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.


Priority Actions

Demand that Charlie Baker Prioritize Equity in Vaccine Rollout

The vaccine rollout in Massachusetts has been a disaster for everyone, but it has been particularly devastating to the communities of color who have already been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. Earlier this week, our friends from the newly formed Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition announced a roadmap for a more equitable distribution of vaccines to the disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities of Massachusetts.
Email the Governor today to demand that he implement these changes in order to eliminate the inequities that communities of color have been experiencing throughout this pandemic. The form at the link includes an editable message you can personalize.


Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Solidarity Lowell General Meeting This Sunday (Today)!

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 27, 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

City Hall Open to the Public Again as of March 1

With the improvement in COVID rates, City Hall is open to the public again during normal business hours, effective March 1.

Special Joint Meeting of City Council and School Committee

Monday, March 1, 5:30pm
This meeting is called to move for the resignation of School Committee member Robert Hoey, for some reprehensible public statements and to pass a resolution condemning those statements.

Lowell Votes

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

Next City Council Meeting

(every 2 weeks, on Tuesday at 6:30pm)
Tuesday, March 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. (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.

Weekly LLAMA Housing Advocacy Meeting

Thursday, March 11, 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
Or contact the group via the phone number.

Next Sustainability Council Meeting

(4th Thursday of every month)
Thursday, March 25, 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.
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:
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.

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).

Other Events

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.


Thursday, March 4, 4:00pm- 5:00pm
The last several years have seen the growing and successful use of citizen-initiated ballot initiatives to win major election reforms. Organizers of successful citizen-driven campaigns from different parts of the country, which beat the odds and succeeded, will discuss their issues, their motivations, and how they won. Get more details and register for this Zoom webinar here:

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 NOT enough people actively participating. This section will include opportunities for you to participate in strengthening our democracy.

Represent.us Textbank to support passage of H.R. 1 For the People Act

March 4, 12:30-9:00pm EST
Sign up to receive links to training and to sign up for shifts.

State-level Events and Actions

Write your legislators in support of the progressive agenda for 2021-2022

There are a number of important bills on the agenda, covering paid vaccine equity, sick leave, taxing offshore income, curbing solitary confinement, and more.

Urge your state legislators to co-sponsor workers’ rights bills

The bills covered by this petition address abusive waivers, sexual harassment, healthcare portability, paid sick leave, abusive scheduling, wage theft, retaliation against those who speak up for their rights, discrimination, underpaid restaurant workers, and bullying. The form contains an editable email you can send to your legislator

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

350MA of Greater Lowell is urging us all to take action to 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 (now called S. 9) a few weeks ago. Baker still refused to sign it, choosing instead to send it back with amendments, some of which weaken the bill.

Email or call your state rep and senator and tell them to:
Reject any amendments that weaken the bill!
Don’t forget to include your name and address, so they know you are a constituent.
See the end of this section to find your state rep and senator.

Background on the bill here:

Let 350MA of Greater Lowell (Jon Grossman, jgrossman@seiu509.org) know if you get a response.
Together we can confront the climate crisis in Massachusetts!

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. Specifically it is important to preserve the following key provisions as originally passed:
The 2030 and 2040 emissions targets (We need to keep the stronger targets).
The sector emissions sub-limits (We actually need to go further).
The net zero stretch building code (We’re already late, and we can’t put this off longer.)
Thank you, and I look forward to having your support.


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 at 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.

Our State Legislators’ Info:
Please contact your state representative and state senator (email preferable at the moment)
(find yours here https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator):
House Speaker 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. Vanna Howard Vanna.Howard@mahouse.gov 508-633-8005
Rep. Rady Mom Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov 617-722-2460
Rep. Colleen Garry Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov 617-722-2380
Rep. Tram Nguyen tram.nguyen@mahouse.gov 617-722-2425
Sen. Edward Kennedy edward.kennedy@masenate.gov 617-722-1630
Sen. Michael Barrett Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov 617-722-1572
Sen. Jamie Eldridge James.Eldridge@masenate.gov 617-722-1120
Sen. Barry Finegold Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov 617-722-1612

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

Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

Marius is the Togolese asylum seeker whom the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network (MVISN) is sponsoring. With generous support from people like you and MVISN member groups like ours, Marius has retained an immigration lawyer, filed an application for asylum, and successfully moved his case to the Boston immigration courts from El Paso, exponentially increasing his possibility of ultimately winning his case. Until Marius receives legal authorization to work, our network has committed to financially supporting him with $500/month. Can you chip in towards the $500 we need to meet our commitment to him? Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Consider becoming a “sustaining supporter” by making a recurring monthly donation, no size too small! We are also looking for folks who are interested in helping 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: https://solidaritylowell.com/events/
For volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page: https://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