Dear Greylock Together,
Last week was the Fourth of July. It is celebrated by some as a day of patriotism and American values, and that makes some progressives uncomfortable. What is there to celebrate, they wonder, in a country that was built on stolen land by enslaved people? They ask, justifiably, When we look at the country and the world today, what are the American ideals we would dare to celebrate? Don’t Frederick Douglas’ words still ring true today, when he asks, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”
America’s reach has always exceeded her grasp. The Declaration of Independence was written and signed by men who had been privileged by a society of slavers, and yet it stated with succinct power the absolute truth of human equality. As Lincoln once noted, the “great principle” upon which America was founded “was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland.” Instead, it was “that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.” America has stretched towards this ideal by fits and starts, finding again and again that the promise of liberty has new meaning to every generation.
Progressives shouldn’t see the Fourth of July as a day of jingoism or delusion. They should see it as a reminder that the work of freedom didn’t end with the Declaration, or with Emancipation, or with Seneca Falls, or with Selma, or at the Stonewall Inn. The work of freedom remains with us still. Underserved communities are struggling in a sea of inequality. Women worry, generation after generation, about their right to control their own bodies. People of color fight for their right to vote –– or simply their right to live!
When we fight for each other, we are working to fulfill the promise that we still have not met. We are engaging in the highest form of patriotism, since the promise of Independence Day wasn’t just freedom from a king. It was a promise “that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all [people].”
Meeting Today. Please join us today at 3 on ZOOM to talk about how to take action at this critical moment when our freedoms are in jeopardy. Link to join is here:
Meeting ID: 818 5390 5895 Passcode: 960259
- What is on your mind?
- CALL TO ACTION: S1 For The People Act- Postcard, Phonebank, call Senator Markey
- Racial Justice updates
- North Adams Mayoral race updates
Postcarding For the People. We’re joining with Swing Blue Alliance in partnership with Common Cause in their massive effort to send 150K postcards to voters in targeted states to lobby their Senators in support of passing the For The People Act. The postcards include a phone number provided by Common Cause where recipients can contact their senator(s) to urge them to eliminate the filibuster and pass S1.
Postcard packets contain 50 postcards, 50 pre-printed address labels, and instructions for a SHORT handwritten message. We appreciate if you can provide your own 35-cent postcard stamps. Postcards will be available for self-serve pickup from Sarah C’s porch in Williamstown. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
We also welcome donations to Greylock Together to help cover the cost of postcarding materials—thank you!
Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren on the critical urgency of S1 – The For People Act.
More Help for Local Family. Bridget passes on word about further help needed for a local family. Last time GT came through in amazing style — let’s keep it going!
A Williamstown family’s 3-year-old son Richard, a WES Side-by-Side student, has been at Boston Children’s Hospital for the past two months, where he is now receiving chemotherapy and awaiting a bone marrow transplant. While Richard’s mother accompanies him at the hospital, his father has been in Williamstown working at his job and caring for their three other children, including one child with special needs. Please help support this family:
1. GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-richards-family-during-his-hospitalization. *To make an anonymous donation to Richard’s family, please contact Bridget Spann: email@example.com
2. Donate blood on Wednesday, August 11 at First Congregational Church Williamstown in honor of Richard, who has so far needed 10 blood transfusions. At this time, elective surgeries are sometimes delayed due to a limited supply of blood, so please consider donating. To schedule an appointment, please contact Chris Amuso at Berkshire Health Systems (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (413) 447-2597 x 2.
3. Assist with picking up older siblings after camp at Williamstown Elementary School / Williamstown Youth Center and walking/driving them to a nearby friend’s house. *Please contact Bridget Spann if interested: email@example.com
4. Assist with weekend playtime at the Williamstown Elementary School playground while the father is at work. *Please contact Bridget Spann if interested: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, please support the First Congregational Church Williamstown Immigrant Family Support Fund, which is utilized to respond to the emergency needs of several local immigrant families: https://firstchurchwilliamstown.org/support-first-church/ or via check sent to FCC, Immigrant Family Support Fund, 906 Main St. Williamstown, MA 01267.
6. Drive family to Boston when necessary for appointments if available on dates needed. *Please contact Bridget Spann if interested: email@example.com
Stay Informed. Jess recommends:
- Pod Save America – “Criminal Apprentice” with Anat Shenker-Osorio
- Opinion | The Supreme Court Abandons Voting Rights
- Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act
Vote Forward. We’ve just launched a summer of Vote Forward letter writing. Are you ready to write?
Starting today, and through the fall, we’ll be writing and stockpiling 1.5 million letters to voters in Virginia in advance of the general elections on November 2. Virginia’s off-year elections tend to serve as a bellwether for the midterm elections, so boosting turnout is crucial. We’ll start with a “vote by mail” letter wave, and stockpile those letters until we mail on Saturday, September 18, right when absentee and early in-person voting begin.
We have 1.5 million letters to write this summer, so why not start today? Click here to “adopt” your first Virginia voters.
Know Your Rights. From Indivisible Pittsfield:
We have been offered another free online workshop to “Know Your Rights,” courtesy of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) – Mass Chapter’s Street Law Clinic program. The workshop will be on Monday, July 12, 2021, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm (EDT). It’s part lecture, part Q&A, that educates folks about their rights and effective tactics if they happen to have an encounter with law enforcement.
The clinic covers First Amendment rights, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment rights, FBI questioning, police encounters for immigrants, and more. The program is run by NLG attorneys and law students who are experienced in these areas of law, and will feature Mason Kortz, a Massachusetts attorney with civil rights experience. You can get more information about the National Lawyers Guild Mass Chapter by visiting their website HERE
For the workshop itself, on Monday, July 12th (mark your calendar!) the Zoom link is HERE. Password: 393739. If you would like more information, you can contact the NLG directly at this email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.
CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:
- Book Group – Greg
- Newsletter – Alexander/Sarah
- Antiracism/Racial Justice – Jess