Hello fellow RUWMI activists
If you celebrated Passover or Easter this weekend, we hope you had a meaningful holiday and enjoyed time with family and friends. We finally have spring-like weather (dare we believe that winter is finally on the way out?). Nothing like a little dose of spring snow to remind us that we do in fact live in New England, and that we should never write a weather-related introduction ahead of time!
Put April 17th on your calendar. It’s our next meeting date and we have something special planned that you won’t want to miss!
Having an in-district meeting is often the most effective way to communicate with your state legislators about issues that are important to you. However, the idea of meeting in person can be intimidating, especially to first-time activists like many of us. Even seasoned activists can use some insider information about the process and talking points about the issues, to make their visits as effective as possible. We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a panel discussion designed to walk you through the process of holding face-to-face meetings with your state senator or representative.
We welcome panelists Michael Clark, Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Engagement at Office of Senator Eric P. Lesser and Olivia Santoro, Volunteer Coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Michael will give us “insider information” about how best to prepare for the meeting and what strategies to use to secure the best possible outcome from the meeting. Olivia will speak about the current bills that the ACLU of Mass is currently working on (Criminal Justice Reform, Automatic Voter Registration, Paid Family Medical Leave) and how we can best lobby for support of those bills during meetings with our own legislators. There will be ample time for Q and A following the panel. You can view the event and RSVP here.
- RUWMOneSmallThing – We have two strong powers of influence, one of course is as voters and the other is as consumers. Voting is something we do at set times, but we can influence a lot with our consumer choices on a daily basis. This week we saw what happened when Fox’s Laura Ingraham bullied Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. With one tweet he got multiple advertisers to cut ties with her show. So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference, is to show some love to those companies, either by giving them your business (and letting them know why you are choosing to spend your hard earned $ there), sending them a tweet, email or phone call of support. Of course, sharing this information widely won’t hurt either.
At the time of the writing of this post the following companies have pulled their ads from Ingraham’s show: Rachel Ray Nutrish, TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Expedia, Nestlé, Stich Fix, Hulu, Jos. A. Bank, Jenny Craig, Office Depot, Honda, Miracle-Ear, Liberty Mutual, Principal Financial Group, Ruby Tuesday, Atlantis Resort, Entertainment Studios, and Johnson & Johnson. (The list seems to be growing so be sure to do an internet search for updates).
- Stop Confirmation of Trump’s War Cabinet – From Indivisible National: In recent weeks, Trump has moved to add a trio of war hawks and criminals to his circle of advisors. We don’t have a way to stop John Bolton from becoming Trump’s new National Security Advisor, but we CAN stop Gina Haspel from becoming CIA Director and Mike Pompeo from becoming Secretary of State. Here are links to information and call scripts
- Support the Fair Housing Act – From Rogan’s List: The head of HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity division, Anna Maria Farías, has ordered a halt to on-going fair housing investigations “until further notice,” effectively ending investigations meant to set precedent and to put other localities and developers on notice. This decision perfectly echoes HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s decision to strike the words “inclusive” and “free from discrimination” from HUD’s mission statement. Let’s tell Carson and Farias that we hold them responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act and investigating abuses: 202-708-1112 or HUD, 451 7th Street, SW, Washington DC 20410.
- Demand a full investigation into the death of Stephon Clark – Also from Rogan’s List: The Sacramento, California police were called to investigate vandalism; 20 bullets later, an unarmed 22-year old black man, Stephon Clark, was dead. We can join Black Lives Matter and the many others who are demanding a full investigation of the actions of the Sacramento police: Police Chief Daniel Hahn, (916) 808-0800 or Police HQ, 5770 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95822 and CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 916-210-6276or fax 916-323-5341 or PO Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.
- You can also sign this petition
- Sign on Letter – Support Environmental Justice – Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) and the Green Justice Coalition (GJC) are pleased to let supporters of The Environmental Justice Act, House Bill.2913 / Senate Bill 426 know that our bill has been reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture! Your support made this possible. H.2913 is now before the House Committee on Ways and Means. This important committee will assess the costs and benefits of the legislation, in the context of the overall Massachusetts state budget and other pending bill. Please sign on to our support letter using this link.
- Tell Paul Ryan to move forward on gun control legislation – From Wall-of-Us: Students in Wisconsin marched fifty miles, from Madison to Paul Ryan’s Janesville office, urging the Speaker of the House to move forward gun control legislation in the House. Let’s help amplify their message by calling Speaker Ryan and telling him we want gun control legislation to be brought to the floor for a vote and urging our own members of Congress to push him, too. We can specifically mention the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act (H.R. 3947), which would ban bump stocks, and the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act (H.R. 3207), which would work to close the “boyfriend loophole” which allows non-married domestic abusers to purchase firearms. We can reach his Janesville office at 20 South Main Street, Suite 10 Janesville, WI 53545 or by phone at (608) 752-4050, and his Washington D.C. office at 1233 Longworth House Office Bldg Washington, DC 20515 or by phone at (202) 225-3031.
- Cast(on) Your Vote – Where does the fiber community stand on the state of the Union? Help Adrienne Sloane create an American flag that represents our collective views by sending her a 3-inch knit (or crochet) square, the color of your political leanings. (Red – Republican, White – Independent, Blue – Democrat, Purple – prefer other options, Gray – not voting). She will then assemble them into a flag in advance of the 2018 election. Click here for more information.
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- Civics Education Lobby Day at the State House – April 3, 9:00AM-1:30PM, Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston. The MA Civic Learning Coalition is hosting a Lobby Day at the State House to advocate for support for S.2355, A Bill to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. Sign up for the event here.
- Join Lift+Every+Vote on a Call for Automatic Voter Registration – April 3, 8:00-9:00PM (via phone or computer via Zoom). MD and WA just passed AVR! So, let’s join Lift+Every+Vote to talk about how to push Automatic Voter Registration over the finish line! We’ve got committee approval, Healey and Galvin’s endorsement, 86 cosponsors/supporters, and 25 GOP votes. Please join us on a conference call from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/8228829169 By phone: US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656, Meeting ID: 822 882 9169
- Immigrants’ Day at the State House – April 4, 10:00AM-2:00PM, Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston. For the 22nd year in a row, MIRA is organizing Immigrants’ Day at the State House, the biggest lobbying day of the year for immigrants, refugees and allies. After a brief speaking program, we fan out through the building to meet with legislators and advocate for priority bills and funding for programs such as English classes and adult basic education. The theme this year is “Immigrants Get the Job Done.” They plan to highlight the key role of foreign-born workers in some of Massachusetts’ top economic sectors, such as healthcare, technology, and hospitality. RSVP for the event here.
- Call to Action- Six Months after Hurricane Maria! – April 5, 7:00-8:30PM, Centro De Restauracion Emanuel Inc., 237 Chestnut St, Holyoke. Six months after Maria, the Puerto Rican community is still suffering. Many live in hotels, are facing trauma and are being forgotten. FEMA’s support is ending and we do not have the answers we need. Join the community, faith leaders and elected officials for this important gathering. This event is being organized by Pioneer Valley Project Holyoke Chapter Faith Communities. Please share! View the event on Facebook here.
- Take Back the House 2018 Summit – April 7, 1:00PM-4:30PM, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, 80 Locust St, Northampton. Have you wondered “What can I do from a blue state to help take back the House in the midterms?” The answer is “plenty!” and our help is greatly needed. Join activists from the 413 area who are coming together to support efforts to flip the U.S. House from red to blue. Participate in interactive informational and skill-building workshops that will demonstrate what we can do to support campaigns outside of Massachusetts that are critical to taking back the House. For more information view the event on Facebook here.
- Politics 101 (Part 1 of 6) – April 7, 1:00PM-3:00PM, Nueva Esperanza, 401 Main Street, Conference Room, Holyoke, MA. Politics 101 is a class series designed for individuals who want to gain important and practical skills around civic engagement and community advocacy. The class will explore the root causes of oppression and help participants learn how to combat and fight against systemic barriers and oppressive systems by learning how they operate. The series will cover these topics and more: how to make your vote count, how to build power as a community, how to identify what keeps citizens from engaging in city matters and politics, and how institutional and systemic oppression manifests in work and community life. Class participants will attend a City Council meeting together and will learn about board rules and parliamentary procedures. All are welcome. No prior understanding of city government is needed. (course continues on Saturdays, April 21, May 5, May 19, June 9, June 23, 2018. Hosted by Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. View the event on Facebook
- Who’s Policing the Police? (Rescheduled) – April 9, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Indian Orchard Citizens Council, 117 Main Street, Indian Orchard. This League of Women Voters community discussion, the last of four, was rescheduled because of snow. Please come add your voice to the amazing, in-depth conversations Springfield residents have been having about how the community should oversee its police department. People of all viewpoints are coming together. No one lectures, everyone listens and everyone shares in these solution-exploring deliberations. Diverse voices create wise outcomes. The City Council needs resident input as it considers making changes. View the event here.
- Meeting Your Legislators Face to Face: “How-To” Panel Discussion – April 17 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM, Chicopee Public Library – Conference Room, 449 Front Street, Chicopee. Having an in-district meeting is often the most effective way to communicate with your state legislators about issues that are important to you. Join us for this panel discussion, designed to give you the tools you’ll need to hold successful meetings with your state legislators, including some insider information about what works and what doesn’t, and talking points for vital bills that need support in MA. Panelists are Michael Clark, Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Engagement at Office of Senator Eric P. Lesser and Olivia Santoro, Volunteer Coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. There will be ample time for Q and A following the panel. For more information and to RSVP see the event 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
What Could Happen on Capitol Hill in April
Congress is out on recess until April 9, but they have a full schedule when they get back. Mitch McConnell wants to push through confirmations for Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as CIA Director before the opposition has a chance to mobilize against them; Republican leadership in the House is considering a second tax bill; and both chambers are starting work on a Farm Bill that could have big cuts to SNAP (aka food stamps).
As always, we wanted to give you information on everything that could happen in Washington this month so you can be prepared to push for your priorities. You’ll find everything we’ve heard might come up in April, why it matters, and what you can do about it here.
The More You Know
Who was Linda Brown?
- The Bravery of Linda Brown
- Why Take Student Protests Seriously? Look at Linda Brown.
- A Visit To Topeka: Reflecting On Linda Brown’s Legacy
- Brown vs. Board of Education
Check This Out
CNN’s “Facts First” ad campaign just keeps getting better and better – If you haven’t seen this series of ads, here is your chance (spoiler alert – the last one is the best!)