Sunday Syrian Supper

On Sunday, September 24, 2017, Together We Rise CT will be hosting a meal to promote and celebrate the culinary traditions, cultures, and stories of Syrian refugees resettled in Connecticut.  Tickets can be purchased here 

We are deeply honored to have the Hamou Family generously donating their time and expertise to cook this meal for us. The Hamou Family resettled in Lyme/Old Lyme area, after fleeing their beloved home in Syria. They have elected to have the funds raised from this dinner to benefit IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) & the important work they do of resettling refugees in Connecticut.

We hope you will join us for this night of community & compassion.

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HAMOU family 2017 178

Political Action #23

Dear Friends:

As I was about to hit send, The New York Times reported that the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has collapsed as two more Republican senators have broken with the party on the issue.

I thought about changing all the health care actions in the email, but decided not to because:

  1. Things change in Washington – sometimes very rapidly.
  2. Being two votes away from millions of Americans losing coverage is still too close.
  3. This will not be the last attempt to gut the ACA. We can’t blink.


1. No Trumpcare. This is definitely a work of persistence. At this writing the Senate is delaying a vote on another repeal measure until Sen. John McCain recovers from surgery. That’s because the anti-ACA crowd cannot afford to lose a single vote.  The latest iteration will still cut more than $700 billion from Medicaid. Sen. Ted Cruz inserted an amendment that allows insurers to offer bare-bones policies that will be worthless if you actually get sick.

The Washington Post has a handy and continuously updated list of where Senate Republicans stand on the bill. Currently Sen. McCain is listed as having concerns. Please send McCain a get-well message.

Dear Sen. McCain:

I hope that your recovery from your surgery is speedy and complete. I am glad that you were able to have your care attended to by excellent clinicians and that ability to pay did not stand between you and the best treatment. As you know, this is not the case for all Americans. More people will lose coverage or will have to settle for poor coverage if the Better Care Reconciliation Act passes. You have demonstrated independence in the past, putting country before party. I ask you to do this once again and vote “no” on BCRA.

With my very best wishes for your health –

2. Tell your legislators to do their jobs. The state has been operating without a budget since July 1. This means that the governor independently makes financial decisions – but has limited access to funds. Cuts to programs that serve people with disabilities, seniors and others have been draconian. If the legislature is incapable of passing a reasonable budget in short order, it should at least pass a temporary budget to free up funds and restore essential services.

Please contact your legislators.

Script: I am a constituent from XXXXXX. Without a budget, dangerous and painful cuts are hurting Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents. The legislature should at the very least pass a temporary budget – either the one proposed by the governor or one of its own design. Residents are suffering because of politics in Hartford. Will you stand up and do something about it?

3. Keep John K. Bush off the bench. Bush, who has never been a judge, is Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Bush has criticized New York Times v. Sullivan, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that protects the press from spurious libel suits. This is disturbing in light of Trump’s declaration that: “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” He is also against the Affordable Care Act and publicly funded elections.

Senator Blumenthal voted against the nomination in committee. Please thank him and ask Sen. Murphy to join him in a no vote on the floor.

Sen. Blumenthal: (202) 224-2823

  • Script: I am a constituent from XXXX. Thank you for opposing the nomination of extremist John K. Bush in committee. I appreciate you standing up for a free press and other basic American values.

Sen. Murphy: (202) 224-4041

  • Script: I am a constituent from XXXX. I hope that you will oppose the nomination of extremist John K. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Please stand up for a free press and other basic American values.



A new feature to our newsletter; click on the logos to learn more about the local businesses that have donated to make Simple Gifts and other events we’ve done a success.  #sociallyresponsiblebusinesses #weLOVElocal


More On Health Care
There’s lots of mobilization to protect the ACA and improve upon it.

  1. Today (Tuesday) Indivisible is coordinating  #KILLTHEBILL actions around the country. Find out what’s going on near you here.
  2. Our regular vigil – Saturday, 10 a.m., Two Wrasslin’ Cats – will be a #KILLTHEBILL event.
  3. Sen. Blumenthal is having a healthcare meeting Monday. The hearing will be held from 9:05 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday in Room 310 at the state Capitol in Hartford.


  1. Boycott B&H. Workers report being denied ambulances when seriously injured and being coerced into signing away their worker’s comp rights.  If you are a photographer or other media professional, signing on to the action will be especially helpful.
  2. Boycott Wendy’s. The Fair Food Program ensures fair wages and humane working conditions at participating farms. Wendy’s is the only one of the top five fast food companies in the U.S. that refuses to participate. McDonald’s, Burger King, Yum!Brands (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut) and Subway have all signed on and buy their fruits and vegetables from farms that treat workers right. Let Wendy’s know their bad behavior will cost them money by tweeting:
  • I’m not eating @Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program.


Keep Nury Chavarria in Connecticut.  Nury, the mother of four from Norwalk could possibly be deported on the 19th or 20th. She was informed this week that her stay was denied because the paperwork about her 21 yr old disabled son’s medical condition was not current. (Her son was born with Cerebral Palsy which left him with physical and cognitive deficits. These conditions don’t improve over time. But ICE wants more recent letters from the medical folks.). Yesterday, Nury, traveled to MD’s offices and hospitals gathering this info so she can submit it to the ICE office. If the deportation is going to happen, CT Shoreline Indivisible will be holding some type of demonstration with invitations to the press and public officials. When this demonstration occurs, we  need as many people as possible to attend this event. The more people, the more press coverage and then more people will be made aware of her plight. CT SHORELINE INDIVISIBLE WILL BE POSTING ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE IF AND WHEN AND WHERE THE DEMONSTRATION WILL TAKE PLACE.


Together We Rise General Meeting. Thursday, 6 p.m. at the East Haddam Town Beach (Mott Lane). Rapid Response Chair Chris Van Scoy will give us a tutorial on how to safely and effectively intervene when we see harassment. She’ll also talk about volunteer opportunities that will get you working directly with immigrants. Please bring your own picnic. We’ll provide the watermelon.

Weekly vigil Every Saturday at 10 a.m. outside Two Wrasslin’ Cats, for as long as necessary. All summer, we’ll be collecting for the East Haddam Food Bank at the vigil. Summer is a hungry time for kids who aren’t getting school breakfasts and lunches. Remember: This Saturday is a #KILLTHEBILL event, so let’s try to get some health care themed signs in the mix.


  • America First – Unless You’re Ivanka. Much has been written about the first daughter’s clothing line, which relies on foreign factories with abysmal labor practices. But this Sunday’s Washington Post piece is worth of read because it is so comprehensive.
  • Kris Kobach Wants to Take Away Voting Rights. Kobach is behind the demand for voter info (which Sec. of State Denise Merrill refused to hand over). Now an email chain shows that he has been planning since the day after the election to make it harder for many Americans to vote.


  • Buycott lets you scan a UPC code and get the skinny on what corporations could profit from your purchase. You can choose which campaigns you want to support – for example boycotting companies that use child labor or test products on animals – the app warns you if a product fails your ethical standards and suggests alternatives. The app also lets you tell companies why they are losing your business.

Last Word

The people of Concord, Mass fought the first battle of the American Revolution, were an active stop on the Underground Railroad and were among the first to organize for women’s suffrage. They must know something.


Colleen Shaddox

Political Action
Together We Rise CT



Copyright © 2017  Together We Rise CT- Building Bridges for Justice, All rights reserved.

Simple Gifts: A Night of Food and Song in Defense of Freedom

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June 2, 2017 – THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT…..

Can't make the event but still want to make Simple Gifts a smashing success? Email us at about how to be an Event Angel and_or how to make a donation to the Im

The Immigrant Bail Fund

Immigrants are increasingly being detained in our state and our country – though almost 70 percent of them turn out not to be deportable. People who cannot afford bail wait in detention for months. They lose their jobs. Their kids enter the child welfare system. It’s horrible. The bail fund can get them home to their lives while their cases are being resolved. After an immigrant’s case is resolved, the bail fund gets the money back, so they can use it to bail out another person, then another…

#RESIST with a peaceful heart

Non-Violence Training

We are hosting a non-violence training facilitated by Joanne Sheehan of the War Resisters League on Saturday, May 20th from 11:30am – 2:30pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 31 Main Street , East Haddam, CT 06423.

The event is FREE & accessible.  Please bring a brown bag lunch. Public transit to this event is available through 9 Town Transit (please contact us for more information if needed). We are working to secure a ASL interpreter- please email us at if you personally will need an interpreter.

We’re requesting that people register at this link



A Butterfly Birth & More!

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Thank you to the 300+ people who showed up for our March for Science: 50 mL Fair, Satellite Vigil for March for Science, & Earth Day Poetry Read-In today! A huge shout out to our 25+ organizations, farms, scientists, environmental activist groups that educated and inspired people on a huge variety of topics. Thanks to all of our volunteers who made today such a success. It takes ALL of us, working hand-in-hand, to listening, learning, everyday to ensure robustly publicly-funded & communicated science as a pillar of human freedom & prosperity. And it will take ALL of us to demand the changes that need to be made to address the climate crisis. We’re in this for the long-haul & we’re proud to work with all of you.


March for Science DAY

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Together We Rise CT- Building Bridges for Justice & The Valley Stands Up are excited to annouce that we will be hosting a Satellite Event for the March for Science!! We’re excited to bring together scientists, farmers, bee keepers, musicians, local artists, renewable energy experts, environmental activists and community members to CELEBRATE science & champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity! We will unite as a nonpartisan front to explore all that science has taught us and the future of possbilities!

This event is FREE & accessible to all! There will be lots of kid-friendly, hand-on activities, experts who will share their experiences, refreshments & snacks by donation!


10-11am Satellite Vigil for March for Science
10-12pm Music by The Grays!
12-1pm Beginner’s Yoga with The Inverted Tree Yogi
10-2pm Lots and lots of Booths including

The After Life!
Donate Life Connecticut
Connecticut Green Burial Grounds
New Nature Arts

Animals & Birds!
The Connecticut Audubon Society
Maybe some baby goats!

Eightmile Wild & Scenic River Watershed
Farms & Gardens!
Hay Farm House
Provider Farm
East Haddam Land Trust
Ballek’s Garden Center
UConn Extension Master Gardener Program

Conservation Groups!
Appalachian Mountain Club Connecticut Chapter (CT AMC)
East Haddam Conservation Commision

UConn Home & Garden Education Center

The Sanctuary at Shepardfields & EcoArcitecture!
CT Solar Challenge

other tables will have scientists who will teach you about
1. How the shape of wind turbines is related to performance
2. Expolring statistics! Looking at how statistics can be misused, with misleading graphs, correlation vs causation and more!
3. Birds of a Feather- Looking at the challenges of removing oil from feathers
4. CitizenScientist! Examples of ways in which the general public can get involved with science through joining existing programs such as FrogWatch, FeederWatch, Horseshoe Crab Monitoring, etc. Many of which involve assessing impacts of climate change.
5. Green Your Period- In a lifetime a woman will create ~62,500 POUNDS of waste- we’ll explore eco-alternatives to reduce waste

2-4pm Earth Day Poetry Read-In

If you would like to be part of this experience by hosting a booth, please fill out a booth application form here:

Activism Teach-In Details

registerhereWe believe that “knowledge is power”, that facts matter, and that for all of us to be effective activists, we need to enhance our knowledge and build our skills. Therefore, Together We Rise CT, is hosting an Activism Teach-In, where experts from across Connecticut will speak from their experience and teach to the following topics. ASL Interpreting services will be provided, however the venue is not handicap accessible- we apologize as this is the only venue we could find.  We will work towards live streaming the event for those who cannot attend.  If we can make any additional accommodations please send an email to


11:15 -11:30 a.m.- Arrival & Parking
11:30 -11:35 a.m.- Welcomes & Orientation to the Space
11:35 -12:20 p.m.- How to Talk to Your Legislator & Make An Impact- Michele Mudrick
12:20 -12:45 p.m.- Meet Your Neighbors at Lunch
12:45 -1:35 p.m. -The Lives of Undocumented Kids in CT & How to Help- Edwin Colon
1:35 -1:40 p.m.- Stretch Your Legs
1:40-2:30 p.m. -Demystifying the State Budget & Fight for Children- Derek Thomas
2:30-2:35 p.m. – Breathing/Stretching Exercises
2:35-3:25 p.m. – Intersectionality 101: What is it & How to Center our Work around It- Kristianna Smith
3:25-3:30 p.m.- Closing & Thank Yous

Here’s more about the experts who we’ll hear from
mmudrick-11Michele Mudrick works to bring the concerns raised by Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ to the Connecticut General Assembly and executive offices, particularly in the legislative process. She also works to organize local church members to make sure their voices are heard on issues of concern. A Connecticut native, Michele has worked with the Christian Activities Council as a congregational organizer. She has also served in organizing or fundraising positions with the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice, and United Action of Connecticut. Educated at Stonehill College and the University of Bridgeport, she spent five years as an elementary school teacher.

uconn-ec-award-2-15Edwin Colon joined the Center for Children’s Advocacy in 2011. He is an expert on the very specific Federal law and Connecticut procedures for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which helps abused, neglected or abandoned immigrant children regularize their immigration status. In addition to providing legal representation for new arrival children and training Connecticut attorneys on this very specific work, Attorney Colon advocates in the public schools on behalf of youth who need educational support, are suffering from issues that keep them from academic success, or are involved with the juvenile justice system. He holds a JD from UConn School of Law and a MSW from UConn School of Social Work. He has worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Services, providing support for individuals and families involved with the foster care system, and with the Department of Children and Families as an Investigations and Treatment Social Worker on child abuse investigations. Attorney Colon has held faculty positions at the UConn School of Social Work and at Capital Community College, Hartford. Edwin Colon was named a 2013 “New Leader in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune and one of the “50 Most Influential Latinos in Connecticut” by Latinos United for Professional Advancement in 2014 and 2015. He is a director on the board of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association.

dtcqajvrDerek Thomas serves as a Fiscal Policy Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children. Mr. Thomas served as Senior Policy Analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families since 2012, where he focused on state-level economic analysis and policy work to support mobility for low-income families. Mr. Thomas’ research was cited by The Guardian, a Reuters series on income inequality, and the U.S. Department of Labor, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs and a Master of Public Affairs in Policy Analysis from Indiana University.

1422934321288Kristianna Smith is an experienced educator and impassioned theatre artist & a founding partner of Via Arts LLC, an arts service company currently operating in Connecticut, that believes it is their social imperative to share their creative survival tools with people who, like them, continue to traverse their paths toward a greater understanding of humanity.
She has spent the past decade working with youth, educators, and the elderly reinvigorating the human experience through theatre arts. Kristianna attended the University of New Hampshire, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Secondary Education. After college, Kristianna was accepted as the 2011-2012 Education Resident for Long Wharf Theatre’s Next Stage Program.
Most notably, she has trained educators in both Arts Integration and Social Justice Theatre. This work has specialized in using the arts to reach students in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings.