Happy New Year fellow RUWMI activists!
I was anticipating sailing into the new year with a sense of optimism – I mean this is the year we are taking back the White House and the Senate. But the news in just the first few days alone weighed me down with despair; and it really got to me. So, I allowed myself to sulk and withdraw from thinking about it. But I soon realized that as much as I would love to walk through 2020 wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, what is more needed is for me to face the year with eyes wide open to all of things we need to fight for, and fight against. I need to face this year with 2020 vision, because we have some serious work to do.
We are starting off the new year running!
Clear your calendar for the weekend of January 18 and 19 as we are going to be busy! First, on Saturday January 18th we are participating in the Pioneer Valley Women’s March. As one of the sponsoring organizations, we have been privileged to work on the planning of this event (so we can say with confidence, you won’t want to miss it!). You can view all of the event details here. Then right after the march, come visit us at the activist fair.
After a good night’s sleep, join us at Panera in Chicopee on Sunday morning (1/19) for our first letter writing event of the year! We always get a lot done, and we have fun (and some good breakfast). You can click here for more details.
- RUWMOneSmallThing – Rise Up Western Mass Indivisible and the CD1 Progressive Coalition have officially endorsed Alex Morse for Congress and an application for Indivisible’s endorsement at the national level has been submitted. One it is approved it’s going to be up to us, CD-1 residents, to vote for Alex’s to make this endorsement a reality. In order to receive a ballot and to vote, you MUST first be registered with Indivisible. So, this week’s #RUWMOneSmallThing, one small thing you can do to make a difference is to be ready to vote as soon as that Indivisible National ballot comes out. You can register to vote on Indivisible’s national endorsements here.
- Tell Congress to rein in Trump’s catastrophic escalation in Iran – (h/t Indivisible) – Though they don’t always act like it, Congress is a co-equal branch of government that holds tremendous power to check Trump’s recklessness. So, they must step in immediately. This situation will evolve over the next few days, but right now the most important thing every Member of Congress can do is to clearly and unequivocally state that they condemn this strike and are opposed to war with Iran. We can’t overstate how critical this is. We are on the precipice of war, and Congress is perhaps our only hope of stopping it. Click here right now to call your Members of Congress and tell them to do everything in their power to rein in Trump’s catastrophic escalation.
- Call our senators and voice your support for a fair and open impeachment trial – (h/t Indivisible). The House of Representatives has made the case to the American people that Donald Trump has corrupted the office of the presidency and that he tried to cover it up. And now, the House has voted to impeach him. But that doesn’t mean our work is done. We’ve seen the mountain of evidence that proves Donald Trump is a criminal and has no business serving as President of the United States. The Senate is responsible for holding a trial that will determine whether or not Trump is ultimately removed from office. That process is supposed to be fair and impartial, yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said that he will “coordinate” with Donald Trump to set the rules for Trump’s own trial. This is classic GOP behavior: they can’t win on the merits, so they rig the rules instead. We can’t let that happen. We need to call our senators and let them know that we need a fair trial. For Democratic senators, demand that they speak out loudly and firmly about the need for a fair and open impeachment trial in the Senate. You can reach our senators using this link
- Help Australia fight the fires – (h/t Cnet) They write “Australia is facing an unprecedented national crisis, as bushfires tear through rural communities across the nation. Since September, at least 20 people have died and over 1,500 homes have been destroyed. Another 28 people have been confirmed missing after bushfires tore through busy tourist hubs in eastern Victoria at the turn of the new year. The scale of the threat is immense, and fires continue to burn, with authorities calling for people to evacuate their homes as the country braces for another weekend of catastrophic danger.” This is in addition to the unimaginable numbers of animals that have been killed. You can read the full Cnet article here and learn all about the fires. At the end of the article you can view all the ways you can help, and organizations you can support.t
- Volunteer with the Pioneer Valley Women’s March – (h/t PV Women’s March). The Pioneer Valley Women’s March is calling all volunteers! They have positions for march marshals, chant leaders, activist fair helpers, set up/clean-up crew and more! Use this link and let them know how you can help!
- Leave your Comments – (h/t Rogan’s List). Rogan’s List has put together a listing of proposed rule and regulation changes that are currently accepting public comments. Commenting is the way to show government agencies how we feel about these proposed changes. Our comments also become part of a record that will be reviewed by courts if and when a reg change is contested. Courts use comments to judge whether an agency is acting arbitrarily and capriciously. Use this link to view the list of regulations that are open for comment.
- Help register friends and family to vote – (h/t Indivisible) Indivisible makes registering to vote easy. Click this link and follow the steps to get registered or apply for an absentee ballot. Bookmark this handy page on your phone and ask friends and family at your holiday gatherings if they are registered or will be able to vote. Then just pull out your phone and have them do it right there!
Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events
- WMALF Women’s Caucus Meeting – Thursday, January 9, 5:30-7:00PM, 1380 Main St, Springfield. Join your union sisters for the first meeting of the WMALF Women’s Caucus! The Women’s caucus aims to empower women in the labor movement and in our workforce. Its goal will be to create a space for women to support each other and build the leadership and diversity of women in the Labor Movement. By putting women’s diverse expertise together in order to look at labor issues through our lens and experience we can build unions that are welcoming to women, that empower women’s development as leaders, and that can better advocate for women’s interests in the workplace. Join us as we brainstorm the ideas and direction for this committee! Find more information here.
- Sister District Postcard Writing – Thursday, January 9, 6:00PM, 44 Bircham Street in Springfield. Hosted by Ellen Schwartz. She writes “The first Sister District postcard writing project for 2020 will be to NC voters to let them know about the primary in March. It’s a postcard experiment designed to gauge the effectiveness of GOTV postcards for primaries and also to assess if mailing postcards from in-state or out-of-state makes a difference. These studies are so important – in addition to reminding voters to get out and vote, it also provides valuable targeting information to make future postcarding even more effective. Please remember to RSVP. It’s important because I need to know how many postcards to bring.”. You can RSVP using this email address.
- Springfield Fund Our Future Bootcamp – Saturday, January 11, 10:00AM-4:30PM, Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, 1 Monarch Pl, Springfield. We’re entering the next phase of the Fund Our Future campaign as we continue to fight for funding for public higher education and as we build local campaigns to spend funds provided by the Student Opportunity Act for PreK-12 public schools. Join us at the second of two Fund Our Future Bootcamps on Saturday, January 11th at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. Please RSVP here.
- 4th Annual Pioneer Valley Women’s March – Saturday, January 18, 12:00-3:00PM, Springfield! Women, gender-oppressed people and our allies are uniting across communities to stand in solidarity, fight for our rights and demand immediate action on the climate crisis – join us! The march will step off at 12pm from Northgate Center (1985 Main Street, Springfield), where we will march down Main Street to City Hall for a rally starting about 1pm. View event details here.
- PVWM Community Activist Fair – Saturday, January 18, 12:00-3:00PM, Springfield City Hall, 36 Court St, Springfield. Want to do more than march? Have lots of energy that you want to put to good use? Come to the Pioneer Valley Women’s March Community Activist Fair to find out how you can make a difference! The PVWM Community Activist Fair will be held indoors at City Hall on the first and ground floors during and after the march, 12-3pm. If your organization would like to table at the fair and meet hundreds of potential volunteers and activists, register here. There is no cost to participate. Admission is free; however, donations to the Pioneer Valley Women’s March will gladly be accepted at the Fair to help cover expenses. View the event on Facebook here.
- RUWMI-Swing Left 2020 Monthly Action – Sunday, January 19, 10:00-11:30 AM, Panera Bread, 601 Memorial Drive, Suite G, Chicopee. Come join us for our December postcard/letter-writing event! It’s effective, it’s easy, and it’s fun. We’ll supply postcards/letters and all the information you will need (from Swing Left). You just bring yourself (and maybe a friend), good cheer, and a limber writing hand! We will have stamps to use but donations of stamps, or cash to cover stamps is always appreciated. 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 be meeting at Panera in Chicopee, so food and beverages will be available for purchase. Click here to view the Facebook event.
- New Safe Communities Act Hearing (Rescheduled) – Friday, January 24, 10:00AM-5:00PM, Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St, Boston. We have a new date for our biggest mobilization yet! On Friday, Jan. 24, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will hold a day-long hearing on the Safe Communities Act, in the largest room in the State House, Gardner Auditorium. What will your role be on this big day? Please use the RSVP link to help us plan and organize. You can find it in the event link 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Indivisible National via email on 1/3:
“This isn’t the email we hoped we’d be sending you today or any day for that matter.
Late last night, Trump ordered the assassination of a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Major General Qassim Suleimani (see The New York Times report here), with no authorization from Congress. Along with the Major General, the drone strike killed four others, not all of whom have yet been named.
What do I need to know?
Trump ordered a drone strike outside Baghdad’s international airport last night that killed a powerful foreign military leader. Any assassination is a big deal, but by way of context, in the US, this would be something like a foreign government assassinating the Vice President outside the Toronto airport.
Trump is taking us to unnecessary war. When Trump entered office in 2016, he inherited one of the best chances we’ve had in decades for peaceful relations with Iran. Three years later, with a cabinet full of warmongers, he’s now assassinating Iranian leaders. (Read more from our partners at Win Without War here).
This wasn’t a defensive action. The idea that this strike will prevent future attacks on Americans and our interests around the world defies logic. It. Will. Not. If anything, our risk just went up tenfold (Senator Chris Murphy gets it right in this tweet). The same voices who sold the disastrous Iraq War will have hot takes about how this was a critical defensive action in the coming days — don’t be fooled.
This is possible because Congress let it happen. Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says, “Congress shall have power to … declare War.” But Congress has ceded authority over the military to the Executive Branch. That’s why for years we’ve been calling on Congress to reassert its constitutional authority, and why we’ll continue to do so.
With nothing more than an empty statement from the Pentagon and a (bonkers) tweet of an American flag, Trump is transparently and unequivocally gambling with the safety of the American people and pulling us to the brink of war with Iran. And we don’t even know why he did it — unless this tweet he sent in 2011 about Obama offers a little clue.
The More You Know
Who was Qassem Soleimani
- Who was Qassem Soleimani, and why is his death a major development in U.S.-Middle East relations?
- Who was Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed in a U.S. strike?
- Who was Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian commander killed by a US airstrike?
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