Sunday, April 10: Learn About the WNY Worker Center

Please join us this Sunday, April 10th from 4-6 p.m. at our Environmental Cottage, 3449 West River Road, Grand Island, to hear a presentation by Donna Chapman on:

The WNY Worker Center

A new project is being started to create the first Workers’ Center in Western New York. Using the IWJ Community Coalition model, religious leaders, workers, and others in the community interested in starting a workers’ center create a coalition of organizations to aid the target population. The purpose of the project is to provide education and outreach to vulnerable communities, which include immigrant, refugee, and low-wage workers with a focus on health and safety training.

Donna Chapman has been working to empower workers for over 10 years though education, mobilization campaigns, and union organizing drives.

February 19 — Edward Ellis, Filmmaker

Edward Ellis, film screening and discussion of the documentary Tierras Libres about Venezuela’s agrarian reform.

Edward Ellis is a filmmaker and progressive activist from Buffalo who has spent the last 5 years living in Venezuela working as a delegation organizer for Global Exchange and a writer for  In 2008, he worked as a Production Coordinator for the Oliver Stone film, “South of the Border” and has recently finished directing his first feature length documentary in Venezuela called Tierras Libres.

His next documentary project, set to begin production in 2011, deals with Venezuela’s multi-billion dollar beauty industry and the effects that it has on ordinary women in the country.  Ellis was educated in Anthropology at SUNY College at Buffalo where he earned his BA in 2001 and the London School of Economics where he earned his Msc in 2003.

January 30 — Unnatural Causes

UNNATURAL CAUSES is a documentary that explores how population health is shaped by the social and economic conditions in which we are born, live and work. Through portraits of individuals and families across the United States, the series reveals the root causes and extent of our alarming health inequities and searches for solutions. Along the way it confronts the inadequacy of conventional explanations like genetics, individual behaviors or even access to quality health care.
The Mystery: Given our wealth and medical advances, why does
the United States rank 29th in the world for life expectancy (as of
December 2007)? What are the connections between healthy bodies
and healthy bank accounts and race / ethnicity?
1. Class status correlates with health outcomes:
a. Our economic, social and built environments shape health
b. People who are middle to lower on the class pyramid are
exposed to more health threats (material deprivation to
chronic stressors) and have less access to the opportunities
and resources needed to control their destinies.
c. People middle to higher on the class pyramid have access
to more power and resources and in general live longer,
healthier lives. This is true not only for the bottom and
top but at every level.
d. Chronic activation of the body’s stress response wears
down our organs over time and increases disease risk.
2. Racism also threatens health, both “upstream” and independent
of class. At every income level, African Americans, Pacific
Islanders, Native Americans and other people of color often fare
worse than their white counterparts.
3. Social and economic policies have reduced health inequities in
the past and in other countries.

Doc’s Diaries this Sunday

Charles LambThis Sunday, January 23rd, from 4-6 p.m. at The Cottage (3449 West River Rd., Grand Island), Charles Lamb will talk to us about how he came to write “Doc’s Diaries,” how he went about writing them, and then he’ll read a couple of stories or so.   Charles has encountered many interesting people and had more than his share of notable experiences in his many years as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister and regional moderator and as an active member of environmental groups (Sierra Club, Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier—interfaith response to Love Canal, Residents for Responsible Government, etc.), and he has a special way of rendering these stories that will charm you.

Please join us in celebrating Charles and the folks and experiences he will share – and, of course, potluck!  All welcome.

Sheryl Stewart Shares her New Book

The Friendly Beasts

Sheryl will share some of the process of her calling to write this book and will read a story or two aloud, followed by a time for reflection, questions, or sharing from the gathering (maybe someone has stories of their own or is inspired to witness regarding their own call to write sacred tales). Rev. Sheryl Stewart was born in Saint John, NB, Canada in 1949 and is a naturalized citizen of the USA. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and has partnership status with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving on the Commission on Ministry for the Northeastern Region. Sheryl has served parishes in Maine, Vermont, and New York as sole pastor and is presently doing pulpit supply while working full time as a psychiatric RN at the Albion Women’s Correctional Facility. She originally designed The Friendly Beast Stories to be shared with children during worship.

Please join us this Sunday, January 16th, from 4-6 p.m. at The Cottage (3449 West River Rd., GI) to hear Sheryl’s presentation and share your thoughts – and potluck, of course.

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