RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR JANUARY 16, 2021

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!

Priority Actions

March for Moses

Saturday January 16th, 12:00-2:00pm (rain or shine)
850 Lawrence Street, Lowell
March to Lowell Police Headquarters (JFK Plaza/Arcand Drive)
Demand justice for Moses Harris, who disappeared during an encounter with the police. No police report has been made public as of publication date.
Hosted by CAJE: Community Advocates for Justice and Equality
https://www.facebook.com/CAJE.LowellMA

Contact Maura Healey Seeking Justice for Moses Harris

We ask that you contact the office of Maura Healey regarding the incident with Moses Harris. If you are so moved, you should also contact your State Representative and State Senator, and our City Councilors here in Lowell (information below).

Attorney General Maura Healey (617) 727-2200

Our State Legislators’ Info:
Find yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator:

State Representatives:
Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov 617-722-2263
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov
Rep. Tami Gouveia Tami.gouveia@mahouse.gov 617-722-2011
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen@mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
State Senators:
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 617-722-1572
Sen. Jamie Eldridge James.Eldridge@masenate.gov 617-722-1120
Sen. Barry Finegold Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov 617-722-1612
Form to contact Lowell City Councilors: https://www.lowellma.gov/…/City-Council-Contact-Form-45

Sample Script: “Hello, this is [Name] calling from [Address, City, State, ZIP] and Solidarity Lowell. Are you aware of the disappearance of Moses Harris in Lowell? Moses Harris disappeared into the Concord River on December 19th during an encounter with the Lowell Police. No one has seen Moses since. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident, and the police have refused to release the police report or discuss the case with the family. I ask that you investigate this incident, and find out which department policies were followed or violated that allowed this to happen. Thank you!”

NOTE: It is important that you include your full name and address (including ZIP code).

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Please update your contact info!

Solidarity Lowell would like to better target our messages. In order to do so, we would appreciate having your mailing address.
https://forms.gle/2BMYRXbvRx9yVcsaA

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday January 24th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Hold the date and watch for more details.

Local Events and Actions

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Where do we go from here?

Monday, January 18, 2020, 1:00pm Channel 8 or LivingDreamPartners on YouTube

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, January 26, 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 issued a Zoom link 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, January 8.
Look under City Council, look for the date of the meeting of interest, click on Download, and select the version (HTML, PDF, or packet, which includes background) you want to see.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, January 21, 5pm
Concerned about the 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 lowellhousingaction@riseup.net

Watch for an announcement of the next meeting, with Zoom link at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2658623527701727/
Or contact the group via the phone number.

Save the date: Virtual Public Meeting on Parking Study to be conducted in the city

February 2, 6:00-7:15pm
More details to follow

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.
January’s nominees are Foster Kids of Merrimack Valley, Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Food Links.

To vote for one, go to:
https://milltownplumbing.com/milltowns-helping-hands/

We Share a Common Thread Foundation Awards

Every quarter, this Jeanne D’Arc Foundation awards a grant to a local non-profit through Give-A-Click, based on community voting.
This quarter’s contestants are
The German Home
Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc.
International Institute of New England
Voting ends March 31.

To vote, go to:
https://www.weshareacommonthread.org/Give-a-Click/

City Hall Closed to Public

City Hall is now closed to the public due to the status of the pandemic in our city.

State-Level Events and Actions

Join the Transparency is Power Campaign

Act On Mass has launched a campaign to push our state reps for transparency during the next legislative session (beginning January 2021). At the beginning of each two-year session, the legislature sets its rules. It is high time that they commit to transparency in their dealings so that we know why bills we support keep failing to advance. Join a team to meet with your state rep.
https://actonmass.org/the-campaign/

The campaign is asking for 3 things:
-That all votes held in legislative committees be publicly disclosed.
-That bills be made public for 72 hours before a final vote.
-That the threshold for a vote to be publicly recorded (roll call vote) in the House of Representatives be reduced from 16 state representatives to 8 representatives.

Teams are forming to meet with all representatives. A team has already formed to meet with Representative Mom. There will also be teams to speak with Representatives Howard and Golden.

Progressive Massachusetts (Virtual) Gala

Monday, January 25, 7:00pm, $35
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2021-pm-gala
Special guest speakers: Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, State Representative Maria Robinson, and State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, speaking about a progressive vision for Massachusetts and the whole country.

National Actions and Events

Write your federal representatives about abuse at the Judge Rotenberg Center

The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, MA is a facility for autistic/developmentally disabled children and young adults. It uses brutal methods of restraint, deprivation, and even electroshock against its autistic and developmentally disabled residents.
Here are some more specific pieces of information (reference cited below):
– One resident was shocked over 5000 times in a single day.
– Some residents have been kept in almost constant restraint for up to 2 years
– At least 6 deaths have occurred due to abuse and negligence
– Students have been shocked for stopping work for more than 10 seconds, for reacting in fear when other students are shocked, or for screaming in pain when they are shocked
(source: https://autistichoya.net/judge-rotenberg-center/#resources)
Despite several years of petitions by disability advocacy groups as well as condemnation of the Judge Rotenberg Center by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Torture(!), it was not until March of last year that the FDA placed a ban on the electroshock therapy. Sadly, the FDA has now filed a partial hold on this ban such that electroshock therapy can now continue as long as the covid-19 pandemic lasts (and perhaps longer). In addition, other forms of deprivation and abuse at the center are allowed to continue.
It is deeply concerning that such inhumane treatment of autistic people is allowed to continue. if you would be willing to write letters to Senators or Congresspeople, your location and residency in MA could make you deeply impactful autism advocates.

Sample message:
Dear Representative(/Senator),
I am writing regarding a human rights issue involving the treatment of people with developmental disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, MA. The Judge Rotenberg Center has used restraint, deprivation, and even electroshock against its residents.
Here are some more specific pieces of information (reference cited below):
– One resident was shocked over 5000 times in a single day.
– Some residents have been kept in almost constant restraint for up to 2 years
– At least 6 deaths have occurred due to abuse and negligence
– Students have been shocked for stopping work for more than 10 seconds, for reacting in fear when other students are shocked, or for screaming in pain when they are shocked
(source: https://autistichoya.net/judge-rotenberg-center/#resources)
Despite several years of petitions by disability advocacy groups as well as by the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Torture, it was not until March of this year that the FDA placed a ban on the electroshock therapy. Sadly, the FDA has now filed a partial hold on this ban such that electroshock therapy can continue as long as the covid-19 pandemic lasts (and perhaps longer). In addition, other forms of deprivation and abuse at the center are allowed to continue.
It is deeply concerning that such inhumane treatment of autistic people is allowed to continue. I firmly believe that such torture and punishment violates the inherent rights of these residents, and is deeply traumatizing. I ask you to please use your platform to stop the human rights violations occurring at this center and to help re-implement a full ban against electroshock.
Thank you for your time,

Senator Elizabeth Warren: 617-565-3170
Senator Edward Markey: 617-565-8519
Representative Lori Trahan: 978-459-0101 / 202-225-3411
Representative Seth Moulton: 978-531-1669 / 202-225-8020
To email your senator or representative go to www.senate.gov or www.house.gov and navigate to their webpage and contact webform.

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Our guest, asylum seeker Marius, has encountered an unexpected legal expense. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – legal” in the “special notes” part of the donation form. Any and all contributions will be gratefully welcomed!

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 December meeting here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xP8bUZQBT3YFpoqjhszx4I-84bdEgtkk19yAC3AUB9M/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our December meeting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Vi980aVfg
Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to joinhttps://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow