RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MAY 03, 2021

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR MAY 03, 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!

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Transitions

The results of the Coordinating Committee Election are in. Welcome and congratulations to new members Kale Connerty and Win Flint.  Felicitations to Lisa Arnold, Amy Baranoski, Marissa Dupont, and Caroline Snow on their re-election.
Steve Malagodi is stepping down. We thank him for his service and look forward to continuing to hear from him in his role as concerned citizen and active member of 350MA.

Solidarity Lowell Election Committee

Would you like to help compile our Scorecard on incumbent City Councilors? If you are interested in helping to go through minutes and recordings of past City Council meetings and record councilor’s stances on issues important to progressives, including diversity/inclusion/equity, affordable housing, environment, and more, please contact dee@solidaritylowell.com or lisa@solidaritylowell.com.

Meet with your legislators

Solidarity Lowell is planning meetings with our Senator and our Representatives. If you would like to be part of these meetings, please email dee@solidaritylowell.com.
We have done this in the past and have had productive meetings. We’re hoping to book a meeting with Senator Kennedy within the next month or so and need to know how many are interested before we schedule.
Establishing a good working relationship with your legislators is one of the ways you can help move progressive legislation along. They hear from lots of lobbyists, but not so many constituents. Those who make the effort, especially repeatedly, to write, call, or meet with them make a lasting impression.

Local Events and Actions

Community Teamwork and Congresswoman Lori Trahan

Present 2021 Greater Lowell Community Needs Assessment
Tuesday, May 4, 4-5pm
To register: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcuf–gqT8oGNMTlFo4TolltEslXM1DMcfn
Community Teamwork’s recently completed 3-year assessment includes detailed data on housing, transportation, childcare, and other needs. The information will help guide decisions on where to allocate resources.

Board of Health

(first Wednesday of each month)
Wednesday, May 5, 6:00pm
Agenda to be posted by May 3  https://www.lowellma.gov/AgendaCenter

Next School Committee meeting
(1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 6:30pm, except July and August)
Wednesday, May 5, 6:30pm
Agenda due the Monday before (May 3)

Bi-Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, May 6, 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

March for Moses

Saturday May 8, 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’ body has been found, there are still a lot of questions that have not been answered. Deaths involving police should be investigated by an 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

Updated Action Request: Contact City Councilors Seeking Justice for Moses Harris

We ask that you contact our City Councilors here in Lowell (see the sample script for details).
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. Moses Harris disappeared into the Concord River on December 19th during an encounter with the Lowell Police. Although his body has been found, there are questions that remain regarding the handling of the encounter. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident, but the police have yet to release the police report or discuss the case. Any time there is an officer-involved death, there should be an INDEPENDENT investigation, for the sake of the victim, the victim’s loved ones, the police, and the community. I ask that you have this incident investigated independently, 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).

Moses Harris’s Family needs the support of their community

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

T-shirt fundraiser 
See the flier on the CAJE Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CAJE.LowellMA

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.
https://fundrazr.com/CAJEsupports

Next City Council Meeting 

(2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 6:30pm)
Tuesday, May 11, 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 you have no access to email you may contact the City Clerk at 978-674-4161. Requests must be received by 4 pm the day of the meeting. (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 is posted at  http://lowellma.gov/agendacenter the Friday before a meeting. 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.  For more details see the May 7 #RRTCCR tagged post by Lisa Arnold in our Facebook group.

Get more involved in your city-consider joining a board or commission

https://www.lowellma.gov/199/Board-and-Commission-Opportunities
At the link you will find a list of boards and commissions that have vacancies.  Click on the link to each to find out what the position involves and what the requirements are.

Other Events

Center for Common Ground Phone Banks to Fight Texas Voter Suppression Bills

Sign up to help call Texas voters urging them to call their legislators to vote against the spate of voter suppression bills that are pending. Mondays and Wednesdays May 3-May 31 Sign up for one shift or several.
https://tinyurl.com/buwfewx3

MIRA’s Immigrant’s Day at the State House

May 4, 11am-12:30pm
To register: https://actionnetwork.org/events/immigrants-day-virtually-at-the-state-house-2021

Act On Mass texting for the People’s House campaign

Weekly Tuesdays and Wednesdays
May 4 and May 5
5:30 PM for beginners training
6:00 PM for experienced
7:30 PM end
Join volunteers to text voters and build the movement for State House reform. They are fun and very effective.
https://secure.everyaction.com/p/O114QFmSd0qUkDCj0odNSA2

 

May 5 National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People

On May 5, wear red to show solidarity with the indigenous community. More importantly check out how you can make a difference.
This week marks a week of action. There are many ways to show solidarity, including wearing red, donating to groups, and attending events. Fighting for climate justice is inextricably linked to the protection of Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit folks; oil pipeline construction has been linked to “man camps” where this violence is more likely to occur. Find events, actions and more information on this page from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.
https://www.niwrc.org/mmiwgnatlweek21?fbclid=IwAR1VnlBY7r5hKI59aS-gBibN7SF5zkaIg-7e0hbbQbamN6mihpNHjJ28XvY

#MMIWGActionNow Twitter Storm, 10–10:30 a.m. MDT (12-12:30pm EDT)

Boston Area Sustainability Group Environmental Justice Event

May 6 6-7:30pm
Group: Boston Area Sustainability Group
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/environmental-justice-creating-clean-and-healthy-communities-for-all-tickets-149402963285?aff=EJbyAP
Amy Perlmutter
Virtual event open to all (whether you live in the Boston Area or not!) It will feature four amazing speakers, and time for q&a:
Dr. Daniel Faber, whose many impressive hats include Director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NEJRC)
Melanie Gerate, Climate justice advocate and director of climate resilience projects focusing on extreme heat, flooding, and social inequities at the Mystic River Watershed Association
Meleny Thomas, Executive Director of the South Baltimore Community Land trust, fighting pollution in South Baltimore, including the trash incinerator
Frances Roberts-Gregory, PhD Candidate at UC Berkeley whose research focuses on how women of color in Gulf Coast Louisiana navigate contradictory relationships with energy and petrochemical industries, resist environmental racism, and advocate for environmental, energy, and climate justice.
It should be an illuminating evening. More information about the speakers, event details and registration can be found at the RSVP link.
Please feel free to share widely.
(edited)

Indivisible Acton Area is proud to cosponsor Strengthening Our Democracy: Taking Action at the National, State, and Local Levels – Interactive Virtual Forums

Thursday, May 6, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
The first of a three-part series of interactive forums is hosted by the Arlington Democratic Town Committee and will focus on National issues.
For more information, please visit https://arlingtondems.org/forums
Please use this form to register for the forum: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfOq495g2qxvlqXWEu-CWhVv0ufz8XK8fUhFhhnT4OzKmPeYg/viewform
Featured contributors will include former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Co-Chair of American Bridge 21st Century. The series will explore both the obstacles and the opportunities that confront our democracy and the Democratic Party on the national, state, and local levels. Following analyses and first-hand perspectives from a diverse and accomplished panel of speakers, attendees will have the chance to engage in a breakout strategy session, coming away with specific insights and action items that will equip both experienced activists and first-timers alike with concrete ways to make a critical difference. Questions to be explored include: Where is our nation headed? Which steps can each of us take to protect and strengthen our democracy, and how do we assemble a broad, inclusive coalition that will work to ensure equity and justice for all? And what can the Democratic Party do — amidst a global pandemic, our country’s racial reckoning, the climate crisis, and an increasingly polarized public — to grow its ranks and more effectively combat existing threats to our democratic system?

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Day

May 8
To sign up: https://www.mobilize.us/pfaw/event/384443
There are events in Boston and Newburyport MA, Dover NH, and Portland ME
Also Common Cause organizes phonebanks

Braver Angels

Monday May 10th from 7-8:30 PM.
Real conversations across the political divide! Join the Greater Boston chapter of Braver Angels for our first monthly meeting. Red and Blue participants will discuss what life experiences led them to their political views and what they find hardest about listening to the other side. You can sign up here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1QicwqkdJfy1Vax226KSDm_XhPqGAcUDpRwX87lhbkIY/edit — and please invite any “Red” folks as we need them!

Common Cause Massachusetts Virtual Lobby Day for the VOTES Act (H.805/S.459)

Tuesday, May 11, 12:00pm-1:30pm
To register:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSekHrZtRdN7aiUNvZPlF3TARaaxU_jOYduRQHWtjQTkFAHF-A/viewform
All 3 of Lowell’s legislators have co-sponsored the House bill. Sen. Kennedy has co-sponsored the Senate version.
While Lowell’s representatives are all on board, if attempts are made to water down the bill, they need to know that we care.

Isabel Wilkerson in conversation with Callie Crossley

Tuesday, May 11, 7:30-8:30pm
To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3ye_wHwYSyC5woctZJWiow
Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for journalism and the National Humanities Medal, is the author of The New York Times bestselling books The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. A gifted storyteller, Wilkerson captivates audiences with the universal human story of migration and reinvention, as well as the unseen hierarchies that have divided us as a nation, in order to find a way to transcend them.

Indivisible Truth Brigade Campaign Launch

Wednesday, May 12, 6:30pm ET
https://indivisible.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJArdu-vrz8rH93lduLYHXOvC0ISDDLRfy5L
Campaigns addressing specific disinformation launched and explained. Questions answered.
For example, recent campaigns have focused on encouraging media to not give a platform to disinformation sources.

Abolition Action Hour

Wednesday, May 12, 6pm
To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsfuGtqTIqGt2eppwtDBNYcU7kemMpQrPM
Despite the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial, we know that sending racist cops to prison will not bring true justice. True justice looks like defunding and abolishing police and prisons, starting right here in our own community. At this action hour you’ll learn more about the tools of abolition, and take concrete action in support of the Building Up People Not Prisons Coalition. SURJ Boston facilitators will guide you as you take action on the issues that matter most to abolitionist organizers in Massachusetts.

State-level Events and Actions

Solidarity With Youth Villages Frontline & Essential Workers

Community support letter backing Youth Villages workers.  These workers provide 24/7 services to families and young people experiencing crisis, and have been on the front lines during the pandemic. Youth Villages staff are fighting to form a union because of caseload & turnover issues that impact quality of service for families, to seek better pay and protections for their health & safety on the job, and to have a voice in their working conditions. They are already facing intimidation from management.
https://act.seiu.org/a/yv-solidarity

Ask Your Legislator to Support Free Public Transit on Election Day

Let your legislators know this matters to you by sending an email or calling them.
SAMPLE SCRIPT
My name is <name> and I am contacting you now to request that you cosponsor and support the FARE Act: H.3547 and S.2261. The FARE Act, or “An Act to Establish Free Access to Ride to Elections in Massachusetts,” would make public transit free on election day. Specifically, it would make bus, subway, and trolley service free for all statewide primaries and elections.
We are urging you to cosponsor and support the FARE Act because we believe it is critical to creating a more equitable, inclusive, and accessible democracy here in Massachusetts. The 2020 general election illustrated the need for this, with voter turnout gaps between our predominantly white, suburban communities and more diverse urban communities very stark. While suburbs saw voter turnout rates reach as high as 90%, cities like Springfield, Lawrence, and New Bedford experienced voter turnout rates of 55% or lower. In Lowell, voter turnout reached only 60%
Lowell voters, who are predominantly BIPOC, low income, and immigrants, deserve better. The COVID19 pandemic has already placed a dramatically disproportionate burden on our BIPOC neighbors, endangering not only their health at greater rates than their white neighbors, but their finances and job opportunities too. Passing the FARE Act, we believe, is one step we can take to better serve these communities. With the new election system taking effect this year, one that is supposed to ensure greater participation of the non-white majority of our citizens, it is important that we ensure easy access to voting.
H.3547 and S.2261 are under consideration in the Joint Committee on Transportation. Please consider cosponsoring the legislation, and speaking to your colleagues in the Transportation committee about doing the same.
Thank you for your attention and for all that you do for Lowell.
Sincerely,
<name>

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):
(replace the “at” and extra spaces with “@”)
House Speaker Ronald Mariano Ronald.Mariano at mahouse.gov 617-722-2500
Senate President Karen E. Spilka Karen.Spilka at masenate.gov 617-722-1500
Rep. Thomas Golden Thomas.Golden at mahouse.gov  617-722-2263
Rep. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard at mahouse.gov  617-722-2800 x7302 / Google Voice: 978-272-9078.
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom at mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry at mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen at mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy at masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett at masenate.gov 617-722-1572
Sen. Jamie Eldridge James.Eldridge at masenate.gov 617-722-1120
Sen. Barry Finegold Barry.Finegold at masenate.gov 617-722-1612

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

Massachusetts Redistricting

See Drawing Democracy for more info.
On April 14, the state legislature’s Special Joint Committee on Redistricting began the process of redistricting the state’s legislative and congressional districts by holding a virtual hearing that can be viewed at https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3670.
If you want to ensure that underrepresented communities have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice who best reflect their needs and interests, check out Drawing Democracy
(https://www.madrawingdemocracy.org/), a coalition of community organizations, civil rights lawyers, public policy advocates, data and mapping experts, and political scientists working on this issue. You can find resources about redistricting, sign up for their newsletter, or volunteer to help.
(h/t Indivisible Mass Coalition)

Contact legislative committee chairs to pause new jail and prison construction

Directly affected women came together to write groundbreaking legislation to establish a moratorium (or pause button) on all jail and prison design and construction across Massachusetts. Watch the legislative briefing on this bill here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1113306435838826&ref=watch_permalink , especially testimony by Stacey Borden and Andrea James starting just after 11 minutes.
The moratorium bill was just referred to committee! This is a crucial time to ensure the chairs of those committees know that people support the bill and want to see it passed quickly.
S.2030 “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction,” is in the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
H.1905 “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction,” is in the Joint Committee on The Judiciary.

The Moratorium Bill will:

  • Prevent jail and prison construction for 5 years to give directly affected communities the opportunity to lead on implementing and sustaining alternatives that address the root causes of incarceration
  • Provide a chance for the Commonwealth to reflect on spending priorities, and shift resources to what residents say they need most
  • Prevent the expansion or conversion of current prisons and jails at a time when the population of incarcerated people has been steadily declining for years

 

Stop the DOC from building a new women’s prison

Allow time for the criminal legal reforms enacted by the Legislature in 2018 to take effect. The bill will not stop the state from routine maintenance or making needed essential repairs to jails and prisons, but it will pause excessive spending on renovations when decarceration should be considered first.
As we continue to experience the economic fallout from the pandemic, pausing construction gives the Commonwealth a chance to focus spending and debt-financing on recovery and healing for the hardest hit communities.

ALL MA RESIDENTS CALL AND EMAIL COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Call and email all four of the chairs using the scripts below:
(replace the “at” and extra spaces with “@”)

Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
*Senator Marc Pacheco
(617) 722-1551
Marc.Pacheco at masenate.gov

*Representative Antonio Cabral
(617) 722-2017
Antonio.Cabral at mahouse.gov

Script for Sen. Pacheco and Rep. Cabral
My name is ____ from ____ and I am calling to ask that as Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight you schedule S.2030, “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction” for an early hearing. This bill will establish a five-year pause on designing and building new prisons or jails and on bringing back dormant prisons and jails into use.
After years of steady declines in our state’s incarcerated population, this bill gives us the opportunity to refocus our priorities on alternatives to incarceration and fully implement reforms already passed by the Legislature. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women support this bill  and I believe it is essential to ensure we can get people the kinds of support they really need. I believe there is a strong moral, economic, and environmental imperative to support S.2030 and I’m asking you to work to bring it to a timely hearing.

Joint Committee on the Judiciary
*Senator Jamie Eldridge
(617) 722-1120
James.Eldridge at masenate.gov

*Representative Michael Day
(617) 722-2396
Michael.Day at mahouse.gov

Script for Sen. Eldridge and Rep. Day
My name is ____ from ____ and I am calling to ask that as Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary you schedule H.1905, “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction” for an early hearing. This bill will establish a five-year pause on designing and building new prisons or jails and on bringing back dormant prisons and jails into use.
After years of steady declines in our state’s incarcerated population, this bill gives us the opportunity to refocus our priorities on alternatives to incarceration and fully implement reforms already passed by the Legislature. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women support this bill  and I believe it is essential to ensure we can get people the kinds of support they really need. I believe there is a strong moral, economic, and environmental imperative to support H.1905 and I’m asking you to work to bring it to a timely hearing.

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/

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

For volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page: http://solidaritylowell.com/volunteer-opportunities/

For positive news visit Solidarity Lowell Upbeat on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/326202548419687

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