rescue Mission, Salvation Army Shelter

 

The appeal for blankets for homeless people continues on.  Our two local shelters say the need is still there. Gently used blankets, comforters, quilts, or throws – along with towels- can be dropped off as follows.  The Salvation Army accepts donations Mon- Fri, 9 am thru noon at their R. J. Montgomery Center, 709 S. Sierra, near Cimarron.  The Rescue Mission donation warehouse, west of their main campus, is located at 111 W. Las Vegas St. with drop off times Mon- Fri 9:30am-4:30pm and Sat 9-11am. 
If you have a heart to help a homeless person, please consider donating new or used items.
 
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