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

EA.ST.MOVEMENT rally to #StopAsianHate

Saturday, May 1, 2-5pm
Location: Tsongas Arena Stairs | 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Lowell, MA 01852

Please join the movement to stand together in solidarity against all kinds of hatred that is taking place in our community and the world. ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN!!!!
This event is led by members of EA.ST.Movement (Every Asian/American/Allies Stands Together) and supported by CMAA, UTEC and DEI Lowell.
There will be speakers, musicians, singers, and more. We will also be providing masks and hand sanitizers so that we’re all practicing social distancing protocols.

For more info, please email: EAST.MOVEMENTLOWELL@GMAIL.COM


Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Solidarity Lowell SLCC Election

Are you a member of Solidarity Lowell? Have you been to at least 3 meetings in the past year? If so, make sure you cast your vote for Coordinating Committee members.
Lisa Arnold, Amy Baranoski, Marissa Dupont, and Caroline Snow are running for re-election. Kale Connerty and Win Flint have stepped up to run for the first time.
Look for the ballot in your email if you haven’t seen it already.

Solidarity Lowell Election Committee

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

Meet with your legislators

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


Local Events and Actions

Next City Council Meeting

(2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 6:30pm)
Tuesday, April 27, 6:30pm
At the beginning of the emergency, the City Council voted to meet every 2 weeks to facilitate safe distancing. Watch the meeting on LTC (Channel 99 or https://www.ltc.org/watch/channel-99/). Members wishing to speak regarding a specific agenda item shall register to speak in advance by sending an email to the City Clerk indicating the agenda item and a phone number to call so that they may be issued a Zoom link into the meeting.  Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV.  If you have no access to email you may contact the City Clerk at 978-674-4161. Requests must be received by 4 pm the day of the meeting. (Note: they will keep you in the waiting room until it’s your turn to speak, so in order to follow the meeting you need to listen on TV, but turn that off when you speak because there’s a delay on the speakers.)
The agenda is posted at  http://lowellma.gov/agendacenter the Friday before a meeting. Look under City Council, look for the date of the meeting of interest, click on Download, and select the version (HTML, PDF, or packet, which includes background) you want to see.  For more details see the April 9 #RRTCCR tagged post by Lisa Arnold in our Facebook group.

Building a Strong Community for Racial Justice

April 28, April 29
Learn, Listen, Act
And Stand Together Against Hate

Lowell Public Schools is launching a three-part series of virtual sessions which will help us to learn, listen and take action against all forms of racism and discrimination within our community. The first community we will highlight is our Asian American community in Lowell.

Part 1 – Learning How to Stop Hate – will be offered on three dates between April 22-29 and facilitated by Dr. Phitsamay Uy from the Center for Asian American Studies at UMASS Lowell. We strongly encourage students, families and staff to sign up for one of the sessions below where you will learn more about the rise of anti-Asian hate acts since the onset of COVID-19, reflect on the history of racism in the US against Asian Americans, and learn strategies for responding when you witness acts of racism or hate. This session will also include information on how to report acts of racism and discrimination using the school district’s bias-based reporting protocol.

Wednesday, April 28, 4pm
To register: https://lowell-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YqrERxgoTneKUd5AzV4RlA

Thursday, April 29, 6pm
To register: https://lowell-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4yYYL9B9RkG8PmsmMm9B7w

Public hearing on Community Preservation Act Priorities

Thursday, April 29, 6:30pm

The CPA approved in the November, 2019, election creates a 1% surcharge on local property taxes, to be used for open space and recreation, historic preservation, and community housing projects.

The input received will help in the development of Lowell’s Community Preservation Plan, which will guide decisions on CPA development applications.

Don’t miss out on the chance to weigh in.

How to watch
1-Join via your computer, tablet, or smartphone: https://lowellma.zoom.us/j/87061876217
2-Call 646-558-8656 and enter the MEETING ID: 870 6187 6217
3-Watch LTC Channel 99
4-Watch online at: www.ltc.org/watch/channel-99

March for Moses

Saturday May 1, 12:00-2:00pm (rain or shine)
850 Lawrence Street, Lowell
March to Lowell Police Headquarters (JFK Plaza/Arcand Drive)

Demand justice for Moses Harris, who disappeared during an encounter with the police. No police report has been made public as of publication date. Although Moses has been found, there are still a lot of questions that have not been answered. Deaths involving police should be investigated by an independent body, not the police department involved in the incident.

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

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

We ask that you contact our City Councilors here in Lowell (see the sample script for details).
Form to contact Lowell City Councilors: https://www.lowellma.gov/FormCenter/Contact-the-City-Council-5/City-Council-Contact-Form-45
Sample Script: “Hello, this is [Name] calling from [Address, City, State, ZIP] and Solidarity Lowell. Moses Harris disappeared into the Concord River on December 19th during an encounter with the Lowell Police. Although his body has been found, there are questions that remain regarding the handling of the encounter. The Harris-Wahpo family has been seeking answers about the incident, but the police have yet to release the police report or discuss the case. Any time there is an officer-involved death, there should be an INDEPENDENT investigation, for the sake of the victim, the victim’s loved ones, the police, and the community. I ask that you have this incident investigated independently , and find out which department policies were followed or violated that allowed this to happen. Thank you!”
NOTE: It is important that you include your full name and address (including ZIP code).

Moses Harris’s Family needs the support of their community

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help with their material needs.

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

Support those arrested at the protest on March 20

From CAJE: We need EVERYONE to support our people who were arrested, and who responded to this emergency, by donating to cover their expenses. LPD’s violence has now manifested as FINANCIAL ABUSE.

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

At the link you will find a list of boards and commissions that have vacancies.  Click on the link to each to find out what the position involves and what the requirements are.


Other Events

Justice for All: Transforming Massachusetts’ Unjust Legal System

Tuesday, April 27, 7:00pm-9:00pm
To register:

Call2Action, along with over thirty Democratic committees across Massachusetts, invite you to join a virtual forum this April 27th on the future of our criminal justice system and opportunities to enact positive change at the local and state level.

We’ll hear from Andrea James, founder of Families for Justice as Healing and the National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls; Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program for the ACLU of Massachusetts; Shaleen Title, an Indian-American attorney and longtime drug policy activist who currently serves as Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence at the Ohio State University College of Law Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, and vice-chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition; and Sana Fadel, Deputy Director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice and lead organizer of the statewide Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition. Helina Fontes, community organizer and Program Director of the Northeast Recovery Learning Community, will moderate. Representative Ayanna Pressley will offer introductory remarks.

Take action to protect our democracy!

Tuesday, April 27, 7:30PM

This month, as Congress considers important bills to help protect and strengthen our democracy, we’re featuring books that can help us take effective actions.

Since the filibuster is a key obstacle in passing any democracy reform legislation in Congress, the IMC Book Club selection this month, Kill Switch, deals with that topic. Join the group on Tuesday April 27 to learn more about the filibuster and actions we can take to help end it.

Don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to read the book – watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPrNW7Aa8fU&ab_channel=NowThisNews) of the author outlining its key points and check out this great letter to the editor (https://www.mvtimes.com/2021/04/07/end-the-filibuster/) about the filibuster by Cathy Walthers from Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard.

(h/t Indivisible Mass Coalition)

Webinar: White People and Defunding the Police

Tuesday, April 27, 8pm
To register https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PQanp8kzQ86LsmxZ7ps9cQ

For many of us, defunding the police is a new idea. Most white people have beliefs about policing that are shaped by our racist culture, not reality or history. How do we help more people in our lives understand what defund means and move them to a place of supporting this powerful demand?

Come to hear about deepening our understanding of the movement to defund the police and reinvest in our communities with movement leader Mariame Kaba.

(h/t SURJ)

Social Media Monitoring Training

Thursday, April 29 at 5-6 pm.
Common Cause is offering a special training on Social Media Monitoring, which Indivisible-RISE Newburyport is hosting and to which all IMC members and friends are invited. Please email indivisible.rise.newburyport@gmail.com to reserve a spot and receive the link. Even if you are unsure if you want to try this activity, I recommend coming to the training to learn more! (edited)

Immigrants’ Day at the State House

Tuesday, May 4, 12:00pm-1:30pm
To register:

Immigrants’ Day at the State House is one of MIRA’s proudest traditions, with 25 years of history in advocacy. Each May, MIRA brings together hundreds of immigrants and refugees to the State House to hear from public officials and advocate for our communities’ legislative and budget priorities, including the Safe Communities Act, the Work and Family Mobility Act, the COVDI-19 Vaccine Equity Act, and Language Access and Inclusion Act. (Did you know about that one?)

There will be  a ~45-minute speaking program with built-in digital advocacy opportunities, followed by 45-minute regional “roundtables” with legislators co-hosted by MIRA member organizations.

Who is Delaying Climate Action in MA?

Monday, May 3, 7-8:30pm
To register: https://350mass.betterfutureproject.org/webinar_series

Earlier this year, Brown University released a bombshell report that identified the forces working against climate action in Massachusetts.  Researchers Trevor Culhane, Galen Hall, and J Timmons Roberts, as well as Rep. Mike Connolly, will answer the question everyone is asking.


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

Tuesday, May 11, 12:00pm-1:30pm
To register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSekHrZtRdN7aiUNvZPlF3TARaaxU_jOYduRQHWtjQTkFAHF-A/viewform

All 4 of Lowell’s legislators have co-sponsored. Sen. Kennedy has co-sponsored the Senate version. While Lowell’s representatives are all on board, if attempts are made to water down the bill, they need to know that we care.

State-level Events and Actions

The People’s House Campaign for Rules Reform

This new campaign by Act on Mass, Sunrise Boston, Mijente, and Indivisible Mass Coalition is a sequel to the previous Transparency is Power campaign. Rules reform in July, smarter and better. The House will vote on its rulebook in July.
What if we, the people, could reclaim our power to shape the policies that affect our lives? What if we could hold our state representatives accountable to actually representing their districts? What if we could make the State House work to uplift the lives of millions, fulfilling the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors? Imagine what transformative policies we could win.

Sign up for the campaign: https://actonmass.org/the-campaign/
Apply to be a Regional Organizer: admin@actonmass.org

RSVP for Textbank Tuesday 4/27: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpd-GurD0jE9W882T3bD8gt_5Z4WvE0nN3
RSVP for Textbank Wednesday 4/28: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUvduGopjsvHdY9c4ScmKB-yQs54XNAXvl9

Join the Slack group: https://join.slack.com/t/actonmassvol/shared_invite/zt-oui6g99i-z5oRqWTMXRfjmirItJFGQQ

Donate: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/aom2021-q2-web

Massachusetts Redistricting

See Drawing Democracy for more info.

On April 14, the state legislature’s Special Joint Committee on Redistricting began the process of redistricting the state’s legislative and congressional districts by holding a virtual hearing that can be viewed HERE.

If you want to ensure that underrepresented communities have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice who best reflect their needs and interests, check out Drawing Democracy, a coalition of community organizations, civil rights lawyers, public policy advocates, data and mapping experts, and political scientists working on this issue. You can find resources about redistricting, sign up for their newsletter, or volunteer to help.
(h/t Indivisible Mass Coalition)

Call to Action: Greetings Local Public Health Advocates & Supporters

State budget season is here! On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee released their version of the FY22 budget with only $850k in dedicated funding for local public health, and we know that is not enough to meet the needs of all 351 communities.  Thanks to the leadership of State Representatives Hannah Kane and Chairwoman Denise Garlick, an amendment has been filed to include $23.4M in the budget for local and regional boards of health. This is an all hands on deck moment where we need each of you to advocate to get that amendment adopted.
Going from $850K to $23.4M is a big ask – and it will take a big effort from advocates – FROM YOU –  to get us there. In order to show broad support for this funding, our goal during the House budget is to get a majority of representatives to co-sponsor the amendment. That means we need at least 81 house members to co-sponsor in order to reach our goal.

What We Need You To Do:
Over the course of the next week, we need you to call and email your state representative and ask them to co-sponsor Amendment #485. We need you to forward this email to your networks, or reach out to 2-3 close friends or colleagues and ask them to take action as well.

Then we need you to follow-up. Follow-up with your Rep to make sure they’ve officially co-sponsored.

They say don’t let a good crisis go to waste. We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the local public health system in Massachusetts is not adequately structured, staffed, or financed to meet large scale public health challenges. We also know that poorer less developed countries with better-developed public health systems have managed COVID better. Despite the dedication of our state’s local health staff and volunteers, the Commonwealth’s decentralized approach to delivering public health services leads to extreme variability across municipalities — and this puts the entire state at risk. Now is the time to move rapidly to improve and invest in our local public health system, so that local public health departments can meet the challenges of today – and tomorrow.

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 Ronald Mariano: Ronald.Mariano@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  617-722-2800 x7302; Google Voice: 978-272-9078.
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

Support for Asylum-Seeker Marius

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

Donate here: http://www.merrimackvalleyproject.org/donate-1/ (please write “asylum” in the “special notes” part of the donation form)


Ongoing Solidarity Lowell Initiatives

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/

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

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

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

View the notes from our March meeting: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tBDTUsYbrenoWGcYoOOuWPlu7jKpxO2w4aJNE48bXvw/edit?usp=sharing

Recording of our March meeting: https://youtu.be/jJfxz4548JI


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