RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MARCH 20, 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

Inspiration and Gratitude: Winter 2021 Experiences from Marius

Sunday, March 21st, at 5:30pm 
At this event, Marius will give an update about his harrowing visit to Arizona in January, where he was unexpectedly detained by ICE. He will also discuss an upcoming project and answer questions. Presented by The Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN), Merrimack Valley Project, and Solidarity Lowell.

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inspiration-and-gratitude-winter-2021-experiences-with-marius-tickets-146239228469

MVISN provides monthly expenses to Marius while he stays with us pending his asylum case, but we need your help. To assist Marius, please donate at http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/  (please write “asylum” in the “special notes” part of the donation form). We encourage you to donate even if you can’t attend.

If you have any questions, please contact the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network at mvisn@solidaritylowell.com

Ask Legislators to Support an Equitable Vaccine Rollout

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit communities of color in Massachusetts–communities already facing the brunt of crises of housing insecurity, economic inequality, and over-policing— especially hard. The vaccine rollout–characterized by technological failures, logistical confusion, and oversight after oversight–has compounded this inequity, as the rates at which communities of color have been vaccinated has been far less than their rate of hospitalization due to COVID.

The Vaccine Equity bill (SD.699 /HD.1283), filed by Senators Becca Rausch and Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representatives Liz Miranda and Mindy Domb, would ensure that equity is prioritized in the vaccine rollout in Massachusetts, recognizing that we can only have a successful recovery if it is an equitable one.

Contact your legislators in support of the bill: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/we-need-an-equitable-vaccine-rollout

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday March 28, 5:30pm, via Zoom

Main Topic:  Solidarity Lowell’s Annual election of Coordinating Committee members
Watch for more information, link TBD

Are you interested in joining the Committee?

Email us at contact@solidaritylowell.com

Postcarding anyone?

To join our postcarding efforts to write to legislators on issues of interest , please fill out the following form:
https://forms.gle/h2V7gJ1e2WbY9dKU9

Local Events and Actions

Lowell Votes seeks volunteers to help register and educate voters and find candidates

http://www.lowellvotes.org
Next meeting: March 16, 2pm

Now that we’ll actually have a more equitable electoral system in the city, we need to help voters understand that their vote will matter in this election, help them understand the system and register to vote.

Next School Committee meeting

(every 2 weeks on Wednesday at 6:30pm)

Wednesday, March 17, 6:30pm
Agenda due the monday before (March 15)

March for Moses

Saturday March 20, 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. Although Moses has been found, there are still a lot of questions that have not been answered.

Hosted by CAJE: Community Advocates for Justice and Equality https://www.facebook.com/CAJE.LowellMA

Moses’ Family needs the support of their community

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help with their material needs.https://www.gofundme.com/f/moses-harris

Next City Council Meeting

(every 2 weeks, on Tuesday at 6:30pm)
Tuesday, March 23, 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 into the meeting.  Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV.  If no access to email you may contact the City Clerk at 978-674-4161. (Note: they will keep you in the waiting room until it’s your turn to speak, so in order to follow the meeting you need to listen on TV, but turn that off when you speak because there’s a delay on the speakers.)
The agenda will be posted at  http://lowellma.gov/agendacenter by the Friday before, March 19. 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, March 25, 5pm (now meeting bi-weekly)
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/

Monthly Sustainability Council Meeting

(4th Thursday of every month)
Thursday, March 25, 6:30pmSave the UMASS Lowell Labor Education Program
Over the years, the Merrimack Valley Project has been proud to work alongside an amazing team of labor leaders on multiple winning campaigns. Many of these labor leaders have been a product of the UMASS Lowell Labor Education Program, a program rooted in organizing principles designed to challenge the status quo. Many students and faculty members have been active MVP members and continue to participate to this day. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship that has enhanced real-world student learning by way of organizing campaigns throughout the Merrimack Valley.
Unfortunately, the program is now in serious jeopardy. The director of the program, Dr. Elizabeth Pellerito, has been furloughed since last August, meaning the program has ceased operations. Despite having more than adequate funding to restart the program, the administration at UMASS Lowell has refused to do so. This is unacceptable and shows exactly why the program is needed: to provide well-organization advocacy against a community injustice. Dr. Pellerito has started an online petition and MVP is asking its members to sign on as a gesture of solidarity. The petition can be found at:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/save-the-umass-lowell-labor-education-program/

Contact City Councilors Seeking Justice for Moses Harris

We ask that you contact city councilors regarding the incident with Moses Harris to ask for an independent investigation.
Form to contact Lowell City Councilors: https://www.lowellma.gov/FormCenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45
Sample Script: “Hello, this is [Name] calling from [Address, City, State, ZIP] and Solidarity Lowell. The disappearance of Moses Harris in Lowell should be the subject of an independent investigation.  Moses Harris disappeared into the Concord River on December 19th during an encounter with the Lowell Police. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident, and the police have yet to release the police report. I ask that you call for an independent investigation of 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).

Other Events

Lucy Stone: Make the World a Better Place

Mar 16, 2021 06:00 PM
Boston Public Library and National Park Service present

This program explores the lifelong fight of Massachusetts’ own Lucy Stone to win equal voting rights for women and African Americans. Despite leading both the women’s rights and abolitionist movements, Stone’s name is often absent from the history. Join us in examining why this historical titan’s work was so integral to the nation’s evolution. https://boston-public-library.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvd-ispz4rG9Gf-oX6i6lMmh9aWBFzz4bI

Climate Action and the Next Generation Roadmap Bill   

Friday, March 19, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

The Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (PDM) is hosting this virtual forum featuring State Senator Michael Barrett and Representative Tommy Vitolo discussing the Next Generation Roadmap bill. The program will cover:

  • Climate efforts in Massachusetts to date and the need to up the pace;
  • What distinguishes the Next-Generation bill; and
  • What additional steps are necessary to assure progress toward achieving the Commonwealth’s emissions goal and mitigating the impacts of climate change

Get more details and register at: https://www.progressivedemsofmass.org/forums/
Shared by Lisa Baci, Indivisible Mass Coalition

March Movie Night Series

Sunday nights at 7pm ET
March 21

Learn. Discuss. Spur conversations on our future as a cooperative society.

CommunityBridge.com presents – An engaging series of films to spur conversations on our future as a cooperative society. March is Rebellion and Cooperatives month on CommunityBridge. This series of documentaries and films focuses on the United States history of uprisings that are left out of our school curriculum.

In US culture, these topics are usually framed to raise guilt and further repression, preventing positive dialog and actions to change the future. These films are presented as an opportunity for discussion, not blame, for building a movement towards an enlightened future and finding our part in the process as loving caring people working together to build a cooperative and inclusive economy for all.

We will share our thoughts on solutions and actions we can take as individuals and organizations working towards positive change and cooperative lives.

PRIMER: A link to a 4 minute video description of worker-owned cooperatives: https://youtu.be/pKN-gxmVRUc

March 21st
Fred Hampton Documentary – 30mins
COINTELPRO Black Panthers William O’Neal

Fredrick Allen Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was a black activist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded the Rainbow Coalition, a prominent multicultural political organization that initially included the Black Panthers, Young Patriots, and the Young Lords, and an alliance among major Chicago street gangs to help them end infighting and work for social change.

Context on Fred Hampton: 3mins   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpnJv_89G1M

Invite your friends to Movie Nights by sending them this link to sign on to the Movie Nights Invitation List:

https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/movienight

Disinformation and Democracy: Soros and the Fight for Open Societies

Monday, Mar 22, 2021 01:15-02:15 PM
To register: https://tinyurl.com/m8p32daf

For decades, philanthropist George Soros has been dogged by conspiracy theories and disinformation. A new documentary from filmmaker Jesse Dylan shows how his opponents—from Glenn Beck to the Proud Boys—have leveraged racist, anti-Semitic tropes to smear not just Soros but those who’ve benefitted from his support for open societies globally. Now, with disinformation posing a direct threat to democracy, stemming the tide of lies has never been more crucial. Join the Brennan Center for Justice and PEN America for a conversation about truth, lies, and how to support open societies at a fractured historical moment. In advance of the conversation, participants will have a chance to watch for free the film Soros.

SPEAKERS:

  • Mark Malloch-Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations.
  • Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law; Author, The Fight to Vote
  • Suzanne Nossel, Chief Executive Officer of PEN America; Author, Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All
  • Andre Banks, Founder and CEO, A/B Partners and Win Black
  • Arisha Hatch, Vice President and Chief of Campaigns, Color Of Change
  • Jesse Dylan, Director, Soros

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law provides reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Requests for accommodations for events and services should be submitted at least two weeks if possible before the date of the accommodation need. Please email adrienne.yee@nyu.edu or call 646-925-8728 for assistance.

Be an Agent of Change: Achieve Health Justice

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021 07:00 PM

Join A Faith That Does Justice and Healthcare for All for a conversation about the actions you can take as an individual to work towards justice, equity, and inclusion in health care. We learned at our most recent community meeting how disparities are impacting the health of communities of color. Now join us for a hands-on discussion about how you can put your faith into action to be an agent for change.

The workshop will be led by Peter Gyves, SJ, MD with Chris Noble, Health Justice Campaign Organizer at Health Care for All.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkcO-gqT4vE9EWDx-PThfBCGCLdCOVVpIo?_x_zm_[…]13573390272.a278a05283bf27fe1e02e9750954adc8&_x_zm_rhtaid=976
(edited)

State-level Events and Actions

Support 3 bills introduced by the Massachusetts Renews Alliance 

Advocacy training March 22 6-8pm

For years, 350 Mass has been working to build a wide coalition of labor, youth, climate justice, Indigenous, disabled, and class justice organizers to build Green New Deal inspired policy in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Renews Alliance is the culmination of these efforts.

350 Mass and partners in the Mass Renews Alliance have introduced three bills into this legislative session: The Building Justice with Jobs Act would retrofit one million homes and create thousands of jobs across the state. The Food Justice with Jobs Act and Food Justice Frontline Act would create farm jobs for those in need, establish community land trusts to run community farms, and subsidize home gardening.

To pass these bills, we are going to need cosponsors statewide. With their node structure, 350 Mass is uniquely suited to organize advocacy meetings with representatives across the state. See their advocacy guide at  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WMamQfs8Lz8tLBtHQ7chZFAqPuKCIW1YuUUK9AB-2dw/edit?usp=sharing

Sign up for Advocacy Day training at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSepK_4Xlj-8n-21OAidnNc6lb9QWJXGiMXLw6VLJ9uGxbnLYg/viewform
(If you can’t make it to the live training on March 22 6-8pm, you can request a recording.)

Ask Rep. Golden to co-sponsor the resubmitted Safe Communities Act

(SD.532 and HD.1165) and Work and Family Mobility Act (HD.448/SD.228)
And thank Senator Kennedy and Representatives Howard and Mom for doing so
This will be the third legislative session for the Safe Communities Act, which lets our local police focus on their priorities and not federal immigration priorities. The Work and Family Mobility Act allows immigrants to apply for a driver’s license regardless of immigration status.

Senator Kennedy and Representatives Howard and Mom have signed on to support the bills.
Representative Golden has not. If Representative Golden is your District Representative, please ask him to co-sponsor the bills.  You can find an email script on the Safe Communities Act here:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pass-the-safe-communities-act.
You can find a script on the Work & Family Mobility Act here: http://bit.ly/2021-dff-email

Ask your state legislators to co-sponsor workers’ rights bills

The bills covered by this petition address abusive waivers, sexual harassment, healthcare portability, paid sick leave, abusive scheduling, wage theft, retaliation against those who speak up for their rights, discrimination, underpaid restaurant workers, and bullying. The form contains an editable email you can send to your legislator
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/urge-your-state-legislators-to-co-sponsor-workers-rights-bills-in-massachusetts/thankyou?delivery_id=57519547

Ask your legislators to co-sponsor 5 indigenous legislative agenda priorities

At the link you’ll find an editable email that lists the 5 bills.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/indigenous-legislative-agenda-co-sponsorship-drive/thankyou?delivery_id=57871164

Our State Legislators’ Info

Please contact your state representative and state senator (email preferable at the moment)
(find yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator):
House Speaker Ronald Mariano: Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2500

Senate President: Karen E. Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov 617-722-1500

Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov  617-722-2263
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov  617-722-2800 x7302; Google Voice: 978-272-9078.
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen@mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
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

Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

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 on 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: http://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 February meeting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16ScrNKyVMRjXW7z-r19paPM__69hkMfCKSg10IY3OOA/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our February meeting: https://youtu.be/nepLC8-Y5og

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

Posted by Caroline Snow