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What’s Up?! Updated

December 11, 2016 by pegjohnston


Update: SOLIDARITY Women’s - Human Rights March in Binghamton - Saturday, January 21 – March in Binghamton in support of the Women’s March on Washington and to protest the Trump Agenda.  Location County Courthouse in Binghamton, Gather 12 noon Martin Luther King Statue – March to Court House for Speakers – Followed Music & Refreshments at Atomic Toms on State St.

Since the election local organizers have been busy and at Citizen Action over 100 people attended an organizing meeting and offering a pledge to resist the Trump agenda. The Women's March on Washington January 21st has a Binghamton organizer and have secured 5 buses and are organizing other activities.  Check out their event page on Facebook The Dept of Public Art will sponsor a sign making workshop January 8th at 2 pm at the Cooperative Gallery. The March Binghamton organizers have scheduled a sign making session on Thurs. Jan 12th 5-7:30pm in the Violet Room of the Lost Dog Cafe. They have also commissioned a white scarf for the delegation, #womensmarch Memorial Scarves. The Binghamton Bridge will be a resource for keeping the community connected--please let us know of any

Here is the latest from Citizen Action:

A bus to Washington to join the Women’s March on Washington The bus trip will be leaving from the Citizen Action office at 5AM and then leaving DC at around 6PM or whenever the rally is done. Expected time of arrival back in Binghamton is midnight. We'll have two stops, one in the morning for breakfast and one on the way home for dinner, and we'll be bringing bagged lunches, water, snacks, etc. so we can stay at the march for the long hall and not have to wander out for food.  To sign up and pay the $70:00 fee call Citizen Action at 723-0110.

Can you join me? Click here for details and to RSVP:

Tuesday, January 10 7:00 A.M. - bus trip to Albany leaving from Citizen Action to call on Cuomo and the NYS Legislature to Unite New York around Progressive Change, Protect NY against the Trump Agenda, Support Public Education, Sustainable Clean Environment.  Deposit (to be returned after trip) of $5.00 to reserve seat on bus.  Expected time of return is early evening.  For information, call Citizen Action at 607-723-0110 or Larry Parham at 607-743-5877.

Wednesday, January 11 at about 7:30 AM – car pooling to Albany for HCFANY’s (Health Care for All New York) annual winter meeting in Albany at SEIU building, 155 Washington Ave., Albany.  Expected time of return early evening.  Meeting begins at 11:00 and runs until 3:30, lunch provided (offering accepted). 

We will discuss HCFANY's plan for achieving quality, affordable health coverage for all New Yorkers in 2017.  For information, call Citizen Action at 607-723-0110.

Wednesday, January 18 – 5:00 - Anti Racism Training at Citizen Action from 5 pm to 8:30 pm – maximum of 25 people, to sign up call Citizen Action at 607-723-0110.

Saturday, January 21 5:00 A.M. - bus to Washington to join the Million Women’s March.

The bus trip will be leaving from the Citizen Action office at 5AM and then leaving DC to come home around 6PM or whenever the rally is done. We'll have two stops, one in the morning for breakfast and one on the way home for dinner, and we'll be bringing bagged lunches, water, snacks, etc. so we can stay at the march for the long hall and not have to wander out for food.

Saturday, January 21 – Binghamton rally in support of the Million Women’s March and to protest the Trump Agenda.  Location County Courthouse in Binghamton, details to come.

Wed/Thurs January 25 or 26 -  7:30 - RAP’s (Renew the American Promise) semiannual meeting in Albany.  Car pooling from Citizen Action, leaving about 7:30 and returning early evening.  Statewide organizing meeting, organizing to stop the attacks on our Social Safety Net and the Trump Agenda.  Details to come.

Thursday, January 26 – 6:00 to 9:00 pm - How to Organize – basic organizing skills.  For information, call Citizen Action at 607-723-0110.

Every Saturday in February (4 in total) – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Self Defense Training place TBA - $10.00per session/$40.00 total.  Details to come.

File Attachment: 

Fund Essential Menstrual Hygiene-- Will Binghamton be First?

December 4, 2016 by pegjohnston

The Women and Gender Studies Activism class at Binghamton University is announcing to the media that we will be having an open, public speak out in support of Fund Essential Menstruation legislation on December 7th at city hall at 6:30pm during the scheduled city council meeting.. We have written a proposed legislation titled Fund Essential Menstruation (FEM) Hygiene Act 2016. See their Facebook Page for more info.

Our mission statement is as follows: One of the most difficult things about being homeless is being a person who menstruates. There is no single “rulebook” guiding homeless people to the resources they need. Not every person has the privilege of reaching into their purse and grabbing a sanitary napkin. Without access to these sanitary items, they are susceptible to a range of health challenges including, but not limited to, yeast and bacterial infections and toxic shock syndrome.
Therefore, we are proposing legislation entitled, Fund Essential Menstruation (FEM) Hygiene Products Act 2016, requiring the city of Binghamton to provide feminine menstrual products in all city owned public facilities. Menstrual hygiene products should be included alongside the other sanitary items currently provided by the city of Binghamton in its public facilities.

If Binghamton City Council passes this legislation, we will be one of the first cities in the country to provide sanitary items for free.


RiverRead to Close Jan 31 :-(

December 4, 2016 by pegjohnston

Dear RiverRead Books supporters,
We have just sent a press release to the media announcing the closure of RiverRead Books effective January 31, 2017.

We are heartbroken to say the least.  When Pat, Jane and I sat down to plan the store and order the 10,000 books needed to offer a good selection, we had stars in our eyes and were so excited to be creating this great ‘third place’.  We took almost an entire year to plan, design and order for the store.  We wanted to do it just right.  To this day, we still get comments from locals and visitors from away, about the beauty and atmosphere of our store and the great selection.  Our plan was to offer a gathering place for all things literary and artsy, a place to share ideas and converse with the community.  Well, we did just that … in eight years we held almost 900 events.  Planning those events was important because we wanted to offer something for everyone.  We wanted to highlight the very talented local authors, to give them a chance to share their words with those who might never have known about their books.  We hosted monthly poetry open mikes, facilitated by the ever faithful J. Barrett Wolf, to whom we own a great debt of gratitude.  We enjoyed hosting musicians once or twice a month for everyone’s listening pleasure and we ALWAYS hosted a new visual artist every month.  We designed the store with a gallery wall specifically for that purpose!   We wanted people to drop in, browse the stacks, have a cup of coffee (or warm cider), ask some questions, compare notes and in general, share our enthusiasm for books.  Due to limited space, we needed to curate carefully … to be sure to offer titles to cover all interests.  And we established ourselves as the ‘go to’ place for ordering books.
When we moved into the store, the surrounding area was pretty sad.  Although the Riverwalk was completed, it was underutilized.  The old Fair Store became empty when the county employees who had temporary offices there returned to the newly refurbished County buildings.   We were visited daily by homeless people living out of shopping carts and on benches on the Riverwalk.  We became involved several times when someone was stricken with illness or were huddled in the cold.  We collected bottles and cans for them.  As the city has changed and more shelters were offered, the homeless moved on and the city began to host events at the Peacemaker’s Stage.  Every other month or so there were some very nice events there. Downtown has been transformed with all of the new student housing and eateries and we are happy and proud to have been a part of that.  Even though it didn't work out for us, we hope people will make an extra effort on behalf of all those who have taken a chance on downtown and support businesses, new and old, by spending their dollars locally.  We will miss having the store and for that matter, the entire bookselling community, other booksellers, authors and publishing reps.  But most of all, we will miss the people who came in regularly and visited with us.  We will miss you each and every day.

You can help us though.   We are discounting the books at some great rates.    We need to clear out the inventory.  We hope that you'll be able to help us do that!  The stock is new and current.  Stock your shelves with new and classic books!  Gift the children in your life with books from our wonderful collection.   We have t-shirts, socks, tote bags, mugs, clutches, book plates, stationery, cards, jewelry, toys, games and more ... at fantastic prices!  And we are keeping the inventory current ... if we see something selling often, we WILL reorder it.  And we are still accepting special orders until further notice.


November 28, 2016 by pegjohnston

SPONSORED BY Cooperative Gallery 213 and the Two Rivers Photography Club January 6 – 28th, 2017

            The Cooperative Gallery 213 and t he Two Rivers Photography Club are sponsoring the 6th Bob Johnston Photography Show and Competition January 6-28th, 2017. “This Photo Competition attracts the best photography this area has to offer,” according to Bill Gorman of the Cooperative Gallery. AS of New Year's Eve, 103 photos had been submitted. “We are very excited to welcome Chuck Haupt, a professional photographer, formerly with the Press and Sun Bulletin and gallery member, as this year’s judge.” On the Third Thursday, January 19th at 7 pm, Haupt will offer constructive critiques on photographs; any photographer may bring a photo for review at no cost.

            All photographers are eligible to enter up to three photos in any format in this open themed show. There will be cash prizes for Best of Show, two Judge’s Choice each in Black and White and Color, and ten Honorable Mentions will also be awarded.

            A reception for the photographers, friends, and the public will take place January 6th at the First Friday Art Walk from 6-9, with gallery hours starting at 3 pm that day. The Exhibit will be open Fridays 3-6 pm, Saturdays 12-4 pm and by appointment until January 28th. Prizes and cash awards for the winners will be announced at First Friday, January 1st at 6:30 pm at a reception for the artists and the public.

            The Competition is named for Bob Johnston, a lifelong photographer and a gallery member who died in 2010. “Bob Johnston was an ‘Ansell Adams’ kind of photographer who worked mostly in black and white film and favored both urban and natural landscapes,” said Bill Gorman, also a photographer. Bob Johnston defined a good photo this way: “For me, the successful photograph is one in which both the abstract elements and the subject matter of the image reinforce each other to provide an emotional experience for the viewer.”

            The Two Rivers Photography Club has monthly meetings, skill building sessions, and competitions throughout the year. The Cooperative Gallery, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk, located at 213 State Street in Binghamton, is open on Frist Friday 3- 9 pm and regularly Fridays from 3-6 and Saturdays from 12- 4 pm. Find us on Facebook at Cooperative Gallery 213 and sign up for a weekly e-newsletter on our website at or on Facebook.

Post Election Fear

November 20, 2016 by pegjohnston

A number of constituencies have reported an increase in the number of people fearful about the outcome of the election of Donald Trump. Muslims have reported incidents of harassment of women wearing hijabs. The Gay Help Line reports increased calls from people fearful and experiencing harassment. Immigrants who came to the US as children are fearful that they will be deported to countries that they have no memory of. Gay couples with children are inquiring about second parent adoption in case gay marriage is overturned. Fears about the loss of affordable insurance are rampant.

Locally, Citizen Action had 100 people at their first meeting and is scheduling several meetings to create an infrastructure that will create a rapid response to the incidents that are sure to come with a Trump presidency. The next meeting is Wednesday December 7 at 6:00 pm at First Pres Church 42 Chenango St. Binghamton.

Nationally, a "Million Women March" will be held Jan 21st in Washington DC and in several other cities. For more information see

The Bridge received notice that a chapter of the Pink Pistols is opening locally. It is part of  a national organization that teaches those "who feel vulnerable how to legally and safely defend themselves and their loved ones with a handgun." They also offer unarmed self defense classes for women, LGBTQ and others who are interested. More info:

Gov. Cuomo also made this statement:

"Hate crimes have spiked across the country and this state has not been spared. This week, fliers glorifying the KKK were found distributed on cars in Suffolk County. Last week in Allegany County, a softball field dugout was defaced with the words “Make America White Again,” accompanied by a spray-painted swastika. These are just a few examples. My administration has launched a number of investigations into hate crimes targeting minorities and immigrants. and immigrants." He announced a new hotline: "Residents who have experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or discrimination are encouraged to call our toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately."


Stay strong and keep involved!


New VINES garden, Front St.

November 16, 2016 by pegjohnston

VINES and First Ward Action Council partner to build new garden on Front Street
New garden location is 250 Front Street Binghamton, within the Binghamton Gateway Homes community

VINES and First Ward Action Council are partnering to build a community garden in the Binghamton Gateway Homes Community, at 250 Front Street.  Volunteers came together November 19th to construct raised bed gardens and fill them with soil and compost.  A community garden is developed and managed by community members to provide space for people to grow their own food.  The Front Street Community Garden will have 20 raised garden beds available 2017 growing season for a $20 rental fee. Priority for garden plot sign-ups will go to those living on Front St and the surrounding side streets.

Anyone interested in renting a bed at the garden or in helping to build the garden is encouraged to come to the Saturday workday. To sign-up to volunteer please call/text us at 607-205-8108 or email us at or rsvp on facebook. Light refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Photo: Some of the dozens of volunteers that helped construct the garden.



November 11, 2016 by pegjohnston

After the Election and Beyond: Join us at this planning meeting  WE NEED YOU!


Our Pledge to Resist

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