Hello fellow RUWMI activists,
I have a confession to make. I gave myself a Mother’s Day gift yesterday. I took the day off from following the news and binge-watched Trading Spaces instead. I decided not to invite Trump or his sycophants into my day and …it was glorious.
RUWMI is dedicated to helping people in our local area engage in activism and the democratic process. We also know that we are stronger when we work together and believe there is strength in linking to organizations outside of our immediate area. So, we wanted to take a minute to let you know about some of the larger organizations that we are connected with.
First, RUWMI is part of a regional coalition of Indivisible and ally groups called the Pioneer Valley Resistance Coalition. We meet monthly, share ideas and events, and collaborate on regional and state initiatives that fit with the RUWMI identified priorities.
Second, we are members of Indivisible MA, our brand new state-wide Indivisible group. As such we attend monthly state meetings and/or conference calls and contribute to (as well as gather information from) their newsletter.
Lastly, we are registered as a group with Indivisible National and benefit from a wealth of information and resources from them. Next week in fact we will be participating in a regional conference for group leaders put on by Indivisible national. Stay tuned for updates from that conference in our next newsletter.
As we grow and expand we are finding the need to add more people to leadership positions. Most other similar groups are organized into committees, with one member being the leader/liaison for each committee. We’d like to explore the viability of this model and the first step is to discuss this organizational model and see if there is a willingness for members to step into these leadership roles. This will be the focus of our June meeting – We need your input and your energy. Please join us Tuesday June 5th, 7:00-8:30 at the Chicopee Public Library, 449 Front Street, Chicopee, in the conference room (lower level). RSVP here.
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- Thirsty for Fair Wages – May 17, 6:00-8:00PM, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, 20 Hampton Ave Suite 200, Northampton. Join us as we kick off signature gathering for $15 Minimum Wage and Paid Family Medical Leave! Pick up your petitions, find a signature gathering shift that works for you or simply get the info you need about our campaign to raise the minimum wage and enact Paid Family and Medical Leave! View the event on Facebook
- School Safety & Gun Control Discussion with Senator Eric Lesser – May 18m 4:00-5:00PM, First Church of Christ in Longmeadow, UCC, 763 Longmeadow St, Longmeadow. For students in grades 6-12. Ask Senator Lesser questions and let your voice be heard during this open forum to discuss what citizens can do to promote school safety and gun legislation reform. Learn about actions to take that would truly make a difference.Open to all students Grades 6-12. View the event here.
- Carlos Vega Fund 2018 Grant & Social Justice Award Event – May 18, 4:00-5:30PM, Wistariahurst Museum, 238 Cabot St, Holyoke. Friday, May 18th, the Carlos Vega Fund will be presenting grants to this year’s recipients. Also, we will be honoring Betty Medina Lichtenstein with this year’s Social Justice Award. For more information click
- Wisdom, Analysis and Inspiration from Seasoned Organizers – May 18, 7:00-9:00PM, Edwards Church of Northampton, 297 Main St, Northampton. Join the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership as we celebrate one year of teaching free movement-building classes for nearly 2,000 individuals and groups in five cities and towns in three counties of Western Massachusetts. We’ll be hosting a panel discussion with four experienced, radical activist/organizers from Western Mass to Washington, D.C.: Jo Comerford ~ National Campaign Director for MoveOn.org, Netfa Freeman ~ Institute for Policy Studies and a Pan-African Community Action organizer, Jennifer Matias ~ Leadership coach, consultant, and trainer, Dance the Dream Coaching and Consulting for Social Justice and Social Change, Nelson Roman ~ Executive director of Nueva Esperanza, Inc., Holyoke Ward 2 City Councilor, activist and organizer Marcia Gomes of Just Keep Climbing Music will open the evening with a song. The Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian, Truth School Founder and Director, will moderate. Q&A to follow. You can find more information
- ACLU People Power Webinar – May 18, 8:00PM (Online). Our next webinar training to expand your skills as an activist is coming up! We’ll focus on using social media effectively to pressure your target and recruit new activists. Sign up for the conference call here:
- The Blood is at the Doorstep (Film) – May 24, 6:30-9:00PM, Griswold Theater @AIC, 1000 State Street, Springfield. With special guests, Maria, Daemion, & Nate Hamilton. On April 30, 2014, in the broad daylight of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an officer responding to a complaint from a Starbucks employee approached Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed black man with a psychiatric diagnosis who was resting in a nearby park. Minutes later, the officer shot Dontre 14 times. Filmed over the course of three years, The Blood Is at the Doorstep follows Dontre’s family (including his mother, Maria, and brothers, Dameion and Nate) and surrounding community through their struggle to find answers and challenge a criminal justice system full of bias, abuses of power, racism, and psychiatric oppression. View the event details
- Improving Relations Between Communities of Color and Police – May 25, 8:30AM-4:00PM, Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke. Critical Connections, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, and the League of Women Voters/Springfield invite you to a day-long symposium to improve understanding of the structural and societal factors that adversely affect relations between law-enforcement and communities of color. The symposium will examine local initiatives that increase police accountability, highlight community perspectives on gaps and challenges, and identify opportunities to address them collaboratively. Panel presentations will be followed by small group and plenary discussions on best practices and next steps. Join community leaders, activists, civil rights experts, and law-enforcement personnel for a day of reflection and conversation on strengthening community-police relations. For more details check
- Community Forum: Single Payer Health Care – May 26, 1:00-4:00 PM, Rebecca M Johnson School, 55 Catherine St, Springfield. Join us for a conversation about the healthcare concerns of people in our local communities and the importance of winning health care as a human right. Hosted by Jobs with Justice, Western Mass. Medicare for All, and Springfield League of Women Voters, this lively program will include presentations about the problems and inequities in our current health system and how Medicare for All in Mass. would make big improvements. For more information view the event on Facebook
- Springfield Town Hall Meeting – May 31, 5:30-8:00PM, Brightwood Branch Library, 359 Plainfield St, Springfield. Join At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, Ward 1 City Councilor Adam Gomez, Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards, State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, District 1 School Committeewoman Maria Perez, and At-Large School Committeewoman Latonia Monroe-Naylor for a Town Hall Style Meeting in the Community Room at Brightwood Library. Panel of elected officials still forming. Others are expected to join and will be announced in the coming days. Come share your questions, concerns, and ideas with your elected officials. View the Facebook event
- National Gun Violence Awareness Day – June 1, 4:00-5:00PM, Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight St, Holyoke. On Friday, June 1st, Mayor Alex Morse will host the event to bring awareness to gun violence. Citizens from across the country will be participating in the “Wear Orange” campaign in honor of Hadiya Pendleton, a teen shot and killed in Chicago just one week after performing at President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade in 2013. Mayor Morse encourages all attendees to wear orange in solidarity with those who have lost someone to gun violence. The event will follow a program of speakers including the Mayor who will issue a proclamation declaring June 1st as Gun Violence Awareness Day in Holyoke. Anne Thalheimer, a survivor of a college shooting and gun violence activist, will speak on their experiences and the impact gun violence has made on their lives. Click here for more details.
- Outrun Hunger ’18 – 5K run/walk – June 3, 9:00AM-12:00PM, Rachel’s Table, 1160 Dickinson St, Springfield. Join to alleviate childhood hunger! 5K run timed by Greater Springfield Harriers, 5K walk, and one-mile walk! Presented by the Rachel’s Table Teen Board and the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation. For more information, contact Rachel’s Table-413-733-0084 or view the event here or sign up to run/walk
- Organizational Meeting – We need you and your input! – June 5, 7:00-8:30PM, Chicopee Public Library (Community Room – lower level), 449 Front Street, Chicopee. We need you and your input! As RiseUpWesternMass Indivisible continues to grow and expand we are finding the need to add more people to leadership positions. Most other similar groups are organized into committees, with one member being the leader/liaison for each committee. We’d like to explore the viability of this model and gauge interest of members to step into these leadership roles. The focus of our June meeting will be to discuss this organizational model and gather ideas as we move forward. We welcome your input and your energy! Please join us and help us build a stronger and more efficient organization! View event on Facebook
- 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. Also, to be “in the know” about what Indivisible groups are doing across Massachusetts, sign up for the MA ACTION newsletter by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Amaad Rivera Campaign Kick-Off – May 15, 6:30-8:30PM, Smiths Billiards, 207 Worthington St, Springfield. Amaad Rivera, candidate for state senate. Details can be found here
- Meet Lindsay Sabadosa! – May 22 at 7 PM – 8:30 PM, Lindsay Sabadosa for State Representative, 1st Hampshire. Haymarket Café, 185 Main St, Northampton. Details can be found here.
From Indivisible National
What Could Happen on Capitol Hill in May
We’ll be honest with you—Congress isn’t going to do a lot of real work for the rest the year. Summers are usually slow on Capitol Hill no matter what, but during election years the legislative gears grind to a near halt as Members of Congress (MoCs) try to avoid hard votes and spend as much time in their home state/district as they can to bolster their reelection chances.
Despite that, there will be some items on the legislative agenda when MoCs return from recess on May 6. Here’s our monthly update on what could move on Capitol Hill.
The More You Know
The republicans trying to save DACA
- House members use rare maneuver to try to force vote on legislation to protect DREAMers
- What Is the ‘Queen of the Hill’ Rule? How GOP Lawmakers Plan to Force DACA Vote
- Republicans seek enough signatures to force DACA vote in House
Check This Out
Childish Gambino – This Is America – Watch the video everyone is talking about. *Warning graphic content*