RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR AUGUST 11, 2020

SOLIDARITY LOWELL
RAPID RESPONSE TEAM
ACTION LIST FOR AUGUST 11, 2020
The RRT (Rapid Response Team) Action List compiles action items from the week and upcoming events into one place. If you would like to add anything to the weekly update, please send it to Dee Halzack at dee@solidaritylowell.com.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Solidarity Lowell – No August General Meeting

SL Members voted and decided we need a break! Have a happy and safe August. We will resume our meetings on Sunday September 27th, with a presentation from PFLAG.

Local Events and Actions

Phonebank for our endorsed candidate Lisa Arnold

Join a phonebank for Lisa Arnold, who is running for State Rep in the 17th Middlesex district. No special equipment or software is required, just a computer with microphone and speakers (though a headset is helpful).
Phonebanks happen every Thursday and Saturday.
RSVP to volunteer@lisaforstaterep.com to sign up!

Mill City Nonprofits Nominated for Donations by MillTown Helping Hands

MillTown Helping Hands is a community give-back program. Each month, from all nominations received, MillTown will select 3 – 4 well-deserving local charities that could use a little help. Voting takes place throughout the month, and the nominee with the most votes will receive $1,000 donation.
August’s nominees include 2 Lowell groups, Coalition for a Better Acre and Project Learning.
To vote for one, go to: https://milltownplumbing.com/milltowns-helping-hands/

The Farm Market at Mill No. 5

Sunday, Aug 16, 10am-1pm
250 Jackson St, Lowell
The Farm Market is outside. The building is also now open with safety rules, including masks and social distancing.
https://www.facebook.com/thefarmmarket/

State-level Actions and Events

Phonebank for Census and Vote by Mail
People in communities hit hardest by COVID-19 need a voice in what resources are needed for recovery. That’s why MA Voter Table and Masscounts are calling residents and voters in communities of color, working-class neighborhoods, and more to participate in the 2020 Census and to make a plan to vote safely this fall.
http://bit.ly/vbm-signup

Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement Coalition Action Request

Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement Coalition (MASC) is gathering statements of support from Massachusetts State Legislators. You can help by contacting your State Senator and Representative and ask them to put into writing their support to end this practice.
If you succeed in getting a response, please send it to lwagner@uumassaction.org
We are gathering all responses, positive or negative.
Thank you for taking part in this action!
Cassandra Bensahih, MASC statewide coordinator and Senior Organizer, UU Mass Action
Laura Wagner, Executive Director, UU Mass Action

Sample email ask:
Dear [Senator or Representative – send an email to both]
I am deeply disturbed by the state sanctioned violence of solitary confinement. The United Nations has declared solitary confinement after 15 days to be torture, and yet Massachusetts Correctional facilities routinely hold people for much longer than this – sometimes as long as 30 years. The 2018 Criminal Justice Reforms Act mandatory Solitary Confinement reforms have yet to be fully implemented. In fact, imprisonment in solitary has drastically increased during the pandemic.
I am writing to you to ask that you respond to me in writing and state your position on the use of solitary confinement in Massachusetts prisons and jails. Solitary confinement is torture. There is no documented evidence that this practice has any redeeming value, and in fact, where states have drastically reduced the practice, incidents of violence in the general population have declined. (The Last Days of Solitary). (6/23/20 MASC press Release)
Solitary is a tortuous, barbaric practice that must end. Black, Latinx and LGBTQI prisoners are disproportionately impacted by extended solitary confinement imprisonment. I am committed to ending Solitary Confinement in Massachusetts and I’d like to know if you are, as well.
Sincerely,
(Name)

State Legislator contact information:
Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov 617-722-2263
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. David Nangle David.Nangle@mahouse.gov 617-722-2520
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 617-722-1572

National Actions and Events

Speak out against attempt to undo HUD protections for transgender people

The current administration is looking to remove critical protections meant to ensure the safety of any trans person in need of Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funded programs – especially homeless shelters! We have until September to comment on the proposed new rules to try to fight them. You’ll find guidance on the page on the link for writing a message. The government has to read every unique comment they receive, so the more people write, the more they have to pay attention.
http://housingsaveslives.org

Speak out against proposed new asylum rules designed to bar almost everyone

We have until August 9 to comment on proposed new rules designed to make almost every asylum-seeker ineligible! (E.g., no one coming from a country where there are any COVID-19 cases will be accepted!) The government has to read every unique comment. Please tell them what you think. All the information you need to take acton is at the link.
https://www.hias.org/take-action-prevent-new-proposed-regulations-barring-asylum

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius
Marius is the Togolese asylum seeker whom the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN) is sponsoring. With generous support from people like you and MVISN member groups like ours, Marius has retained an immigration lawyer, filed an application for asylum, and successfully moved his case to the Boston immigration courts from El Paso, exponentially increasing his possibility of ultimately winning his case. Until Marius receives legal authorization to work, our network has committed to financially supporting him with $500/month.
Can you chip in towards the $500 we need to meet our commitment to him? Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Consider becoming a “sustaining supporter” by making a recurring monthly donation, no size too small! We are also looking for folks who are interested in helping in an ongoing basis, in any of these three committees: Legal, Fundraising, and Housing. If you’re interested, please email mvisn@solidaritylowell.com
Donate here: http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/ (please write “asylum” in the “special notes” part of the donation form)

Solidarity Lowell is a volunteer group of community members of Greater Lowell working toward social justice by defending the human rights, dignity, and equality of all persons against all forms of hate and discrimination.

Visit the Solidarity Lowell website at solidaritylowell.com

For more events not listed here, visit the full Events calendar: http://solidaritylowell.com/events/

For volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page: http://solidaritylowell.com/volunteer-opportunities/

View the notes from our July meeting here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K4F3LJ0grKGlc2-752dQ-x8d3KtQAJGkEVjnFDj9QDM/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our July meeting:
https://youtu.be/OOF3wIb6hwM

Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to joinhttps://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow