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.



Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

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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.

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.

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.
[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:

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.

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: https://solidaritylowell.com/events/

For volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page: https://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