RUWMI Weekly Email – 12/10/18

Hello fellow RUWMI activists!

This basically sums up the past week, doesn’t it?

RUWMI Announcements

Now that Representative Richie Neal will be taking the helm of the Ways and Means Committee on Jan. 3rd, those of us who have the honor of living in the 1st Congressional District are suddenly more important.  He has more power, and he is our Representative, so we have more power.  With great power comes great responsibility.  So, we need to step up to the plate.  

Here’s the approach we are planning to take:

(1) Strengthen our relationship with him.

(2) Let him know what we want by making reasonable requests for concrete actions.

(3) Then, watch what he does and respond appropriately and respectfully.  

This all starts right now!  We need your help!

(1) First, we’ve written a letter to ask him to appoint 5 members form the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) to the Ways and Means Committee.  This is reasonable request given that 5 members would bring the level of representation in the committee up to the same level it is in the House of Representatives has.

We are looking for the leaders of local organizations to sign this letter.  We want Rep. Neal to know this request is represented by a wide swath of his voters.  We’re attaching a PDF of the letter here.  If you are, or you know a leader of a CD-1 organization and would like to sign this letter, contact us at erin@riseupwesternmass.com immediately.  We will be taking signatures up until Sunday, Dec. 16th.

(2) Plan to take Jan 3rd off from work, and join us at a “Friendly Action” at Neal’s Springfield office. We expect this action to be small, but vocal with press releases and speakers.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Action Items

  • RUWMOneSmallThing – As we work to connect with Congressman Neal and track the actions of the Ways and Means committee, we will be asking you to participate in action items.  It is therefore incumbent upon us to understand the issues we will be acting upon. So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference, is to start to familiarize yourself with the Ways and Means Committee by checking out this website.
  • Join the Indivisible MA Call TOMORROW! December 11 – We’ve RESISTed. Now it’s time to INSIST.  Marguerite Suozzo-Gole, our New England Liaison from Indivisible National, will provide the latest guidance for the National Day of Action activities on January 3rd with Q&A. Indivisible National is inviting ALL Indivisible members (that means you) to join this informational call, Tuesday, December 11 at 8:00PM.  Use this link to register for the call

  • Help Free Cyntoia – Cyntoia Brown (29 years old now) was 16 years old when she was imprisoned for killing a 43-year-old man in self-defense. She’s been ordered to serve 51 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. The Tennessee Governor can grant her clemency and free her before he leaves office in January.  Contact Tennessee Governor and urge him to grant clemency for Cyntoia before he leaves office. Call, write letters, send emails: Governor Bill Haslam, 1st Floor, State Capitol, Nashville, TN 37243, (615) 741-2001, Website, You can read more about Cyntoia’s case here and here.  If you would like to send a letter of support and encouragement to Cyntoia you can do so here: Cyntoia Brown #410593, Tennessee Prison for Women, 2 North, B49, 3881 Stewarts Lane, Nashville, TN 37218-3302 h/t Sarah Buttenwieser
  • Send Holiday Greetings to Mueller’s Team – We know from all the emerging stories that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are working tirelessly and with great integrity. Let’s send along a holiday card to the whole team to express gratitude for their diligence and commitment:
    U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001. H/T Rogan’s List

  • Join our Facebook Group – We have launched our new community Facebook group and we need your help to bring it to life!  This group will allow you, our members, to share information and engage in conversations. Use this link and send a join request.  You will be directed to two screener questions and then admitted into the group.  Let’s connect!
  • Check out (and spread the word) about this job opportunity from the League of Women Voters MA – From LWV-MA: “We are looking for a dynamic, experienced Executive Director to lead the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts into its second century. Please spread the word about this exciting opening and share our job description with suitable candidates you may know…Our Executive Director, with the League Co-Presidents, will be the public face of the League in Massachusetts and will collaborate with the Board of Directors, statewide committees and local League organizations to achieve the League’s mission. The Executive Director will also be responsible for overseeing operations and finances; fundraising; and managing a small staff in Boston. Click here to access the job description for this position. We will start interviewing for this position in early January. Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to HumanResources@lwvma.org.
  • Get the word out about ACA enrollment – It is not too late to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act. Open Enrollment for health insurance purchased via the ACA ends January 23, 2019 in MA (and on December 15th in most other states). To enroll in MA you can use this link  or call 877-623-6765 to sign-up, and then share this information with friends and family.  You can get more information and details for other states here.

Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events

  • Community Organizing Class: Info Session – Wednesday, December 12, 5:30-6:30PM, Make-It Springfield, 168 Worthington Street, Springfield. Join us to learn more about an upcoming FREE spring UMass Amherst class in Springfield that will bring local community organizers and campus-based student activists together to strengthen their community organizing skills. One goal of the class is to build relationships and capacity across various projects that confront systemic violence in Western Massachusetts. All ages are welcome. Be sure to attend this info session if you are currently engaged in some kind of organizing/activism confronting state or systemic violence and might be interested in a once a week class in Springfield this spring semester. Click here for more information.
  • Screening of 13th and Dialogue w/Denise Jordan – Thursday, December 13, 4:30-7:30PM, DeCice Hall at the Marian Center, 1365 Northampton Street, Holyoke. This event will include a screening of 13th followed by town hall-style dialogue with Denise Jordan.  About the film: ’13th” is a 2016 American documentary by director Ava DuVernay. This Oscar-nominated documentary is a powerful look at the issues that continue to link our modern-day prison labor systems to slavery. Slavery technically ended over 150 years ago, but “13th” invites us to take another look at the amendment that abolished it. The film explores the “intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States.” View more information here.
  • Learn More about LCC Easement Land Deal + TCP – Thursday, December 13, 7:00PM, Greenwood Center – Dining room, 231 Maple Road, Longmeadow. We’re a group of Longmeadow residents who oppose the construction of a Tennessee Gas metering station on a site owned by the Longmeadow Country Club and located in a residential neighborhood close to Wolf Swamp Elementary School. View the event on Facebook here.
  • Hampden County Gun Buyback – Saturday, December 15, 9:00-11:00AM, 1212 Carew St, Springfield. The Hampden District Attorney’s Office and Baystate Medical Center will be conducting a gun buyback in recognition of National Gun Buyback Day on Saturday, December 15, 2018. The effort is in coordination with the John C. Wood II Memorial Foundation. A $50 Big Y gift card is being offered for a handgun, rifle, or shotgun and two $50 Big Y gift cards for an assault weapon. Organizers reserve the right to limit the amount of cards an individual can receive. Arrangements can also be made to have a uniformed police officer pick up a firearm at your home if you are unable to transport it by calling (413) 787-6313. View the event on Facebook here.
  • Indivisible National Day of Action – Thursday, January 3, (time and location TBD). As part of Indivisible National’s day of action, RUWMI (in combination with other local Indivisible groups) will be hosting a “Friendly Action” at Neal’s Springfield office. We expect this action to be small, but vocal with press releases and speakers.  Stay tuned for more updates.
  • The #WomensWave – We are outraged. We are organized. They forgot that 5 million women lit the world on fire two years ago. On January 19, 2019, we’re going to remind them when we flood the streets of Washington, D.C., and with sister marches in cities across the globe. Save the date: The #WomensWave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us. Trump is obsessed with crowd size so we need to show up in masses in D.C. Join the wave by signing up 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. 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: news@indivisible-ma.org.

Indivisible Massachusetts

Question 2 Passed: Here’s What’s Next

A lot of us worked to get Question 2 on the ballot in Massachusetts, and then we worked to pass it. This law is designed to highlight the need to get big money out of politics. It’s a big, long-term problem and the fix is complicated, so buckle up. A key provision in the new law is the creation of a Citizen’s Commission to study the effects of money in politics in Massachusetts. The Commission will write a report on its findings. If you’re interested in being on this Commission, keep an eye out for the application, which will be available online starting February 1. See the graphic below for the full timeline.

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