After a year and a half of multiple courses a semester as well as two international trips, I found myself exhausted and ended up taking spring and summer 2016 mostly off. The only courses I took surrounded a study abroad trip to Iceland in June. You can find my daily posts including photos and videos from the trip under the Iceland category in this blog.
Rather than keeping up a heavy class schedule, I used my time during spring and summer 2016 to participate in and do writing for several causes close to my heart, including the Bernie Sanders campaign, environmental protection, and animal welfare. Links to these writings are below.
I was very active in the Bernie Sanders campaign through Central Ohio Grassroots for Bernie Sanders. I attended meetings and events, collected signatures to get Bernie on the ballot in Ohio and Indiana, did phone banking, canvassed for primary votes in Ohio and Indiana, marched in parades, ghost-wrote several letters to the editor, and wrote several columns of my own on three different platforms. One of my columns was shared over 23,000 times. Here are links to my written products:
- “Let’s just stop boomersplaining politics to millennials,” Daily Kos, February 6, 2016 (shared 23,662 times including by actor Wil Wheaton on both Facebook and Twitter)
- “Why I support Bernie Sanders,” Facebook note, March 6, 2016
- “What on earth happened in Ohio?” Daily Kos, March 17, 2016
- “Hillary is making it hard for me to defend her as a climate candidate,” Daily Kos, April 5, 2016
- “Hillary is making it hard for me to defend her as a climate candidate,” Caucus 99 Percent, April 5, 2016
- “If the DNC rigs it for Hillary, Trump will win,” Caucus 99 Percent, May 16, 2016
- “When Politifact isn’t so factual,” Caucus 99 Percent, May 19, 2016
- “Dear Superdelegate: The case for Bernie Sanders,” Caucus 99 Percent, June 4, 2016
- “Reflections on a year of the Sanders campaign,” Facebook note, June 9, 2016
- Published letters to the editor ghost-written for Heidi Detty, Bianca Davis, and Brian Meyers.
I wrote two articles and appeared in a radio news story on behalf of the Ohio Sierra Club. I also made two presentations about the Paris Climate Conference and was featured in the Glenn College alumni magazine Public Address. Here are links:
- “Witnessing and Making History in Paris,” Sierra Club Central Ohio Group newsletter, Winter/Spring 2016, pp. 8-9 (pdf)
- “Portman wrong on climate, out of step with Ohio,” Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign blog, March 7, 2016
- “Paris Agreement,” presentation to Northwest Area Progressives, March 22, 2016 (pdf)
- “Inside the Paris Agreement,” Bexley Public Library presentation, March 31, 2016 (pdf)
- “From The Power Plant To Your Electric Bill: Federal Ruling Sets Stage For Big Decisions,” Andy Chow, Statehouse News Bureau, May 16, 2016
- “Glenn College student Cathy Becker attends Paris climate conference,” Public Address, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Summer 2016, p. 6 (pdf).
I have been much more active in animal protection causes in past years, but this year the cause landed back in my lap with the opening of Petland in my town of Grove City, Ohio. I had not seen any notice that the city was considering approval of this, but after it happened hundreds of animal advocates turned out to urge city leaders to pass a law requiring pet stores to use only the shelter-rescue model in sale of dogs and cats. Grove City Council, under the leadership of Ted Berry and Laura Lanese, did pass that ordinance, prompting Petland to take their grievance to state legislators, who introduced a bill to override Ohio’s home rule provisions on pet stores.
Working with the Humane Society of the United States in Ohio, I published two letters to the editor on the Petland controversy and testified before Grove City Council and twice before state legislative committees. Here are links: