Caroline Snow

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR FEB 19, 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

Help Pass Legislation to Seal Eviction Records

Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Mike Moran have refiled the HOMES Act (Housing Opportunities and Mobility through Eviction Sealing). Since 1988, over 1 million eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts.  It is time that people who have faced eviction are given a second chance and not held hostage to an eviction record.

ACTION NEEDED: Please contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing bills (HOMES), SD 798 & HD 1889.

FACT SHEET: Here is a fact sheet https://www.passthehomesact.org/uploads/2/7/0/4/27042339/homes_bill_co-sponsor_fact_sheet_2.17.pdf
with talking points and bills numbers. This session, the window for co-sponsorship closes when the bill emerges from its initial committee assignment, but the earlier we can build a list of co-sponsors the better to show support for the bill.

Please email and/or call your Senator and Representative urging them to co-sponsor the bill. The more co-sponsors are lined up, the stronger the chance a bill has of passing.

As City Councilor Lydia Edwards wrote in a Globe op-ed: “Since the state’s eviction moratorium ended, over 8,000 eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts. Each will be a permanent public record. As the pandemic continues to devastate our communities and joblessness continues to climb, that number will only grow.” See op-ed https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/02/16/opinion/baker-should-seal-eviction-records-give-residents-second-chance/.

If you have any questions, contact Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (info@mlri.org) and ask for Molly Broderick.

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Have a few minutes to take action? Do you like Postcarding? 

Solidarity Lowell is re-starting our postcarding events virtually on Zoom. Send postcards to legislators and officials to support issues you care about.

Please fill out the following form if you’re interested in joining the group!
https://forms.gle/h2V7gJ1e2WbY9dKU9

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday February 28, 5:30pm, via Zoom
– Main Topic: The Environment: Heat Islands
– Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030
Send us a message to get the Zoom link.

Local Events and Actions

March for Moses

Saturday February 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.

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

Wrongly Convicted: The Story of Victor and Beverly Rosario

Tuesday, February 23, 9:30-10:45am
Victor Rosario was wrongly convicted in 1982 of setting a deadly house fire in Lowell, Massachusetts. Throughout his 32 years of incarceration, Rosario steadfastly maintained he was innocent of setting the fire, which killed eight people, five of them children. Rosario’s only connection to the fire was that of an eyewitness: he walked past the blaze on his way home, even attempting to break a window in the hopes of helping to free the people trapped inside. Two days later, he was the prime suspect. Victor Rosario and his wife, Beverly, will describe their experiences of wrongful conviction and eventual exoneration, in the context of the larger criminal justice system.

To register for the event, please visit http://www.uml.edu/greeley-rosario

For more information, contact FAHSS@uml.edu.

Next City Council Meeting (every 2 weeks, on Tuesday at 6:30pm)

Tuesday, February 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 in to the meeting.  Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV.  If no access to email you may contact 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, February 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.

Virtual Public Neighborhood Meetings on Parking Study to be conducted in the city

The City of Lowell is using a Housing Choice Grant award from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) to conduct a comprehensive parking study.

The Lowell Parking Study will review and analyze existing parking conditions, including parking inventory, utilization, policies, management, regulations, and pricing, and analyze the parking supply and demand compared to existing land uses. The Parking Study will help ensure that the parking system is consistent with the City’s economic development and transportation planning goals, including the ongoing GoLowell Multimodal Complete Streets plan.

An overview of the project has been held. Neighborhood meetings are also scheduled.  The project team wants to hear from folks about parking issues and concerns in their neighborhoods as well as potential opportunities to improve parking in Lowell.

Feb. 24, 6:30pm–Pawtucketville/Centralville
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUoceqtpzMvGtzDMw_GW3xkTLfdka56yqUN

Feb. 25, 6:30pm –Back Central, Acre, Highlands
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkce6gpz4tEtQwYt7wTqNiw9ZQ6Z67rOWs

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, February 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/

Or contact the group via the phone number.

 

Next Sustainability Council Meeting (4th Thursday of every month)

Thursday, February 25, 6:30pm

 

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

http://www.lowellvotes.org
Next meeting: March 2, 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 3, 6:30pm

DEI Lowell Survey on Experiences in Lowell

The DEI Consortium- Lowell is collecting data on applicants’ experience with applying to opportunities within the City of Lowell and/or the Lowell Public Schools (LPS). The survey has been provided in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Khmer.

English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PZG59LC
Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PHCN2QB
Portuguese: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6Q7LZPK
Khmer: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZKLRLZB

If you have applied multiple times, you may take this survey more than once if desired. Please note that some questions, such as demographics, are optional. However, answering as many questions as you are comfortable with will help us better understand the applicant experience within the City as well as LPS.

While we may share trends and insights from this survey, we will not share information identifying any individual, including contact information (which is optional) or any information unique to an individual.

Furthermore, if you prefer to share your experience directly with the DEI Consortium, please contact us at dei.lowell.ma@gmail.com.

We thank you for making the time to take this survey and encourage you to share this survey with your friends, family, or colleagues here in the City of Lowell.

Write to City Councilors with your concern about their proposal to change election of Mayor and School Committee

In the November 24 City Council meeting, Councilor Elliott requested a discussion of the process of changing the system of electing the mayor to allow voters to decide (currently city councilors elect the mayor from among themselves).

On December 22, Council Rourke made a motion asking the City Manager to “Have Law Dept. Propose To The Plaintiffs’ Counsel Of Voting Rights Litigation To Have School Committee Elected Using The Same 8 Districts Created For The City Council, With The Mayor Being Elected As The 9th Member Of The Committee.”

In the January 26 City Council Meeting, City Manager Donoghue reported back on the Law Departments findings on the matter, that plaintiffs in the lawsuit were open to discussing the matter but wanted to wait until the results of the next election. Some councilors pointed out that plaintiffs in the lawsuit should be involved in any discussion of changes, since the system had already been decided on in settling the lawsuit. The Council then voted 6-2 to support changing the method of selecting the mayor and 7-1 to change the method of voting for school committee.

https://www.lowellsun.com/2021/01/26/lowell-city-council-to-seek-changes-to-voting-rights-consent-decree/

We urge you to write to city councilors expressing your concern about their January 26 vote to make changes to our electoral system, one we already voted on.

Webform to reach councilors:
https://www.lowellma.gov/FormCenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45

Sample Template:
Regarding the recent vote at the January 26 City Council meeting to change our agreed-upon new electoral system, it is disappointing that City Council seems to be choosing to change the system agreed on by voters in the city without input from the plaintiffs to the lawsuit or the voters.  Are City Councilors not aware that Lowell’s at-large system has been a contributing factor in the loss of trust and engagement in the local democratic process among many community members?

Representation is important. Our new electoral system was agreed on in order to provide diverse people from all parts of our city with a fair chance at being elected to city council and to ensure that at least two councilors be from minority communities.  While this is fairer, the three at large seats will still be easier for long-time councilors from the same district as always to win. And because they are better known, it will also be easier for those same long-time councilors to win an election for mayor when the vote is put to the people of the city. Far from being fairer, an election for mayor put to the vote of the entire electorate of the city will undo the intent of the lawsuit’s settlement.

I urge you NOT to change the way the mayor is elected, especially not before the first election with new district councilors.

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. No one has seen Moses since. 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).

City Hall Closed to the Public

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

Other Events

Live with the 19th!: Black Women, Power and the Ballot

Friday, February 23, 1pm EST

Join The 19th’s Editor-at-large Errin Haines on Friday, Feb. 19 at 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET. for a conversation on Black women organizing, voting and leading in the new American democracy — and what it means for an expanding electorate.

19th Editor-at-Large Errin Haines will be joined by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown; U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; and political commentator Tara Setmayer.

To register: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/live-with-the-19th-black-women-power-ballot/register

Environmental Voter Project Phonebank

February 23, 2021 6-8pm EST: Call voters in Newton
March 9, 2021 5-7pm EST: Call voters in Lincoln, Medfield, Sudbury, Natick, and Winchester

Join the Environmental Voter Project to make nonpartisan calls to unlikely-to-vote environmentalists ahead of upcoming Massachusetts municipal elections!

Local elections like these have a major impact on environmental and climate policy by determining things like conservation initiatives, school curricula, power generation sources, and more. What’s more – most voters EVP speaks with aren’t even aware that these elections are happening. Your phone call can be the determining factor in whether these important environmentalists have their voices heard.

No previous phone banking experience required.

Film Premiere: Oh Mercy!

Thursday, February, 25th, 2021 from 5pm to 6pm EST on Zoom

Hosted by the Refugee Services of Texas.

REGISTER: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FhC7-JrYT_G9JVyYxuwjJg

Worldwide Documentaries is proud to present Oh Mercy-Searching for Hope in the Promised land, a documentary short about the plight and challenges of the forced migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers trapped on the Mexican side of the US border, denied entry into the United States.

 Oh Mercy gives a face and a voice to these children, women, and men who have been compelled to leave their homes in Central America by forces beyond their control, but have yet to find hope in the promised land to the north to which they have traveled in search of safety and freedom. Oh Mercy reaffirms the dignity of these thousands of people whose future remains uncertain, and makes the case for humane US immigration policies that will give real hope to those tired and poor for whom safety in the promised land is a dream yet unrealized.

Please join us as we premiere Oh Mercy and host a panel discussion featuring Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Family Charities of the Rio Grande Valley; Oh Mercy Director Robert Bilheimer; Anjelica Xolxol, an asylum seeker from Guatemala; and a special guest to be announced soon. The panel discussion will be moderated by Development Director, Ashley Faye of the Refugee Services of Texas.

For more information about Oh Mercy, go to http://ohmercyfilm.com.

Worldwide Documentaries is proud to partner with the Refugee Services of Texas and the UVA Humanitarian Collective for the premiere of Oh Mercy.

Refugee Services of Texas is guided by the principles of human compassion and dignity, and welcomes refugees, immigrants, and other displaced peoples and supports them in integrating and thriving in their new communities. The UVA Humanitarian Collective supports interdisciplinary, action-oriented research and engagement on the world’s pressing humanitarian and development challenges. One thematic area of focus is the US/Mexico border.

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=S4ESPTM6R82AE

Exploring the Legacy

Feb 25, 2021 07:00 PM  on zoom

Join Rosalyn Delores Elder, author of Exploring the Legacy: People and Places of Significance, which is a history of the contributions of African Americans to Massachusetts state history and a guide to the 742 sites around the state that signify the histories of important individuals and events. Learn about Onesimus, whose knowledge led to the development of inoculations to fight small pox in 1721; Belinda Royall who filed the first successful reparations lawsuit in 1783; and Jan Matzeliger’s invention of a shoe lasting machine in 1883 which led to the mass production of shoes.

Rosalyn Delores Elder is a registered architect, entrepreneur, author, and artist. She received her B.A. Degree in Art History from the University of Memphis, her M. Arch. Degree from the University of Washington, and her M. Arch. in Urban Design Degree from Harvard University. In addition to her architectural practice, Ms. Elder founded and operated Treasured Legacy, an African American cultural boutique at Copley Place from 1992 to 1998. From 1998 until 2012, she cofounded and operated Jamaicaway Books, a multi-cultural bookstore.

This event is offered in collaboration with area libraries.

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jotvFDmjR-u1GkK6PihWVA

Plastic: Recycle, Reuse, Refuse

Feb 25, 2021, 7–8:15 pm
Register:  http://bit.ly/3oSZ0y6
Looking to clear up confusions and make decisions about personal habits and wider actions around plastics? Learn from these experts:

Recycle: Ben Harvey, President of E.L. Harvey Waste and Recycling Services, will present what happens to recycling when it leaves the Acton Transfer Station, along with tips for better recycling.

Reuse: Eric Hudson, Founder & CEO of Preserve, will talk about innovative ways to reuse plastic, and state and national trends in designing for recyclability.

Refuse: Janet S. Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG, will explain about zero waste and how to move beyond plastic.

Fair Fight National volunteer call with Stacey Abrams  

Saturday, February 27
2:30 – 3:30pm ET
REGISTER HERE: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_t17qzwLITi-ldt-tOvLpSQ

Thank you again for your tireless work to turn out voters in Georgia.  Our work is not over. State legislatures across the country are already trying to roll back voting rights, especially targeting voting by mail and early voting. Fair Fight will continue our mission to advocate for free and fair elections for all and we hope that you will stay in this fight with us.

Find out how to continue to fight for the sacred right to vote.

During this call you’ll hear from Fair Fight’s founder Stacey Abrams, our Senior Advisor Lauren Groh-Wargo, Organizing Director Hillary Holley and Voter Protection Director Liza Conrad about how far we’ve come and how you can stay involved with this work.

State-level Events and Actions

Comment on the Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 

As part of the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act, the Baker administration developed a statewide emissions reductions target for 2030 and the policies to get us there. Read about the plan here https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-clean-energy-and-climate-plan-for-2030 and submit public input through 5pm Mon, Mar 22 by completing a Public Comment Form, emailing written comments to gwsa@mass.gov, or submitting oral comments as a voicemail to (617) 506-9630.

You can sign up to receive updates at https://www.mass.gov/forms/form-1-mailing-list

Also, a reminder that the MA 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap is also available at www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap.  The report as well as slides and video of a 2050 Roadmap webinar held on 1/15 are available from that link.

Urge your legislators to override the Governor and keep the climate bill strong
One month ago — at the tail end of the 2019-2020 legislative session, the MA Legislature passed a strong consensus climate bill.

The bill would set a roadmap for net zero by 2050 (with 5-year plans and benchmarks), establish stronger emissions targets, require the creation of a net zero stretch code (for building energy efficiency) to which municipalities could opt in, increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard, codify Environmental Justice protections, and take additional steps to encourage wind, solar, and geothermal energy as well as energy efficiency.

And the Governor vetoed it. With the session having already ended, the Legislature couldn’t override him. But they did re-file and re-pass the bill a few weeks ago. Baker still refused to sign it, choosing instead to send back amendments to weaken the bill.

We need to make sure the Legislature doesn’t fold. We need to be doing more to address climate change, not less to please the well-funded corporate lobbyists.

SAMPLE SCRIPT:
I was very happy to see the Legislature take strong action two weeks ago to re-file and re-pass An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy (now, S9) and disappointed that Governor Baker refused to sign it.
When it comes to climate change, we have no time to waste, and we need to be increasing our ambition, not tempering it in the face of corporate lobbyists.
I urge you to reject any effort to weaken the bill, especially the following proposals from the Governor:

**Reducing the 2030 emissions reduction target from 50% to 45% and the the 2040 emissions reduction target from 75% to 65% (We need to keep the stronger targets).
**Making the emissions reduction limits for different sectors of the economy non-binding (We need to go further, not weaker, when it comes to sector-level standards).
**Delaying the creation of a “net zero” stretch code and weakening enforcement of it (We’re already late, and we can’t put off for more years what we needed yesterday).

Thank you, and I look forward to having your support.

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: 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 January meeting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vcq_XUI2YXU4Qnb2lD8OuX7TPs-8JpWcDZ5IuRNb9e4/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our January meeting: https://youtu.be/pxqVzfcN31A

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

 

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR FEB 12, 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

Write to City Councilors with your concern about their proposal to change election of Mayor and School Committee

In the November 24 City Council meeting, Councilor Elliott requested a discussion of the process of changing the system of electing the mayor to allow voters to decide (currently city councilors elect the mayor from among themselves).
On December 22, Council Rourke made a motion asking the City Manager to “Have Law Dept. Propose To The Plaintiffs’ Counsel Of Voting Rights Litigation To Have School Committee Elected Using The Same 8 Districts Created For The City Council, With The Mayor Being Elected As The 9th Member Of The Committee.”
In the January 26 City Council Meeting, City Manager Donoghue reported back on the Law Departments findings on the matter, that plaintiffs in the lawsuit were open to discussing the matter but wanted to wait until the results of the next election. Some councilors pointed out that plaintiffs in the lawsuit should be involved in any discussion of changes, since the system had already been decided on in settling the lawsuit. The Council then voted 6-2 to support changing the method of selecting the mayor and 7-1 to change the method of voting for school committee.
https://www.lowellsun.com/2021/01/26/lowell-city-council-to-seek-changes-to-voting-rights-consent-decree/
We urge you to write to city councilors expressing your concern about their January 26 vote to make changes to our electoral system, one we already voted on.
Webform to reach councilors: https://www.lowellma.gov/FormCenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45
Message template:
Regarding the recent vote at the January 26 City Council meeting to change our agreed-upon new electoral system, it is disappointing that City Council seems to be choosing to change the system agreed on by voters in the city without input from the plaintiffs to the lawsuit or the voters. Are City Councilors not aware that Lowell’s at-large system has been a contributing factor in the loss of trust and engagement in the local democratic process among many community members?
Representation is important. Our new electoral system was agreed on in order to provide diverse people from all parts of our city with a fair chance at being elected to city council and to ensure that at least two councilors be from minority communities. While this is fairer, the three at large seats will still be easier for long-time councilors from the same district as always to win. And because they are better known, it will also be easier for those same long-time councilors to win an election for mayor when the vote is put to the people of the city. Far from being fairer, an election for mayor put to the vote of the entire electorate of the city will undo the intent of the lawsuit’s settlement.
I urge you NOT to change the way the mayor is elected, especially not before the first election with new district councilors.

COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP) stands ready to help

https://evictionlegalhelp.org/
The COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP) was formed to expand the capacity of legal aid organizations in Massachusetts to provide urgently needed legal assistance in COVID-related eviction cases. The CELHP website allows organizations to provide referrals, along with guiding people to legal information and other assistance, such as representation, to achieve housing stability.
Through CELHP’s website, people can find updates about eviction laws and programs and make referrals directly to legal services through our online referral form.
The CELHP team is also available to attend meetings to brief people about CELHP. If you have thoughts about how your organization and network can help, they would love to hear them. They are trying to reach some of the most vulnerable people in our Commonwealth, so that they know they have access to legal representation before they get to court.
Shaikh Hasib
Communications and Outreach Coordinator
COVID Eviction Legal Help Program (CELHP)
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
https://evictionlegalhelp.org/contact/

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Have a few minutes to take action? Do you like Postcarding?

Solidarity Lowell is re-starting our postcarding events virtually on Zoom. Send postcards to legislators and officials to support issues you care about.
Please fill out the following form if you’re interested in joining the group!
https://forms.gle/h2V7gJ1e2WbY9dKU9

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday February 28, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Main Topic: The Environment
More details to follow

Local Events and Actions

March for Moses

Saturday February 13th, 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
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. 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 yet 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).

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

http://www.lowellvotes.org
Next meeting: February 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.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, February 18, 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.

City Hall Closed to Public

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

Standing Up For Democracy

The late Congressman John Lewis, in his last message to us, said “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.” We recently learned the consequences of thinking active participation wasn’t necessary.

This section will include opportunities for you to participate in strengthening our democracy.

Check Out Movement Labs

Send texts in support of various progressive groups. You may have known them as Resistance Labs before the 2020 election. Campaigns now include voter registration and candidate recruitment for 2022. Organizations supported include Contest Every Race and Black Voters Matter.
https://movementlabs.com/

Support H.R. 1 and H.R. 51

Use the handy form to call your representative in support of H.R. 1, the We the People Act that includes reforms to strengthen democracy (such as an end to gerrymandered districts and no-excuse absentee voting) and H.R.51, which would grant statehood to the District of Columbia. After you’ve called, get your family and friends in other states to do the same thing.
https://indivisible.org/demand-your-representative-support-and-move-swiftly-hr-1-and-hr-51

For more opportunities, see the Announcement section of our Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SolidarityLowell

State-Level Events and Actions

Comment on the Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030

The public comment period for the Plan has been extended. Comments are now being accepted until 5pm on March 22nd, 2021.
Details are at http://www.mass.gov/2030CECP. Stakeholders are encouraged to use this online form to submit specific comments.
You can sign up to receive updates at https://www.mass.gov/forms/form-1-mailing-list
Also, a reminder that the MA 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap is also available at http://www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap. The report as well as slides and video of a 2050 Roadmap webinar held on 1/15 are available from that link.

Ask your legislators to co-sponsor the resubmitted Safe Communities Act (SD.532 and HD.1165)

This will be the third legislative session for this bill, which lets our local police focus on their priorities and not federal immigration priorities. The bill was reported out of Committee favorably in the last session but the session ended before it could be brought to a vote. You can help get it passed this time around by urging your legislators to co-sponsor it. Counting co-sponsors is an initial step in assessing support for a bill, so the more co-sponsors the more likely it is to be quickly brought to a vote and passed.
https://actionnetwork.org/…/pass-the-safe-communities-act
NOTE: The Action Network has not yet updated its contact information for newly elected state legislators. Constituents of Rep. Vanna Howard, please copy and paste this sample email into your own email browser and send it. We apologize for the inconvenience! Legislator contact information is given below.

Contact your legislators about the refiled Work and Family Mobility Act (HD.448/SD.228)

Another piece of legislation important to public safety that did not get voted on before the end of the last legislative session. Lead sponsors, Representatives Christine Barber and Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Senators Brendan Crighton and Adam Gomez, have refiled the bill in both the House (HD.448) and the Senate (SD.273)! There is a co-sponsorship drive to gain support for the Work and Family Mobility Act! There are currently 50 co-sponsors; there were 80 last session, so and it is hoped there will be more.
Email your State Senator and Representative at http://bit.ly/2021-dff-email and call to ask them to co-sponsor the Work and Family Mobility Act (HD.448/SD.228), You can find their numbers at the end of this section, or look them up here https://bit.ly/dff-leg-lookup.

Email your legislator, asking them to support Raise Up Massachusetts campaigns

The Fair Share Amendment! Ask your elected officials to support this policy by ensuring it is brought up for a second constitutional convention and receives a YES vote from them when it does! Fair Share would add a 4% tax on annual income over $1 million and dedicate the revenue to transportation and public education.
Emergency Paid Sick Time! Working people should not be forced to make the impossible choice between going to work while sick during a pandemic or getting the pay they need to put food on the table. This policy would provide 10 additional work-days (80 hours) of job-protected paid sick time for immediate use during the pandemic. (H.531 / S.386)
GILTI! Some of the largest, most profitable businesses in Massachusetts are multinational corporations who use unfair tax schemes to shift their profits overseas and away from U.S. tax collectors. This policy would allow Massachusetts to track down those bad actors and tax those offshore profits. (H.452 / S.173)
Increase the Corporate Tax Rate! Before 2009, the corporate tax rate was 9.5%. By restoring the current 8.0% tax rate to 9.5% we can generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new state revenue back into the recovery of our communities – all from profitable corporations. (H.1020 / S.428)
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-the-raise-up-massachusetts-campaigns
Again, constituents of Representative Howard will want to copy and paste the message from the form into their email client and write to her directly.

Call to action from Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition

This year, as the State is preparing its priorities for the state budget – we demand that the feminization of poverty not be ignored. Periods do not stop during pandemics. No one should have to choose between food, a roof over their head, their education, and access to menstrual products, and yet every day in Massachusetts, menstruators are forced to make exactly that choice. Legislators are deciding their priorities now, and we need them to both co-sponsor and *champion* HD651: An Act Relative to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools (I AM bill) in the 193rd legislative session and not relegate period poverty to invisible status anymore.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/prioritize-period-poverty-in-the-massachusetts-recovery-plan

Find your State Legislators here

House Speaker Ronald Mariano Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2300
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 / 508-633-8005
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
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
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
…or…
Find My Legislator: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
……
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02133
 

National Events and Actions

Sign on to Black Alliance for Peace Petition to Abolish 1033 programs

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has demanded abolition of the 1033 program since its founding in 2017. It is now asking the public to sign a petition demanding the Biden administration and Democrats commit to abolishing this racist and brutal program. The program, which gives surplus military gear to police departments, has been notorious for contributing to the excessive use of force by police in this country.
Sign on to the petition here: http://tinyurl.com/295pmomo

Live with the 19th!: Black Women, Power and the Ballot

Friday, February 19, 1pm EST
Join The 19th’s Editor-at-large Errin Haines on Friday, Feb. 19 at 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET. for a conversation on Black women organizing, voting and leading in the new American democracy – and what it means for an expanding electorate. 19th Editor-at-Large Errin Haines will be joined by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown; U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; and political commentator Tara Setmayer.
To register: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/live-with-the-19th-black-women-power-ballot/register

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 January meeting here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vcq_XUI2YXU4Qnb2lD8OuX7TPs-8JpWcDZ5IuRNb9e4/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our January meeting: https://youtu.be/pxqVzfcN31A

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

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR FEBRUARY 5, 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

Urge Governor to sign Next Generation Road Map climate bill (S.9)

The bill would be a significant step forward, although more work is still needed to speed the state’s transition to 100% renewable energy and tackle the emissions from the transportation sector. As you may know, the Legislature passed the bill during the last legislative session with veto-proof majorities, only to see the Governor wait until the last minute and then veto the bill at the very end of the session. The Legislature has again passed the exact same bill, again with a veto-proof majority.
Although we have the votes to override another veto, it would be faster if the Governor would just sign the bill. We’re asking folks to urge him to sign the bill as is so we can get on to other state priorities.
Use the following form: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-baker-to-sign-the-next-generation-climate-bill-2/

Urgent Need for Legal Funds for our Guest Asylum Seeker

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.

Donate here: http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/ (please write “asylum-legal” in the “special notes” part of the donation form) Please email mvisn@solidaritylowell.com if you have any questions.

March for Moses

Every Saturday, 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 our City Councilors here in Lowell (information below).

Attorney General Maura Healey (617) 727-2200
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 yet 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).

Tell Facebook not to allow Trump back

This post comes to us by way of Indivisible East Bay (CA)
Deadline for action: Monday, February 8, 2021, at 10 am EST.
We’re asking you to make a public comment to Facebook against allowing Trump back on Facebook.
After the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol, Facebook suspended Trump’s participation on Facebook. The Oversight Board is now considering whether to end the ban and allow Trump to post again on Facebook. Please tell them No!
How To Post Your Comment: The link to the Public Comment Form is at the bottom of this webpage for the Oversight Board: http://tinyurl.com/akhmwzzy
They will ask for a 750-word-limited summary of your statement and there is a 6000-word limit on your actual statement. You will want to have them written in text so you can paste in or attach a file, before you go to the website. Also, if you’re interested in the privacy and use agreements you’re asked to agree to near the end of the form, check them BEFORE you post. I lost my whole post and had to start over when I clicked to view the agreement.
These are some sample scripts you can use to make a public comment:
Sample Script 1: Trump is too risky for inciting violence as happened on January 6. He has continued to spread falsehoods about voter fraud even to the present day. I urge you to continue the ban on Trump indefinitely.
Sample Script 2: Trump has a following in the millions, so that he is uniquely dangerous when he spreads disinformation and threats. He has shown a proven ability to incite people to attack and harm others. For this reason you should ban Trump from Facebook permanently.
Sample Script 3: With his words, Trump has successfully weaponized his audience to commit acts of violence. It is proven that his followers take his words as a command to attack and threaten others. For this reason you should ban Trump from Facebook permanently.
Do It Yourself: If you have a background in civil rights, communications or public policy, you can also write your own public comment based on your specific expertise.
Spread the Word: Please ask your group’s members, as well as family and friends, to post a public comment. If you know of liberal media that can publicize the need for public comment, please contact them too. Conservative media have already told their people how to make public comments on the Trump ban. We have to make sure that our voices are heard.
We hope you and yours are well and staying healthy!
Donna, Linh, Ion
Judiciary Team
Indivisible East Bay (CA)

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Postcarding?

Solidarity Lowell is re-starting our postcarding events virtually on Zoom. Please fill out the following form if you’re interested in joining the group!
https://forms.gle/9kXRDrpekLyeQ7ir8

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday February 28th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Topics to be determined.

Local Events and Actions

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, February 9, 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.
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, February 11, 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.

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

The City of Lowell is using a Housing Choice Grant award from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) to conduct a comprehensive parking study.
The Lowell Parking Study will review and analyze existing parking conditions, including parking inventory, utilization, policies, management, regulations, and pricing, and analyze the parking supply and demand compared to existing land uses. The Parking Study will help ensure that the parking system is consistent with the City’s economic development and transportation planning goals, including the ongoing GoLowell Multimodal Complete Streets plan.
An overview of the project has been held. Four neighborhood meetings are scheduled. The project team wants to hear from folks about parking issues and concerns in their neighborhoods as well as potential opportunities to improve parking in Lowell.

Neighborhood meetings
Feb. 10, 6:30pm – Belvidere/S. Lowell/Sacred Heart
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqd-6gqTgjGdWhCUsra81HqHJ3IS7B4I9U
Feb. 11, 6:30pm –Downtown/JAMBRA
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkfuuqqjwqH9AeTDn-1XjM_3cDyUglIijo
Feb. 24, 6:30pm–Pawtucketville/Centralville
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUoceqtpzMvGtzDMw_GW3xkTLfdka56yqUN
Feb. 25, 6:30pm –Back Central, Acre, Highlands
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkce6gpz4tEtQwYt7wTqNiw9ZQ6Z67rOWs

Lowell Votes – help register and educate voters

Lowell Votes seeks volunteers to help register and educate voters and find candidates
http://www.lowellvotes.org
Next meeting: February 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.

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.
February’s nominees are Essex County Habitat for Humanity, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, The Professional Center for Child Development.

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.

Standing Up For Democracy

The late Congressman John Lewis, in his last message to us, said “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.” We recently learned the consequences of thinking active participation wasn’t necessary.

This section will include opportunities for you to participate in strengthening our democracy.

5Calls.org

This is set up to provide actions that don’t require a lot of your time but can have an impact, on the national or local level. Pick your areas of interest. Five calls in five minutes.
http://www.5Calls.org

Common Cause Social Media Monitoring to Combat Misinformation

Join teams to spread truth and defeat lies
https://www.commoncause.org/what-we-do/join-common-causes-action-team/

Contest Every Race

75% of the 520,000 elected offices in this country go uncontested by nonconservatives. This group recruits candidates.
https://contesteveryrace.com/

Help people get IDs

While requiring ID’s for voting is not optimal, it is true that medical care and access to government assistance of various kinds often also requires an ID. There are organizations that help people get ID’s.
http://spreadthevote.org
http://voteriders.org

Get Out the Vote in Revere

Join a phone bank to help turn out the vote as Revere elects a new representative for the first time in 30 years, to replace former Speaker Robert DeLeo.
http://tinyurl.com/4tp242vn

State-Level Events and Actions

Comment on the Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030

The public comment period for the Plan has been extended. Comments are now being accepted until 5pm on March 22nd, 2021.
Details are at http://www.mass.gov/2030CECP. Stakeholders are encouraged to use this online form to submit specific comments.
You can sign up to receive updates at https://www.mass.gov/forms/form-1-mailing-list
Also, a reminder that the MA 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap is also available at http://www.mass.gov/2050Roadmap. The report as well as slides and video of a 2050 Roadmap webinar held on 1/15 are available from that link.

Ask your legislators to co-sponsor the resubmitted Safe Communities Act (SD.532 and HD.1165)

This will be the third legislative session for this bill, which lets our local police focus on their priorities and not federal immigration priorities. The bill was reported out of Committee favorably in the last session but the session ended before it could be brought to a vote. You can help get it passed this time around by urging your legislators to co-sponsor it. Counting co-sponsors is an initial step in assessing support for a bill, so the more co-sponsors the more likely it is to be quickly brought to a vote and passed.
https://actionnetwork.org/…/pass-the-safe-communities-act
NOTE: The Action Network has not yet updated its contact information for newly elected state legislators. Constituents of Rep. Vanna Howard, please copy and paste this sample email into your own email browser and send it. We apologize for the inconvenience! Legislator contact information is given below.

Email your legislator, asking them to support the Work and Family Mobility Act (HD.448 and SD.273)

Another piece of legislation important to public safety that did not get voted on before the end of the last legislative session, this bill is being refiled.
At the following link you will find two templates, one for legislators who supported the bill in the last session, one for those who did not. Senator Kennedy and Representative Mom were supporters. Representative Howard was, of course, not yet in office. Representative Golden was not a supporter.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zlq38cYh5Wklcznc7qawsFlQIwVKNyZBi8_fe6FT4CA/edit?usp=sharing

Email your legislator, asking them to support Raise Up Massachusetts campaigns

The Fair Share Amendment! Ask your elected officials to support this policy by ensuring it is brought up for a second constitutional convention and receives a YES vote from them when it does! Fair Share would add a 4% tax on annual income over $1 million and dedicate the revenue to transportation and public education.
Emergency Paid Sick Time! Working people should not be forced to make the impossible choice between going to work while sick during a pandemic or getting the pay they need to put food on the table. This policy would provide 10 additional work-days (80 hours) of job-protected paid sick time for immediate use during the pandemic. (H.531 / S.386)
GILTI! Some of the largest, most profitable businesses in Massachusetts are multinational corporations who use unfair tax schemes to shift their profits overseas and away from U.S. tax collectors. This policy would allow Massachusetts to track down those bad actors and tax those offshore profits. (H.452 / S.173)
Increase the Corporate Tax Rate! Before 2009, the corporate tax rate was 9.5%. By restoring the current 8.0% tax rate to 9.5% we can generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new state revenue back into the recovery of our communities – all from profitable corporations. (H.1020 / S.428)
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/support-the-raise-up-massachusetts-campaigns
Again, constituents of Representative Howard will want to copy and paste the message from the form into their email client and write to her directly.

Call to action from Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition

This year, as the State is preparing its priorities for the state budget – we demand that the feminization of poverty not be ignored. Periods do not stop during pandemics. No one should have to choose between food, a roof over their head, their education, and access to menstrual products, and yet every day in Massachusetts, menstruators are forced to make exactly that choice. Legislators are deciding their priorities now, and we need them to both co-sponsor and *champion* HD651: An Act Relative to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools (I AM bill) in the 193rd legislative session and not relegate period poverty to invisible status anymore.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/prioritize-period-poverty-in-the-massachusetts-recovery-plan

Find your State Legislators here

House Speaker Ronald Mariano Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2300
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 / 508-633-8005
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
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
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
…or…
Find My Legislator: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
……
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02133

National Events and Actions

Sign on to Black Alliance for Peace Petition to Abolish 1033 programs

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has demanded abolition of the 1033 program since its founding in 2017. It is now asking the public to sign a petition demanding the Biden administration and Democrats commit to abolishing this racist and brutal program. The program, which gives surplus military gear to police departments, has been notorious for contributing to the excessive use of force by police in this country.
Sign on to the petition here: http://tinyurl.com/295pmomo

Tell Facebook Banning Trump Isn’t Enough

Use the Common Cause form to send a message (pre-written but editable) .
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-facebook-banning-trump-isnt-enough

Support H.R. 1 and H.R. 51

Use the handy form to call your representative in support of H.R. 1, the We the People Act that includes reforms to strengthen democracy (such as an end to gerrymandered districts and no-excuse absentee voting) and H.R.51, which would grant statehood to the District of Columbia. After you’ve called, get your family and friends in other states to do the same thing.
https://indivisible.org/demand-your-representative-support-and-move-swiftly-hr-1-and-hr-51

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 January meeting here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vcq_XUI2YXU4Qnb2lD8OuX7TPs-8JpWcDZ5IuRNb9e4/edit?usp=sharing
Recording of our January meeting: https://youtu.be/pxqVzfcN31A
Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to joinhttps://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR JANUARY 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

Urgent Need for Legal Funds for our Guest Asylum Seeker

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.

Donate here: http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/ (please write “asylum-legal” in the “special notes” part of the donation form) Please email mvisn@solidaritylowell.com if you have any questions.

March for Moses

Every Saturday, 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.
Attorney General Maura Healey (617) 727-2200

If you are so moved, you should also contact your State Representative and State Senator, and our City Councilors here in Lowell (information below).

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 February 28th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
Topics to be determined.

Local Events and Actions

Conservation Commission Meeting/Lowell Area Gas Modernization Project

Wednesday, February 10, 7pm
Watch https://www.lowellma.gov/AgendaCenter for agenda.
Watch for link. Which must be posted by Monday February 8.

National Grid is proposing to replace portions of an existing 6” natural gas pipeline system with new, larger (12”) diameter pipeline. The project would facilitate the use of state-of-the-art in-line inspection equipment involving the internal inspection of pipelines using special tools which travel within the pipeline and can measure wall thickness, identify metal loss, and scan for cracks or crack-like defects.
The wetland resource areas impacted include Inland Bank, Riverfront Area, Bordering Land Subject to Flooding, Land Under Wetlands and Waterways, and wetlands (BVW). Black Brook and River Meadow Brook are within or adjacent to the project area. This includes the Highlands wetlands along Route 3.
All project materials are available online at: https://lowellma.gov/DocumentCenter/Index/1381

At the last meeting, questions were raised about the damage the project will cause to city wetlands and how the city should be compensated for it. Due to the significant interest in the matter expressed by the much larger than usual attendance, National Grid agreed to return with a plan for compensation as part of the process for obtaining approval. Folks are therefore urged to attend this meeting in support of the City’s interests. Sometimes just showing up makes all the difference.

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, February 4, 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.

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

February 2, 6:00-7:15pm
The City of Lowell is using a Housing Choice Grant award from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) to conduct a comprehensive parking study.
The Lowell Parking Study will review and analyze existing parking conditions, including parking inventory, utilization, policies, management, regulations, and pricing, and analyze the parking supply and demand compared to existing land uses. The Parking Study will help ensure that the parking system is consistent with the City’s economic development and transportation planning goals, including the ongoing GoLowell Multimodal Complete Streets plan.
This meeting will provide an overview of the study. The project team will discuss study goals, share a detailed parking inventory that is underway, and summarize early observations and findings.
To pre-register: https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEsdOmprzkjG9as98SW9AYUP8AB0mWXv3b1
A recording of the meeting is also promised if you are interested but cannot attend.
Neighborhood meetings are also scheduled. The project team wants to hear from folks about parking issues and concerns in their neighborhoods as well as potential opportunities to improve parking in Lowell.

Neighborhood meetings
Feb. 10, 6:30pm – Belvidere/S. Lowell/Sacred Heart
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqd-6gqTgjGdWhCUsra81HqHJ3IS7B4I9U
Feb. 11, 6:30pm –Downtown/JAMBRA
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkfuuqqjwqH9AeTDn-1XjM_3cDyUglIijo
Feb. 24, 6:30pm–Pawtucketville/Centralville
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUoceqtpzMvGtzDMw_GW3xkTLfdka56yqUN
Feb. 25, 6:30pm –Back Central, Acre, Highlands
Register in advance for this meeting:
https://lowellma.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkce6gpz4tEtQwYt7wTqNiw9ZQ6Z67rOWs

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

Next meeting: February 2, 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.
http://www.lowellvotes.org

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.

Standing Up For Democracy

The late Congressman John Lewis, in his last message to us, said “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.” We recently learned the consequences of thinking active participation wasn’t necessary.

This section will include opportunities for you to participate in strengthening our democracy.

Common Cause Social Media Monitoring to Combat Misinformation

Join teams to spread truth and defeat lies
https://www.commoncause.org/what-we-do/join-common-causes-action-team/

Contest Every Race

75% of the 520,000 elected offices in this country go uncontested by nonconservatives. This group recruits candidates.
https://contesteveryrace.com/

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. Voting on the rules will happen at the end of January or beginning of February.

It is high time that the legislature commits 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/
Normally, rules would be voted on at the beginning of a new legislative session. However, the new Speaker has postponed that vote for 6 months and until then the House is working on emergency rules established for pandemic operation. It is important to keep up the pressure on legislatures so that they know that we are serious about our demands.
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. Representative Howard has committed to transparency. A team has already met with Representative Mom and he supports some of the asks. There will also be a team to speak with Representative Golden.
Fnd yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator:

House Speaker Ronald Mariano Ronald.Mariano@mahouse.gov 617-722-2300
Senate President: Karen E. Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov 617-722-1500
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 617-722-2800 x7302 / 508-633-8005
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
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

National Events and Actions

A Look Ahead at US Refugee Policies

Tuesday, February 2, 2:00pm
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, U.S. Congressional Representative of California’s 19th District and Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Refugee Caucus
Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at HIAS
To register: https://www.hias.org/get-involved/events/look-ahead-us-refugee-policies

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 in Rapid Response Team

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 in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR JANUARY 09, 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 9th, 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:
Fnd 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).

Take action in response to the attempted coup on January 6

Text “IMPEACH” to 50409 (Resistbot) to tell Congress to impeach again.
He can be impeached even after he leaves office. The goal is to ban him ever running for or serving in elected office again.
Then text “25th” to the same number to tell Congress to invoke the 25th.
Then text “sign pzehup” to tell them to remove the seditionists from Congress.

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group Signup: New Session in January

Sign up here for Solidarity Lowell’s Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group, taking place starting in January 2021 for five weeks. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS. Individuals committed to exploring their own racial biases are invited to participate in an Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group. The purpose of the group is to engage in supportive, structured dialogues with others to explore whiteness in contemporary society, especially to better understand the legacy and impact of white supremacy, white privilege, explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, and microaggressions. This format is designed to provide a fruitful opportunity to engage in meaningful, difficult and engaging conversations about personal, institutional and societal responsibility in recognizing white privilege and systemic racism. Over the course of this five-week workshop, you will better understand yourself, your communities, and be prepared to work toward a diverse and equitable culture with your friends, family, Lowell and beyond. Registration is capped at 10 and, depending on interest, other groups may be formed. Dates will be scheduled ASAP and your confirmation in the group will be sent to the email address you list here.
https://forms.gle/n7pxiUfDNVZzwj1Y8

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

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, January 12, 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 14, 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.

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.

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 medical expense of $300 for a one-time treatment not covered by his insurance. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – medical” 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 November meeting here:

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

Recording of our November meeting:
https://youtu.be/W2SsXJ2hrDI
Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to joinhttps://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR DECEMBER 18, 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!

Priority Actions

Contact your legislators about the Police Reform bill

Instead of passing the historic police reform bill, Governor Baker sent it back to the legislature with amendments that undercut key provisions to hold police accountable and promote racial justice. Our lawmakers must reject these harmful amendments and champion progress.

Senator Kennedy voted for the bill, but NONE of the Lowell representatives voted for it.
Contact your state legislators NOW:
http://bit.ly/reject-baker-amendments

Help Win Eviction Protections

The legislature is close to passing some important protections against eviction, but the Governor is trying to weaken those protections. A vote is scheduled in the next day or two.
You can help by contacting your legislators, by email or by phone. The following site can guide you through the process.
https://www.housingguarantee.org/

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Solidarity Lowell General Meeting This Sunday

Sunday December 20th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84173453842?pwd=bU85K3ozOWlHN1dDaHprbk0vNG9DUT09
Meeting ID: 841 7345 3842
Passcode: 326452
Dial in: 301 715 8592 or 646 558 8656
We will celebrate victories as well as look at the work to be done in 2021. Our main speaker will be Craig Thomas, Deputy Director of Lowell DPD, talking about “Housing 101”. We will also have a discussion of the proposed new Lowell Election Districts with several concerned community members (https://yourlowellyourvote.org or https://www.facebook.com/LowellMALines).

Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group Signup: New Session in January

Sign up here for Solidarity Lowell’s Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group, taking place starting in January 2021 for five weeks. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS. Individuals committed to exploring their own racial biases are invited to participate in an Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group. The purpose of the group is to engage in supportive, structured dialogues with others to explore whiteness in contemporary society, especially to better understand the legacy and impact of white supremacy, white privilege, explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, and microaggressions. This format is designed to provide a fruitful opportunity to engage in meaningful, difficult and engaging conversations about personal, institutional and societal responsibility in recognizing white privilege and systemic racism. Over the course of this five-week workshop, you will better understand yourself, your communities, and be prepared to work toward a diverse and equitable culture with your friends, family, Lowell and beyond. Registration is capped at 10 and, depending on interest, other groups may be formed. Dates will be scheduled ASAP and your confirmation in the group will be sent to the email address you list here.
https://forms.gle/n7pxiUfDNVZzwj1Y8

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

Local Events and Actions

Know Your Rights Campaign/Call to Action/Request for Volunteers–Stop Evictions in Lowell!!

LLAMA, in partnership with Lowell Alliance and other local groups, is planning a city-wide public information campaign to slow the wave of anticipated evictions and help families mitigate the impacts of evictions.

Volunteers are needed to help with the following:
Develop/revise informational materials-
The idea for this campaign comes from the Somerville Know Your Rights Campaign that launched last week (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w-7NJSy-KawRKJmzWQjt0hNavon_qdOA37eN3N-5rE4/edit). They have developed flyers and a resource guide which we can use as templates. So we don’t have to start completely from scratch but we do need a couple of volunteers to help with revisions and some research into Lowell-area resources. We also need help translating the materials into as many different languages as possible, at a minimum, Spanish, Khmer and Portuguese.

Outreach to community partners-
If this campaign is to be successful, we need to involve as many community partners as possible to help us get the word out as widely as possible. A broad-based coalition should include: churches/faith groups, food pantries, public institutions (LPS, library etc) social service providers, health institutions, neighborhood groups, community leaders etc. We have started a partner outreach list but we need help expanding that list and reaching out to potential partners.

Canvassing/Flyering-
We need a number of volunteers to post flyers throughout the city. We’re aiming to blanket the city with flyers posted in corner stores, hairdressers/barbershops, laundromats, restaurants etc
If you would like to play a role in this Week of Action please email Nancy Coan (ncoan@ywcaoflowell.org) to let her know what part (or parts) of this campaign you would like to help with.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, December 24, 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 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.

Free Food Saturday

Saturday, December 26, 1-3pm, location to be announced
Come for the food. Leave with information on food resources and eviction defense.
Happens every other Saturday. Next one: January 9.

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.
December’s nominees are Ella’s Way, Ruff Tales Rescue, and Lazarus House.

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:
Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
The winner will be awarded in December.

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.

National Actions and Events

Help save Oak Flat Apache Land from transfer to foreign mining companies

This land transfer was slipped into the 2015 Defense Appropriations Committee in the wee hours, since its supporters had been unable to get it through Congress openly. At the time, the environmental impact had not been fully reported. It is now clear that that impact would be disastrous. Efforts are under way to stop the transfer through legislation. You will find a petition to sign, and a message to legislators. Note: the form is wrong, as it brings up Senator Warren, who has already co-sponsored the bill, instead of Senator Markey. I just copied the sample message and pasted it into the webform on Senator Markey’s page and Rep. Trahan’s page. http://apache-stronghold.com/take-action.html

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Our guest, asylum seeker Marius, has encountered an unexpected medical expense of $300 for a one-time treatment not covered by his insurance. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – medical” 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 November meeting here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xP8bUZQBT3YFpoqjhszx4I-84bdEgtkk19yAC3AUB9M/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our November meeting: https://youtu.be/W2SsXJ2hrDI

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

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR DECEMBER 12, 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

Virtual Fundraiser for Marius

Dec 15th, 7pm on Zoom
Free to attend, donations requested

The Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN), Merrimack Valley Project, and Solidarity Lowell present a conversation with Marius, a Togolese refugee. Host Cantor Vera Broekhuysen will lead the conversation with Marius, who will discuss his journey from Togo, a small country on the West Coast of Africa, through South America and Mexico and into the U.S. We will also hear about his experiences crossing the border and in ICE detention facilities.
To sign up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/finding-sanctuary-marius-journey-north-tickets-128307791057

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday December 20th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
We will celebrate 2020 victories, as well as look at the work still to be done.
Watch for more information.

Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group Signup: New Session in January

Sign up here for Solidarity Lowell’s Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group, taking place starting in January 2021 for five weeks. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS. Individuals committed to exploring their own racial biases are invited to participate in an Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group. The purpose of the group is to engage in supportive, structured dialogues with others to explore whiteness in contemporary society, especially to better understand the legacy and impact of white supremacy, white privilege, explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, and microaggressions. This format is designed to provide a fruitful opportunity to engage in meaningful, difficult and engaging conversations about personal, institutional and societal responsibility in recognizing white privilege and systemic racism. Over the course of this five-week workshop, you will better understand yourself, your communities, and be prepared to work toward a diverse and equitable culture with your friends, family, Lowell and beyond. Registration is capped at 10 and, depending on interest, other groups may be formed. Dates will be scheduled ASAP and your confirmation in the group will be sent to the email address you list here. https://forms.gle/n7pxiUfDNVZzwj1Y8

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

Local Events and Actions

Know Your Rights Campaign/Call to Action/Request for Volunteers–Stop Evictions in Lowell!!

LLAMA, in partnership with Lowell Alliance and other local groups, is planning a city-wide public information campaign to slow the wave of anticipated evictions and help families mitigate the impacts of evictions.

Volunteers are needed to help with the following:
Develop/revise informational materials-
The idea for this campaign comes from the Somerville Know Your Rights Campaign that launched last week (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w-7NJSy-KawRKJmzWQjt0hNavon_qdOA37eN3N-5rE4/edit). They have developed flyers and a resource guide which we can use as templates. So we don’t have to start completely from scratch but we do need a couple of volunteers to help with revisions and some research into Lowell-area resources. We also need help translating the materials into as many different languages as possible, at a minimum, Spanish, Khmer and Portuguese.

Outreach to community partners-
If this campaign is to be successful, we need to involve as many community partners as possible to help us get the word out as widely as possible. A broad-based coalition should include: churches/faith groups, food pantries, public institutions (LPS, library etc) social service providers, health institutions, neighborhood groups, community leaders etc. We have started a partner outreach list but we need help expanding that list and reaching out to potential partners.

Canvassing/Flyering-
We need a number of volunteers to post flyers throughout the city. We’re aiming to blanket the city with flyers posted in corner stores, hairdressers/barbershops, laundromats, restaurants etc
If you would like to play a role in this Week of Action please email Nancy Coan (ncoan@ywcaoflowell.org) to let her know what part (or parts) of this campaign you would like to help with.

Urge City Councilors and Manager to sign on to letter allowing pension funds to divest from fossil fuels

Contact city councilors and city manager via webform:
https://www.lowellma.gov/formcenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45

Be sure to tick all councilors you want to contact and City Manager.

Sample script:
Later in December, elected officials across Massachusetts are sending a letter to the Massachusetts Legislature urging the House and Senate to bring H4440 and S636 to a vote to protect pensions and pass legislation allowing pensions to divest from coal, oil and gas investments, in whole or in part.
The MassDivest Coalition is working together with their partners to advance this important policy measure that will empower local retirement boards to protect their portfolios from failing fossil fuel investments.
I urge you, as a representative of Lowell, to sign on as an endorser of the letter. To do so, please fill out this google form by 8am Monday, December 14. Mayors, City Managers, Town Administrators, and members of a City Council, Select Board, School Committee and Retirement Boards are invited to sign on.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf3fU1b54sPsD2LUpWbNhiuRO08tatxFPL6pp5_cXd-VQ77wA/viewform

Free Food Saturday

Saturdays from 1-3pm, South Common, South St and Summer St
Come for the food. Leave with information on food resources and eviction defense.
Happens every other Saturday. Next one: December 26.

Information session on new electoral system

Tuesday, December 15, ch. 99
5:30-6:30 English
6:30-7:30 Spanish
7:30-8:30 Khmer

Find out more about our coming hybrid district and at large city council system to be elected next fall.
Community members who wish to ask questions or provide input during the event must register to speak by sending an email containing their full name and address to yourlowellyourvote@lowellma.gov before 5 p. m. Monday December 14. Those unable to participate can submit questions and comments to the same e- mail address.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, December 17, 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 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.

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.
December’s nominees are Ella’s Way, Ruff Tales Rescue, and Lazarus House.

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:
Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
The winner will be awarded in December.

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

Contact your legislators about the Police Reform bill

Instead of passing the historic police reform bill, Governor Baker sent it back to the legislature with amendments that undercut key provisions to hold police accountable and promote racial justice. Our lawmakers must reject these harmful amendments and champion progress.
Senator Kennedy voted for the bill, but NONE of the Lowell representatives voted for it.
Contact your state legislators NOW:
http://bit.ly/reject-baker-amendments

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.
https://actonmass.org/the-campaign/

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 Conference 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. Now is a good time to contact legislators with your views.

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

House Speaker Robert DeLeo: Robert.DeLeo@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. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. David Nangle  David.Nangle@mahouse.gov 617-722-2520
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

National Actions and Events

Help save Oak Flat Apache Land from transfer to foreign mining companies

This land transfer was slipped into the 2015 Defense Appropriations Committee in the wee hours, since its supporters had been unable to get it through Congress openly. At the time, the environmental impact had not been fully reported. It is now clear that that impact would be disastrous. Efforts are under way to stop the transfer through legislation. You will find a petition to sign, and a message to legislators. Note: the form is wrong, as it brings up Senator Warren, who has already co-sponsored the bill, instead of Senator Markey. I just copied the sample message and pasted it into the webform on Senator Markey’s page and Rep. Trahan’s page.
http://apache-stronghold.com/take-action.html

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Our guest, asylum seeker Marius, has encountered an unexpected medical expense of $300 for a one-time treatment not covered by his insurance. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – medical” 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)

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR DECEMBER 7, 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

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

Save The Date: Virtual Fundraiser for Marius

Dec 15th, 7pm on Zoom
Free to attend, donations requested

The Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN), Merrimack Valley Project, and Solidarity Lowell present a conversation with Marius, a Togolese refugee. Host Cantor Vera Broekhuysen will lead the conversation with Marius, who will discuss his journey from Togo, a small country on the West Coast of Africa, through South America and Mexico and into the U.S. We will also hear about his experiences crossing the border and in ICE detention facilities.
To sign up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/finding-sanctuary-marius-journey-north-tickets-128307791057

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting

Sunday December 20th, 5:30pm, via Zoom
We will celebrate 2020 victories, as well as look at the work still to be done.
Watch for more information.

Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group Signup: New Session in January

Sign up here for Solidarity Lowell’s Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group, taking place starting in January 2021 for five weeks. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS. Individuals committed to exploring their own racial biases are invited to participate in an Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group. The purpose of the group is to engage in supportive, structured dialogues with others to explore whiteness in contemporary society, especially to better understand the legacy and impact of white supremacy, white privilege, explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, and microaggressions. This format is designed to provide a fruitful opportunity to engage in meaningful, difficult and engaging conversations about personal, institutional and societal responsibility in recognizing white privilege and systemic racism. Over the course of this five-week workshop, you will better understand yourself, your communities, and be prepared to work toward a diverse and equitable culture with your friends, family, Lowell and beyond. Registration is capped at 10 and, depending on interest, other groups may be formed. Dates will be scheduled ASAP and your confirmation in the group will be sent to the email address you list here.
https://forms.gle/n7pxiUfDNVZzwj1Y8

Local Events and Actions

Know Your Rights Campaign/Call to Action/Request for Volunteers–Stop Evictions in Lowell!!

LLAMA, in partnership with Lowell Alliance and other local groups, is planning a city-wide public information campaign to slow the wave of anticipated evictions and help families mitigate the impacts of evictions.

Volunteers are needed to help with the following:
Develop/revise informational materials-
The idea for this campaign comes from the Somerville Know Your Rights Campaign that launched last week (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w-7NJSy-KawRKJmzWQjt0hNavon_qdOA37eN3N-5rE4/edit). They have developed flyers and a resource guide which we can use as templates. So we don’t have to start completely from scratch but we do need a couple of volunteers to help with revisions and some research into Lowell-area resources. We also need help translating the materials into as many different languages as possible, at a minimum, Spanish, Khmer and Portuguese.

Outreach to community partners-
If this campaign is to be successful, we need to involve as many community partners as possible to help us get the word out as widely as possible. A broad-based coalition should include: churches/faith groups, food pantries, public institutions (LPS, library etc) social service providers, health institutions, neighborhood groups, community leaders etc. We have started a partner outreach list but we need help expanding that list and reaching out to potential partners.

Canvassing/Flyering-
We need a number of volunteers to post flyers throughout the city. We’re aiming to blanket the city with flyers posted in corner stores, hairdressers/barbershops, laundromats, restaurants etc
If you would like to play a role in this Week of Action please email Nancy Coan (ncoan@ywcaoflowell.org) to let her know what part (or parts) of this campaign you would like to help with.

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, December 8, 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, December 4.

Conservation Commission to consider Gas Company Application

Wednesday, December 9, 7pm
Watch https://www.lowellma.gov/AgendaCenter for agenda.
Watch for link.

Folks are urged to attend the meeting, which concerns an expansion of the pipeline. Please see below for a link to NOI application materials for the Lowell Area Gas Modernization Project. The applicant is proposing to replace portions of an existing 6” natural gas pipeline system with new, larger (12”) diameter pipeline. The project is needed to facilitate the use of state-of-the-art in-line inspection equipment involving the internal inspection of pipelines using special tools which travel within the pipeline and can measure wall thickness, identify metal loss, and scan for cracks or crack-like defects.
The wetland resource areas impacted include Inland Bank, Riverfront Area, Bordering Land Subject to Flooding, Land Under Wetlands and Waterways, and wetlands (BVW). Black Brook and River Meadow Brook are within or adjacent to the project area.
All project materials are available online at: https://lowellma.gov/DocumentCenter/Index/1381

CMAA’s 36th Anniversary Gala “Together With A Purpose”

Friday, December 11, 6pm

This year’s Gala will be a virtual event. Youth performances and silent auction (some items from Cambodia!) will be part of an evening full of community resilience, love, and care.
Register to attend the FREE EVENT, sign up for auction items, make a donation, and become a sponsor by visiting:
https://one.bidpal.net/cmaa36

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.
November’s nominees include 2 Lowell groups, Lowell Association for the Blind and Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust. The third nominee is Town of Chelmsford Scholarship Fund.

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
Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association
The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc.
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
The winner will be awarded in December.

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

City Hall Access Limited

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

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.
https://actonmass.org/the-campaign/

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 Conference 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. Now is a good time to contact legislators with your views.

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

House Speaker Robert DeLeo: Robert.DeLeo@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. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. David Nangle  David.Nangle@mahouse.gov 617-722-2520
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

2021 Budget Bill
Passed and waiting for the Governor’s review and signature. A number of critical issues have been included as amendments to the budget bill. And the Governor has the power of line item veto.

One such item is the Roe Act. The Massachusetts state House and Senate both voted to adopt amendments to improve abortion access in their versions of the state budget. We must ensure that when Governor Baker ultimately signs a state budget into law it includes these crucial amendments — and that means we must act now.
Please send a message to the governor urging him to support equitable abortion access. Then share this form with three friends: we can get these key components of the ROE Act passed into law, and we need everyone to get involved to do it.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/emailcharliebaker-roeact

Police Reform Bill Passed But Needs Your Support
The Governor still needs to sign it. The margin it passed in the House, by 91-67, is well short of the 107 votes needed to override a veto by the Governor. The Senate vote of 28-12 was only 1 vote above being able to override. So if he vetoes it, there might NOT be the votes to override it and then sections of the law could be blocked.
Police unions are lobbying strenuously for him to veto the bill or at least sections dealing with police officer accountability, decertification, and qualified immunity which is at the heart of the bill.

Contact the Governor at (617) 725-4005, or using this email: form: https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office, and at this address: Governor Charlie Baker, State House, Boston, MA 02133

Sample Message:
Please sign the Racial Justice Policing bill, Senate 2963. It’s a fair compromise between the House and Senate versions and includes some provisions of the bill you proposed. Please sign it to keep the faith to racial justice.

Alternative sample email to Governor:
Dear Governor Baker,
This is a critical moment for racial justice in our country, and it’s time for Massachusetts to take meaningful action.
Thousands of Bay Staters took to the streets in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, calling for accountability and reform for law enforcement. In the months since his death, we’ve also seen multiple instances of state and local law enforcement in Massachusetts committing illegal activity, violence, and evading basic accountability.
This is not just a national issue. We need police reform now, right here in Massachusetts. We need to create greater accountability, prevent police violence, and improve police-community trust.
The Legislature’s compromise police reform package builds on many of the reforms you proposed back in June and even earlier. It also includes additional reform measures like a ban on chokeholds, and giving civil-rights stakeholders equal representation with police on the police oversight board. These are common-sense reforms with broad public support.
As the end of the legislative session draws near, Massachusetts must not ask communities of color to wait any longer for safer communities, basic accountability, and meaningful reform.
We can’t miss this chance this session. I urge you to stand with the majority of Massachusetts residents, end the delays, and sign the police reform bill into law today, without amendment.
Please do not kill this careful compromise that is poised to deliver such long-overdue change for communities of color.
Sincerely,
[signer name]
Note: Senator Kennedy voted for the bill. All three Lowell reps voted against it. Let them know what you think.

Safe Communities Act (S.1402/H.3573)
This bill was voted favorably out of the Public Safety Committee, but there has been no movement to bring it to vote. It would let our police focus on what they were hired to do instead of being used to do ICE’s work for them. It may not have enough supporters to override a possible veto, but we should not give up until the legislature has shut down for this session at the end of the year.

You can help by writing your legislators in support of passing the bill with the convenient form:
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pass-the-safe-communities-act

Work and Family Mobility Act
This bill would allow people to obtain a driver’s license without having to show immigration status, enabling them to learn how to operate vehicles safely and to work and support their families.

Email Governor Charlie Baker, your state representative and senator now and ask them to support the bill: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/dff-letter

Write letters to the editor in support of both the above bills
One of the best ways to increase public awareness and support for the Safe Communities Act and Work and Family Mobility Act is for trusted community members to submit letters to the editor of their local newspapers. If you’d like to submit a letter to the editor, please contact Karissa Hand at khand@miracoalition.org.

National Actions and Events

Join the Indivisible Truth Brigade

Propaganda, false characterizations, intentionally misleading messages, and outright lies threaten our democracy and even our lives. We can effectively combat disinformation, despite the well-funded machines that drive it. They may have money, but we have truth and we have people. People believe sources they trust. When we share and amplify unified, factual messages to those who trust us, we shift the narrative. When we do this by the thousands– we’re part of the Indivisible Truth Brigade, and we get our country back.
https://act.indivisible.org/signup/indivisible-truth-brigade

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Our guest, asylum seeker Marius, has encountered an unexpected medical expense of $300 for a one-time treatment not covered by his insurance. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – medical” 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 November meeting here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xP8bUZQBT3YFpoqjhszx4I-84bdEgtkk19yAC3AUB9M/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our November meeting: https://youtu.be/W2SsXJ2hrDI

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

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR NOVEMBER 25, 2020

 

RAPID RESPONSE TEAM ACTION LIST FOR NOVEMBER 25, 2020

SOLIDARITY LOWELL EVENTS AND ACTIONS
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

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

Save The Date: Virtual Fundraiser for Marius
Dec 15th, 7pm on Zoom
Free to attend, donations requested
The Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN), Merrimack Valley Project, and Solidarity Lowell present a conversation with Marius, a Togolese refugee. Host Cantor Vera Broekhuysen will lead the conversation with Marius, who will discuss his journey from Togo, a small country on the West Coast of Africa, through South America and Mexico and into the U.S. We will also hear about his experiences crossing the border and in ICE detention facilities.
To sign up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/finding-sanctuary-marius-journey-north-tickets-128307791057

Next Solidarity Lowell General Meeting
Sunday December 20th, 5:30pm, via Zoom. 
We will celebrate victories as well as look at the work still to be done. Watch for more information.


Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group Signup: New Session in January
Sign up here for Solidarity Lowell’s Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group, taking place starting in January 2021 for five weeks. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO ATTEND ALL FIVE SESSIONS.

Individuals committed to exploring their own racial biases are invited to participate in an Unpacking Whiteness Dialogue Group. The purpose of the group is to engage in supportive, structured dialogues with others to explore whiteness in contemporary society, especially to better understand the legacy and impact of white supremacy, white privilege, explicit and implicit bias, systemic racism, and microaggressions.

This format is designed to provide a fruitful opportunity to engage in meaningful, difficult and engaging conversations about personal, institutional and societal responsibility in recognizing white privilege and systemic racism. Over the course of this five-week workshop, you will better understand yourself, your communities, and be prepared to work toward a diverse and equitable culture with your friends, family, Lowell and beyond.

Registration is capped at 10 and, depending on interest, other groups may be formed. Dates will be scheduled ASAP and your confirmation in the group will be sent to the email address you list here. https://forms.gle/n7pxiUfDNVZzwj1Y8


LOCAL EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Know Your Rights Campaign/Call to Action/Request for Volunteers–Stop Evictions in Lowell!!
LLAMA, in partnership with Lowell Alliance and other local groups, is planning a city-wide public information campaign to slow the wave of anticipated evictions and help families mitigate the impacts of evictions.

Volunteers are needed to help with the following: 

Develop/revise informational materials:
The idea for this campaign comes from the Somerville Know Your Rights Campaign that launched last week (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1w-7NJSy-KawRKJmzWQjt0hNavon_qdOA37eN3N-5rE4/edit

They have developed flyers and a resource guide which we can use as templates. So we don’t have to start completely from scratch but we do need a couple of volunteers to help with revisions and some research into Lowell-area resources. We also need help translating the materials into as many different languages as possible, at a minimum, Spanish, Khmer Portuguese.

Outreach to community partners:
If this campaign is to be successful, we need to involve as many community partners as possible to help us get the word out as widely as possible. A broad-based coalition should include: churches/faith groups, food pantries, public institutions (LPS, library etc) social service providers, health institutions, neighborhood groups, community leaders etc. We have started a partner outreach list but we need help expanding that list and reaching out to potential partners.
Canvassing/Flyering:
We need a number of volunteers to post flyers throughout the city. We’re aiming to blanket the city with flyers posted in corner stores, hairdressers/barbershops, laundromats, restaurants etc.
If you would like to play a role in this Week of Action please email Nancy Coan (ncoan@ywcaoflowell.org) to let her know what part (or parts) of this campaign you would like to help with.

Conservation Commission to consider Gas Company Application
Wednesday, December 9, 7pm
Please see below for a link to NOI application materials for the Lowell Area Gas Modernization Project. The applicant is proposing to replace portions of an existing 6” natural gas pipeline system with new, larger (12”) diameter pipeline. The project is needed to facilitate the use of state-of-the-art in-line inspection equipment involving the internal inspection of pipelines using special tools which travel within the pipeline and can measure wall thickness, identify metal loss, and scan for cracks or crack-like defects.
The wetland resource areas impacted include Inland Bank, Riverfront Area, Bordering Land Subject to Flooding, Land Under Wetlands and Waterways, and wetlands (BVW). Black Brook and River Meadow Brook are within or adjacent to the project area.
All project materials are available online at: https://lowellma.gov/DocumentCenter/Index/1381

CMAA’s 36th Anniversary Gala “Together With A Purpose”
Friday, December 11, 6pm
This year’s Gala will be a virtual event. Youth performances and silent auction (some items from Cambodia!) will be part of an evening full of community resilience, love, and care.
Register to attend the FREE EVENT, sign up for auction items, make a donation, and become a sponsor by visiting:
https://one.bidpal.net/cmaa36

CONTACT CITY COUNCILORS TO SUPPORT HOUSING STABILITY NOTIFICATION MOTION
The following motion was made at a recent City Council meeting and was referred to the Legal Department for review.
10.7.
C. Drinkwater – Request City Mgr. Direct The Law Department To Draft An Ordinance Relative To Housing Stability Notification, Requiring Notice To Tenants Whose Tenancies Are Being Terminated On The Rights And Resources Available To Them.
This is based on an Ordinance that was passed in Somerville, the first city in the state to pass one. The City would provide information to landlords, which they then are to hand out to tenants together with the “Notice to Quit.”
We are urging you to contact all City Councilors (except Councilor Drinkwater) asking them to move forward with implementation of the motion as soon as possible, since the eviction moratorium has ended and eviction proceedings have been started against a number of people already.
You will find a mail form at:
that allows you to check off all the councilors you are trying to reach.
SUGGESTED SCRIPT
Dear Councilor,
I’m writing in support of the motion by Councilor John Drinkwater that appeared on the agenda for the October 13 City Council meeting:
10.7. C. Drinkwater – Req. City Mgr. Direct The Law Department To Draft An Ordinance Relative To Housing Stability Notification, Requiring Notice To Tenants Whose Tenancies Are Being Terminated On The Rights And Resources Available To Them.
It is urgent that the City act on this motion as quickly as possible, since the state eviction moratorium has ended and eviction proceedings have already started against a number of people. Our City does not have the resources to cope with hundreds, if not thousands, of people suddenly homeless. Councilor Drinkwater’s motion would at least provide residents with information on rental assistance, legal assistance, and the court process through which they can pursue mediation and an agreement that may keep them housed.
Thank you.
Your constituent
[name, address, phone #]

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting
Thursday, December 3, 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 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.

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, December 8, 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, December 4.

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.
December’s nominees include 2 Lowell groups, Lowell Association for the Blind and Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust. The third nominee is Town of Chelmsford Scholarship Fund.

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 Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc., and 
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.

The winner will be awarded in December. 
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
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

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/

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 Conference 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. Now is a good time to contact legislators with your views.

Our State Legislators’ Info:

Find yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

House Speaker Robert DeLeo: Robert.DeLeo@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. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. David Nangle David.Nangle@mahouse.gov 617-722-2520
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

2021 Budget Bill
Now in Conference Committee. A number of critical issues have been included as amendments to the budget bill.

One such item is continued authorization of medication co-pay assistance programs. The law governing these programs is about to expire. The fate of the programs rests with the conference committee. Patients for Prescription Access is asking folks to email members of the Conference Committee to ask them to include an extension of co-pay assistance programs to 2023 in the budget bill.
https://app.muster.com/take-action/6utJAKHr0R/?t=cf05fa2cb8070e67724c5ea58ad01a02

Safe Communities Act (S.1402/H.3573)
This bill was voted favorably out of the Public Safety Committee, but there has been no movement to bring it to vote. It would let our police focus on what they were hired to do instead of being used to do ICE’s work for them. It may not have enough supporters to override a possible veto, but we should not give up until the legislature has shut down for this session at the end of the year.

You can help by writing your legislators in support of passing the bill with the convenient form: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/pass-the-safe-communities-act

Work and Family Mobility Act
This bill would allow people to obtain a driver’s license without having to show immigration status, enabling them to learn how to operate vehicles safely and to work and support their families.

Email Governor Charlie Baker, your state representative and senator now and ask them to support the bill: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/dff-letter

Write letters to the editor in support of both the above bills.
One of the best ways to increase public awareness and support for the Safe Communities Act and Work and Family Mobility Act is for trusted community members to submit letters to the editor of their local newspapers. If you’d like to submit a letter to the editor, please contact Karissa Hand at khand@miracoalition.org.

Housing Stability [URGENT-MORATORIUM HAS ENDED]
The bill was reported favorably out of committee and went into Conference Committee. Although the Governor announced a plan that would provide $100,000,000 to cover back rent and would also fund counsel the plan does not do nearly as much as is needed. The bill has survived as Amendment #585 / #763 to the budget bill.
Call or email in support of the amendment to prevent evictions and foreclosures. Scripts, instructions, and numbers provided:
https://www.housingguarantee.org/contact_your_legislators

NATIONAL ACTIONS AND EVENTS
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE FOR THE SAFETY OF YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW!
Join the Indivisible Truth Brigade
Propaganda, false characterizations, intentionally misleading messages, and outright lies threaten our democracy and even our lives. We can effectively combat disinformation, despite the well-funded machines that drive it. They may have money, but we have truth and we have people. People believe sources they trust. When we share and amplify unified, factual messages to those who trust us, we shift the narrative. When we do this by the thousands– we’re part of the Indivisible Truth Brigade, and we get our country back. https://act.indivisible.org/signup/indivisible-truth-brigade

ONGOING SOLIDARITY LOWELL INITIATIVES
Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius
Our guest, asylum seeker Marius, has encountered an unexpected medical expense of $300 for a one-time treatment not covered by his insurance. If you are able to contribute towards this, please donate using the link below and write “asylum – medical” 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).
The RRT (Rapid Response Team) Action List compiles action items from the week into one place. If you would like to add anything to the weekly update, please send it to Dee Halzack on Facebook or at dee@solidaritylowell.com using subject line “RRT”.
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/

November meeting recording: https://youtu.be/W2SsXJ2hrDI
Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Click here to join: https://www.progressivemass.com/contribute

Posted by Caroline Snow in Rapid Response Team