These last two years have had their difficulties, but the silver lining has been the privilege of meeting talented, creative activists. Each month we will focus on a specific issue and share the thoughtful perspective of our contributors. Our Eblasts are posted below.


Sajaa Ahmed is a host and co-creator of Spotlight 19, a podcast tracking all things related to New York’s 19th Congressional District. The podcast was an essential tool used by volunteers in 2018 to flip the district blue and will continue to be released monthly in 2019.

JT Compton spent fourteen years in finance before becoming a screenwriter and a political blogger.  He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and has lived in Dutchess County for nineteen years.

Rep. Antonio Delgado spends every day in Congress focused on creating a vibrant local economy, working with local, state, and federal partners — regardless of party — to get results for the people here. From improving access to quality, affordable health care to expanding rural broadband to protecting our agricultural interests, Rep. Delgado is dedicated to working across the aisle and standing up for what residents need.

Karen Smythe, NYS Senate Candidate in 2018, was the 4th generation to run her family’s Dutchess County union construction business. Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, she is committed to giving back to the community through volunteer and nonprofit work. She currently serves as President of the Dutchess County Woman’s Caucus, is on the Board of the Bardavon Theater and a Trustee of Vassar College.

Assemblymember Didi BarrettGuest Contributor, After a dedicated career as a community activist, writer, and leader of non-profit organizations, Didi Barrett was elected to the NYS Assembly in 2012, where she is now serving her fourth full term. Didi continues to work tirelessly for our community as an advocate for women’s rights, local agriculture, environmental conservation, and all issues affecting the Hudson Valley. She is currently serving as the chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Women’s Caucus, and chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Welcome to intelligent life – Veteran’s issues (#4)

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

  • Melanie Whaley, Editor’s Message
  • Sajaa Ahmed – Spotlight 19 / Episode 39 Interview with Major Malia Du Mont
  • Karen Smythe / Thank You for Your Service
  • JTC / Day 921 / GOP Hypocrisy on Veterans
  • Rep. Antonio Delgado / Update on Work Done for Our Veterans
  • Assemblymember Didi Barrett / For Every Veteran, Dignity is an Essential Part of Services

Please email us ( with any comments; we would love to hear from you. Thank you for staying with us! If you do not yet receive our emails you can signup HERE

Welcome to intelligent life – THE ENVIRONMENT (#3)

Welcome to intelligent life – EDUCATION (#2)

Welcome to intelligent life (#1)

The theme for this month’s eblast reflects Women’s History Month.

Day 530 – Dissent is a Patriotic Tradition

JTC is celebrating with family today. We hope you are too. But in keeping with the tradition, we give you this substitute.

How to Protest the Fourth of July
By Holly Jackson

How do you celebrate Independence Day? A cookout? Maybe take the kids to a parade?

William Lloyd Garrison, the 19th-century abolitionist, had a different idea for how to observe the holiday. Every flag should be either taken down or flown at half-staff, he wrote in his newspaper, The Liberator, and “all signs of exultation, parade and boasting should be studiously suppressed.” The usual rounds of celebratory music, marching and fireworks must be abandoned until “the millions of our oppressed countrymen are emancipated.” In the meantime, the Fourth of July “should be made THE DAY OF DAYS for the overthrow of slavery.”

In our time, July 4 has become detached from the politics of protest. But the history of the United States suggests that this need not — indeed, ought not — be the case.

Garrison borrowed the July 4 protest tradition from a group of black activists in Albany. When slavery was legally abolished in New York on July 4, 1827, they resolved not to celebrate. Instead, they mourned all those who remained in bondage and came out the following day for public reflection on the nation that allowed it. This became a tradition that continued until the Civil War.

The most famous abolitionist July 4 protest took place in 1854, when Garrison mounted a platform adorned with an upside-down, black-bordered American flag and burned a copy of the Constitution. From the same stage that day, Henry David Thoreau declared that the moral failure of the United States affected even his ability to enjoy the outdoors, noting that “the remembrance of my country spoils my walk.”

For the better part of the 19th century, many groups in addition to abolitionists, including Native Americans, utopian socialists, women’s suffragists and industrial workers, chose to use the Fourth of July as an occasion for social-justice agitation.

The tradition of July 4 protest faded in the 20th century, but it re-emerged in moments of political urgency. Peace activists during the Vietnam War, for example, seized the day for fasts and demonstrations. In 1970, a committee of African-American churchmen urged the black community across the country not to participate in any festivities on July 4. Their “Black Declaration of Independence” listed 15 grievances, including “being lynched, burned, tortured, harried, harassed and imprisoned without Just Cause” and “being gunned down in the streets by Policemen and Troops who are protected from punishment.”

In the weeks leading up to July 4, 1981, a group of military veterans, in a spirit of outraged patriotism, staged a hunger strike to demand an independent review of Veterans Administration hospitals, further study of the effects of Agent Orange and greater support for veterans’ mental health. In 1986, when the Supreme Court upheld laws that criminalized sodomy between consenting adults in private, gay activists held a rally in Greenwich Village in New York, promising to “disrupt traffic, snarl subways and show our rage” during the city’s July 4 celebrations.

The tradition of July 4 protest has been largely dormant for a generation now — although the rallies and “die-ins” staged during the July 4 Senate recess last year, protesting efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, hinted at a revival. These days, many Americans seem to disapprove of protests in general, and for them, demonstrations on the Fourth of July might seem particularly offensive, even worse than taking a knee during the national anthem.

But this attitude fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the holiday. July 4 commemorates a protest so incendiary that its participants, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, risked execution as traitors to the crown. These dissidents came together to affirm their commitment to a political community based on equality, at least in theory. For a century and a half, social-justice activists honored this history by continuing it, trying to hold the nation to its own standards on the anniversary of the day they were declared.

This July 4, on the heels of nationwide protests that mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in opposition to immigration policy, we ought to ask again, what does it mean to celebrate America now?

Stand Up for the Independence of the Trump-Russa Investigation

If Trump fires Rod Rosenstein or Mueller we will rally with the rest of the nation!


Where: Northwest corner of Market Street and Route 9, Rhinebeck, NY

When Rally will begin:
– If actions are triggered BEFORE 2 p.m. local time event will begin @ 5 p.m. local time.

– If actions are triggered AFTER 2 p.m. local time event will begin @ noon local time the following day.

THEN WHAT? Good question.

These events are only the first step. Our goal with these actions is to create an opportunity for anyone outraged by Trump’s abuse of power to engage immediately in voicing their concern. Together, we will communicate unmistakably that this is not okay and that this act to undermine democracy is not going to be allowed to become a new normal.

But that’s only the first step, and it’s far from the last one.
Congress is the only body with the constitutional power and responsibility to hold a president politically accountable for significant violations of the public trust like this. “We, the People” are their backstop and source of legitimate power. What people do next to force Congress to act is up to them!

Indeed, everyone at an event should also call our members of Congress to demand action. Everyone is encouraged to communicate that demand directly at congressional offices.

John Faso:
DC Office: (202) 225-5614
Kingston Office: (845) 514-2322

Kirsten Gillibrand:  (202) 224-4451
Charles Schumer:  (202) 224-6542


1. Demand members of Congress protect the special counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of all federal government law enforcement assets.

2. Demand the creation of a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals and Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

3. Demand bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power.

As always, the most critical thing we can do is VOTE!

Activism In the Age of Trump

January 4, 2018

When people tell me that they don’t pay attention to politics, I am always somewhat amazed. How do you not pay attention to politics, especially in this age of polarized extremes? Then I look back at most of my life when I did NOT pay attention to politics, and I am reminded why. Life takes over when you are young and finding your way, or going to school, or not so young and raising a family or building a career or being a caregiver or… just life.

But, at a certain point, I looked at what was going on in the world and realized that I had to pay attention. Politics – and politicians – have the power to work for the good of Americans or only for themselves; they can make or break our children’s future.

It’s as old as Aristotle: “(S)he who has no business with politics has no business at all”.

I felt this most acutely as I watched the election returns in 2004 and, anticipating Bush’s second term, I felt this panic. People told me not to worry, nothing horrible could come of his win. For good reason, I did not believe them.

When Barack Obama came into sight three years later, I became an activist. So many of us did. We went out and campaigned for this man who told us, “Yes, we can,” and we could! He won, and we won!

And all Americans won, even those who voted for his opponents, as he steadied the economy, reduced our military involvements and put an end to the crazy spiral of health-care denial and extortion

By August 2009, many of us sat back and relaxed. What did we have to worry about? We did our civic duty, didn’t we? We did not need to stay connected to our vision. We thought Obama could do the work just fine without us.

And then… obstructionism. The GOP practiced the art of deliberately impeding or delaying the course of legal, legislative, or other procedures. And they bragged about it. Perhaps the last straw was denying Judge Garland his hearing.

We left too soon. We forgot that we hold the power to our political futures with our voices, with our feet, with our votes. If we do not use these things, we cede our futures to those who do not have our interests at heart. And our complacency put an incompetent in the White House, though it could be said that the 65% of Republican voters (and the candidates) who conceded the nomination bear some responsibility!

With January 2017 we woke from the nightmare with Women’s Marches and new networks, among them a nationwide movement known as The Indivisibles: in Dutchess County our umbrella group is Indivisible the Fight is On – and we went to work to turn the tide.

The ebb and flow of activism is a tough nut to crack (to coin a metaphor, but you know what I mean). As Will Rogers knew, we are not blind conformists – anything but! Burn-out is a real problem too. I know that first hand. We were flowing at the beginning of 2017, and then we ebbed. And then the abominable tax bill passed, and hopefully, the winter months and the mounting issues will bring us back into gear.

When we speak as a collective, we are heard and Indivisible the Fight is On will continue to foster ways to speak as a collective. We remain committed. We are here to support. We are here to organize. We are here to help communicate the visions, the plans, the strategies amongst many collaborating organizations and dedicated individuals. If you care to fix the problems of polarization and obstructionism, we are here for you, all of us who live in the shadow of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Melanie Whaley, Chair of ITFIO

Indivisible the Fight is On

Resist 2018

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