RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR SEPT 14, 2020

SOLIDARITY LOWELL
RAPID RESPONSE TEAM
ACTION LIST FOR SEPT 14, 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

Save The Date: September General Meeting

Sunday September 27th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Main topic: presentation from PFLAG.

Local Events and Actions

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, September 17, 5pm
Concerned about the looming eviction crisis in Lowell? Would you like to join a group working on ways to address it? This is the group. Current plans include publication of a resource booklet, a simple flier with steps for folks facing eviction, and neighborhood organizing.
Call: 978-222-7877
or
Visit: https://lowell-mutual-aid.com/form/ to submit needs or offer help.

Watch for an announcement of the next meeting, with Zoom link at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2658623527701727/

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.
September’s nominees include 2 Lowell groups, St. Paul’s Soup Kitchen and D’Youville Life and Wellness Community.
To vote for one, go to: https://milltownplumbing.com/milltowns-helping-hands/

The Farm Market at Mill No. 5

Sundays from 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/

City Hall Access Limited

Public access to City Hall is limited to Tuesdays from 8AM – 8PM and Thursdays from 8AM – 5PM.

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, Sep 22, 6:30pm
At the beginning of the emergency, the City Council voted to meet every 2 weeks to facilitate safe distancing. Watch the meeting on LTC (Channel 99 or https://www.ltc.org/watch/channel-99/). Members wishing to speak regarding a specific agenda item shall register to speak in advance by sending an email to the City Clerk indicating the agenda item and a phone number to call so that they may be conferenced in to the meeting. Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV. If no access to email you may contact City Clerk at 978-674-4161.
The agenda will be posted at http://lowellma.gov/agendacenter by the Friday before.

State-level Actions and Events

Register for Climate Preparedness Week

September 24-30
Join CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather) for a week of virtual events about climate preparedness, including discussions with Zimbabwean women farmers on how they’re coping with climate change and a discussion with Heatwave and Palaces of the People author Eric Klinenberg on the role of social infrastructure in preparing us for climate impacts.
https://www.climatecrew.org/prep_week

Pending Legislation

When the legislature extended its session through the end of the year, instead of just to the end of July, a lot of the frenzied urgency to pass specific bills faded away. But just because you haven’t heard much lately, doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to do. Some bills are stuck. In Joint Committee as the differences between House and Senate bills need to be reconciled. Or in a Committee that still needs to report a bill out favorably in order for it to move forward. Some of the legislation that can use your support is listed below.

Police Reform Bill
This bill is in joint committee, with representatives of the House and Senate wrangling over which provisions to keep that aren’t common to both bills.You can help fight for the strongest possible version of the bill. Legislators have been hearing from the police; they need to also hear from the PEOPLE.

1) Email your legislators and Governor Baker (template provided at link)
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/fight-for-the-strongest-police-reform-bill

2) Contact the Conference Committee Members:

EMAIL: William.Brownsberger@masenate.govSonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.govBruce.Tarr@masenate.govClaire.Cronin@mahouse.govCarlos.Gonzalez@mahouse.govTimothy.Whelan@mahouse.gov

OR CALL
William Brownsberger: (617) 722-1280
Sonia Chang-Diaz: (617) 722-1673
Bruce Tarr: (617) 722-1600
Claire Cronin: (617) 722-2396
Carlos González: (617) 722-2080
Timothy Whelan: (617) 722-2488

WHAT TO SAY: It is essential that the final police reform bill includes reforms to the MA Civil Rights Act so that violations of our rights are not swept aside and limits qualified immunity so that victims of police brutality can get justice.

HAVE TIME TO SAY MORE?: Here is the expanded list of 12 provisions that you can copy from https://actionnetwork.org/letters/fight-for-the-strongest-police-reform-bill

Housing Stability
Call or email in support of the Guaranteed Housing Stability to prevent evictions and foreclosures. Scripts for both are provided. Click on the tab of your preferred action.
https://www.housingguarantee.org/

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (H.4700/S.2701)
Emergency Paid Sick Time has been reported favorably out of the Labor and Workforce Development committee! The next stop for our Emergency Paid Sick Time legislation is the Ways and Means committee of both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Email your State Representative and Senator urging them to help move the bill.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/move-epst/

Right to Counsel
Most tenants facing eviction do not have counsel. Most landlords do. Tenants stand a much better chance of being able to fight eviction if they have counsel. The Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition is asking the state to dedicate $6 million from federal CARES Act funds to establish a right-to-counsel pilot program for low-income tenants and homeowners in eviction proceedings. The mayors of 22 cities sent a letter to the governor in support of the fund. The chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court made a statement in support of the measure.

You can write to the governor
https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office

Sample script:
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) estimates that 65,000 Massachusetts renter households receiving unemployment benefits will not have enough money to pay their rent after the eviction ban and federal subsidies expire. This does not include workers who are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits, including undocumented workers or self-employed workers who receive benefits through PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). Another report by the Census Bureau found hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents had little confidence they would be able to pay their current month’s rent.  With such massive numbers, preventing evictions from ever getting to court must be a priority.

Most tenants facing eviction do not have counsel. Most landlords do. Tenants stand a much better chance of being able to fight eviction if they have counsel.

I’m writing to urge you to meet the request of the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition to dedicate $6 million from the federal CARES Act funds to establish a right-to-counsel pilot program for low-income tenants and homeowners in eviction proceedings.

Phonebank for Census 

If people aren’t counted, we lose Federal funding for the next TEN YEARS. The last Census cost MA a representative. 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 in communities of color, working-class neighborhoods, and more to participate in the 2020 Census. http://bit.ly/vbm-signup

National Actions and Events

Uncertain Times, Certain Fear: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in the COVID-19 Era

September 16, 2020 | 3:00pm-4:00pm ET | Webinar

Echoing history, the fears and anxieties over the current global health pandemic have fed an increase in xenophobia—including anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment. Join HIAS and ADL for a dynamic conversation about the historic and contemporary intersections of anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, and how the current pandemic is impacting refugees and asylum seekers in particular.

Advanced registration required: https://www.hias.org/get-involved/events/uncertain-times-certain-fear-anti-semitism-and-anti-immigrant-sentiment-covid-19

Become a community co-sponsor of the Breathe Act

The BREATHE Act aims to: Divest resources from incarceration and policing; Build new approaches to community safety; Invest resources to build equitable communities for all, enhance the self-determination of all Black and POC communities; Allocate funds to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities
https://breatheact.org

Urge your Federal legislators to pass the Native American Voting Rights Act

Co-authored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) this bill will ensure tribal polling places have proper voting equipment, require tribal consultation on polling site locations, and provide tribes with the resources they need to carry out full and fair elections. There have been too many attempts in the last few years to deny Native Americans their right to vote.
https://action.lakotalaw.org/action/pass-navra

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