Bang head against the wall; repeat.

Hello fellow RUWMI activists!

Every fall I teach a few courses at a local college.  I do this in addition to my regular job and the activism work, so needless to say, fall (and the planning for it) is a really busy time for me.  Every single year I promise myself that as soon as my classes end in December, I will take a few weeks and get all of my ducks in a row for the next Fall.  Or at the very least, I’ll work on it little by little over the course of the winter and spring.  And somehow every year, I wait until the last minute and freak out over all that I have to do in order to be ready. Why do I think it will magically be different each year? What is it they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? When will I learn?  Apparently not this year.

Directions: Bang head against the wall; repeat.

I’m sure that somewhere in there is a clever political analogy…


RUWMI Announcements

Newsletter submissions – Do you have an action item or event you’re involved in that you’d like to see in this newsletter?  If so please email to Jackie@riseupwesternmass,com and let us know!

Action Items

  • RUWMOneSmallThing – With so many critical issues in the news it is critical that we get a chance to speak directly with our Representatives and give them feedback about how WE feel on these issues and how WE want them to vote. Luckily, they are home on an extended August recess. Reps all over the country will be holding town halls to speak to their constituents about immigration and impeachment and a host of other vital topics.  Unfortunately for those of us here in MA-1, Congressman Neal has no such town hall planned.  So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference is to flood his office with calls asking for a town hall!  Meeting with constituents is a vital part of a congressman’s job, and it is one that Neal has shirked for a long time.  You can reach him at the following numbers:
    • Springfield Office (413) 785-0325
    • Pittsfield Office (413) 442-0946


  • Tell Mass. legislators to protect immigrant families! – (h/t MIRA Coalition). Over the past two years, we’ve built a statewide movement to protect the rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents. We’ve passed trust and welcoming policies in dozens of communities. Now it’s time to ensure that everyone in our Commonwealth enjoys those protections. The Safe Communities Act is back before the Mass. Legislature, as S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda). It’s simpler and more succinct, but has the same strong provisions, backed by a broad-based and diverse coalition. You can use this form to contact your legislators today and urge them to advocate for the SCA with leadership and with their colleagues. They need to hear from us time and again, so let’s keep up the pressure!


  • Take this survey from Indivisible National – (h/t Indivisible). “Democracy” is a big issue. Earlier this year, the House passed the For the People Act, which includes a ton of great reforms like campaign finance, election security, and expanding voting rights. This was a great first step, and now we’re are grappling with how to build on this. So we’d love to get your thoughts on some of the big ideas for rebuilding American democracy by filling out this survey.


  • Tell your legislators: Equity in higher education can’t wait – (h/t MIRA Coalition). At least 20 states and the District of Columbia allow eligible students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities regardless of immigration status, and many take the same approach to state financial aid. Yet in Massachusetts, higher ed equity legislation has stalled for over a decade. For thousands of young people graduating from Massachusetts high schools, that means college is simply beyond reach. Four bills before the Legislature aim to close the opportunity gap: S.740, H.1239, S.739 and H.1236. Thousands of current public-school students – and many more graduates – could benefit. Use this link to take action.


  • Ask election officials to update vulnerable software (h/t AoC Checklist). Call: Or write your state’s election official (look up).
    Script: Hi. I’m a resident of [STATE], and I want to know whether our voting machines use Windows 7, which is outdated and dangerously vulnerable to hacking. — If yes, I urge you to update the machines to use more secure software. — If no, thank you for your hard work to ensure election security.



  • Advocate for your LGBTQ+ neighbors’ health by Aug. 13. (h/t AoC Checklist). Tell the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) what you think of the administration’s proposal to remove nondiscrimination protections for gender identity from the Affordable Care Act regulations.

Submit a comment: On the Federal Register using these tips: 1) Introduce yourself, 2) State why you oppose the proposal based on your values, and, if applicable, 3) Share a personal story about how you or a loved one are impacted by gender-based discrimination in health care. Review this article for additional information to use in your comments. To be counted, comments must be unique and individual, not scripted.


  • Barclays, PNC and other banks – Stop Financing Pain For Corporate Gain! – (h/t MomsRising). Barclays, PNC and other banks are financing for-profit prison corporations that are profiting off the pain and suffering of families. Sign on here to urge Barclays, PNC Bank and other banks to STOP financing private prisons! #FamiliesBelongTogether #NoProfitsFromPain


  • Learn about the 2020 candidates’ stand on gun safety – (h/t Everytown for Gun Safety). With the 2020 presidential race underway, candidates are talking about gun safety in a more robust way than ever before. Check out this grid which tracks where all the major 2020 candidates stand on gun safety based on their public statements and policy proposals released in connection with their 2020 candidacies. The grid tracks prospective proposals rather than a candidate’s historical votes on gun safety issues. For President Trump, the tracker reflects his stances on gun issues since he formally launched his re-election bid on June 18. This grid is current as of June 25, 2019, and will be updated frequently throughout the campaign.



Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events

  • The Inhumanity of Detaining Children – Tuesday, July 30, 6:30-8:00PM, Edwards Church of Northampton, 297 Main St, Northampton. Listen to witness reports and analysis about detention centers in the USA. Shel Horowitz was part of a group visiting Homestead, Florida. This center has become the nation’s biggest location for detaining immigrant children. Javier Luengo-Garrido from the ACLU Immigrant Protection Project visited facilities in Texas. Laura Briggs from UMass Amherst will be able to provide historical context of child internments in the USA. Her forthcoming book is titled, Taking Children: An American History of Terror from Slavery to the Border. This is a free event. Everyone is welcome, detail can be found


  • Mayoral Race Public Forum – Thursday, August 1, 6:00-7:30PM, Mason Square Branch Library, 765 State St, Springfield. Youth for Action will be holding a mayoral candidate public form for Springfield youth & other Springfield residents to talk with current candidates for mayor, with the hope of educating the community about the 2019 mayoral race. The community will be allowed to submit questions ahead of time for the candidates to answer during the forum. Candidates that are attending:

Yolanda Cancel, Linda OConnell, Jeffery Donnelly. Candidates that have not been confirmed: Mayor Dominic Sarno. View event details here.


  • Boricua Solidarity Rally – Friday, August 2, 5:30-7:30PM, 300 State St, Springfield. We will rally together in front of Springfield’s Federal Building in solidarity and in celebration of the strength of this people powered movement. View details on Facebook


  • Pioneer Valley Project Summer Leadership Institute – Two options: One full day: Saturday, August 3 10 -3, or Two evenings: Tuesdays August 6 and 13, 6:00-8:00PM, South Congregational Church, 45 Maple St, Springfield. Join us for a training that will ground you in the principles of relational community organizing for racial and economic justice. This training will offer an opportunity to develop skills for what it takes to build collective power and win systemic change in our community! Please reserve your spot for either the Saturday session or the Tuesdays (Aug. 6th and 13th) session.  Light refreshments will be served.  Child care is available if requested before training date. Contact Tara at (413) 214-5100 or to reserve your spot and with any questions. 


  • Sanctuary in the Streets: Mass Incarceration and Detention – Monday, August 5, 6:00-8:00PM, The Parlor Room, 32 Masonic St, Northampton. This month’s general assembly of Sanctuary in the Streets with be drawing connections between Mass Incarceration and Immigrant Detention. We will also talk about concrete ways we can stop criminalization and detention and organize to pass drivers licenses for all regardless of immigration status. Bring a potluck dinner item to share if you would like. Childcare provided. Click here for more information.


  • Demonstration Calling on Mass Dems to Support a Climate Debate – Saturday, August 10, 9:00AM-2:00PM, Easthampton High School, Easthampton. Climate change is an emergency that impacts every aspect of our lives, and it’s about time the Democratic Party started to act like it. We need a climate debate! Join us showing up at our local Democratic office, where we’ll tell our stories, bring our signs and demand our local Democratic Party committees join us in calling on the DNC to host a #ClimateDebate. RSVP here and let us know you’re coming. View the event on Facebook


  • RUWMI-Swing Left Monthly Action – Sunday, August 11, 10:00-11:30AM, Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke. Come join us for our August postcard-writing event! It’s fun, easy, and effective. We’ll supply postcards and stamps and all the information you will need. You just bring yourself (and maybe a friend), good cheer, and a limber writing hand! (Donations of 35-cent postage stamps, or cash to cover stamps greatly appreciated but not required). Election Day 2020 seems a long way off, but now is when we need to begin making sure that Democratic voters show up at the polls! We will continue writing to registered democratic voters in FL who did not vote in the last election. You can sign up here so we’ll know how many people to expect and you can view the event on Facebook   Also did we mention the brunch?!! Last month we met on Sunday morning and our hosts at Gateway City Arts had the most wonderful brunch menu (pro tip: you should definitely order the popover).


  • Meet the Candidates for Mayor & City Council – Tuesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30PM, Mason Square Branch Library, 765 State St, Springfield. Get to know the candidates for Mayor and City Council. Find out where they stand on the issues and let them know your concerns before you cast your vote in the Preliminary Election. Register to vote, make sure your registration is active, and confirm where your polling place is. The Mason Square Branch Library will be closed for regular business but the doors on the State Street and Monroe Street sides will be open for you to come in. View event details


  • 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:


Indivisible National

Reflecting back on last month’s question (from: Ezra and Leah’s email)

Last month we asked you about Trump’s border bill, which gave a few extra billion to his deportation machine. As a reminder, this is the bill that passed through the House without any amendments (refresher here if you need it). We were — and are — really disappointed with how this went down, but we don’t want to belabor the disappointment. We’re not here to just complain — we’re here to talk about how we can regroup to fight the next fight.

So, your responses to our questions were really interesting — and encouraging. Overwhelmingly, Indivisibles are strongly in favor of showing up in support of immigrant allies who are under constant attack by Trump. We want Democratic congressional leaders who don’t just swallow whatever tripe Trump flings our way. And we want Democratic presidential candidates who clearly define an alternative vision to Trump’s anti-immigrant hate. Here were the detailed results from the 1,231 respondents:

  • 85% thought it was somewhat or very important for Democratic presidential candidates to offer a bold alternative Democratic vision for immigration policy.
  • 86% were opposed or strongly opposed to passing Trump’s border bill unamended through the House.
  • 87% say House and Senate Democrats should demand cuts in funding for Trump’s wall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and concentration camps.
  • 96% support pressuring your members of Congress, including Democrats, to stand up to Trump in opposition to his anti-immigrant agenda.
  • 96% support strict guardrails to ensure Trump uses humanitarian funding for humanitarian purposes.

Gotta say, after suffering that defeat on Trump’s border bill, it was very encouraging for us to get these responses from Indivisibles all over the country. We see that folks want Democratic leaders to really fight on this — and that’s where we are too. So, while we’re under no illusions that we’re going to win every battle, we’re building a powerful force to contend with hate coming from Trump. We’re gearing up for the last big congressional fight on immigration this year, which will come to a head in September. The Indivisible national team will keep you updated on how to pitch in.


The More You Know

Pelosi and the Impeachment Question

Check This Out

‘Sesame Street’ has been mocking Trump since 1988 — here are some of the best moments

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