SOLIDARITY LOWELL RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR OCTOBER 2, 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

Next SL General Meeting
Sunday October 25th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Watch for more details

Important Election Dates

Vote as early as you can, ESPECIALLY if you’ll be voting by mail.

The state has not said when mail ballots will be mailed out to those who requested them already.
October 17: In-person early voting begins.
October 24: Last day to register to vote and change party enrollment for state election.
October 28: Last day to submit Vote by Mail application or Absentee ballot application for mailed ballot for election. (The state recommends doing it by October 20.) They will not be accepted after this date.
October 30: In-person early voting for state election ends.
November 3: Election Day (mail-in ballots must be postmarked by this date)
November 6: Mail-in ballots must be received by this date.

Mail-in ballots may be returned by drop box or mailed. The drop box is located at City Hall. Unless things change from the primary, the drop box will be located INSIDE the back entrance facing JFK plaza. Ballots may be deposited through the mail slot in the door when the door is locked.

If you’re voting by mail be sure to read and follow ALL instructions. 2% of Primary ballots were rejected because they arrived too late or some instruction was not followed.

Election Action Opportunities

You have a choice of textbanking, phonebanking. postcarding, or letterwriting to get out the vote or to support specific candidates, to your contacts or to a list provided to you, in your state or in a battleground state. Most of the campaigns that have you send letters or postcards require you to pay for the postage (though some don’t; some will provide packets of all needed materials and script and talking points and addresses along with postage; some only provide the script and talking points and addresses and you even buy the postcard)

Working Families Party
While they don’t have a branch in MA, they do national campaigns and one of them is about getting folks in certain states to contact their senators about the Supreme Court seat. They also do campaigns supporting progressive candidates in states where they have branches, two of them in New England (CT and RI).

https://www.mobilize.us/workingfamilies/

Currently they do textbanking on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but said they will be doing them more often soon. They also do phonebanking. The training is great. The software they use (on line) for the texting is great (Spoke). You do have to join Slack, if you haven’t already. After training, you have to take and pass a quiz before they’ll let you do your first texting. And they review your replies to your first session to make sure you’re doing okay before they let you have more to send. Training for people new to their campaigns is Sundays 3-6; training actually lasts about an hour and then you actually start texting. You participate via Zoom and while you’re texting, there is both the zoom call, where you can ask questions live (though if it’s busy, it may take a while to get an answer) or if you just need a straight answer and no discussion, you can ask the question on Slack. There is a way to tag text response that you can’t answer right away so you can move on and then after you have an answer, handle the response when it comes up again.

The group is well organized. The mobilize bot can be annoying, so I’d recommend not ticking the box to receive more text messages from them.

Curated Get Out the Vote and Blue Campaigns:
These two pull together information on various campaigns. You can choose by WHAT action you want to take (text, phone, postcards, donate) or by state and then select an action. So you can choose to work in your state, or since MA is a safe state, you can choose to work on a battleground state.

https://togetherfor2020.org/

https://swingleft.org/

Election Protection Volunteer

Find the best way to get involved — whether that’s monitoring polling places (from your vehicle, or with proper personal safety equipment), watchdogging social media for disinformation, or reaching out to voters to make sure they know their rights. You’ll connect voters with trained legal professionals who can help them navigate the voting process and cast their ballots safely and securely. https://protectthevote.net/

Windivisible Phone Bank
Call voters in key states with Indivisible using Hubdialer https://2020.indivisible.org/phonebank/

Turnout2020 Turnout Thursday Phonebanks
Phonebank inconsistent PA voters to walk them through requesting a mail-in ballot https://www.mobilize.us/turnout2020/event/292970/

LiftEveryVote Postcard campaigns https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifteveryvoter/

Resistance Labs
Various text campaigns. They use the program Spoke for texting, which is the same one Working Families Party uses. They offer a variety of campaigns on their website https://resistancelabs.com/text/

Vote Forward/Daily Kos Letter writing campaign to voters https://votefwd.org/

Local Events and Actions

Documentary Screening: The Merrimack: River at Risk

Friday, October 2, 7-8pm
The Merrimack: River at Risk looks at one of the country’s most threatened watersheds and the towns and cities that have relied on it throughout history.

Watch the documentary online or tune in to LTC’s Channel 8 on Friday, October 2 at 7:00 pm (at the same time, you can watch live at https://www.ltc.org/watch/channel-8/)

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, October 8 at 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. 978-222-7877

At either this meeting or the next (October 15) City Life/Vida Urbana has agreed to offer a training in eviction defense. It will last approximately 2 hours.

Use this form: 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/

Food Not Bombs/LLAMA

Saturday, October 3, 2-4pm, Roberto Clemente Park
LLAMA will offer free food and information on efforts and resources to defend against eviction.

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, October 6, 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, October 2.

At the last meeting, they asked the Legal Department for a report on taking over some or of the powers of the School Committee.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, October 8, 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.
978-222-7877

At either this meeting or the next (October 15) City Life/Vida Urbana has agreed to offer a training in eviction defense. It will last approximately 2 hours.

Use this form: 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/

Sinking Columbus: Boston Marches for Indigenous People’s Day

Saturday October 10th, 12:00pm-3:00pm
Boston, Tremont Street by Park Street Station (eastern end of Boston Common)

The MVP 8th Annual MICAH Awards Celebration

Saturday, November 7, 2020, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
It’s that time of year, time to buy your ticket to the annual Merrimack Valley Project fundraiser, MICAH Awards Celebration
https://givebutter.com/MICAH2020

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/

City Hall Access Limited

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

State-level Actions and Events

Homes For All Massachusetts – Week of Action for Housing Stability

Monday October 5 – Sunday October 11
Working draft list of action options:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CHkUg7zcmBmKVKwh8t7iq8fN3rRkoEY9z1tOEE3lBe8/edit

For more on Homes For All Massachusetts: http://www.bitly.com/hfamass

350MA Monthly webinar Series

Monday, October 5, 7-8:30pm (tentative)
To sign up: https://350mass.betterfutureproject.org/webinar_series_2020

The second of a series of webinars exploring how to effect change through the legislative process.

Phone bank for Yes on 2 – Ranked Choice Voting

Weekdays 5:30pm-7:30pm
Weekends 11am-1pm

https://www.yeson2rcv.com/phones/

Phone Bank for Safe Communities Act

Tuesday, October 6, 5-7pm
RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/phonebank-for-safe-communities-oct-6
Thursday, October 8, 5-7pm
RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/phonebank-for-safe-communities-oct-8

Boston Community Briefing: Invest in Our Recovery

Wednesday, October 7, 6:30 pm
Progressive Massachusetts, in partnership with the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition. Join us as we deliver testimonials from working people directly to our state lawmakers and stand in solidarity with us as we ask them directly where they stand on the Invest in Our Recovery campaign and what they’ll do to ensure the MA Legislature passes a just recovery for working people.

Register for link: https://actionnetwork.org/events/invest-boston

Refugee Resilience and Mental Health During COVID-19

Tuesday, October 13, 12:00pm Webinar

Hailing from countries with extreme hardships in the form of war, dictatorships, and oppression, refugees often show true resilience, rebuilding their lives despite the adversities they have faced. One of the main pillars of HIAS’ work is to help our refugee clients work through the psychological distress they have experienced in order to settle into their new communities. Join us in marking World Mental Health Day and learn more about how HIAS and our partners build community-based mental health programming for refugees, and how this work has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To register: https://www.hias.org/get-involved/events/refugee-resilience-and-mental-health-during-covid-19

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

Roe Act
The deadline for reporting this bill out was extended to November 12. Considering the state of the Supreme Court it is urgent that our legislature pass this additional protection for reproductive rights in our state.

https://action.aclu.org/send-message/tell-massachusetts-lawmakers-honor-rbg’s-legacy-pass-roe-act

Police Reform Bill
This bill is stalled 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/

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.

Right to Counsel
Progress Democrats of Massachusetts is urging folks to contact Governor Baker about the urgency of having a comprehensive plan for tenants and homeowners for the end of the moratorium on evictions.

Sample message:
Dear Governor Baker,
Time is of the essence. Courts alone cannot handle the eviction crisis and protect people in our communities from being evicted. Massachusetts needs a comprehensive plan for tenants and homeowners to prevent mass eviction and we urge you to:

Fund rental assistance to stabilize people’s housing and prevent homelessness.
Adopt a framework to provide time, protection, and housing assistance to tenants, homeowners, and landlords to keep people housed.

Implement a statewide right to counsel program to prevent eviction and preserve tenancies.

Tenants, landlords, municipal leaders, health care professionals, and advocates are scared about what will happen when the eviction moratorium ends. The CDC moratorium is not enough. We urge you to use COVID relief funding to prevent housing instability and keep Massachusetts residents safe. We need your leadership to get us through this. Thank you.
Your Name and Organization
Email the governor via this form: https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office
Call the Governor’s office (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Main Office 617-725-4005
Toll-free 888-870-7770
TTY 617-727-366

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/

National Actions and Events

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 September meeting here:

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

Recording of our September meeting: https://youtu.be/xVlMDNIWrXQ

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

Posted by Caroline Snow