Coronavirus on My Mind …

NOTE: Your newsletter editor, Jackie Neiman, is on vacation this week, so Erin Freed is stepping in as a guest editor to attempt to fill her shoes.  Please note that if you contact RUWMI during this time, there may be a delay in getting back to you. 

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I don’t know about you, but it’s been difficult for me to concentrate on anything these days with the coronavirus lurking in the background. And Donald Trump doesn’t make it any easier. Everytime he opens his mouth about it, people (and the stock market) get MORE afraid.

We have lots of questions … What would we do if we have to stay home for 2-3 weeks? How would we take care of our kids if they couldn’t go to school? How would we pay our medical bills if we don’t have medical insurance? How would we get a test if we needed it? How can we know whether or not other people are sick? Specifically, how are those of us who work for minimum wage supposed to cope with this? They can neither work from home nor take a few weeks off. They prepare the food in our restaurants, they clean our public spaces, they stock the goods and run the cash registers in our stores, and they work as service providers.

We need answers, and all we get from Trump is, “Everybody who needs a test can get a test. A perfect test.”  EEHH! Not true! 

The lack of testing and special centers to get them are the two most critical failures right now in Trump’s handling of the epidemic. It has set us back months.  S Korea, who is credited with the best governmental response worldwide, has conducted 15,000 diagnostic tests per day and 196,000 tests to date, free of charge. They have conducted many of these tests through their special “Drive Through” testing centers.  We, on the other hand have only conducted 1,895, (according to the Atlantic as of March 6, link). Hmmm, 1,895 to date vs. 15K/day.  Got it. 

So, here are some links with real information.  And, please, if you know of other reliable sites, share them with us on our Facebook Page: LINK

  1. NYT Corona Virus Maps and Charts – This site is updated several times each day.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html

Massachusetts is currently 4th in the nation for confirmed cases, but, that may be because many of the other states have not conducted as many tests.  Getting testing information per state is difficult.

2. Coronavirus FlattenTheCurve Guide

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D4V36_nMqQNh1tusNVqozNjPw6N1457pajuFdPjCSCo/mobilebasic

This is an excellent Google Doc with information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, managed by health professional, Julie McMurry, MPH, and provided to us by our local Indivisible organizer, Natalie Dunn.  Thanks, Natalie! For further info from Indivisible, you can reach out to Natalie at natalie@indivisible.org. 

3. Corona Virus by the Numbers:

If you’re a numbers geek like I am, you’re gonna love this one. This is an interview with a mathematician in London who specializes in pandemics.  Regarding the coronavirus, he says, among other things,

“If you’ve got a death, then that person probably became ill about three weeks ago. That means you probably had about 100 cases three weeks ago, in reality. In that subsequent three weeks, that number could well have doubled, then doubled, then doubled again. So you’re currently looking at 500 cases, maybe a thousand cases.” 

… for each death.  Do the math. Today, our total deaths are 26, which means somewhere north of 13,000 people are mathematically probably infected in the US.  But, only a mere 666 cases have been identified so far. Where are those other 12,334 people? This is why the testing gap is so critical. 

So, waddya gonna doabouddit?  – See this week’s RUWMOneSmallThing, below, for an action you can take!

Action Items

  • RUWMOneSmallThing – Coronavirus – Call your Members of Congress [(202) 224-3121]

Always start by stating your name and address, and then ask them 4 simple questions:

  1. When will we be testing 15K people a day like S Korea?
  2. What (or whom) is causing the delay in testing?
  3. When will we have special Coronavirus Centers for people who have symptoms to get tested?
  4. What (or whom) is causing the delay in getting these centers up and running?

Tell them: We need transparency, and we need answers!

  • Demand your Representative defund Attorney General Bill Barr. – (h/t Indivisible).  The Department of Justice is not a private law firm. The Attorney General is not the president’s personal lawyer. Yet Bill Barr is exploiting his position to run favors for the president. Call your representative, Democrat or Republican, and demand that Congress investigate Bill Barr, and defund his office until he recuses himself from any Trump-related investigations or prosecutions. Use this link for scripts and specific asks for both Senators and Representatives.
  • Respond To Immigration Raids in MA – (h/t Rogan’s List) The Trump administration is cracking down on municipalities with sanctuary policies protecting immigrants. Boston is among them.  A rapid-response hotline, 617-863-7783, has been set up for reporting raids. If we are in the Greater Boston area, let’s put the number in our cell phones in case we ever have to use it.  
  • Help collect signatures to get Alex Morse on the ballot – The next step in getting Alex Morse elected is to get his name officially on the ballot.  To do that we need to collect signatures from registered CD1 voters. Collecting signatures is easy and can be done in your spare time on your own schedule.  If you are interested in helping to collect signatures just email us at riseupwesternmass@gmail.com and we will connect you with the campaign. 

Mark Your Calendars – Upcoming Events

  • General Assembly  – Western Mass. Medicare for All –  Wed. March 11 – 6:30 p.m.  100 Bigelow St., Holyoke Updates, news, discussion, action!  Meet others interested in Single Payer healthcare, learn more about this critical issue and how to get involved.  The agenda will include a free-wheeling discussion about organizing for M4A as the election primaries continue and the Corona virus emerges as a public health crisis.  
  • RUWMI Freedom Writers – Monthly ActionSat. March 15, 10:00AM-11:30AM, Panera Bread, 601 Memorial Drive, Suite G, Chicopee. Come join us for our March postcard/letter-writing event (our first as the newly named RUWMI Freedom Writers! It’s effective, it’s easy, and it’s fun.  We’ll supply postcards/letters, pens, 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! Donations of stamps or cash to cover stamps is always appreciated (and much needed). We will update the event with specifics about who we are writing to and why, as soon as that information becomes available from our partners at Swing Left. Election Day 2020 is getting closer and closer and now is when we need to begin making sure that Democratic voters show up at the polls! View the event on Facebook here.
  • White Identity Politics and the 2020 Election – Wed. March 18, 7:00-9:00PM, Edwards Church of Northampton, 297 Main St, Northampton. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Debbie Schildkraut (Tufts University) who will discuss the political consequences of white identity politics and what this means for the upcoming presidential election. View the event on Facebook here.
  • Take Back Our Democracy Summit – Sat. March 21, 1:00-3:30PM, Smith Vocational High School, 80 Locust St, Northampton. Join activists from the 413 area to support efforts to Take Back the Senate, dump Trump, and preserve hard-won gains in the US House.  We’ll hear about key races, how to plug in to local activities, and we will take action at the Summit. Guest speakers include our incomparable U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, the Political Directors from the Maine and New Hampshire State Democratic Parties, Susan Labandibar (the New England Organizer from Swing Left), and others. This is the time for us to take back our Democracy! Pre-register for the summit here.  On-site registration is available, but pre-summit registration is encouraged to help with planning (and light snacks).  
  • Resisting White Supremacy: A Talk By Lecia Brooks (SPLC) – Wed. March 25, 7:00-9:00PM, Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton. Lecia Brooks is the chief workplace transformation officer for the SPLC. She has a wealth of experience in diversity advocacy training for corporations and nonprofit organizations and has a degree in political science from Loyola Marymount University. Ms. Brooks’ talk will focus on the rise of antisemitism and racism in the United States. She will suggest actions to strengthen alliances among diverse communities to stand together against hate. View event details 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

Ezra and Leah on the Warren Campaign

A note from Indivisible founders

Ezra and Leah here. Senator Warren announced she’s dropping out of the presidential race. This is a gut punch to us personally, and we wanted to write a quick note because we know how much her campaign has meant to so many of the leaders in the Indivisible movement.

Warren is a true, visionary leader on the issues Indivisibles care most about. The foundational idea of her campaign was that if we reform our democracy with big, structural change, we’ll be able to tackle all the challenges we face with a representative government that actually responds to the people. Warren wasn’t just campaigning to defeat Trump — she was campaigning to build a functioning democracy in this country. As a result of her intellect, political talent, and visionary platform, Warren was consistently the top choice of Indivisible leaders in our movement — and unsurprisingly, she was the top-ranking candidate on our presidential candidate scorecard.

We believe Warren would have defeated Trump, and we know she would have been an incredible, era-defining president. We mourn the loss of that potential political future that seemed within our grasp just a short time ago. But we don’t mourn Warren’s campaign — we are thankful for it. We are thankful for the brilliant ideas she brought to the forefront of the national debate; her insistence on policy solutions rooted in an understanding of structural racism and ingrained societal misogyny; her consistent hopeful vision for the future that she described with such moral clarity; and how much she inspired us over the course of her run. We are thankful for all that, and because we know she will persist.

None of this dampens our resolve to defeat Trump, retake the Senate, and pass historic reforms to our democracy in 2021. Yes, we have a responsibility to learn every time we fall, and there will be time for debriefs, analyses, and strategic planning soon. For right now we are simply sitting with our appreciation for a brilliant, historic leader who continues to inspire a movement that will persist along with her.

In solidarity,

Ezra & Leah

Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors, Indivisible

The More You Know

 Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

by Jane Mayer

One of the New York Times best books of the year.

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump’s victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Check This Out

From Common Cause: Right now, Mitch McConnell has the power to delay or derail a federal investigation into his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Since joining President Trump’s administration, Chao has come under fire for scandal after scandal. And now, she’s under investigation for allegedly giving McConnell’s constituents special treatment — steering millions of federal dollars to Kentucky while he faces re-election.

But the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General left his role while investigating this serious allegation. And who’s in charge of the confirmation process for his replacement?

The Senate Majority Leader, or Mitch McConnell himself.  Please sign this petition.

McConnell shouldn’t have the power to pick the official who’ll lead an investigation into him and his wife. He must recuse himself from the confirmation process >>

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