Hello fellow RUWMI activists!

What’s on my mind this week?  The news that the unimaginable cruelty of Trump’s family separation policy was somehow even worse than we thought. What’s worse than the worst thing you can imagine?  I don’t have a word for it, but Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal put came the closest to putting the enormity of the horror into words, when she questioned Whittaker during his oversight hearing.  Watch for yourself here.

RUWMI Announcements

Last week we sent out a special edition email, highlighting an important action item.  We send our sincere thanks to those of you who were able to make the call to Congressman Neal’s office.  As of the writing of this newsletter, his office has not announced a Town Hall for the February recess.  Thus, the CPC (CD1 Progressive Coalition) will be scheduling one so we, Neal’s constituents, will have a chance to speak about the issues that matter most to us.

Keep an eye out for news of the Town Hall and please plan to attend. You may have heard in the news that Tom Steyer (founder of Need to Impeach) will be hosting his own event here tomorrow (Feb 12).  This event, (and the related local targeted ads) are designed to put pressure on Neal to subpoena Trump’s tax returns and vote to start impeachment hearings. It is important to note that this event is not affiliated with CPC, but that the CPC planned town hall will hopefully give Congressman Neal a chance to respond to the Need to Impeach event.

Please keep an eye on your inbox and on our Facebook page for details, as the event will likely be planned with limited turn-around time and we want to make sure that as many constituents as possible attend.

If you haven’t already signed up for our Local Action Team list, our email list of people who are interested and willing to show up for these local (and usually one-time) events now is your chance. Just email to Riseupwesternmass@gmail.com and let us know you want to join.  When local standouts, rallies, congressional office visits etc., are scheduled, we will email you with specifics about the event. 

Action Items

  • RUWMOneSmallThing – Thursday is Valentine’s Day and Indivisible is encouraging us to flood our Representative with Valentines. So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference, is to send a valentine to Congressman Richie Neal, 300 State St #200, Springfield, MA 01105.  Here are some sample messages.
    • Roses are red. Violets are blue. We want Medicare for All from you.
    • We love you because you oppose Trump’s wall. We’d love you more if we got Medicare for All.
    • Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder – but I know nothing bonds like a good old-fashioned town hall.
    • Have a heart and spend some time with your constituents over Feb. recess.
    • I am not going to sugar coat this, we need to discuss our priorities to make this relationship work. – Let’s meet at a Town Hall
    • Roses are red, violets are blue, which side of history is the right one for you?
    • On Valentine’s Day, nothing says “I love you”, like a big stack of Trump’s Tax returns. 
    • This Valentine’s Day – would you BE MY Representative and meet me at a Town Hall?
    • Roses are Red. Violets are Blue. The best New Deal is Green!
    • There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of an East-West Rail.
    • What’s sweet? Chocolate, candy and your support of HR1!
  • We are looking for a few good organizers – RUWMI is partnering with Swing Left to target the eleven states that will (1) win the Presidency, (2) win the Senate majority and (3) fix the Gerrymandered districts in 2020.  In 2019, we will start with voter registration in these 11 states. Here in Springfield, that means holding a series of “VRBM” (Voter Registration by Mail) parties.  If you’d like to help us organize these, contact Erin (ern@riseupwesternmass.com) to join the VRBM planning committee.  If you’d rather just come to the parties, check the Events section of this newsletter over the next few weeks!
  • Join the Citizens Commission – When Ballot Question 2 passed in MA in November, The Citizens Commission Concerning a Constitutional Amendment for Government of the People was created. The purpose of the 15-member volunteer commission is “To advance the policy of Massachusetts in favor of amending the Constitution of the United States (i) to affirm that artificial entities do not possess the inalienable Constitutional rights of the people, and (ii) in order to eliminate the undue influence of concentrated money on elections and on governmental policy, campaign contributions and spending may be regulated and limited. If you are you interested in applying for a position on the 15-member Citizens Commission to research the influence of big $ in elections and to make recommendations for the 28th amendment you can apply online here. 
  • Push for Greater Transparency in MA – From Indivisible MA: Last week the largely Democratic Massachusetts State House voted against several rules that would have greatly increased transparency: These included giving legislators more time to read bills and amendments before they were voted on and making testimony for/against a bill, as well as committee votes, publicly available. Adopting these rules would have made it easier for bills to come to the floor, regardless of leadership’s position on them, but many Democrats voted with leadership, rather than with the people they represent. Let’s find out how our state legislators voted here, and if they voted against these rule changes, we should contact them and express our dismay. Progressive Massachusetts has compiled a list of counter arguments for legislators’ 10 common excuses for voting against these rules changes here, so we can make sure to use these in our arguments as to why this was the wrong way to vote.

  • Support the Green New Deal – From the Sunrise Movement via Indivisible MA: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey released their draft resolution for a Green New Deal on Wednesday. It lays out a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War II, move to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030, guarantee a living-wage job for anybody who needs one, and ensure a just transition for workers and front-line communities. Sign the petition calling on all representatives to back the resolution now.

  • Tell Trump we are a pro-choice nation – From: VoteProChoice. The Supreme Court decided to delay implementation of a dangerous anti-choice Louisiana state law that would have further decimated reproductive freedom in the state. While this Supreme Court decision is not the worst outcome, it is definitely not a win. This was on clear display last night when Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s handpicked destroyer-of-Roe, wrote the dissent, effectively declaring war on Roe v. Wade.This is a red alert moment for our reproductive freedom and our bodily autonomy.  Only a few days ago, Trump used his State of the Union to attack fundamental reproductive justice, spreading lies about medical procedures and prochoice legislation.
    We must raise our voices together and combat this propaganda campaign.
    Sign our letter to President Trump declaring that we are a Prochoice Nation.
  • Protest the Trump Emergency Declaration, Join MoveOn’s Crisis Response Network – MoveOn has activated its (Nobody is Above the Law) Crisis Response once already, and they are prepared to do it again if Trump declares a state of emergency to get his wall. If Trump takes this extraordinary step, it may also allow him to enact other brazen anti-democratic policies, which is why hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members are ready to mobilize in protest if Trump tries to seize broad new authorities by declaring a state of emergency to build his wall.  In order to be notified of the specifics of the response near you, you need to sign up with the network ahead of time.  There are two local ones in our area.  You can use this link to sign up for the Springfield based response and this link for the Longmeadow based response.
  • 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!

Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events

  • Our Revolution’s Medicare for all Barnstorm! – Tuesday, February 12, 6:15PM, Chicopee Public Library, 449 Front St, Chicopee. Our Revolution Chicopee will coordinate with National Nurses United, and other Our Revolution chapters all over the country, to host a Medicare for all Barnstorm. This will be a video viewing event, helping us to prepare and organize for Medicare for All advocacy & education in 2019 & beyond. This topic will continue to be widely discussed on local and national platforms as we enter a new election season, making this the perfect opportunity to spread the word about Medicare for all! View event details here.
  • Impeachment Town Hall in Springfield with Tom Steyer – Tuesday, 6:15-8:15PM, 375 Island Pond Rd, Springfield. Will you join Tom Steyer on Tuesday, February 12th, for an impeachment town hall in Springfield?

Congressman Richard Neal is chair of the Ways and Means Committee –– which means he has the power to investigate the president and obtain Trump’s tax returns. We’ll discuss how both constituents and neighbors can raise our voices and urge Rep. Neal to investigate our lawless president.

The event is free, but space is limited! Please RSVP here to reserve your space. If you have any translation or accessibility needs or questions, please email volunteer@needtoimpeach.com. For more information view the event on Facebook here.

  • Enduring Racism Speaker Series: Seamless Thread – Wednesday, February 13, 11:00AM-12:15PM, Holyoke Community College Library Lobby, 303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke. Today there are more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in American jails and prisons, making the United States a leader in locking people up. How did we get here? The structural foundation of this crisis is rooted in both politics and policy. To understand the dynamics of modern-day imprisonment, we must focus on the historical and persistent criminalization of communities of color. By following the thread from American slavery, to Jim Crow, to the War on Drugs, we will examine the way the criminal legal system has been an enduring and destructive form of social control and punishment. Speaker: Rahsaan D. Hall.  Click here for event details.
  • James Madison & the Issues of 1776 – Wednesday, February 13, 6:30-7:30PM, Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow. The 4th President of the United States (with the able assistance of Bill Lewis) will speak on the issues of 1776 and how they influenced the creation of the Constitution and the country we have today. Lewis is a Computer Scientist who has taught at Stanford and Tufts Universities. He has presented as James Madison at the National Archives, the Shirley-Eustis House, the offices of Congress, and the Massachusetts Statehouse. Register here.
  • How to Apologize for Slavery – Wednesday, February 13, 7:00-9:00PM, Jones Library, 43 Amity St, Amherst. Throughout U.S. history, ongoing resistance to offer a state apology for slavery and Jim Crow has served to deepen divides and continues to adversely impact our nation’s social fabric. Join us to hear Dr. Theodore R. Johnson, a public policy expert on race and social justice, explore these questions and more. This event is part of our Spring 2019 Event Series, “Rehumanizing and Restoring Relationships: The Role of Apology, Memorialization and Reparation in Redressing Historical Injustice”, a collaborative effort hosted by Critical Connections and The Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. View the event on Facebook here.
  • Vigil for Their Lives – Thursday, February 14, 6:00-7:00PM, Foster Memorial Church, 1791 Wilbraham Rd, Springfield. Hosted by March for Our Lives: Springfield. February 14th marks one year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people. We must remember the lives that were lost. The deaths that could’ve been prevented. The bright futures that were extinguished. We must remember why we fight. Join us in paying respects to that lives that were ended too soon. View details here.
  • Instant Issues Series: NYU’s Alejandro Velasco on Venezuela – Friday, February 15, 12:00-1:00PM, The Masslive Building, 1350 Main Street, Springfield. Dr. Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor at New York University will speak at an Instant Issues Brown Bag Lunch event on “Oil, Socialism & Crisis in Venezuela” the Community Room. Get tickets here or view the event on Facebook here.
  • 2nd Annual Black Issues Summit – Friday, February 15, 1:00-5:00PM, Alumnae Library, Elms College, 291 Springfield St, Chicopee. Register now for this free conference that engages us all in pertinent issues in today’s climate using this link. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will host the 2nd annual Black Issues Summit on Friday, Feb. 15, in Alumnae Library. This year’s theme is “Equity in Justice.” The summit, which provides an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue about pertinent issues affecting the black community, takes place within the larger context of Black History Month celebrations at Elms College. You can also view the event on Facebook here.
  • Reparations? Why? How – Sunday, February 17, 3:00-5:00PM, Unitarian Society, 220 Main Street, Northampton. The wounds of slavery and ongoing institutional racism are well documented. Many in the African American community have called for reparation from the white community. In this highly participatory workshop, we will begin with mindful sharing got our connections to this topic and then will explore ways to make personal reparations. Participants will leave with resources for continuing education and actions on personal, community and societal reparations. A free offering of the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership. Register (required) using this link.
  • Roe v. Wade 46th Anniversary Event – Saturday, February 23, 4:00-6:00PM, The Red Barn at Hampshire College, 893 West St, Amherst. Join our annual commemoration of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to safe, legal abortion care! A reception catered by The Black Sheep will be followed by our guest speaker, scholar-activist Katie Watson. Advance tickets are available for $35 by emailing info@arfwm.org. Tickets are available at the door as space permits. Students are admitted free with student identification. View the event on Facebook here.
  • Town Hall Meeting w/ Springfield Elected Officials – Tuesday, February 26, 5:30-7:30PM, East Springfield Neighborhood Council, 1437 Carew Street, Springfield. Join At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman and Ward 2 City Councilor Michael Fenton along with Council President Justin Hurst, At-Large City Councilor Kateri Walsh, and At-Large School Committeewoman LaTonia Monroe-Naylor in collaboration with the East Springfield Neighborhood Council for a Town Hall Style Meeting. Share your questions, concerns, and ideas for Springfield with your representatives. Doors open: 5:30 PM Program: 6:00 PM. All are welcome. For more information contact City Councilor Jesse Lederman at (413) 285-3041 or by e-mail at JLederman@springfieldcityhall.com or 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. 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 National

Indivisible joins progressive freshman and immigration leaders calling for cuts to DHS – February 7, 2019

Washington, DC—Today on Capitol Hill, the Indivisible Project’s co-executive director Leah Greenberg joined Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and immigration and progressive partners including United We Dream, CASA and MoveOn, in calling for Congress to reduce spending on the Department of Homeland Security.

“We stand in solidarity with all immigrants who are currently in detention. A budget is a moral document, and if we look at what the Department of Homeland Security’s budget is being used for, we are failing a moral test,” Greenberg said. “The Department of Homeland Security can’t answer basic questions about people in its custody. This is unacceptable. Congress must cut, not increase, funding for wasteful and abusive immigration enforcement.”

“A budget is also a political document and Donald Trump has lost this political argument. Americans are united. They do not want Congress to give him money for a deportation force,” Greenberg said. “For the past two years, we have seen the pain caused by Trump’s disastrous immigration policies. Trump made the 2018 elections about his immigration policies and voters rejected it. He tried to hold the federal government hostage to get funding for his wall and people demanded he back down. It’s time for him to listen to the people and time for Congress to put an end to his abuses.”

The More You Know

Did you know that MA has a Peace and Justice Agenda?  – The Massachusetts Peace & Justice Network has partnered with allied legislators to submit a set of bills to the Massachusetts state legislature concerning nuclear disarmament, Middle East wars, military spending, legislative ethics, and the design of the state flag and seal.  Click here to see the 9 bills that they submitted.

Check This Out

Check out these great, locally-based organizations, working to promote peace.

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