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Chacounne, equally well known as Heather, a longtime Kossack and dedicated anti-torture activist, is one of my sisters. I have several sisters who are Kossacks; they come in a variety of colors, sizes, and abilities. As many of you know, Aji is one of them. In fact, Chacounne is not only my sister, she's Aji's sister as well. After a number of moves, she's in Ottawa, settled in to a place she can call home, and is even ruled by a pootie, a rescue (of course - she wouldn't do anything else) who came with the name of Gucci and a lot of excess weight.

This is Heather today, with new dentures and a new smile.
Heather needs our help, and she needs it NOW. If we don't get her $879.08 US in time for her to get it to the power company, Enbridge, they'll turn off her heat and hot water on Friday. That's this Friday. Not much time. Aji's diary earlier today raised $650 and I hope this one will raise the rest tonight and help her get the computer she needs (see further on). She's asking if the deadline to pay the power bill can be extended, but you know how power companies are and so do I. That's the most immediate need. Her Paypal address is chacounne [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here's what happened:

As you may remember, last year I moved into a subsidized co-op apartment. Things have been going very well there, and I finally feel like I have a real home, complete with a furry Queen of my kingdom, a pootie whose name is Gucci (she came that way.) One of the challenges with this move was that I had to set up a whole household, for the first time since I moved from Vancouver to Ottawa, so I needed to purchase a couch, a chair, curtains, pots and pans and dishes, lamps, etc. etc. Unfortunately, neither the Province nor the City of Ottawa, paid for any of this. So I used the funds which should have gone for paying my "Enbridge" bill. They are the folks who supply my heat and hot water. I have been working to pay back those funds but it has become too much. I can pay the ongoing charges, but need help with the backlog. They are now, after being very forgiving, demanding payment. The bill is $879.08. Sigh !
But that's not all. Her computer has completely died and she needs to get one on which she can produce and edit video. She's doing a project, to be completed next June: she's gathered 30 torture survivors and is doing YouTube videos of them. In her words:
As such things go, my laptop just died, which has been slowing down my work, because I can only use my library's computer for an hour a day. I am currently working on a large project for next June, bringing together thirty torture survivors and/or their families to do a Youtube a day in commemoration of Torture Awareness Month. To get this done, it is really essential to have lengthy computer access. Basically, it will be a survivor or family member(s) looking into the camera and putting up 3x5" cards one at a time with their message about one method or aspect of torture. No sound. This was an idea that got its genesis at Netroots Nation in one of panels and I'm finally taking it on :) Many of these style youtubes have gone viral, so I'm hoping. The idea of having the cards is that people will be drawn in because they have to read it, not just listen. I hope this helps.
More on the computer need below the fleur du Kos.
Here's how to help: Donations should go to her Paypal address, chacounne [at] gmail [dot] com. If you prefer to send it by mail, Kosmessage me and I'll give you the address, but I don't feel that it's safe to post it in a diary. She adds: "For those in Canada, they can use the paypal email to send a Electronic Funds transfer, which sends the funds directly from their account to mine, without either of us knowing each other's account number, and with only a dollar charge :)"
Chacounne is well-known on the GOS for a number of things, among them her staunch defense of those suffering from injustice, her ready hugs and for always signing her comments with her name and in memory of her late husband. Here's how she signs  many comments:
               
Standing for justice and accountability,
                               For Dan,
                               Heather
And here's her .sig:
Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

Look familiar? She's all over DKos, handing out hugs to those she thinks might have the slightest possibility of benefiting from some TLC and making wise points in her quiet yet emphatic way. You'll find her in KosAbility; she, like me, is disabled, though in very different ways. You'll find her in any social justice or injustice topic. You'll find her giving kind words everywhere. Come below the fleur du Kos with me for more.

When it comes to the computer, she's going to need something that can handle video editing. That it doesn't have sound will hopefully make it easier, but I don't know what it's going to come to. I think we should aim for a grand total of at least $2000 to get her a computer that will do what she needs and allow her to complete this important project - the money for Enbridge, the rest to get the computer she needs, and maybe even some extra for a cushion if we can pull that off. A dear friend, first love, and former fiancé of mine, Kevin the Roseman, shoots and edits a LOT of video for punk and metal bands in the San Francisco Bay Area and posts entire sets of their work on Youtube. He'll be able to give me some idea of the kind of hardware Heather will need for her anti-torture work. I'll update here tomorrow with that. Let's get her what she needs; with it she'll hold torturers accountable.

Heather lives on Canada's version of SSDI, and it doesn't pay much. She has medical conditions that leave her completely disabled, have shrunken her stature, and taken all her teeth. The new smile is a big deal and comes after a lot of pain and hassle.

My sister's late husband was her soulmate. He was a 'Nam vet who survived torture; that's what set his widow on her anti-torture path. He woke up screaming at least once a week. As she puts it in her profile:

My husband, Dan, was a Vietnam vet who survived torture. Five years ago, Dan had a fatal heart attack & left me a mission, to stop torture as the law, policy & practice of the US, & to fight for accountability, For Dan.
In a comment last month to commonmass, she says that this year it's nine years since she lost her Dan to a heart attack, a few days before he was to have a kidney transplant that would have gotten him off dialysis. Go read her comment, pretty please. It's a good example of the kindness she spreads everywhere she goes on the Big Orange.

To give you a little bit of an idea of who she is offline, she's a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms and well-known there. She's someone who walks her talk, getting herself from Ottawa to DC for anti-torture work and lobbying even though she lives on a shoestring. She's one of the warmest, kindest, most outgoing people you could ever meet, and while we were already friends on DKos, we became sisters quickly when I first met her. That was at Netroots 2009 in Pittsburgh; she was there on a DFA scholarship. She felt it was important to her work, so she made it happen.
That's what she does.

I want to share a few pictures with you. Heather sent these to me this afternoon.

Heather and Dan the day Heather knew she loved him.
Heather and Dan at the Society for Creative Anachronisms  the day after he proposed
Gucci, queen of Heather's home. She arrived weighing 20 pounds and is on a special weight reduction food.
Isn't Gucci lovely?
Another shot of Gucci's pretty face.
I'm sorry I am having such a hard time coming up with something pithy to say. I love Heather dearly and don't want to see the power company - the same Enbridge that's giving the First Nations people all the trouble - take away her heat and hot water. Please help in any way you can. Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter (and elsewhere, if you can). Email your friends and family who are interested in seeing justice done and tell them the woman whose life mission it is to get it for Omar Khadr needs help. Tip and rec this diary and let other Kossacks know about it. And please, if there's any bit that you can spare, donate to this dedicated activist and loving heart. Heather - Chacounne - is one of our own.

Again, here's how to help:

Donations should go to her Paypal address, chacounne [at] gmail [dot] com. If you prefer to send it by mail, Kosmessage me and I'll give you the address, but I don't feel that it's safe to post it in a diary. She adds: "For those in Canada, they can use the paypal email to send a Electronic Funds transfer, which sends the funds directly from their account to mine, without either of us knowing each other's account number, and with only a dollar charge :)"
Thank you for reading this far, and thank you in advance for helping my beloved sister Heather.

7:12 PM PT: Here's what I received from Kevin just now about computer needs for video:

Hardware-wise, video editing can be computationally intensive. Newer hardware would be far better than older, more underpowered machines. Software-wise, i use a free editor called VirtualDub (only works on windows, and only takes MPG or AVI input files, although with a plugin it can take MOV or FLV as well; always stores AVI output). Is this going to be video clips? Or a series of static images, each shown for a while before showing the next one ("Slideshow" style)? There are quite a few editors out there, LOTS of pay-for ones, but also some freebies (such as virtualdub). One that makes a video out of a series of still images might be easier to use; but if the input footage is already video footage, then a regular editor is probably needed (not even sure if virtual dub can handle a series of still images as input, hmmph). Also, if you want "transition effects" or a "blend" between one shot and the next, you would need something other than virtualdub. I use it since it fits my needs, but i only shoot 1 camera angle, plus i use windows.

I can probably look up some freebies depending on her needs (once i know them)... But my only real experience is with Virtualdub. I even bought adobe's video editor.. never used it, since i could do everything i needed with VD... so any programs i look up will be based upon reviews, and not on personal experience. I think the biggest question is: "Is she just making a moving slideshow from a bunch of still photographs?" Or does she need to splice together a series of short video clips (perhaps with trimming each one at start/end down to desired length and just the juicy part, especially since a lot of amateur video clips have jerky starts or endings),

Thu Jul 24, 2014 at  7:12 PM PT: Great news! I got this note from Heather via Facebook today:

You are not going to believe this. The total raised to now ... $1500 ! I am completely verklempt and humbled and gob-smacked. One of the problems with Enbridge was that they don't have an in-person office, and I couldn't phone them because of my hearing. They answered my email asking for more time and have given me until the 1st to do the payment ! YAY ! I will sleep much, much, much better tonight. Thank you , thank you, thank you ! Bless you ! Love and Hugs, H

Originally posted to Kitsap River on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 05:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by KosAbility and Community Fundraisers.

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