Brenda Lynn Siegel

We will not fall deeper and give up

The toughest fights many of us have waged in our lifetimes have come from a place of fear, loss, sadness, and grief. Let us move forward with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tenacity and strength.

When asked how she wanted to be remembered, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said:

“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

I was sitting by the lake with my friend and closest political confidant, Teddy Waszazak, as we received the news of her passing. This is a moment I won't soon forget. I looked at my phone, I gasped, and I slammed it down. Then I looked at him and said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.”

He immediately got up, went inside, and began to furiously look up press sources, much like so many of us did in that moment, hoping, praying, that this was not correct.

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The weight of the grief

There is nothing like burying a young person and — even more so — to bury that person’s son next to them just over 20 years later

I spent the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur doing a practice called Tashlikh, where you go to the river or other body of water and throw in bread; though I threw sticks, rocks, and leaves so as not to disrupt the water source. In my Jewish...

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Dangerous, ignorant leadership has no place in drug policy

The remarks of the Vermont commissioner of public safety were dangerous and, true to form, ignore evidence-based realities about opioid-use disorder in the state’s response to a deadly epidemic. It’s time for him to go.

On April 16, a press conference addressed the major drug bust that happened in Brattleboro not long ago. This media event was held, in part, to commend law enforcement for handling this enormous task and a job well done. Commissioner of Public Safety Tom Anderson also wanted to put...

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What can we do?

It starts with educating ourselves, becoming literate in the disease, and using best practices to end it. We are raising a generation of kids for whom it is normal to lose people to overdose - so normal that they have rituals for when their friends die. A generation of parents are losing their children. We have a responsibility to act. In Vermont, we have the opportunity to implement model policies that will increase awareness about the need to fund harm-reduction...

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Kaya’s story

Kaya Siegel died on March 8, 2018 of a heroin overdose at the age of 25, becoming a statistic in an epidemic tearing through our youth. These statistics are children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, and friends. Born on March 22, 1992 at home in Brattleboro, his parents, Johnathon and Ea, were in love with their new baby. His smile was contagious and his personality joyful. He was the first baby of the next generation in our family. His mom was a...

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‘For 30 days, I wore black’

When my brother died, I was 19 years old. It was beautiful and sunny peak autumn, and my heart was broken. My aunt had to fly to meet me where I was living in Tennessee so I would have someone to fly back with me. To his memorial service I wore clothing that felt “magical.” I would wake up all night, every night. I had no concept of the pain that was to lie ahead or that I would grieve...

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Powerful and right

On Feb. 1, I attended the raising of the Black Lives Matter flag at Montpelier High School. It seemed like it would be a historic moment, and I wanted to stand in solidarity with this amazing youth-led action. I arrived a bit early and had a chance to observe as others showed up: students from elementary to college age, legislators, school-board members, people from the community and from across the state. I began to feel the impact of the event...

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Reclaiming our time at the Women’s Convention

In late October, I boarded a plane and embarked upon a journey that I would later find out would change my life and my perspective on the world. I was on my way to the Inaugural Women's Convention organized by the Women's March Team in Detroit. After a lifetime of being involved in the political process and a year of protests, rallies, meetings, lobbying, phone calls, op-eds, art for change, and more, I had begun to feel a fire in...

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