GT Newsletter, 18 March 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

The horrifying murders of eight people in Atlanta massage parlors, six of them Asian women, are an example of so many toxic things in our society: anti-Asian racism, misogynist violence, violence against sex workers, toxic masculinity, income inequality, and a hyperabundance of guns.  They’re about all of thoseand more, and we are so deeply saddened by these crimes.  Many people in the AAPI community feel particularly targeted these days.  For us, locally, we think Pittsfield City Councilor Helen Moon spoke powerfully in this Facebook video about these horrific events and her own experiences as an Asian woman.  She says:My heart is heavy this morning following last night’s racially motivated mass shooting.  Over the past year, we have seen a rise in hate crimes targeting AAPI. Over the course of a year, there have been 3800 racially motivated incidences reported. These acts are the result of unsubstantiated blaming of AAPI for Coronavirus pandemic.  I am calling on my fellow local electeds and state leaders to join me in condemning anti-Asian racism and supporting our local AAPI during these times.We all need to work on this together.  We all need to begin changing this.

It might be helpful to attend this town hall on anti-Asian racism in Massachusetts next week on Thursday, the 25th, at 6:00 pm.  Register for the Zoom here.


We will have updates on local work and actions and and national legislative priorities, and hear from Williamstown Select Board Candidate Jeff Johnson with time for questions and answers.  Any other candidates or officials who would like to join us will be welcome, as always!

Work and Family Mobility.  Undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts should get driver’s licenses.  People who drive should be required to be licensed to operate their car.  It makes us safer.  Ready identification makes their lives easier, as well, as well as the lives of law enforcement.  Please take a moment to ask Rep. Barrett to co-sponsor Rep. Farley-Bouvier’s Work and Family Mobility Act; email him here.  More info on the bill is here.

Williamstown Letter.  Thank you to everyone who asked to sign on to the GT letter to the Williamstown Select Board (plus another to the DIRE committee).  We had more than 80 signatories, and a dozen more who asked to sign after we’d already sent it!  We also had a great deal of helpful writing advice, for which we are grateful and which we will try to incorporate in the future.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign, write them directly and stay involved!  Elections are in a month.

Filibuster.  We should eliminate the filibuster.  This is probably preaching to the choir, but it’s an unintentional artifact of a weird rule change that’s mostly been used for white supremacy.  It’s also strange on its face: the Senate already has staggered election cycles and six-year terms so that it won’t be responsive to short-sightedness or momentary political waves, so why add a supermajority requirement to pass legislation on top of that?

AstraZeneca.  I had a whole impassioned cri de coeur written out about how the United States government had purchased millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine but the FDA hadn’t yet approved them, so they were going to expire and be wasted in the next few weeks, per Zeynep Tufecki.  But then the Biden administration just up and changed policy to start shipping them out!  Kudos to them… thousands of lives will be saved!

Paid Family & Medical Leave.  From Kristen Elechko to CD-1:  The Coalition for Social Justice is collecting short stories and pictures or videos to make the case for significant investment in a national paid family and medical leave policy, in anticipation of a hearing coming up in DC this session. We aim to make the case for comprehensive coverage through lifting the voices of those who have been impacted by a lack of paid leave. Comprehensive care means advocating for specific improvements to the “Family Act” and passing it into law.  

 The Coalition plans to use the stories on social media and for meetings with Congressional Representatives, including US Representative Neal; the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Do you or a family member have a personal experience with family and medical leave that shows the need for a comprehensive national leave policy? Let us know by emailing

Farmers of Color Land Trust Fundraiser.  Contact Shira at if you are interested in working on a fundraiser for the Farmers of Color Land Trust– they are doing amazing work/

GT Book Group.  We’ll be participating in Berkshire County’s second, annual “One Book, One Community” county-wide read. This year’s book selection is Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. More details to follow. This discussion will take place in early April, and The Williams Bookstore has copies.)

Also, don’t forget the book for our March 25th meeting is Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen.


Resist and persist!

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