Speak Out for More Transparency on Beacon Hill

Action of the Week

~ If you do nothing else this week, this is the action that can make a difference. ~

Special Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions/Legislative Transparency on the Agenda

Tuesday, March 26, 10am
State House Rm A2

The Committee is holding a hearing on the ballot question authorizing the Auditor to audit the Legislature. ( Bill H4251, An Act expressly authorizing the Auditor to audit the Legislature.)

It’s too late to register to give oral testimony but written testimony can be submitted to the Committee via email at SpecialJointCommitteeonInitiativePetitions @ The deadline to submit written testimony is Saturday, March 30 at 5:00 PM.

You may contact Committee staff with any questions at Mary.Cecconi @ or Elizabeth.Berman @ There are no Lowell legislators on the Committee, but Senator Cindy Friedman, of Billerica, is the Senate co-chair of the committee. Billerica SL members can reach her at CindyFriedman @

Standing up for this ballot initiative is one way of fighting for transparency in the legislature. If this ballot initiative is successful, the Massachusetts legislature’s poor NATIONWIDE rating on transparency CAN be changed.
h/t Indivisible Acton

The hearing comes just after Sunshine Week highlighted the lack of transparency in our Legislature. In this WGBH video, Erin Leahy, Executive Director of Act on Mass, explained why Massachusetts has “a reputation for being one of the least transparent legislatures in the country” and called 2023 a ‘banner year’ for that.

And in this article, Sunshine Week meets shade on Beacon Hill, Jonathan Cohn, Policy Director at Progressive Mass, documents the dramatic drop in the number of roll call votes this session compared to past years. The article also mentions the Sunlight Act that MA Indivisibles lobbied for earlier this year.

Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Emergency Housing Coalition Meeting

Sunday April 7, 6pm
UML Center For Women And Work, 150 Wilder Street, Lowell

Join us in this coalition effort from LLAMA, Merrimack Valley Project, Sacred Sun Project, and Solidarity Lowell.

Continuing the work of advocating for humane treatment of our unhoused neighbors and for affordable housing. If you have questions about the agenda or the past meeting, please contact Felix Brown at felixfab62 @

Next Solidarity Lowell Meeting

Sunday April 28, 5:30-7pm 
Status: Hybrid OR Zoom to be determined closer to date
Topic/speaker: Coordinating Committee Elections and TBD

Unpacking Whiteness

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. There will be five sessions total.

Sign up at

For more information, please contact Marissa Dupont:

Support Needed for Asylum-Seeker

Lilian, an asylum-seeker from the Dominican Republic, finally moved into an apartment! She can use assistance with furnishing the place.

Donations and gift cards are appreciated. These can be given to Marissa Dupont, who will pass them along to Lillian. CashApp: $gollygee17   Venmo: @owlnerd

For checks, cash donations, or gift cards, email to coordinate drop-off.

Lowell Events & Actions

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, March 26 at 6:30pm, at City Hall and online

Meetings are usually held weekly Tuesdays at 6:30pm with public welcome. Occasionally meetings are canceled due to holiday weekends. Attend in person or by using remote participation as follows: Members of the public may view the meeting via LTC.Org (Online; Live Streaming; Or Municipal Cable Channel 6).

To speak, you must register by 4pm the day of the meeting. Those wishing to speak regarding a specific agenda item must register to speak in advance of the meeting by sending an email to the City Clerk indicating the agenda item and a phone number to call so that you may be issued a Zoom link to the meeting if you wish to speak remotely. Email Address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV. If you have no access to email you may contact the City Clerk at 978-674-4161.

See agenda for details:

2.2. Recognitions:

A. 8th Annual Sustainable Lowell Awards:
Lowell Litter Krewe (Brad Buitenhuys)
UMass Lowell’s Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy (Ruairi O’Mahony)

B. Youth Climate Change Action Award:
Plastic Waste (Jisella Sanquiche)
Carbon Footprint (Penina Mukundi)
Compost (Tyvohn Matias Mbugua)
Urban Forestry (Disha Patel)


6.4.C. Robinson – Req. City Mgr. Provide Update On Plan To Clean Embankment On The VFW Next To The Aiken Bridge.


9.1.Ordinance – Amend Fee Schedule – Residential Parking Signs

9.2. Ordinance – Amend Parking Rates FY24


10.1. Rules And Election Law SC March 19, 2024.

10.2. Ad-Hoc Subcommittee – Restoration Of Superior Court March 20, 2024.

10.3. Economic/Downtown Development SC March 26, 2024.

How to contact your City Councilor

It’s easy via the Webform above. You can write to as many of the councilors as you’d like, all at once. You can include the City Manager. You can have a copy of what you send returned to you. And you can communicate anonymously if you wish.

Remember. They work for us. You have a right to bring your concerns about the City to them.

Inhabitants: An Indigenous Perspective

Tuesday, March 26, 6:30-8pm
Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center

Follow the story of Native American Tribes as they restore their traditional land management practices. This 76-minute film is presented by the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust in partnership with the Lowell Film Collaborative as part of their 2024 Eco-Film Series, which showcases educational eco-themed films on the last Tuesday of every month from January through June.

More information on the series:

Hunger And Homelessness Commission Has An Opening

If you are a resident of Lowell or a non-resident affiliated with a Lowell organization or institution and believe in and support the special interests of the hungry and homeless and are willing to work on behalf of the City of Lowell on this issue, this may be for you.

The Commission meets once a month, usually on the first Wednesday, for 60-90 minutes. Meetings are open to the public.

For more information on the Commission opening:

Support for Our Unhoused Siblings

Life Connection Center could use help with their Night Owl program, 7pm to 12am.

They also need donations, especially cold weather supplies.

Useful items include:

  • Luggage & duffle bags for containing belongings for easy transport
  • Heaters (camping appropriate)
  • Mylar sleeping bags
  • Bottled water
  • Ponchos
  • Jackets and coats
  • Gloves and mittens
  • Umbrellas
  • Gently Used or New Towels for Shower Service
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Toilet paper
  • toiletries
  • Outreach Snacks

That first item is important. We anticipate sweeps will continue. Folks therefore need a way to keep their belongings together and easy to transport on short notice.

Items may be dropped off Monday through Friday 8am-6pm and Sunday through Thursday 7pm-10pm at 192 Appleton Street. (978) 997-0588

You may also contribute through their Amazon wish list at

Opportunities to help at Lowell Transitional Living Center

Amazon wishlist

The LTLC is always in need of volunteers. This is another venue where Solidarity Lowell members can show their support for our unhoused neighbors. 978-458-9888

Eliot Church Day Center

273 Summer St
Provides breakfast and lunch, and day space. St. Paul’s Kitchen serves dinner.

For more information on how you might help:

Other Events

Touchbase Tuesdays

Tuesday, March 26, 1-2pm
Tuesday, April 2, 1-2pm

Virtual – RSVP: 

Join Indivisible Acton Area weekly for conversation about local, state, and national current events. Let’s get together to update/review/share/plan news and actions people can take to win in 2024. Some of the brainstorming ideas discussed here turn into take action activities for the Indivisible Acton Area.

Joint Committee on Ways and Means FY25 Budget Public Hearing

Tuesday, March 26, 11am
Gardner Auditorium
RSVP here to sign up to attend or submit written testimony:
Watch the hearing at

This hearing will include other budget-related items, including funding higher education, and any bills that require funding that have passed out of committee, which includes Access to Counsel.

Access to Counsel testimony
Fact sheet:

We are at a critical moment. With both a line-item for Access to Counsel in Governor Healey’s FY25 budget and the full Access to Counsel bill H. 4360 (new number) in the House Ways and Means Committee, it is the time to push hard for the line-item to be passed in tandem with the full bill.

Please include in your testimony the following paragraph:
We respectfully urge the Joint Committee on Ways and Means to include in both the House and the Senate FY25 budgets $3.5 Million (Line-item 0321-1800) to fund an Access to Counsel program, alongside the full Access to Counsel bill language contained in S.864/H.4360, which provides the framework for a statewide program. Without representation, the majority of tenants face eviction alone. Without legal representation, many tenants risk becoming homeless. The time is now to start a statewide Access to Counsel program.

Submit Written Testimony: By Wednesday, March 27 at 5 pm, by email to Emerson.Gagnon @ and Kerry.Rugenstein @ Address your testimony to Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz. Below is a sample letter you can make your own and mail or email to Chair Rodrigues and Chair Michlewitz.

Sample email
The Honorable Michael J. Rodrigues
Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
State House Room 212, Boston, MA 02108

The Honorable Aaron M. Michlewitz
Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means
State House Room 243, Boston, MA 02108

Dear Chair Rodrigues and Chair Michlewitz,

Thank you for all your work to prevent homelessness and housing insecurity. Without legal representation, many tenants risk becoming homeless. Laws are complicated. Courts are complicated. And most tenants are unrepresented and face eviction alone. The time is now to start a statewide Access to Counsel program.

We urge the Joint Committee on Ways and Means to include in your FY25 budget $3.5 Million (Line-item 0321-1800) to start an Access to Council program in tandem with the full Access to Council bill language in S.864/H.4360, which provides the framework for a statewide program.

[Add a sentence about your organization, why this is important to you/your organizations, or a story that you know of someone who faced eviction alone]

Thank you,
[Your name, email address]

Rep. Vanna Howard is a member of the Committee AND a co-sponsor. Constituents, make sure she knows where you stand regarding Access to Counsel.

The Truth About Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Tuesday, March 26, 2024, 7:30-8:30pm 
Virtual – RSVP:
Sponsor:Indivisible National

Crisis pregnancy centers pretend to help women seeking healthcare, but in reality they use deceitful practices and spread disinformation with the goal of ending abortion access. Did you know that your tax dollars even fund them? Join us to learn who operates these centers, how they mislead vulnerable women and what we can do to fight back. Our friends at Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights organize against these centers and will share the tactics they use to successfully expose them.

GAI Bi-Weekly Postcard Action Hour

Wednesday, March 27,  6-7:30pm
Panera, 58 Peters St, North Andover
Sponsor: Greater Andover Indivisible

Leading up to the 2024 elections, we’ll be writing to voters in key swing states/districts with messages about must-win candidates, progressive issues, Democrats’ accomplishments and urging unregistered likely-Dems to register and vote!

Introduction to Deep Canvassing: The Proven Method to Change Hearts and Minds

Tuesday, March 27, 6-7pm
Sponsor: People’s Action
Virtual – RSVP:

Immigrants’ Day at the State House

Thursday, March 28, 9am-1pm
State House

Each year hundreds of immigrant and refugee constituents from across the Commonwealth come together in the State House to celebrate their contributions and advocate for their legislative and budget priorities. Join MIRA this year to advocate for new arrivals, language access, the Safe Communities Act, and internationally trained physician licensure.

Despite legal barriers and an increase in hate towards immigrants and refugees, we continue to move forward together, fostering the courage it takes to fuel change.

At Immigrants’ Day you will hear personal stories from political and community leaders, as well as have the opportunity to speak directly with legislators about policies that affect our communities.

Postcards for Democracy

Thursday, March 28, 10:30am-Noon
Kimball Farm Country Store, 400 Littleton Road, Westford
Sponsor: Indivisible Westford
$15 per packet

Join fellow activists every Thursday to write postcards over coffee and conversations.

State Level Actions

Ask your legislators to support independent correctional oversight

Please ask your legislators to support and pass S.1545/H.3956 – An Act creating an independent correctional oversight office to facilitate the recommendations of the Special Legislative Commission on Structural Racism in Correctional Facilities of the Commonwealth Q2
h/t Stella Ko, Indivisible Acton

To Contact the Governor

Governor’s Office of Constituent Services (617) 725-4005
Call between 9am and 5pm and leave a message.

Or email the governor, using this form:

Our State Legislators’ Info

Speaker Ronald Mariano | 617-722-2500 | Rm 356
Senate President Karen Spilka | 617-722-1500 | Rm 332
Rep. Rodney Elliott | 617-722-2000 x7313 | Rm B1
Rep. Vanna Howard | 617-722-2060 | Rm 33
Local office: 25 Central Street, ground floor, Lowell
Rep. Rady Mom | 617-722-2637 | Rm 544
Rep. Colleen Garry | 617-722-2380 | Rm 238
Senator Edward Kennedy | 617-722-1630 | Rm 109-E
Senator Michael Barrett | 617-722-1572 | Rm 109-D
Senator Jamie Eldridge | 617-722-1120 | Rm 511-C
Senator Barry Finegold | 617-722-1612 | Rm 511A
(… or find yours here:

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

National Actions

How to Contact the White House
(Includes a link to send email.)

Our Federal Legislators’ Info

Senator Elizabeth Warren
309 Hart Senate Office Building | Washington, DC 20510 | 202-224-4543
2400 JFK Federal Building | 15 New Sudbury Street | Boston, MA 02203 | 617-565-3170

Senator Edward Markey
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building | Washington, DC 20510 | 202-224-2742
975 JFK Federal Building | 15 New Sudbury St | Boston, MA 02203 | 617-565-8519

Representative Lori Trahan
2439 Rayburn HOB | Washington, DC 20515 | 202-225-3411
126 John Street | Lowell, MA 01852 | 978-459-0101

Representative Seth Moulton
202-225-8020 | 978-531-1669

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

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

Link to minutes of March meeting

Link to recording of March meeting

See recordings of past Solidarity Lowell meetings in our YouTube channel at:

For positive news visit Solidarity Lowell Upbeat on Facebook:

Solidarity Lowell is a chapter of Progressive Massachusetts. Join at:

Posted by Marissa in Rapid Response Team

Racism is a Local Public Health Crisis

As an organization working for social justice for all in our city, Solidarity Lowell feels called to write in support of the Lowell Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consortium and its letter to the city.

It is good to see the City Council taking the Consortium’s letter seriously enough for there to be several motions before the Council this week to address racism in the city. Some of the motions may be mutually exclusive; none of them address all of the Consortium’s concerns.

The Consortium has stated that “Racism is a local public health crisis.” Stating a problem is the first step to addressing it. As various authorities have written, it IS a HEALTH crisis. Dealing with racism throughout life is stressful and contributes to chronic health problems in communities of color, including a form of PTSD. Racism is directly causing deaths by the way some situations involving people of color are handled, or not handled. Racism has been demonstrated to be contributing to the established susceptibility of people of color to the novel coronavirus.

The Council clearly cares about the people of color in this city. It is spending a considerable part of this week’s meeting on the issue of racism, but being a good ally means listening. When people of color express a need, allies must amplify their words, not change them. The Consortium used the words “Racism is a local public health crisis”. The Council needs to use those words in its response. We consider anything else to be disrespectful. We thank the Mayor for recognizing that.

The first Consortium ask of the city is to “Articulate and communicate the City of Lowell’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, its objectives, and its strategies to reach these goals.” The mayor’s proposal for a Task Force is a good start to this. Good management practice also requires setting specific measurable goals. Without specific measurable goals, it is virtually impossible to discern steps to achieve progress. We are glad to see that the Mayor expects the Task Force to recommend ways in which success can be measured.

The second Consortium ask is “Protocols for Data Equity and Integrity”. This is necessary in order to be able to measure where we are and to measure our progress in moving toward our goals. There are examples from other cities available. We need to admit that there is a need for this and commit to including it in our data handling. We believe it is important for the proposed Task Force to make recommendations on this as soon as possible.

The third ask is “Bi-Annual Anti-Racism and Anti-Bias Training for all City Employees including City Council and School Committee”. City Manager Donoghue said (at the June 9th CC meeting) that “all City employees receive diversity training”, but according to the Consortium’s letter, “an informal survey of past and current City employees suggests that not all City staff receive this training.” We know from our own work as a majority-white organization that work on anti-racism involves a commitment to ongoing education, not once and done. It is not the responsibility of people of color to educate the rest of us as situations arise. THAT is a source of exhausting stress. It is better to prevent the situation from arising at all by educating people to see what is hard to see without help. This is especially true if anti-racism work is new to them, as it is to so many of us because of the nature of our world. Funding and content will have to be worked out by the city, meaning the community and not just the government, but the commitment to do it has to come first.

The fourth ask is “an independent Civilian Advisory Committee to monitor and address police misconduct and join Massachusetts lawmakers in creating steps towards change.” We join the Consortium in applauding Superintendent Richardson’s announcement of a Citizens Advisory Committee. We agree that such a Committee needs to have some independence. Members of the committee need to be acceptable to the community and need to feel free to speak their truths. We also agree that the Council needs to join other Massachusetts lawmakers in seeking ways to change our approaches to community security. By being part of the process, the Council will better understand all the ramifications of various measures and be better able to address them in our community. Being in an environment where new ideas are discussed and innovation can happen is always beneficial.

The fifth ask is to “Reallocate resources and establish an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to promote and advance racial equity in the solicitation of vendors and recruitment and retention of personnel and Board and Committee members.” We know that funding new measures is an issue as our city has less resources than others doing this work. The City Council clearly recognizes the same thing, since the motions include creating funds to receive grants from outside sources. But reallocation of whatever city resources can be reallocated is a concrete demonstration of commitment to the process, one the community really needs to hear.

As to the creation of an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, there are two competing motions before the Council this week, one to create a Mayor’s task force and another to create a Commission. We like that the Mayor’s proposal specifically mentions including community input and specifies a person of color who resides in Lowell as chair, task forces are usually ad hoc temporary organizations. The Task Force is a good organization for making recommendations to fulfill the various community needs expressed by the Consortium and not yet addressed by the City Council’s motions. The nature and operation of racism in our society makes the need to address it long-term. We would like to see the creation of a permanent organization that is charged with helping the city live up to its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by helping the city establish best practices and by addressing violations of those best practices. We hope the Task Force will do that.

We recognize that it is a serious step to make commitments like these and that it is important not to make promises that cannot be kept. But we believe this point in time requires a commitment to take some concrete steps rather than falling back on the same reasons we always use to not act. Instead of letting funding issues stop us, we need to figure out how to make positive change happen. It starts with a commitment to making concrete changes.

–Solidarity Lowell Coordinating Committee

Posted by Marissa in Local Justice, Things of Note


Solidarity Lowell Events and Actions

Next Meeting will be Sunday, June 28 at 5:30


We are proud to endorse Lisa Arnold for State Rep!

The results are in and the members of Solidarity Lowell have voted to endorse Lisa Arnold for State Rep of the 17th Middlesex District!

Now Lisa needs our help to win! Her campaign is looking for people to help with phone banking, text banking, writing postcards to friends and neighbors, and posting on social media. If you can volunteer some time for any of these, please send an email to

Local Events and Actions

Peaceful Protest Against Racial and Social Injustice on Littleton Common

Saturday June 6, 10am-1pm
Bring signs, wear masks, be respectful

Next City Council Meeting

Tuesday, June 9, 6:30pm
At the beginning of the emergency, the City Council voted to meet every 2 weeks to facilitate safe distancing. City Hall is closed to the public. Watch the meeting on LTC (Channel 99 or 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 conferenced in to the meeting.  Email address is MGEARY@LOWELLMA.GOV.  If no access to email you may contact City Clerk at 978-674-4161.

State-Level Actions and Events

Mass Power Forward Virtual Lobby Day June 12

When: Friday, June 12, approx. 1:00 – 4:00 PM, on Zoom
It’s time to build some momentum behind our Environmental Justice & Climate Action legislative priorities – and you are needed! The Mass Power Forward Planning team is setting up Zoom meetings with State Legislators, by county. Participants will have an opportunity to meet ahead of time and organize their meetings (instructions will be provided). Then, participants will meet with their legislators, both Senator and Representatives, by County. More specifics will be sent out soon.
Register by Sunday, June 7th to receive more details.RSVP Link:
Facebook Page:

National-Level Actions and Events

House Resolution Condemning Police Violence

Ask your representative to co-sponsor the Omar-Pressley resolution. Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) have introduced a resolution in the House condemning police violence. Call your representative and demand that they co-sponsor the resolution and speak out publicly about the need for the House to pass it without delay.
Representative Lori Trahan: 978-459-0101 /  202-225-3411 (thank her, she’s in favor)
Representative Seth Moulton: 978-531-1669  / 202-225-8020

Contact Congress TODAY to stop police departments from buying weapons of war.

Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI) has announced that he will introduce an amendment that will prevent local police forces from getting tear gas, drones, armored vehicles, and high-caliber weapons of war from the military. This important amendment – in addition to initiatives to defund police departments and hold police officers accountable for committing crimes against the public – will help combat systemic police brutality in the U.S.
Arming police forces with military weapons doesn’t reduce crime or protect law enforcement officers from violence. In fact, police forces that are equipped with weapons of war are more likely to kill civilians.Even worse, militarized police forces often target Black and minority-majority communities, where getting killed by the police is among the leading causes of death. Local law enforcement agencies have bought billions of dollars worth of guns, explosives, helicopters, and more from the military. Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI) wants to end this practice by passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. This important amendment will prevent the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, but only if more members of Congress support it.
Contact your Senators and Representatives now and tell them to support the Schatz amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Use this form:
Or call them directly:
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

Tell Congress to Support the Natural Disaster & Emergency Ballot Act 2020 (NDEBA)

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
Donate here: (please write “asylum” in the “special notes” part of the donation form)

Posted by Marissa in Rapid Response Team