Welcome to America
Hello fellow RUWMI activists!
This weekend Facebook reminded me of a post that I made last year at this time, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“Thought for the day – At a time when the President embodies the worst of us, I look to Texas, where I see neighbor helping neighbor and stranger helping stranger, and I am assured that the best of us is still here”
Now, almost exactly one year later, our friends in the south are bracing for Hurricane Dorian. I know that once again neighbor will be helping neighbor and stranger will be helping stranger, and that the best of us will emerge, even though our government is still led by the worst of us.
THIS SUNDAY! – It’s time for our next monthly letter-writing event with Swing Left. If you’ve joined us before, then you know the drill. If you haven’t been able to come, here is your chance! Sunday, September 8, 10:00-11:30AM, Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke. All of the details can be found in the event section below, but suffice it to say: we will write, we will chat, we will make a difference, and we will have fun (we also might eat!). What a great way to spend 90 minutes of your weekend!
- RUWMOneSmallThing – September is back to school time which makes it’s the perfect time for us to learn some new skills too! So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do that will make a difference is to learn about birddogging from Represent.US by watching this Birddogging 101 video.
- End the Filibuster – (h/t Indivisible). It’s simple: none of the progressive issues that Democratic candidates and congressional leaders are discussing today will become law unless we do something about the filibuster. If Mitch McConnell expects to be the Grim Reaper of progressive policies, the scythe he’ll use is the Senate filibuster. Unless we change the rules. First, check out this video from Vox on the history of the filibuster (and why we have to eliminate it). Then take action!
- Amplify Ady Barkan’s message – (h/t Be A Hero). Health care activist Ady Barkan, who is dying of ALS, will challenge the top 2020 candidates in a series of exclusive interviews with NowThis to get their plans to fix our broken healthcare system. Use this link to sign up to get the first episodes starting next week. You can watch the trailer here and then please share it on your own social media. Let’s help amplify Ady’s message!
- Learn about Democracy911 – (h/t Represent.US). Renaldo Pearson from Represent.US writes: We’re declaring a state of emergency on American Democracy with a 600-mile walk over 50 days from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington, D.C. Our demand? Fix the corrupt political system. We’ll begin on Tuesday, August 6th —plan to arrive in D.C. on National Voter Registration Day: Tuesday, September 24, 2019. There, we will sit on the steps of the Capitol building until our demands are met. If they arrest us, we will pay our bail and return. The verdict couldn’t be any clearer: it’s time for the government to represent us. Learn more about the Democracy911 Walk here and spread the word.
- Voice your support for an impeachment inquiry – (h/t Common Cause) Over the past month, members of Congress visiting their home districts have heard from a groundswell of concerned Americans like you. Together, we’re demanding they do their constitutional duty to hold Trump accountable — by immediately opening an impeachment inquiry. And, our voices are making a difference. Every day, more and more lawmakers join the call for an impeachment inquiry. Our grassroots strategy is working and you can help by writing a l etter to the editor of your local paper — where thousands of people will read it. Use this simple tool to find your paper and get started.
- Help #DefundHate – (h/t Indivisible) House Democrats must act during this year’s appropriations process to reduce funding to ICE and CBP and to rein in the worst abuses of these agencies. That’s why we’re planning a massive week of action September 9-13 to show up and demand our members of Congress act to defund Trump’s racist deportation machine. Here’s what you can do to hold them accountable:
- Record a video to put pressure on your House representative. We’ve made it easy: grab your phone and record your message on why ICE and CBP must be brought to heel. Post it on social and tag your member of Congress. Get your Facebook friends and Twitter followers involved and take control of the narrative.
- Call your member of Congress right now at 1-844-909-0232 and demand that they reject ICE’s attempt to steal money from other agencies. It is unacceptable that ICE is subverting Congress’ authority to decide how much funding they should receive. We’ll give you a script and connect you directly with your representative’s office.
- Help Indivisible Noho with the planning of our local event. They say “We’re planning our events (in which we need your help) during Indivisible’s Week of Action, Sept 9 – 13, the week before Congress returns to DC to vote on funding for ICE. Please email Beth Lev if you can help with: Making eye-catching flyers (we’ll help with scripts and copying), Handing out flyers (during the week of Sept – 13th), Chalking sidewalks with brief info about what we can do (scripts and chalk provided)
- Want even more action items? You can get additional action items delivered directly to your inbox by signing up with Rogan’s List, and Americans of Conscience Checklist.
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- Hampshire County: Restore the #Right2Vote for Prisoners in MA – Wednesday, September 4, 5:30-7:30PM, First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main St, Northampton. Join Massachusetts Prisoners and Organizers Working for Enfranchisement and Restoration (Mass POWER) for our Hampshire County campaign kickoff to restore the #right2vote to prisoners in Massachusetts. We are committed to restoring the #right2vote because prisoners are some of the most impacted by the policies made and implemented by elected officials, and yet they do not have a say in who is elected. Prisons disproportionately incarcerate Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, people with disabilities, poor people, and LGBTQIA individuals. The current policy works to further marginalize these and other communities. This must change. Come and learn more about this issue and about how you can support a campaign to get this issue on the ballot in 2022. View event details
- DOER Smart Program Review – Thursday, September 5, 3:00-5:00PM, UMASS Amherst Campus Center, Amherst Room, 1 Campus Center Way, Amherst. The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has been conducting a review of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program, which began upon the qualification of 400 MW of eligible Solar Tariff Generation Units. DOER has prepared the results of this review, and will be presenting its findings at this stakeholder meeting. DOER will present material, which will be available on DOER’s website beginning on September 5, 2019. View event details
- Mayoral Candidate Forum – Tuesday, September 5, 6:00-8:00PM, Central High School, 1840 Roosevelt Avenue, Springfield. Springfield will hold a mayoral election this November and the primary will take place on Tuesday, September 10th. How will the next mayor represent you and your family? Members of PVP Youth Voices United will ask the three candidates for mayor about their positions on issues that are impacting both youth and adults in Springfield. The format will be a combination of prepared questions and questions from the audience. Our next mayor should represent all of us. Come on September 5th and make your voice heard! You can view the event on Facebook
- Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Small/Rural Communities – Friday, September 6, 8:00AM-1:00PM, UMASS Campus Center, Hadley. This forum will focus on the numerous ways in which the opioid crisis has impacted Western Massachusetts, with particular attention paid to the social and economic consequences on employers and small and rural communities. Unique challenges and innovative solutions will be highlighted. A detailed agenda and email invitation will be distributed shortly. Check the event on Facebook for details.
- Defund Hate Week of Action – Sep 7 at 7:30 AM – Sep 12 at 5 PM, various sites in the Pioneer Valley. The key to fighting concentration camps, ICE raids, and family separation is by defunding them! Join us in blanketing our towns with flyers, spreading the word and urging neighbors to call our congress members NOW to demand that they defund hate in the upcoming September budget bill. We’ll provide flyers, info and talking points, and you make sure everyone understands what’s at stake and how each of us can make a difference! Give out 1 or 100 – every call matters! Contact Beth (email@example.com) to find out where to pick up your flyers. We’ll be flyering throughout the week of Sept 7 – 12, ending with a Post- Flyering Debate Watch party, Sept. 12th, at Pathways Cohousing in Florence! More details can be found
- RUWMI-Swing Left Monthly Action – Sunday, September 8, 10:00-11:30AM, Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke. Come join us for our September postcard/letter-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 in critical swing states, get registered and show up at the polls! You can sign up here so we’ll know how many people to expect and you can view the event on Facebook
- Do Something! Speak-Out – A Celebration of Frances Crowe – Sunday, September 8, 12:00-4:00PM, Pulaski Park, Main street, Northampton. Join us in Pulaski Park – Bring your signs, bring your spirit, and bring your voice – and then join our march to the Assembly & Program at Smith College (which begins at 2pm). View march details here and assembly details
- Belated Labor Day Celebration for Jobs with Justice – Sunday, September 8, 2:00-5:00PM, 194 Elm Street, Agawam. Learn more about Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and their work in Western MA! There will be snacks, drinks, conversations about our communities and the opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation (if you are able). Park in the Mill Lot at 168 Elm Street, to the right of the house. Do not block the loading dock to the side or access to the landscape business in the back. Parking also available at the lower lot on other side of Mill building. Please RSVP to Corinne Wingard
- Rallying Springfield For Change – Monday, September 9, 11:00AM-1:00PM, Springfield City Hall, Springfield. Homelessness, Drug Addiction, Gun Violence, Public School education Improvements, Lack of good paying jobs, What do you want to see changed? Bring your bull horns so that Mayor Sarno Can hear you. This is election year and the last chance to speak up is now. When we fight, we win. Believe in a better Springfield! View the event on Facebook
- Sanctuary in the Streets: Direct Action Legal Training – Monday, September 9, 6:00-8:30PM, Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton. This month’s general assembly of Sanctuary in the Streets (our avenue for activists and workers to engage with the work of Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Jobs with Justice in the upper valley) will be a legal training by Rachel Weber on non-violent direct action! We are inspired by the work being done across the country by the #NeverAgainIsNow and #CloseTheCamps movements. Please join us to be ready to amplify their campaigns locally! We will also begin with a brief orientation to Sanctuary in the Streets and how to join and become voting member of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Learn more
- Chicopee Municipal Candidate Meet and Greet – Thursday, September 12, 6:30-8:00PM, Chicopee Public Library, 449 Front St, Chicopee. This is your opportunity to meet Chicopee’s Municipal Candidates before primary day: September 17, 2019. You will be able to shake hands with candidates and ask questions face to face in a relaxed environment. Children and families welcome, light refreshments will be served. This is FREE and OPEN to the public. View event details
- Springfield Training: RideShare and Court Accompaniment – Thursday, September 12, 6:30PM– 8:30PM, (also Sat October 5 at 10:30AM), Trinity United Methodist Church, 361 Sumner Ave, Springfield. Put your solidarity into action by becoming part of the Sanctuary in the Streets Rideshare and Court Accompaniment networks. We request that you attend the Rideshare training BEFORE attending the Court Accompaniment training. If you’ve already been trained for Rideshare, you can sign up for Court Accompaniment training only. You can either attend the Rideshare training only or do both of these trainings on either of the two available dates. Sign up here. View details on Facebook
- 2019 MassDems State Convention – Saturday, September 14, 7:30AM-5:00PM, MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St, Springfield. The 2019 MassDems Action Agenda Convention is an important opportunity to come together and talk about how we fight to make progress on real issues like climate change, healthcare, education, immigration, and civil rights. During the convention, you’ll join breakout sessions to work collaboratively with other delegates to develop strategies to organize for critical issues facing our Commonwealth. For more information (including link for guest tickets) visit their website.
- Navigating Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Current Climate – Sunday, September 15, 10:00AM-12:00PM, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St, South Hadley. Muslims and Jews in America share many commonalities. Both are minority communities that have been at the receiving end of prejudice and persecution. Both communities feel exceptionally insecure at this time in the US and have come to each other’s support in the aftermath of attacks against the other community. Additionally, both Muslims and Jews belong to the Abrahamic tradition and share a multitude of theological beliefs. And yet, Jewish-Muslim relations in the U.S. are often challenged in our current political turmoil, both by incidents within the US and when confronted with developments in the Middle East. Accusations of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism fly both ways. What are the current challenges and opportunities in navigating Jewish-Muslim relations in the U.S. and what is the way forward? Join us to hear Rabbi Or Rose and Dr. Sohail Hashmi explore the complexities of Jewish-Muslim divides here in the U.S. and identify strategies for increasing connections. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow up on last month’s question: what should saving democracy look like?
Thanks to the more than 1,500 of you who took the time to give us your thoughts on the big democracy reform survey last month! This is heady stuff, and frankly we were a little worried that it was too wonky and in the weeds. But the feedback you shared was GREAT! And we found your responses to the survey fascinating (and helpful!). You can click here to see the detail.
In short, within the Indivisible movement, there’s lots of support for all of these proposals, with the one exception of lowering the voting age to 16 and 17-year-olds (which had a plurality but not majority support). The quantitative data only tells some of the story — you all submitted a ton of great comments — we hear you on the urgent need for campaign finance reform, anti-gerrymandering, election security, and automatic voter registration. We agree! All of this is in the For the People Act, which the House passed earlier this year, and which Indivisible strongly supports. And thank you too for the podcast and book recommendations! We’re adding those to our list!
So, what are we going to do with all this? Behind the scenes, we’re taking these results to media, campaigns, and federal legislatures. We want them to understand how much support there is in general for democracy reform and we want them proposing their own ideas for rebuilding democracy after Trump. We want presidential candidates to try to “out-democracy” each other, and we want congressional leaders introducing new, popular, pro-democracy legislation. As for public work, please stay tuned, we have some big plans on the lead-up to the release of the book on November 5!
The More You Know
The story of Labor Day
- Labor Day 2019: Facts, Meaning & Founding
- Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day? It’s not about the end of summer
- 7 Surprising Labor Day Facts
Check This Out
Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful Project – What is the Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful Art Project?
The butterfly effect is the idea that a small change can lead to a bigger change. The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful art project is led by youth activists in the Bay Area who are creating a visual representation of the 15,000 immigrant children in the detention centers at the border.
We are working with our community to make 15,000 butterflies. Butterflies will be displayed on strings hanging from old bike wheels, with ~500 butterflies per wheel. We will be asking public institutions (like libraries, hospitals, schools, city halls) to display the butterflies to raise awareness of kids in detention centers.
Oh, Randy Rainbow, you are a national treasure! (don’t watch this at work or with the kiddos around).