Petition to Susana Martinez, New Mexico Governor
"STATE OF EMERGENCY" (DRUG EPIDEMIC / NORTHERN NEW MEXICO) HELP SAVE OUR CULTURE
With national statistics, data , and high numbers of deaths,illnesses attributed too drugs and as well our failing public schools, as direct links to the "Drug Epidemic", in Northern New Mexico, we have been placed at the top of national graphs and state counties as one of the worst places for drug overdose, suicide and illness in the country. Thus, we the undersigned concerned tax paying citizens are "Demanding a "State of Emergency" be declared in the county of Rio Arriba, in the state of New Mexico. For several decades we have been in a heavily oppressed, repressed and dire situation in regard too loosing large numbers of souls too include : Teens, young and old adults as well as elderly citizens too the drug infestation, both legal ( narcotic/opiate, ect... ) and illegal ( heroin/meth/pink/cocaine, ect..) drugs. As the Federal Government and DEA cracks down on prescription drug dispensing, the adverse effects have increased the use of heroin and thus, increasing higher incidences of Hepatitis-c, AIDS, Crime, and Criminal Activity in all facets our livelihood. The age groups of addiction has scattered in both directions, currently it has trickled down too adolescence and gone up in some cases too great-grandparent ages. Its is no longer a "FAD" or a "TREND" in many circles it is becoming a "RITE of PASSAGE" and a way of life in others. WE are demanding that; 1) Assessment, treatment, triage, substance abuse teams be dispatched throughout the county communities. ; 2) That a temporary centrally located "medical" detox-facility and housing area be established too address our addicted citizens needs, with hopes that a permanent facility be established in the near future.
Petition to Sacha Kopp, Michael A. Bernstein
Petition to Save the Humanities and the Arts at Stony Brook University
On 2 May 2017, Sacha Kopp, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences announced the following plan to make up for an anticipated $1.5M deepening of the College’s deficit: ● Combine the Department of European Languages, Literature, and Cultures, the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature, and the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature into a single department.● Suspend the doctoral programs in Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, and Hispanic Languages and Literature. ● Suspend the undergraduate majors in Comparative Literature and in Cinema and Cultural Studies.● Suspend the undergraduate major in Theatre Arts. With an 80% placement rate, the Comparative Literature has not only been a mainstay of graduate studies in the humanities at Stony Brook since 1973, it is one of the University’s most successful departments. Giving birth to the Cultural Studies concentration in 2004 only reinforced this role and stature. Our alumni and our ABDs alike are prolific scholars in important teaching roles around the world from North America to Asia to Europe and the Middle East. Hispanic Languages and Literatures has an excellent record of academic and community achievement. By the university’s metrics its doctoral program ranks in the 79%, the second highest ranking in SBU Liberal Arts. Our alumni currently teach in universities across the Americas, and Europe, and our faculty have recently won NEH, ACLS, and Ford Foundation Fellowships. Dean Kopp's proposal would punish the scholars doing this excellent work. The Department of Theatre Arts is a pillar of the campus community at Stony Brook that offer courses in theatre history, acting, costume design, etc. The department provides a rich, fertile environment, with great teachers who nurture, mentor, and provide opportunities for our students, helping them to reach their creative potential. The curriculum allow our students to view the world through a theatrical lens while developing academic and creative tools that help them succeed in any endeavor. This decision to suspend undergraduate majors, PhD programs and merge departments without consulting the faculty and students affected is an attack on the Humanities and the Arts. By suspending and eliminating programs and departments with the most international scholars and students and who, thus, tangibly support diversity and global initiatives, the Stony Brook administration is endorsing a divisive brand of American exceptionalism that is championed by the current White House officials. This proposal goes against every principle contained in the University’s diversity plan. By going forward with such drastic measures against vulnerable departments that strive to support the international community and needs, Dean Kopp and the Stony Brook University administration are contradicting the overall mission of the University and the very essence of higher education. We must demand that Stony Brook University College of Arts and Sciences Dean Sacha Kopp rescind the plan to suspend graduate and undergraduate programs and merge the departments named. Please sign, add a comment, tell your parents about this, then pass this on to everyone in your network.
Petition to US Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees
Support Full Funding for NEH and NEA
As past presidents of the Modern Language Association of America, an organization founded in 1883 and devoted to research and teaching in the humanities, we petition our representatives in the House and the Senate to restore full funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Over the last three decades, funding for the NEH and the NEA has often been the target of substantial cuts. But the proposed 2018 United States federal budget now aims for total defunding. This proposal demonstrates exceptional disregard for our nation’s cultural legacies and a distrust of the curiosity and inventiveness that drive scholars, artists, and those who find pleasure in the humanities to reanimate the past, observe the present, and imagine possible futures. The founders of this aspirational nation were readers of history, literature, philosophy, political theory, and scientific treatises. So were the activists, like Frederick Douglass and Jane Addams, who emerged to prod the nation ever closer toward those aspirations. A vibrant democratic nation rests on a commitment to preserve and analyze its diverse cultural legacies, which are embedded in humanistic learning and creativity, and to promote their growth for the future. Established by Congress in 1965, the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act declared that “the arts and the humanities belong to all the people of the United States. . . . While no government can call a great artist or scholar into existence, it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to help create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry but also the material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent.” Millions of people across this country have benefited from the grants awarded by the NEH and the NEA, from individual scholars funded by the NEH, to students in our institutions of higher education, visitors to our museums and art galleries, and avid supporters of local theaters and historical societies. Millions of dollars have been spread across every one of the states through state humanities councils and arts councils. The beneficiaries include humanists who turn their love of reading and of the visual arts, their storytelling talents, their passion for history, and their powers of critical analysis into careers in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, public policy, and courts of law. As the American Alliance of Museums has noted on its Web site, in the United States in 2011 far more tickets to visit museums were sold (around 850 million) than tickets to attend major sporting events and theme parks (around 483 million). In fact, federal and state support for the NEH and the NEA sustains and creates thousands of jobs for artists and clerical workers, for scholars and electricians, and for museum and library staffs and their interns. We need to support the crucial work of scholars and artists in our communities and in our great institutions of higher education. Jim Leach, a former chairman of the NEH and a former Republican Congressman from Iowa, recently wrote that the NEH has facilitated the creation of “over 7,500 books. . . . The agency has supported the digitization of the papers of figures from George Washington to Albert Einstein. It has helped fund hundreds of documentaries, like Ken Burns’ series on the Civil War. In addition, the 56 NEH affiliated state and territorial humanities councils annually put on more than 50,000 educational programs, all selected by individuals in decentralized jurisdictions to respond to local interests. Through book, film and programmatic outreach, millions of citizens on a yearly basis have been uplifted by the work of this unique government agency.” Our core cultural values include creative thought and action, humanistic inquiry, and knowledge preservation. It is vital to democracy to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage and to foster the creation of new ideas that can become groundbreaking works of the future. Funding the NEH and the NEA at roughly $170 million each year costs less than one dollar annually on a per capita basis—a minimal amount when compared with the billions of dollars in proposed budget increases. To defund the NEH and NEA is tantamount to destroying their invaluable contributions to the United States and imperils the definition worldwide regard of Americans as talented, dynamic, creative, thoughtful, and aspirational. With one voice, we, the past presidents of the Modern Language Association, petition our representatives in Congress to restore full funding to the NEH and the NEA. Funding the humanities and the arts is necessary to preserve and advance America’s reputation for excellence in these areas. We urge all those who support and benefit from the work of these two agencies to add their voices and to insist that knowledge, free inquiry, and creativity be protected and defended. Past Presidents of the Modern Language Association Kwame Anthony AppiahRussell A. BermanMichael BérubéVictor H. BrombertMargaret W. FergusonSandra M. GilbertSander L. GilmanGerald GraffStephen J. GreenblattRoland GreeneMarianne HirschLinda HutcheonLouis KampfJ. Hillis MillerSylvia MolloyMarjorie G. PerloffCatherine PorterMary Louise PrattElaine ShowalterBarbara Herrnstein SmithSidonie SmithDomna C. StantonCatharine R. StimpsonHelen H. Vendler Additional Signatories Current MLA Officers and Members of the Executive Council President: Diana Taylor First Vice President: Anne Ruggles Gere Second Vice President: Simon E. Gikandi Executive Director: Rosemary G. Feal Emily Apter Angelika Bammer Brian Croxall Gaurav G. Desai Lenora Hanson Eric Hayot Margaret R. Higonnet David Palumbo-Liu David Tse-chien Pan Rafael A. Ramirez Mendoza Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting Evie Shockley Vicky Unruh Dana A. Williams
Petition to John Hickenlooper, Colorado State Senate, Colorado State House
Establish a Colorado Endowment for the Arts and Sciences to save our science and culture
In less than a week since taking office, President Trump has taken numerous steps to decimate America's federal funding support for a host of important scientific and cultural programs. Of these, the most important is his proposal of a new budget that will, if passed through Congress, severely cut back federal funding for scientific research, and eliminate entirely the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). (A full list of the programs which will be affected, and the roles that these programs play in American society, can be found here: http://time.com/money/4639544/trump-nea-sesame-street-budget-cut/.) From even a brief glance at the relevant budgetary data, it is clear that only a tiny portion of the existing federal budget goes to these programs, and therefore that the proposed cuts to them will do very little in terms of helping to reduce federal spending. But these cuts will have devastating consequences for America's universities, museums, and numerous other cultural, educational, and scientific institutions, as well as many thousands of scientists, scholars, artists, musicians, and museum employees, among others, all of whom now face an uncertain future under the proposed policies of the new administration. This serious situation is made even more pressing by the speed with which said cuts are likely to be enacted – in all probability, within the first 100 days of the Trump presidency – which means that these institutions will have precious little time to seek out other sources of financial support before the new, greatly reduced budget will come into effect. To be sure, every state will feel the impacts of the reduced federal budget proposed by the Trump administration. But they will hit Colorado particularly hard, because our state is home to a number of world-class academic, cultural, and scientific research institutions that have made many notable contributions which enrich not only Colorado itself, but also the rest of America and the world at large. Just to give a few examples, these institutions include the University of Colorado at Boulder, which is home to numerous award-winning scholars, including multiple Nobel Prize winners; the Denver Art Museum, which houses one of the largest and most important art collections to be found between the Mississippi River and the West Coast; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which has for decades been one of the most important contributors to climate change research in the United States. Our academic, cultural, and scientific research institutions improve the lives of Coloradans, Americans, and the world, and all Coloradans can be justifiably proud of them. But the majority of these institutions, and many of the dynamic individuals who are employed by them, also rely partially or entirely on financial support from federal funding sources. Consequently, the budget cuts being proposed by the Trump administration pose a substantial threat to Colorado's ability to continue serving as an important producer of science and culture. More importantly, many thousands of Coloradans who are employed by these institutions, and who have provided an important service to Colorado through their labors, may soon face serious cutbacks -- or even lose their jobs entirely -- as a result of the huge cuts to federal funding support desired by the Trump administration. The people who are at risk include both individuals who have developed established reputations as some of the leading lights in their chosen fields, and also young, up-and-coming scientists, artists, writers, etc., whose work represents the cutting edge of their respective professions. Without adequate financial support, these people will lose their ability to effectively serve their state and their country through their scientific and/or creative work -- and that is why it is essential for the State of Colorado to step into the breach and enact vigorous measures that will help to foster cultural and scientific endeavors in our state. To this end, we, the signers of this petition, urgently appeal to Governor Hickenlooper and to the Colorado General Assembly to act now to help protect Colorado’s arts and sciences institutions by establishing a new Colorado Endowment for the Arts and Sciences, which will serve as a permanent source of funding for academic and cultural pursuits in our state. Ideally, we envision that this endowment would behave much as its federal forerunners did prior to the inauguration of President Trump: it would fund grant proposals made by Colorado-based academic and cultural professionals, but only those that make it through a rigorous review process to ensure that these proposals meet the highest standard of quality. (In the case of academic research funding, for example, these proposals would undergo peer-review by experts in the relevant field or fields.) We fully recognize that the State of Colorado cannot completely make up for the impending shortfall of federal funding support on its own. But we are firmly convinced that it is nevertheless crucial for the state to provide whatever funds it can to help mitigate the effects of federal cutbacks to the fullest possible extent. It is true that this will require a financial investment on the part of the Colorado state government to make this happen. But we maintain that the losses that the people of Colorado would suffer if no effort were made to protect our state’s arts and sciences would be incalculably greater. In closing, we wish to point out several reasons why we firmly believe that it is critical for the State of Colorado to act now and take steps to create a Colorado Endowment for the Arts and Sciences. At a purely pragmatic level, this endowment could potentially help to save thousands of Colorado-based jobs, maintain the high quality of Colorado’s universities and museums, ensure that Colorado continues to foster important advances in the arts, the humanities, and the sciences, and preserve our state’s position as an important player in our nation's cultural and scientific life. Moreover, by creating this endowment, Colorado can also send a powerful signal to our nation and the world that the people of this state do not accept the Trump administration’s implicit argument that support for the arts, humanities, and sciences is not and should not be a priority of the American people. And furthermore, the development of this state-level endowment for arts and sciences could also serve as an inspiration and a blueprint for other states to help them preserve their own scientific and cultural institutions. Thus, if Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly act now to protect the arts and sciences, then in addition to saving Colorado jobs and preserving our cultural and scientific resources, our state can also play an important role in helping to safeguard the scientific and cultural foundations of American civilization itself. A great deal is at stake here, and so we call upon you, the governor and elected representatives of the people of Colorado, to take immediate action to save our state's cultural and scientific institutions by finding ways to give them the financial support that they will desperately need in the absence of future federal government funding.