Happy Monday fellow RUWMI activists!
With the news coming at such a fast and furious pace, and every day bringing one blockbuster news story after another, it can feel like we are living in an alternate Trump distorted time dimension. One day in Trump world is like one month of in the real world. Remember when we had that government shut down? Yeah, that was only 1 week ago. Remember when the big news story was learning Trump had actually tried to fire Mueller? Well, that was Friday. It sure makes putting together a time sensitive newsletter challenging! So, I’d better hit send on this edition quickly, before some national emergency happens that causes me to have to rewrite it!
All eyes are on AVR this week! Last week we wrote postcards, lots and lots of postcards. This week we head to Boston to Lobby Day (see details in event section below). It’s not too late to say you want to come (and even shoot us an email at email@example.com if you want to arrange a carpool). But if you can’t make it to Boston on Wednesday, never fear there are still lots of ways you can help support lobby day – just check out our action items below.
- RUWMOneSmallThing – This week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference, comes to us from Joyce Hackett of Lift+Every+Vote. She writes “Because everyone in Massachusetts, bar none, wants to go to Lobby Day, but a few can’t, here’s a petition. Sign it, fax it to your Rep on Lobby Day, print out a couple and get others to sign them! If you’re coming you can print out a bunch, get others in the district to sign them, and bring them along.” You can find the petition using this link. You can look up your MA state Rep (and find their fax number) using this link.
- Help Protect the Dreamers – We posted these actions in support of Dreamers in last week’s newsletter but they are just as important today. So, if you didn’t get a chance to take action last week, now is your chance. We need EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. to take at least one action to help protect and defend the dreamers. Here are some things you can do.
- Call Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell at 202-225-3121 and demand they get to work and pass an actual solution that protects Dreamers now.
- Luckily both of our MA Senators and all MA Reps are “Dream Heroes” and voted on the right side of this issue. So, let’s call them and thank them for their support. Here is a link to a call script. Do not underestimate how important these Thank You calls are. Our MoC’s need to know we are watching and paying attention! It also wouldn’t hurt to urge them not to support any bill that alters our system for legal immigration in a way that allows Trump to “whiten” America or to break up families.
- You aren’t done making calls yet however. We all know someone who is a constituent of a Rep or Senator who is a “Dream Killer”. Here is a list you can check. Once you do, find 1 friend or family member (or 2 or 3) whose MoC is on that list and URGE them to call. You can give them this link to a call script for Dream Killers.
- You can find the Representatives’ contact info here
- You can find the Senators’ contact info here
- Participate in the Support Safe Communities, Statewide Call-In Day – January 31, anytime between 9:00AM and 5:00PM. Call your state legislators and tell them MA needs the Safe Communities Act now! Here are two easy ways you can connect with your state reps.
- Use this link to look them up (and get their contact info)
- Text “SAFEMA” to 52886
- Sign this petition to Oppose the Border Wall – This petition comes from MoveOn.org and is gathering signatures to oppose Trump’s border wall which is a “disaster — environmentally, economically, and internationally”. You can find the petition here
- Help Protect Young Athletes from Sexual Abuse – This action comes to us via Rogan’s List. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s introduced legislation (S.534 – Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017) which requires amateur athletics governing bodies to report sex-abuse allegations and otherwise protects young athletes from abuse. This act passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on November 14, 2017. The House’s similar version of the bill, H.R. 1973, passed in May, but nothing has been done to reconcile these bills thus far. So we need to step in and contact Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and contact Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to move on these bills! As we have seen all too clearly with the abuse in the US Gymnastics team, children’s lives and futures are in danger.
- Try some phone banking with Sister District – Have you ever wanted to try phone banking (easy, from home activism)? If so, here’s your chance – a great opportunity from Sister District. They write: “The race for state legislature in Florida District 72 is heating up! Our candidate, Margaret Good, is progressive, ready to do battle, and up against a particularly odious Republican. And it’s a red seat that’s ripe for flipping blue — Trump won the district by only 4 points. The special election is on Feb. 13.” Use this link to get started, but first email Sister District at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the password you’ll need to access the database.
- Read and then share these stories – From ACLU.Org. It has been 365 days since President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, his first Muslim ban. To mark the anniversary, we invited people to share how the ban affects their lives. Stories poured in from the United States and abroad; of families separated, weddings postponed, and lives uprooted. Communities across the country are grappling with what it means to be Muslim in the United States, living under a president who says that “Islam hates us,” and has spun that prejudice into actual policy. Take a moment and read their stories here. Then share them on your own social media.
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- Secrecy, Surveillance, and National Security – January 30 at 7 PM – 9 PM, Jones Library, 43 Amity St, Amherst. Since 9/11, successive U.S. administrations have kept Americans in the dark about controversial and sometimes illegal counterterrorism programs. In 2018, as the Trump administration doubles down on its national security strategy, how do we ensure the rights of all Americans are protected? How can we hold the government accountable when it resists oversight and transparency? How should we understand the tradeoff between security and privacy? What models do other democracies offer to guarantee government accountability and the rule of law when it comes to national security? Join us on January 30 to hear constitutional law expert, Sudha Setty, unpack this complex issue.This event is co-sponsored by Critical Connections and Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. For more information view the Facebook event here.
- Automatic Voter Registration – Lobby Day – January 31 at 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM, 24 Beacon St, Boston, Room 428. The Election Modernization Coalition will be hosting a lobby day on January 31st to convince legislators to make Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) a top priority in 2018. Lobby day is a day when members of the public meet with their representatives at the State House to explain why an issue (in this case, AVR) is so important. We will spend an hour teaching you the tips and tricks to speaking with legislators before sending you off to attend scheduled meetings with your representatives to advocate for this vital reform. Registration begins at 9:30, and the program will run from 10:00-12:30. Sign up here. Get more information in the Facebook event here. If you are interested in carpooling email us at Riseupwesternmass@gmail.com and we will try to connect you with others in the group who are planning to attend.
- Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance, Watch Party – January 31 livestream at 8:00. Movement leaders including Senator Bernie Sanders, and many more will deliver the state of our climate movement. They will share stories on the urgency of the current political and climate crises, and light our path ahead: resist the Trump Administration’s ongoing attacks on our climate, build power towards the 2018 and 2020 elections, and secure the lasting change we need through local action. Use this linkto a find a “watch party” near you (there is one in Hartford and one in Northampton.
- Postcards for the Safe Communities Act – Feb 1, 6:00-8:00 PM, Haymarket Café, 185 Main St, Northampton. Here is another great opportunity to write postcards for the Safe Communities Act hosted by the Pioneer Valley Women’s March and Safe Communities Act Coalition of Western MA. For more information view the event on Facebook here.
- Ruby Bridges at Smith College – February 2 at 4 PM – 6 PM, Sweeney Concert Hall, Smith College, 10 Elm St, Northampton. Ruby Bridges — the civil rights icon whose historic arrival at her New Orleans first-grade classroom was immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With — will deliver a Presidential Colloquium at Smith College. The event, which will take place in Sweeney Concert Hall in Sage, is open to the public at no charge. View the event on Facebook here.
- To get the most up to date list of events, go to Rise Up Western Mass’s event calendar here. Also bookmark the National Resistance Calendar for additional events.
From Indivisible National
DACA and Dreamers – FAQs
Last week RUWMI leaders participated in a conference call with Indivisible National about the Dreamers. Many of us on the call had some questions and so we asked – and Indivisible National answered. Here are the FAQs from that call.
Q: DACA vs. Dreamers – are they the same thing?
A: No. All DACA recipients are Dreamers but not all Dreamers are DACA recipients. The term “Dreamers” refers to any of the 2-3 million undocumented young people living in the US who were brought here by their parents as children and have lived and grown up in the US. DACA recipients are a smaller subset of Dreamers (approx. 700K) who were given protective status by the US Government under a special Obama era program. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This program defers deportation proceedings for a renewable 2-year period, for qualified individuals. It also gives recipients permission to work. In order to qualify for DACA, applicants must meet several stringent requirements and completed an application process.
Q: Why is DACA all of a sudden such a big issue?
A: Trump created the issue when he rescinded the program in Sept. Since that time there have been multiple opportunities for the GOP to push back on this and they haven’t. So, in short, this latest issue was caused by a continued attack by the GOP controlled congress in support of Trump’s racist action.
Q: So why was Chuck Schumer’s deal with the GOP to end the shutdown so bad for the Dreamers?
A: There are three main reasons. First, there was nothing in this deal for the dreamers. 122 DACA recipients lose their status each day. Second, historically Mitch McConnell doesn’t keep his promises, not even to his own party. Third, this deal broadcast weakness on the part of the Dems – that we as a party can’t stomach tough fights. This puts us in a weaker position for future fights.
Q: What can we do here in MA (where our Senators are active and vocal supporters of Dreamers)?
A: Be loud and vocal supporters of your senators. Call, write and show up to thank them for their continued support of dreamers. Do not underestimate how important it is for your MoCs to hear from you when they are doing the right things!
Keep Your Eyes On
What is the GIC and how did MA voices make a difference?
- GIC To Reconsider Health Plan Consolidation
- Gov. Charlie Baker defends public health insurance change
- Baker knocks ‘very poor’ GIC rollout
- Plea at GIC public hearing in Lowell: Don’t cut our health providers (VIDEO)
- State commission to reconsider widely condemned changes to health coverage
Check This Out
We’ve had how many mass shootings this year? – Remember when a mass shooting would have been front page, bold type news? How many of these were you not aware of?
- Here is a StoryMap about the spate of mass shootings. This link presents details of mass shootings nationwide and how many people were killed/injured in each. The map is built in real-time from public sources of information so that it always shows the latest information.