2017 - Winter

The Role of the Artist in Uncertain Times

No Time for Paralysis!

Since the election, I have been thinking a lot about the role of the artist in society.  Can we make a difference? Can we use our voice/our work to speak truth to power, to rally others to action.  I have had a difficult time seeing a way forward with the control of all 3 branches of government by one party, the gerrymandering of Congressional districts, voter suppression laws and the purging of voter rolls.  For days, I was dazed.  I have had a difficult time comprehending that so many Americans could embrace the racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and thinly-veiled Anti-Semitism that Trump so willfully espoused on the campaign trail and that others who did not embrace this exactly, were willing to look past this and give this demagogue their vote.  And then, I had to shake myself and take the actions that I could.  I began by calling my Senators and Congressman.  I began to think that even small things might make a difference and I began making the Ribbons and giving them away.

Then, the cast of Hamilton stood up, literally and figuratively, and respectfully and full-throatedly, beseeched the Vice-President Elect to assure the country that the incoming administration intended to protect the rights of all Americans.

“We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir.  But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.  All of us.” 

Instead of responding in the way any normal politician would–with platitudes and assurances, Pence, simply turned and walked out.  At 5:56 a.m.  Trump TWEETED out an angry response, turning it into a far larger incident than it would otherwise have been – A good example to all of us that small acts can make a difference.

It is more important than ever for those of us who are artists to reach beyond the rarefied atmosphere of the studio, gallery, museum, theater and concert hall and engage in action that can preserve the values that we so dearly share.  I humbly encourage everyone who receives this email, to commit to taking at least one simple action a week – either through your artwork or through other advocacy.  But, I beseech you, don’t simply stay in your studios.  Those of you who are not artists, who have read this far, you have a seriously important role to play too.  There is a new website, called Wall-of-Us that includes 4 simple acts that you can take each week.  I hope that you will.

Take Action!

I created this in response to my deep sadness for our country stemming from the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.  I am girded for the battles to come.  Of particular concern to me are civil rights, the environment and women’s reproductive rights.  What are yours?

Wear this ribbon as a symbol of resistance and as a reminder to stay informed, be vigilant and to take action.

For information on obtaining or how to create your own ribbons please visit http://SollodStudio.com/ribbons-of-resistance/


Swedish Retail Pharmacies Closing

As a cost cutting measure, as previously reported, Providence/St. Joseph’s Swedish brand is closing all of their retail pharmacies.  Cherry Hill's last day is December 30th, First Hill and the Swedish Orthopedic Institute locations will close on January 3rd.  At the Squire Park Board Meeting the first week of this month Swedish reported that they remain hopeful that a retail partner will choose to open on the First Hill campus but no agreements have been reached.  There is no such hope for a deal covering the Cherry Hill campus.
Employees at Swedish have stated that customers will be able to fill and refill prescriptions at any Walgreens location but how and when this transfer will occur is not clear.  Despite promises by Swedish to both notify customers by mail and posted signage at the pharmacies, as of this writing, they have failed to do so.  We are hearing that this delay in notifications may be to facilitate selling of customer’s information/accounts to Wallgreens.
Concerns over what this means for continuity of care, charity care and discharge prescriptions for specialty drugs also remain unaddressed.  Swedish has stated that Walgreens will honor the current Swedish pricing but pharmacy workers have stated that is only for insured customer’s co-pays and not for self-pay customers.
Retail pharmacies at other Providence/St. Joseph’s locations will remain open.
Update: Failure to Directly Notify those Impacted. (1/2/2017)
The only customer notifications that Swedish as made are signs posted at the pharmacies in late December and a single notice posted in the public notice section of the Seattle Times.  A spokesperson for Swedish committed to letters being mailed the first week of December, but that same spokesperson confirmed last week those had not been sent.  At this point their is little expectation that Swedish will make any additional efforts. 
Early in this process it became clear that Swedish was looking at this has a source of revenue.  They made the conscious decision to take what their customers and patients considered personal and private medical information and turn it into a marketable asset to be sold and turned into cash.
Update: Trust and Privacy Breaches (1/4/2017) 
Post closing, we have been hearing about issues with customer profiles being incomplete or worse corrupted and in at least one case merged.
In one case, a customer with a chronic disease requiring a dozen prescription drugs, only had four of them in his Walgreens profile.  After the issue was escalated to Swedish and reported “fixed” by them; The profile only contained two drugs!  That same customer made a single call into a Capitol Hill Walgreens for refills.  After receiving notification from Walgreens that they were ready for pickup, they went to the store only to be told there was nothing to be picked up.  Further research showed that one drug was at a Ballard location and the other was at the 23rd & Jackson store, again this from a single refill request!
Another customer, again with a chronic condition requiring careful management, only had two of their 8 prescriptions transferred.  This customer also found that their profile had been merged with another Swedish patient, they were able to view personal information about the other patient.  They contacted the other patient who was understandably upset that they had not been informed their information had been sold and even more so that their information being exposed and their privacy breached.
Perhaps most disappointingly of all is Swedish denied any responsibility for the above issues.  Instead placing 100% of the blame on Walgreens and their employees saying that they did not know how to use their computers to look up profiles and prescriptions.
Are we do assume these are yet another example of Swedish’s “Extraordinary Care.  Extraordinary Caring.” in action?  It is understandable that Providence/St. Joseph’s and Swedish have to mange their business and even make unpopular decisions from time to time but there is no excuse for a failure to do so in a respectful and responsible manner.  Their failure to inform and communicate with the community and those impacted is unacceptable.  We expect better.


Somos Vecinos (We Are Neighbors)

Clase de Inglés e Intercambio de Lenguaje

Casa Latina, an immigrant rights organization that empowers low-wage Latino immigrants to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to lift their voices to take action around public policy issues that affect them has been a valued part of the Squire Park neighborhood for almost a decade.  Casa Latina provides a suite of impactful programs—including day labor dispatch, ESL classes, job skills & safety trainings, and community organizing for almost 750 worker-members—out of a three-building campus on Jackson Street.

One Casa Latina program you might not know about is “Somos Vecinos”, Spanish classes for English speakers and English classes for Spanish speakers.  Classes are dynamic, interactive, and intended to help students feel comfortable conversing with native Spanish speakers. 

Somos Vecinos was inspired by long-time SPCC member, the late John Jeannot.  John saw the idea as a way for the neighborhood to get to know Casa Latina and its constituents better at the time Casa Latina was moving to Squire Park from another part of the City.

Somos Vecinos continues to be a way to learn a new language, make friends, and show support for community.

The next session of Somos Vecinos begins on January 23.  Two classes ---one for beginners and another intermediate and advanced --- are offered on one of two evenings a week.  Sessions are at Casa Latina at 17th and Jackson.  For more see http://casa-latina.org/, contact Emily Gaggia (206) 686-2618.  or emily@casa-latina.org

AND:  en una programa nueva, Casa Latina y UNAM Seattle ofrecen “Latinoamérica en sus cuentos” que comienza el 23 de enero.  Requisitos: Nivel avanzado de lectura y escritura en español.  Informes: AcademicaSeattle@gmail.com  (atención Claudia Cardenas) 




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