Category Archives: Utah

Bea Gaddy and My Wish

Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange.  Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.

As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)

Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts.  I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

I learned in 2005 about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange.  Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exchange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.

And now Coat Exchange events are held coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.

As I have been reflecting on this event,  I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….

I have grown up to be more like Bea Gaddy.

My desire  is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange. I hope that others feel inspired to serve the neighbors in the communities in which they live.

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Bea Gaddy Places:

Bea Gaddy Bio

Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter

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This article is originally hosted at: https://coatexchange.org/serving-the-community/

While written in the past, I post this each year.  Everything in it still stands.  Peace.

Dee’s Green Party of Utah Party Office Candidate Speech

Yesterday (June 24) the Green Party of Utah held its state convention. Candidates for party offices were elected and Dr. Jill Stein was our guest speaker.

I was elected to state delegate to the national Green Party and as a state Grassroots Coorindator.  This is the speech I prepared, part of it was earmarked for an acceptance speech, but we ran behind so I did not get to deliver it in person, so I offer a slightly modified version of it here.

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Good afternoon , my name is Deanna Dee Taylor and I am a candidate for Grassroots Coordinator and  National Delegate. The following words, written by my husband Tom, hang on various walls in my home and serve as a daily reminder of what I believe.

I pledge allegiance to ALL life

in its interdependent diversity;

and to the Planet upon which it exists;

one World, under the sky, undividable

with harmony and balance for ALL.

I want to talk to you about the sunflower.

There is a project called the Fukushima Sunflower Foster Parent Project, launched in 2011 about two months after the nuclear power plant disaster. The hope was that sunflowers could be used to cleanse radiation-contaminated soil, as reported following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear crisis. But it was determined that sunflowers actually had little effect on removing radioactive contamination, so Team Fukushima decided to focus its efforts on reviving the economy. What happened next was nothing short of miraculous, as reported in the Japan Times in 2015.

The project distributed more than 12,000 bags containing 5 grams of imported sunflower seeds to schools, businesses, groups and individuals.

Ten tons of harvested seeds were returned the following year and were then used across Fukushima to grow sunflowers, make edible oil and process used sunflower oil for fuel. As a result, people came to visit Fukushima, helping to restore the economy. The project helped to create jobs, restore businesses, and build tourism through a charter bus system that developed the use of biofuel, processed from waste sunflower oil, to power some of its route buses.

Team Fukushima represented the desires of its people to restore life from disaster through the sunflower, which is also the international symbol of nuclear disarmament and of the Green Party. As a Green Party National Delegate, I plan to represent the members of the Green Party of Utah to the national Green Party in an effort to be active in the movement to restore the interests of our people TO our people, from the disaster of our political climate today.

Since I was a small child I have loved life. I have always felt a kinship to the planet. This passion has led me down many wonderful paths as I have grown. One of those paths led me to the Green Party 17 years ago. Today I formally reaffirm my commitment to furthering the values of the Green Party through my active participation in the Green Party of Utah, and through the example I strive to live each day in alignment with the Ten Key Values. My hopes and desires for the GPUT are to see it develop as a viable party in Utah to truly represent the will of the people of this state and offer REAL choices to the state’s voters of candidates who hold the interests of the people, of the environment, and of all life, ABOVE everything else!

Most of all, my heart is with our Mother who provides us the air we breathe and water we drink, and to whom I owe my existence.

Having served as Green Party National Delegate in the past, I am familiar with the role and responsibility of Delegate to fully represent the will of the GPUT membership on all issues discussed and up for vote at the national level. I fully intend to serve on the membership’s behalf to the National Committee of the Green Party and to ensure that the values upon which the Green Party is built, are a priority.

In the words of Petra Kelly, founder of the German Green Party – the FIRST Green Party – and leader in the disarmament and social justice movements– “If there is a future, it will be Green.”

Well, that future has arrived, Green Party of Utah! And we ARE green and growing!

H.B. 477: A change of heart?

Utah’s lawmakers are either pulling their collective heads out of the sand or are worried about their political careers…..or both.

Perhaps one of the most controversial pieces of legislature in the 2011 Utah Session was the passage and signing of H.B. 477, which now makes electronic communications of elected officials private.  Hundreds of people from all political persuasions opposed the signing of this bill and even stormed the State Capitol Building on the final evening of the legislative session, demanding that democracy and transparency be upheld by repealing this action.

Genuine and sustainable leadership has been absent in this struggle and our country and state has increasingly witnessed a pendulum type swing from democracy into corporatocracy where policy implemented benefits a select few and HB477 only serves but a select few.  This is easily demonstrated as our Governor has decided to keep prying eyes away from what we all call a HONEST DEMOCRACY.  We found out last year thanks to our open records law which companies our Governor chose to give lucrative state contracts to. Which also lets the public review who the major contributors are, to our Governor and our State Legislators.  By the Governor Herbert signing this bill WE can ALL see who benefits from HB-477.

(Melodia Gutierrez, One Utah post, Where has justice gone and what can we do to retrieve it?)

But now some lawmakers are re-considering the bill and  are even advocating repealing the bill in a special spring session before consideration of any amendments which would occur over the summer.

Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, initially supported the bill because he had at one time been forced to release a personal email. Continue reading

WHOSE Land is This?

There is a double standard going on in Utah.  Legislators want control of the land to be “given back” to Utah:

Utah to Washington: This land is my land!  Resolution suggests D.C. cede 35,000 square miles of state

“Be it resolved, that the Legislature of the state of Utah calls on the United States, through their agent, Congress, to relinquish to the state of Utah all right, title, and jurisdiction in those lands that were committed to the purposes of this state by terms of its Enabling act compact with them and that now reside within the state as public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management that were reserved by Congress after the date of Utah statehood,” says theState Jurisdiction of Federally Managed Lands Joint Resolution.

WHOSE land is this?  Hint: It’s NOT the Federal Government’s and it is NOT the Utah Government. If ANYONE is going to get their land back, it must be to be the RIGHTFUL guardians of the land : The Newe (Utes, Piutes, Goshutes, Shoshoni) and Diné (Navajo) People.

Utah Indian tribes--Utes, Goshutes, Navajo, and Shoshone

If Utah’s Legislators are really interested in insisting that the reigns on the land be released from the hands of government, they need to get it straight.  This land does not “belong” to anyone.   The control of the land should be  restored to the ancestors of the original Natives of the land, from whom the control was stolen.

Oh but wait.  Back to the double standard going on in Utah.  The governor of Utah has taken control of Indian Affairs in Utah. It looks like Utah’s Government will stay in control of Native Affairs for the foreseeable future.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Standing Up for a Livable Future

(Permission granted to repost by author Jamie Pleune at The Wilderness Project — original post)

For the past few weeks, I have been learning how to sing.  Once a week, members of the Unitarian Church, social activists, and climate activists have been gathering together to learn the some of the old protest songs that buoyed up the abolition movement, the civil rights movement, and the peace movement.  I won’t lie.  It’s a little awkward to find my voice and raise it up in public.  But as I learn the classic songs of civil dissent, like “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and “Been to Jail for Justice,” I have begun to think that maybe we all need to practice raising our voices a little bit more.  These classics have also made me think about the corrective role of civil disobedience in a free society.

Dissent is a part of democracy and civil disobedience can be a courageous act of dissent.  A person practicing civil disobedience puts his liberty on the line in order to continue living with a free conscience.  Thanks to such courageous acts, slavery is illegal, women have the right to vote, black and white customers share the same lunch counter, and children no longer work in mines or sweatshops.

This Monday, February 28, Tim DeChristopher will face trial in Salt Lake City for objecting to the government’s prioritization of fossil fuel interests over the public’s interest in a livable future in the face of climate change.   On December 19, 2008 as the Bush Administration headed out of office, it offered oil and gas companies the opportunity to purchase leases to drill in scenic and biologically sensitive areas.  Some of the parcels bordered Arches National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, the Needles Overlook and Hatch Point, while others were on sage-grouse habitat or on wilderness-quality land.

Tim intended to join a group of protesters lawfully picketing the auction outside the U.S. Bureau of Land Management office.  On arrival, it took only a few minutes for him to recognize the familiar dynamic plaguing our nation’s relationship to fossil fuels:  the people were outside, while the oil and gas companies were inside.  An economics student at the University of Utah, Tim had recently taken a final exam that asked whether the sale price of the oil and gas leases at the BLM auction would accurately reflect fair market value if the only bidders in the room worked for oil and gas interests.

Tim decided to go inside.

The rest of the story is common knowledge.  Tim became Bidder 70.  He bid up the price of several leases (initially they were selling for only $2.00 an acre).  Halfway through the auction, he began winning leases.  Recognizing that something was awry, the auctioneer called for a break and eventually canceled the auction.  This bought enough time for a federal court to review the sale and issue a temporary restraining order for apparent procedural problems.  Later, when the BLM re-evaluated the appropriateness of selling each parcel, it concluded that only 17 of the 77 parcels were ready to be leased.  The other 60 parcels were either inappropriate for oil and gas development or inadequately evaluated.

Although both the judicial branch and the executive branch seen to have concluded that the December 19, 2008 auction was unlawful, Tim will spend Monday morning facing the possibility of ten years in prison.

Why is the federal government pushing for a criminal conviction in this case?  When a citizen defies an admittedly unlawful government act, what good is served by criminal punishment?  Tim acted on behalf of all of us, pushing the government to protect our public lands and our right to a livable future in the face of climate change.  Even the Department of Defense has recognized that climate change presents a serious threat.  Yet, the fossil fuel industry continues to enjoy subsidies, tax breaks and preferential treatment inside the halls of Congress while “We the People” wait outside.

It’s time for reform.  And it’s time to show support for members of our community with the moral courage to align their conscience and their actions by standing up for our right to a livable future.  That is why I, and many others, will stand in solidarity with Tim on Monday outside the courthouse.  Oh, and by the way, we’ll be singing.

Jamie Pleune, a sixth generation Utahn, lives in Salt Lake City.  She recently completed a 350 mile “Pilgrimage for Hope” through Utah to raise awareness for climate change. You can learn more about the “Bidder 70” trial by visiting http://www.peacefuluprising.org.