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

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.

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.

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:

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.

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:

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

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.

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)