RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MARCH 30, 2021

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MARCH 30, 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

Solidarity with the AAPI Community

Go to StopAAPIHate.org to volunteer, donate, and access resources on how to support the AAPI community.

Go to the Asian American Commission  https://www.aacommission.org/statement-against-violence-and-xenophobia-faced-by-asian-communities/  for Massachusetts resources.

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Postcarding anyone?

Remote “write and chat” sessions starting soon. 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

March for Moses

Saturday April 3, 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. Deaths involving police should be investigated by a independent body not the police department involved in the incident.

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

Support those arrested at the protest on March 20

From CAJE: We need EVERYONE to support our people who were arrested, and who responded to this emergency, by donating to cover their expenses. LPD’s violence has now manifested as FINANCIAL ABUSE.

HERE’S THE LATEST FROM COURT AS OF MARCH 22:

Our people were arrested and charged arbitrarily and capriciously with three bogus charges. As of their March 22 arraignment, one of those charges was dropped. That means our people will need to continue to appear in court over and over until the truth sings louder than the police screaming at us to get off a public sidewalk. Getting arrested is expensive. Going to court is expensive. As a community that protects one another, we can’t let our people who were robbed of their safety, go without. They gave for Moses, for the Harris-Wahpo family, and for all of us as we stand up for a better world. Being thrust into the injustice system for the simple act of seeking justice is abusive, and it’s violent, and it’s traumatic to every single person out here who is committed to fighting for a better world.

And! Please head over to insta and give @beckywiththegudhurr a follow to thank her for the awesome court support photo!

https://fundrazr.com/CAJEsupports

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 death 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 and his body was found in early March. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident. 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).

Next School Committee meeting

(every 2 weeks on Wednesday at 6:30pm)
Wednesday, March 31, 6:30pm
Agenda due the Monday before (March 29)

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 a $1,000 donation.

March’s nominees are Pawtucketville Youth Organization, Nevins Family of Services, Challenge Me, Inc., and Andover Destination Imagination.

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., and International Institute of New England.

Voting ends March 31.

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

Other Events

Race Amity

Tuesday, March 30, 7:00-8:30pm
To register:  www.tinyurl.com/goodnowraceamity

Lecture and Media Presentation by Award-Winning Race Relations Media Producer, Writer, Author and Documentarian William H. “Smitty” Smith, E.D.

Sponsored by the Goodnow Library Sudbury CARES Series and the
Sudbury Committee for Racial and Social Justice

Good Friday Vigil Against the Death Penalty

Friday, April 2 4:00-6:00pm
Andover Center
The Boston North Chapter of Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty is hosting an anti-death-penalty vigil on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Reading Common (at the Junction of Route 28 (Main Street) and Route 129 (Salem Street)) in Reading MA.  Participants will be expected to use hand-sanitizer, wear a mask or face covering, and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet.  Some professionally-made signs will be available, but home-made signs with respectful relevant messages are also welcome.  (Hand sanitizer and extra masks will be available on site.)

Overview of State Elections Actions

With Eliza Sweren-Becker of the Brennan Institute for Justice
Wednesday, April 7, 7:00pm
To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUuduyurj0sH9TLtS3wtlOKpagaDLFLfO1j
It isn’t just Georgia. In January of 2021, many state legislatures proposed bills to scale back voting.  Eliza Sweren-Becker of the Brennan Institute for Justice and her team have been counting and analyzing the 253 bills from 43 states proposed to curtail Americans’ access to the ballot.  Find out where they stand now and the ramifications moving forward.

State-level Events and Actions

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. Lowell is among the cities with the highest rates of COVID per 10,000.
None of us are safer until ALL of us are safer. 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

Email Joint Rules Conference Committee about transparency 

If the Legislature is going to start diving into the work of the new legislative session in earnest, they need to pass a set of Joint Rules. These Joint Rules govern how committees operate and how bills can proceed.
But due to opposition to basic transparency measures from the MA House, there is no agreement yet on these basic operating procedures.
The transparency measures embraced by the Senate, listed in the sample message,  are both essential and non-controversial and will help legislators do their own jobs better and strengthen the participatory nature of our democracy.
A Conference Committee of three senators and three representatives is currently negotiating what that final set of Joint Rules will look like.
Progressive Massachusetts is calling on us to email the Conference Committee today in support of an open and transparent process.

Addressees:
(when using addresses, delete extra spaces around the @ sign)
Joan.lovely @ masenate.gov
Ryan.fattman @ masenate.gov
William.galvin @ mahouse.gov
Joseph.boncore @ masenate.gov
Claire.cronin @ mahouse.gov
Paul.frost @ mahouse.gov

Sample message:
Dear Members of the Joint Rules Conference Committee,
Thank you for your work on finalizing a set of Joint Rules for the 192nd legislative session.
The Joint Rules should embody the commitment to democracy and transparency that many residents of the Commonwealth cherish.
In particular, I urge you to include the following measures in a final Joint Rules package:
*Publishing committee votes on the Legislature’s website in an accessible manner
*Making testimony accessible to the public, with appropriate redactions as with any other public records request
*Extending the notice period for hearings to one week
All of these steps will help legislators do their own jobs better and strengthen the participatory nature of our democracy.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to have your support in this. 

Sincerely,
(name)

Help lobby your state legislators to cosponsor the Mass Renews Alliance policies

None of the Lowell legislators has signed on to cosponsor the policies. The policies are encompassed in 3 bills (Building Justice with Jobs, Food Justice with Jobs, and Food Justice Frontline), as well as the eviction ban.
To learn more and sign up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WMamQfs8Lz8tLBtHQ7chZFAqPuKCIW1YuUUK9AB-2dw/edit

Tell your legislators you want remote access to government meetings to continue

At the link you’ll find an editable email to legislators in support of a bill that would revise the Open Meeting law to make remote access permanent.
https://action.aclu.org/send-message/tell-lawmakers-update-open-meeting-law

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 March meeting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tBDTUsYbrenoWGcYoOOuWPlu7jKpxO2w4aJNE48bXvw/edit?usp=sharing
Recording of our March meeting: https://youtu.be/jJfxz4548JI

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

Posted by Caroline Snow