Happy Valentine’s Day fellow RUWMI activists!
This week’s newsletter comes with an extra helping of love to all of you who take time to make time for a little bit of activism in your lives!
Yesterday I had the fortune of being at a meeting with Leah Greenberg who, along with husband Ezra Levin, co-authored of the original Indivisible Guide, and by doing so co-founded the Indivisible movement. She said she was in a very dark place they wrote the guide, deeply worried about the future of our democracy. When they posted the document online, Leah was surprised not just by the overwhelming response to it but that most people said it made them feel hopeful. She hadn’t set out to write anything hopeful she said, especially at a time when the last thing felt was hope; she thought she was writing about power. She realized then that power IS hope!
Have you marked your calendars yet to join us for our birthday celebration “Drinking Liberally”? This event will take place on Feb 26th at 6:30. Details can be found here or in the event section below.
While you have your calendars out, save March 19th as well. We are excited to announce that we will be hosting Tahirah Amatul-Wadud who is running for Congress against Richie Neal. She will join us to talk about her platform and answer our questions. Look for more information coming soon!
- RUWMOneSmallThing – Valentine’s Day is coming and we were hoping it wouldn’t be too forward to ask you to show us some love this week. We know that getting information, action items, and event details to the widest possible audience is the best way to grow this movement and make the biggest impact. To do this we need your help! So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference, is to help us grow using these simple steps.
- First go to our Facebook page and make sure that you have officially “liked” it. This way we know how many people we are actually reaching and can track our growth.
- Next please share our page on your own social media and invite friends to like the page (there is a link to “invite friends” under the “community” section)
- Lastly forward this newsletter to three friends and encourage them to sign up to get it delivered to their own inboxes!
- Help a friend register to vote – Do you have a friend who isn’t registered to vote? Are you registered? You can check your registration status here. Then if you aren’t registered, use this link to register online. Share it widely and encourage anyone who isn’t registered to get registered. Voting is our voice and we need every single voice to be heard this year!
- Work to Swing a District – Swingleft.Org notes that control of the House in 2018 will be decided by a small number of Swing Districts, places where the last election was decided by a thin margin. Our closest “swing district” is in NH but you don’t have to live there to help. Use this link to get updates about our neighboring swing district race and how Swing Left is working to swing it!
- Say No to Trump’s Parade – This action comes from Wall-of-Us. Trump’s desire for an authoritarian parade is something almost no-one supports, including D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser who said, “Just like the wall, he will have to pay for it.” Resentative Brad Schnieder (D) of Illinois, and Senator Ben Cardin (D) of Maryland both introduced bills in the House and the Senate on Thursday to try to stop the parade. We can help by calling our MoC’s and asking them to support these bills.
- Call Senator Warren (202) 224-4543 and Senator Markey (202) 224-2742 and ask them to support Senator Ben Cardin’s bill.
- Call Representative Neal (202) 225-5601 and ask him to support to support Representative Schneider’s bill.
- You can use this call script: “I am calling to ask Senator/Representative [_________] to support Senator Cardin/Representative Schneider’s bill to stop Trump from his dictator style military parade. It would cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and, from respected military veterans to the general public the message has been clear–This. Is. Not. Normal. “
- Demand Congress pass the Dream Act NOW – Sign this petition from the National Immigration Law Center. Now that Congress has once again passed a budget deal with no solution for Dreamers, it’s up to us to hold them accountable and demand they stop breaking their promises.
Add your name to demand Senate and House Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan bring the Dream Act up for a vote now, and support it.
- Concerned about our public lands? – America’s public lands are under threat. The Guardian’s environmental project “This Land is Your Land” investigates the threats facing America’s public lands. Sign up for monthly updates from their two-year series, This Land is Your Land, as they cover the challenges facing national parks, forests, deserts, coral reefs and seamounts.
- Share your story – Why I March, an event scheduled for March 9th in Northampton, is looking for speakers to share their story! At “Why I March,” a large and diverse group of Valley women activists and advocates share what connects them to their cause and what keeps them going. If you’d like to be a speaker and give a 3-5 minute talk, let them know by Feb 15 using this link. In addition, you can also send us a video if you like. (see form for instructions). Coaching and support will be offered for all speakers. You can also learn more about the event
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- Who’s Policing the Police? – League of Women Voters/Springfield – Feb 13, 20, 22, and 24 (at various Springfield Locations). With the issue of reinstating a police commission in Springfield still unresolved, the League of Women Voters invites citizens to one of four community forums to explore the options for civilian oversight of our police department. The more diverse the participants, the richer the discussion will be.
We will present various models from around the nation and participants will use the National Issues Forums format to make choices with each other about ways to approach this difficult issue, and to work toward creating reasoned public judgment to share with our elected officials as they work to resolve the issue. Questions: Message LWV or call 413-655-1837.
Feb 13, 5:30-8:00PM, Sixteen Acres Library
Feb 20, 5:30-8:00PM, Brightwood Library
Feb 22, 5:30-8:00PM, Indian Orchard Community Center
Feb 24, 10:30AM-1:00PM, Springfield Armory
For more information view the event on Facebook.
- Birthright: A War Story – Documentary Film Screening – Feb 14, 7:00PM-9:00PM. Old Chapel UMass, 44 Chapel Road, Amherst. This is the real-life “Handmaid’s Tale.” BIRTHRIGHT: A WAR STORY is a feature length documentary that examines how women are being jailed, physically violated and even put at risk of dying as a radical movement tightens its grip across America. The film tells the story of women who have become collateral damage in the aggressive campaign to take control of reproductive health care and to allow states, courts and religious doctrine to govern whether, when and how women will bear children. A discussion will follow. For more information see the event on Facebook here.
- Vigil for Racial Justice – Feb 17, 10:00-10:30 AM, Center Church of South Hadley, 1 Church St, South Hadley. More than fifty years after the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, systemic racism is still a driving force in our social institutions, including education, housing, law enforcement, and government agencies. Through his comments and policies, our highest elected official, with the support of his top advisors, is attempting to normalize white supremacy in the White House. We cannot let this happen. We must stand for racial justice. Members and friends of Center Church in South Hadley will hold a Vigil for Racial Justice in front of the church, across from the Village Commons. They welcome all who oppose racism in all its forms to join. Signs will be provided. View the event on Facebook here.
- Grassroots Lobby Training – Feb 24, 1:00 PM, Lilly Library, 19 Meadow Street, Florence. This purpose of this ACLU People Power Action Event is to help you develop skills to effectively lobby your state legislators. Come to this training to learn: Who your state legislator is and how powerful they are. How a bill becomes a law in Massachusetts and where we are in the legislative calendar. What ACLU bills are most important right now. How to set up a lobbying visit with your legislator and report your results back to the ACLU office.
In Massachusetts, we are halfway through a two-year legislative session, which means we have just a few more months to ensure our legislators hear from us. After attending the training, you will be armed with the information and skills you need to visit your legislators and make a real difference! RSVP for the event here.
- Senator Warren Fundraising Reception – Feb 25, 4:00 PM, Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke. Come support Elizabeth Warren in her campaign for re-election in 2018. You can RSVP and purchase tickets by emailing Molly Doris-Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or online using this link.
- Drinking “Liberally” as RUWMI Turns 1 – Monday Feb 26, 6:30-8:30 PM, Pizzeria Uno, 820 Hall of Fame Ave (W. Columbus Ave), Springfield (adjacent to the Basketball Hall of Fame). We’ll plan to meet at Uno’s and mark our first birthday by drinking, eating, talking, (and hopefully even laughing) liberally. Drinks (sodas, shakes, and bar beverages) as well as food will be available for purchase as per the Uno’s regular menu. We hope to see you there. Please RSVP via the Facebook event so we can give Uno’s a head’s up as to how many people might show up!
- 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
Voter ID 101
Since the founding of this country, Americans have fought for the right to vote. From the 15th and 19th Amendments to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, there have been many long, hard battles and many victories in the field of voting rights. But the fight is not over. In many ways, it is worse than ever.
In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a major provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder that required states and local governments to get federal approval before changing voting laws. These provisions were in place to stop racially discriminatory laws from being passed at the state level to curtail voting rights. Just two hours after the Supreme Court decision, the state of Texas passed the first version of a new voter ID law, which allowed citizens to vote with a concealed-carry gun permit, but not with a student ID card. As of this writing, 34 states have voter ID laws on the books, and 20 of those states require government-issued photo ID with limited or no alternatives.
So, what’s the problem with this? 21 million eligible voters in the United States do not have government-issued photo ID. And, for many, these IDs are very difficult to secure.
People have fought and died for the right to vote. Voter ID laws prevent people from exercising this right. If you live in a voter ID state, there is someone in your district who cannot vote because they don’t have the right ID. Lack of access to ID cards impacts people even in states without voter ID laws. Accessing a photo ID is much more challenging for the young, the elderly, people of color, and people with low incomes. All of these groups are more likely not to have photo ID, which means they aren’t authorized to work, and may not have access to their local shelter or food bank.
If you care about voter participation and making an impact at the polls in your district, getting IDs can not only change the electorate, but changes lives.
Read more about it by viewing Indivisible’s PDF VOTER ID 101 -The Right to Vote Shouldn‘t Come With Barriers.
Keep Your Eyes On
2018 Midterm Race Watch
- The top 10 Senate races of 2018
- 2018 Senate Election Interactive Map
- CNN’s Key Races: Can Democrats take the House?
- CNN Key Races: Democrats’ tough Senate map
- 2018 Election – Link to articles
- The 2018 Congressional Retirement Tracker
Check This Out
Bad Lip Reading on Politics – enjoy!