Updates

GT Newsletter, 14 April 2021

 

 

Dear Greylock Together,

It’s kind of crazy how much is going on.  Maybe it’s not, though?  There’s a lot of things to do and people to help, after all.  Check out some of the links below and remember that it’s important to be an active activist!  Try to do something each week, if you can!

This Sunday there’s a panel event for Williamstown candidates for the Select Board and Planning Board.  If you’re on of our Williamstown members, we hope to see you there; you will have a chance to submit questions through the moderator for them!  It will also be recorded, for those who can’t watch live.
 

Daunte Wright BLM Vigil.   Williamstown Racial Justice & Police Reform, Greylock Together, and First Church are sponsoring a vigil for the recently slain Daunte Wright.  Join us at Field Park on Friday, April 16, 5:00 PM to mourn and honor him.

All are welcome. Please wear a mask, practice social distancing, and bring your friends and family. Daunte Wright should be alive today. But police terror and white supremacy took his life. Enough is enough. We must all do more to end white supremacy and police brutality and support Black freedom and survival.  Please spread the word!  Questions? Contact Rachel Payne at 617-309-0186 or rachel.r.payne@gmail.com
 

Williamstown votes.  Williamstownees (-towners?), you’ll be casting your vote on May 11th.  Our candidate forum is Sunday, April 18th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, for Select Board and Planning Board Candidates.  It will be recorded and shared on WilliNet post-event.  Here is the Zoom link (ID:891 2624 9165 Passcode: 905196).  Thanks to WilliNet Community TV for “Meet The Candidate” links below.

Thus far, only Select Board candidate Albert Cummings has declined to attend the panel.

  Select Board (One-Year):

Select Board (Three-Year):

Planning Board:

There are other races as well!  Housing Authority:  Steve Dew Joan Diver; Library Trustee: Charles Bonenti ; and Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District: Laila Boucher.

Jeff Johnson has also sent along links to more chances to meet him and discuss the race; see the times and details here.

Spring Cleanup North Adams.  Join GreeNA for this year’s Earth Day cleanupin the fight against #plasticpollution by participating in community trash cleanup in YOUR North Adams neighborhood in honor of #EarthDay2021. Whether it’s a lot or a little, every piece of litter picked up makes a cleaner, greener city for ALL of us to enjoy. So get outside on your lunch break or before or after work or school, bring a trash bag and gloves, and don’t forget to SNAP A PICTURE and use #northadamscleanup2021 to inspire others and show us the good work YOU are doing for YOUR community. Remember: Always use safety measures and caution on busy roadways and avoid sharp objects or needles.
 

Spring Cleanup Williamstown.  Please join us for a spring Litter Cleanup Action Day at Field Park on Saturday, April 17th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm! Volunteers are needed to pick up trash along roadways, parks, and riverbanks all across Williamstown. Check-in at Field Park anytime between 9 am and noon for instructions and a yellow trash bag. Please wear bright clothes and appropriate shoes and work gloves. Come for an hour or more. Kids are welcome! Covid protocols apply. Contact: Anne O’Connor aoconnor@williamstownma.gov


Ossoff Matters.  It’s worth stopping to appreciate how much this work matters.  We haven’t just helped change control of our government — we’ve also helped put some good new leaders in place.  Matt Stoller recently shared one anecdote of how Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff quietly and competently helped solve a significant issue for Georgia industry and green technology.  Check it out.


Hinds Hate Crime Bill.  Our state senator, Adam Hinds, has joined with state rep Tram Nguyen and MA Attorney-General Maura Healey to introduce a new bill focused on combatting on hate crimes, SD.972.  We should always be skeptical of new bills which strengthen penalties for crime, since it’s too-often a one-way ratchet.  “Tough on crime” gets applause, “weak on crime” gets a primary challenger.  But the bill seems reasonable and also cleans up some existing text in a way that clarifies some confusion.  Take a look at it.  Healey had this comment on the bill:“Hate crimes have increased in this country. From anti-Asian violence, attacks against immigrants, Black, indigenous and people of color, racist graffiti and slurs, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia – what we’ve seen happening in our communities is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. We CANNOT make excuses for this violence – for white supremacy, terrorism, and hate. That’s why I partnered with Senator Adam Hinds and Representative Tram Nguyen to reform our hate crimes laws. And it’s why we will continue to fight for a holistic approach to stop hate, including listening to and supporting affected communities, addressing systemic racism and inequity, and driving change in our culture that will prevent hate before it happens.”And thanks to Rep. Barrett and Senator Hinds for signing onto the  VOTES Actin Massachusetts, which will make it easier to register and vote here in MA, now has a majority of co-sponsors in both the House and the Senate!
 

Williamstown COOL Committee Zoom.  Join a Zoom Conversation with the COOL Committee on a Net-Zero Williamstown on Tuesday, April 20, 7:00 – 8:00 pm.

 

Scars of Colonialism Talk.  Join Heather Bruegl, Cultural Affairs Director of the Stockbridge Munsee Community of the Mohican people, the first nation of what we know as the Berkshires, Thursday, April 22 at 6 pm via Zoom to hear her discuss “The Scars and Costs of Colonialism.”  Find out more info from sponsor First Church.
 

Racial Justice Seminar. There will be a seminar discussing racial justice hosted by Community Legal Aid next month.  Thanks to Carrie Love for sharing: she was a GT featured guest in 2018 as an advocate for her legal work with immigrant families as we championed ending family separation!  The seminar will be May 13, from 5:00 – 7:00pm.  Direct link for pre-registration here:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcpc-igqDkuHNzKlWhPXOIGBcGbMSv82QhI


Wheels for Wellness.  One of the great injustices in our community is widely unequal access to transportation, especially for health-related activities. This new program connects volunteer drivers with neighbors who need a ride to health-related activities, including vaccination. Volunteering is open to anyone between 55 and 80 years of age once they’re fully vaccinated for COVID. Riders can be of any age. Masks will be required until the pandemic is officially deemed to be over. Mileage reimbursement is available for those who want it. The more drivers the better. Connect with new people in our community! To learn more or to sign up, prospective drivers can call (413) 395-0109.

 
There’s an opportunity to phonebank for a candidate in New Orleans, passed along to us by Markey organizer Kristen Elechko (Ed Markey organizer).  If elected, Karen Carter Peterson, LA-02 will be the first Black woman to represent Louisiana. She is the fighter in this race, backing the Green New Deal, along with many other progressive priorities.  Help Karen by joining a phonebank with Nina Turner on Friday, April 16, 6:30-8:30 PM. Here is the Mobilize link
 

Greylock Together Book Group: Thursday, April 15 at 7 PM. Reminder: we’re participating in Berkshire County’s second “One Book, One Community” county-wide read during . This year’s book is Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power by author, street artist and activist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. All welcome…join in via zoom! Counselors from the Elizabeth Freeman Center will lead our conversation. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85314237325?pwd=akpmS0VWVzVxTWYvaitzUUJIYitGZz09, Meeting ID: 853 1423 7325, Passcode: 794497
 

GT Spotlight! GT was featured in this week’s Indivisible MA newsletter as a SPOTLIGHT! We’re proud of our team and all of you for having an impact in so many ways.


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.


CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

 
 

GT Newsletter, For the People, 30 March 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Thanks to ALL who were able to attend our membership meeting on Sunday—we had over 40 participants!  With the calculated and unveiled attacks on voting rights across the country, NOW is our civil rights era. Stay alert, stay engaged, keep showing up and remember…your community, both locally and nationally, needs your participation. Enjoy the sunshine, stay safe, get vaccinated!

SAVE THE DATE for our next meeting, 3 PM April 18 via zoom, when we hope to hear from more local candidates. 

Highlights from Sunday: 

GUN CONTROL:

Our new friend and Williamstown neighbor and advocate/activist for Mom Demands Action and Gun Sense Action Network, Patrie Sardo, joined us and shared helpful resources as we continue to highlight the critical work around gun reform.

Learn more, sign up, volunteer:
Sign up here: https://forms.everytown.org/a/gsan-signup
Or Text VOLUNTEER to 644-33
Want to connect with Patrie? patriesardo@gmail.com or call (310) 880-6052
Massachusetts Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day – April 25!!


RELATED READS:

Mass shootings soared with COVID, Black Lives Matter fears in 2020 

Gun-control activists gird for tough national fight in wake of deadly rampages: ‘We’re playing the long game’

Abby recommends: Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others“This research tracks violent death—homicide and suicide—over the past 100 years. It shows that the most effective way to decrease violent death (read gun violence) is by having Democratic administrations and policies.”
 

WILLIAMSTOWN SELECTBOARD CANDIDATE GUESTS—VOTE MAY 11!

Thanks to Jeff Johnson, candidate for the three-year Select Board seat in Williamstown, for joining us on Sunday. 

Catch Jeff on “Top Left Corner,” on Radio Free Berkshires, on Wed., March 31, at 10 AMListen:  Radio Free Berkshires: Home 13

Jeff Johnson’s Zoom “Meet the Candidate” events:  APRIL 4 THRU MAY 9 – every Sunday from 7-8:30 pm

Feel free to reach out to me at:jeffjohnson4selectboard@gmail.com if you have any questions, or thoughts on ideas on how to help our town. I am here for ALL the people of Williamstown!!!”

Picking Up ButchJeff’s friend from his days at Middlebury College

Get your Jeff Johnson yard sign! Email: ackirsch@c4.net

Also, you can learn more about Select Board Candidates for the one-year seat:  Wade Hasty, Barbara Rosenthal, and Niko White. Each of them has reached out to Greylock Together to share their platform. 
 

MASS MOCA UNIONIZATION

Thanks to Amanda Tobin for joining us. There are many ways to support the MASS MoCA Union as part of our larger community of artists, Berkshire residents, museum members, cultural workers, former MASS MoCA interns or employees, and friends. Read more and connect through these links and support the Mass MoCA Union:

Union vote nears at Mass MoCA; museum pledges not to oppose campaign

Show Your Support for the MASS MoCA Union

Instagram page: @massmocaunion
 

COOL COMMITTEE – WILLIAMSTOWN FOR NET ZERO!
Thanks to Wendy, Nancy and Stephanie for joining us to present this exciting initiative toward a Net Zero community…find out more here!

Williamstown COOL Committee

After a veto, Baker signs landmark climate bill

Link to Slide Presentation

“Williamstown will be asked at the June Town Meeting to adopt a net zero emissions resolution proposing the Town of Williamstown pursue a Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goal consistent with the GHG limits established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
 

HR-1: FOR THE PEOPLE ACT!
PHONEBANK: Join the GT team—Wednesdays through mid-May, starting this week, March 31, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Sign up with captain and GT leader Sarah C and directly here. Hosted by friends at Indivisible-RISE Newburyport.
Training provided, no experience required! You know what to do… join in and bring a friend (virtually!).

**Please use your energy, advocacy and activism to promote, support, demand and educate around this critical voting rights bill. 

ACCESSIBLE HOUSING:

GT member, Jonathan Swartz, reminds us of Clark Biscuit, a mixed-use housing residence in North Adams. Individuals usually have to meet a maximum income requirement to live there.  

OF NOTE:
Thanks to GT member Jude for joining us; he co-leads The Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, Inc. = QSIDE

Find out more and register for their Data4Justice Conference on APRIL 16, 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. featuring Heather McGhee, author of THE SUM OF US 

“Heather Charisse McGhee designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. She has testified in Congress, drafted legislation, become a regular contributor on shows like Meet the Press, and developed strategies for organizations and campaigns that have won changes to improve the lives of millions…Her new book, The Sum of Us, debuted at number 3 on the New York Times bestseller list, and her 2020 TED talk, ‘Racism Has a Cost for Everyone’has reached over 2 million views. Heather is currently chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization.”

RESOURCES AND ACTION ITEMS:

END THE FILIBUSTER TOOL KIT

This is an Indivisible Mass Coalition (IMC) resource to help you understand why the filibuster still exists—an outdated, racist, abused and misused Senate tool. Please do read and TAKE ACTION to ELIMINATE THE FILIBUSTER!

It’s important to call Senators Markey & Warren and thank them for their support to end the filibuster and ask them to please continue to speak publicly at every opportunity. This is CRITICAL for our democracy!

Contact Markey: (413) 785-4610

Contact Warren: (202) 224-4543

Opinion: This is no time to compromise on democracy reform, Lawrence Lessig, WaPO

WHAT BIDEN’S TALKING FILIBUSTER COULD LOOK LIKEIntercept


INDIVISIBLE WEEKLY TO-DOs:

  1. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the THRIVE Agenda. With the climate crisis continuing to intensify, the economy entering a deep recession, and the need for racial justice and healing being felt as acutely as ever, the case for Green New Deal-style policymaking is stronger than ever before. 
  2. Take action for democracy reform with the For the People Project. Check out our For the People Project page as your one-stop shop to learn more about our plans and find ways to take action. 
  3. Join us alongside partners on Wednesday, March 31 at 7 pm ET for the John Lewis Mobilization Town Hall. This town hall is for activists and local organizations to learn more about the May 8 John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Day of Action mobilization.

**More ACTIONS from Indivisible in support of our AAPI neighbors:

Events (GCal,iCal)

North Berkshire Food Access Collaborative Conversation:
Apr 5, 2:30 PM ET via ZOOM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87575614734?pwd=a1lRU1BzR3E2Wmp4RWJFUWtPaEY3UT09

Greylock Together Book Group: April’s meeting will be on Thursday, 4/15 at 7 PM. We’re participating in Berkshire County’s second “One Book, One Community” county-wide read. This year’s book is Stop Telling Women to Smile: Stories of Street Harassment and How We’re Taking Back Our Power by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. More details here in the Berkshire Eagle

Greylock Together Sunday Meeting – April 18th, 3:00 – 4:00 pm via zoom; shorter meeting to feature more Williamstown Select Board Candidates
Williamstown Town Election – May 11
Williamstown Town Meeting – June 8

 

Check out more news from Mary this week at Muckraker Farm.

CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
 

 
 

GT Alert: Meeting tomorrow afternoon on Zoom–be there!

Dear Greylock Together,

Tomorrow afternoon we have our monthly meeting on Zoom.  The meeting will last from 3:00 to 4:30.  Here is the Zoom link (meeting ID 895 9332 3594; mobile link +13017158592,,89593323594#).

We’ll be discussing the MASS MoCA Union efforts with Amanda T., who’s leading the efforts to unionize MASS MoCA.  We’ll also hear from Jeff Johnson and maybe Niko White, candidates for Williamstown Select Board, will be at the meeting to discuss their goals and answer questions.  Plus, updates on North Adams government opening, a COOL Committee update, a discussion about D.C. statehood and the filibuster, gun control legislation update, and probably a lot more!
   
Resist and persist!
    Alexander
 
Help us pay for Zoom
Facebook
Website
 
Copyright © 2021 Greylock Together, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website. 

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp 

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.


SAVE THE DATE: NEXT GREYLOCK TOGETHER MEETING: Sunday, March 28, 3-4:30 on ZOOM!

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 siddiquijamil79@gmail.com
 

Farmers of Color Land Trust Fundraiser.  Contact Shira at shiralynnx@gmail.com 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.


CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

GT Alert, 14 March 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

We are outraged at the news that the Williamstown Police Department broke the law and our community’s trust by engaging in retaliatory investigation of those citizens who have raised concerns about racism, sexual assault, and anti-Semitism.  Americans are guaranteed equal protection under the law, and that means that the police can’t selectively target their critics.  It is a positive step that Interim Williamstown Chief of Police Mike Ziemba has worked with many of the victims to begin to make this right, and we hope that the investigation will be concluded quickly and more information released immediately.  But this was a gross abuse of power and cannot be tolerated.

We would like to send a letter to the Williamstown Select Board.  The text is below.  Please put your name in this form if you would like to be included as a signatory with us.  You can also just reply to this email with your name and the town where you live, if the link doesn’t work.

Thank you!
 

Dear Williamstown Selectboard,
We write to you as members of the leadership team of Greylock Together. Greylock Together is one of thousands of Indivisible groups fighting for progressive values and a stronger democracy. We are grassroots, loosely structured, and action-oriented. Our advocacy efforts have included local, state and national concerns. Our core membership base resides in north Berkshire but we have members from across Berkshire County and beyond on our email list which includes over 900 individuals. 
We are writing to express our outrage at the news that the members of the Williamstown Police Department broke the law and our community’s trust by engaging in retaliatory investigation of those citizens who have raised concerns about racism, sexual assault, and anti-Semitism in the police department and town government.  These searches were a violation of Massachusetts General Law, Ch. 6, Section 167A.  Americans are guaranteed equal protection under the law, and that means that the police can’t selectively target their critics.
It is a positive step that Interim Williamstown Chief of Police Mike Ziemba has worked with many of the victims to begin to make this right, and we hope that the investigation will be concluded quickly and more information released immediately.  But this was a gross abuse of power and cannot be tolerated.  Our friends and neighbors have been targeted.  
Greylock Together is committed to using our collective voices and advocacy to support you, members of the DIRE committee, and the Williamstown Racial Justice and Police Reform group and other parties. We must have a full independent investigation of misconduct; the current independent investigator should be tasked officially with doing what they can to examine this issue, as well as existing concerns. Further, we are committed to community dialogue and advocacy and to a new chapter in public safety in Williamstown that ensures every resident of the community is equally and equitably protected.

 

Resist and persist!
    Alexander, Wendy, and Jess

GT Newsletter, 11 March 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Today marked the final step for the American Rescue Plan Act, which is a terrible name for a great new law.  It was begun in the House, which we helped flip in 2018.  It was amended in the Senate, which we helped flip in 2021.  And it was signed by President Biden, who we helped elect in 2020.  Years of work have clawed our nation back from the brink of insanity, and we are seizing the moment to make a difference.  With the stroke of a pen, a long slate of amazing progressive priorities will be created — expanded SNAP, expanded Obamacare, a child subsidy for parents, and a huge amount more.  Read about it here.  And while most of them are temporary, it’s a lot easier to defend them and make them permanent!

We worked for this.  Enjoy it.  There will be more things to do.  But it’s okay to just feel joy, too.

SAVE THE DATE: NEXT GREYLOCK TOGETHER MEETING: Sunday, March 28, 3-4:30 on ZOOM!

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! 

 

Electoral reform (HR1) and filibuster reform must be our priority. Without protecting the VOTE and reforming the broken systems that exclude so many, we will never enfranchise every American.

Please write to GT and let us know how YOU would like to be involved as a GT member. Constant phone calls, tweets, videos—these are Indivisible’s calls to action. Might you lead or join a GT team to do daily/weekly work on behalf of our democracy? This should be our collective and guiding force going forward. Let’s do this work, Together. 

 Are you not convinced the Filibuster needs to go? READ MORE: 


Sign onto Indivisible priorities: 

  1. Take action for democracy reform with the For the People Project. H.R. 1, the For the People Act, passed the House last week! Now it’s on to the Senate, where we’ll need to get rid of the filibuster to get it across the finish line. This is the first of the democracy reform bills we’re watching in Congress, including the D.C. statehood bill (H.R. 51), that will start the process of unrigging our democracy and making it work for everyone. Check out our For the People Project page as your one-stop shop to learn more about our plans and find ways to take action.
  2. Check out our Save Democracy Sinema hub. If we hope to eliminate the filibuster, we need every Senate Democrat on board. Senator Sinema (AZ) is one of the senators we need on our side and we’re doing everything we can to support Arizonans in their effort to hold her accountable. Keep reading for more details below.
  3. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the THRIVE Resolution. With the climate crisis continuing to intensify, the economy entering a deep recession, and the need for racial justice and healing being felt as acutely as ever, the case for Green New Deal-style policymaking is stronger than ever before. The THRIVE Resolution imagines a COVID-19 recovery package that tackles the overlapping crises of mass unemployment, racial injustice, public health, and climate change.
     

WRJPR.  Interested in local racial justice?  Follow Williamstown Racial Justice and Police Reform (WRJPR) and receive their newsletter

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.

The Smash Up.  KUDOS to Greylock Together’s very own Ali Benjamin who is shaking us all up with her incredible book The Smash-Up, a modern retelling of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome that will keep you on the EDGE OF YOUR SEAT. Publishers Weekly observed, “With satire and suspense, Benjamin handily encapsulates the incomprehension, sadness, and rage of the Trump era.” Set in Starkfield, Massachusetts—a fictional town in the Berkshires where nothing much ever happens— during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

Transparency in MA.  Massachusetts has one of the least transparent State Houses in the country.  This article provides a good update on the Act On Mass transparency reform efforts. Please sign up on their website to stay up to date on needed advocacy as this work evolves.  Our state representatives need to be reminded that we expend and need greater transparency. 

Vaccine Equity.  Massachusetts vaccine rollout has been challenging– the need to advocate for vaccine equity is critical. Let Governor Baker know this is your priority, and sign onto the Vaccine Equity Now campaign. 

Braver Angels.  From Stephanie: “Braver Angels is a citizens’ movement uniting Red and Blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. Braver Angels brings the two sides together to better understand and engage with each other, form community alliances, and advocate for a less polarizing style of politics. They do this through a variety of workshops and debates. You do not have to lean Red or Blue to join us in our work.”


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 siddiquijamil79@gmail.com
 

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

First Harvest.  Regenerative Farming, Forests & Food Systems, a working group of Climate Action Now, presents:  A Conversation about Racial Equity & Food Access  with Anna Gilbert-Muhammad & Ibrahim Ali, Tuesday March 16, 7:00-8:30 p.m. via Zoom
 
Anna Muhammad is the Equity Director, Food Access & Webinar Coordinator at NOFA/MASS. Her work focuses on food access & urban agriculture in Springfield.   Ibrahim Ali has over 20 years of youth & farm related work in Springfield & in New York City. For the past 11 years he served as Co-Executive Director of Gardening the Community.  Please register in advance here




Events (GCal,iCal)
 

From Bridget Spann:

Please join us on Thursday, March 18 from 7pm-8:30pm for “Christian Nationalism: How It Harms Us All – an Interfaith Discussion” moderated by Rev. Mark Seifried, interim pastor at First Congregational Church Williamstown.  Panelists include Imam Bilal Ansari, Faculty Associate of Pastoral Theology, Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary; Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, USA; Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ; Rev. Sheila D. Sholes-Ross, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield; and Rabbi Pamela Wax, Spiritual Care Coordinator at Westchester Jewish Community Services, White Plains, NY.  

Webinar registration link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IufKzntmQ7KvN940Wjh23w  




 

SAVE THE DATE for the spring Berkshire Food Access Collaborative on April 13th 10am-12pm. Zoom login information is below. 
From Morgan Ovitsky

If you or your organization has food system or community updates to share please let me know by April 5th. 

Topic: Berkshire Food Access Collaborative

Time: Apr 13, 2021 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/91834703595?pwd=WldkVzl5RDJER3kzVTVGRjFyN1d6UT09

Meeting ID: 918 3470 3595

Passcode: 963013

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,91834703595#,,,,*963013# US (Washington DC)

+13126266799,,91834703595#,,,,*963013# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 918 3470 3595

Passcode: 963013

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/adKhaf5jvT

 

 

Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.


CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
Alexander, Jess, Wendy

 
 

Local Politics, 20 February 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

“For nine months, Williamstown community members have spoken out, attended every single Select Board meeting to ask questions and force transparency, emailed, called, organized themselves and given (countless) hours of their personal (and collective) time to hold accountable those who contributed to the culture of racism, antisemitism, sexism, sexual assault and retaliation at the Williamstown police department. This is a hopeful moment. This is accountability. My town has much to account for and rebuild. I look forward to a future we can create together under new leadership and with a new relationship between the community and those who serve us.” – Peggy Kern, fellow member of WRJPR 
 

*See WRJPR’s full statement below in response to the resignation of 
Williamstown’s Town Manager

I have been the beneficiary of serving with WRJPR team members since May 25, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the upheaval of 2020. No matter how many countless, collective hours and meetings and sleepless nights we have shared, they cannot begin to undo the harm that has been done in this community. May our commitment to those closest to the harm and to each other be a model for what a more creative and imaginative vision for community and public safety might mean for Williamstown. May we hold ourselves accountable, create and welcome new systems for communication and oversight, and applaud the growing number of actively engaged citizens who show up, again and again, because of how much they care. 

To all of my amazing fellow Greylock Together friends and teammates, may I offer the most profound gift I’ve received these past 9 months as my activism at the national and state level has turned so necessarily and fiercely to the work right here in my own backyard, the one where I grew up and returned to with my own family 23 years ago. What is happening here in Williamstown is a snapshot of what is happening in small towns, cities and suburban neighborhoods across this fractured country. (Did George Floyd’s murder at Cup Foods—four blocks from my daughter’s apartment in Minneapolis—shake the ground more viscerally beneath this mother’s feet? No doubt. Proximity is often an instant catapult to action.) What better way to impact the national conversation and necessary change in Washington—where white supremacist insurrectionists attempted to destroy our democracy six weeks ago—than to acknowledge the work that must be done on behalf of our very own neighbors who have every right to feel safe and cared for in this place we all call home. The profound lesson: all politics begin locally, as messy and uncomfortable and difficult as the work involved clearly is. When we seek to hold each other to standards of truth and human dignity, we all win. We transform Together. 

In solidarity,
Jessica

News Release: Williamstown Racial Justice & Police Reform, February 19, 2021

Today our thoughts are with the members of our community who have been so deeply hurt by what we understand to be a longstanding culture of racism, antisemitism, and sexual harassment and assault. We are proud to be part of a community that is taking responsibility to address these harms, and we commit to the work of structural change necessary to ensure that this town’s future includes safety, dignity, and collective responsibility for each other.

We center the lives of the victims in our community so that fewer lives will be victimized in the future. We call out harms as we learn about them, not to create discord, but rather to shine a light on actions that prevent the safety and wellbeing of all of our neighbors. 

We hope that our new Town Manager will uphold Articles 36 & 37 in ways that center those who are and have been marginalized in our community. We know that Williamstown is not exceptional in its exposure to white supremacy and structural racism. 

We firmly believe that the insistence of transparency and accountability from those in leadership positions is a positive development that shows respect for every resident and visitor, regardless of their life experience. 

We encourage broad community participation in articulating the qualities and recruitment of the next Town Manager. We hope residents and leaders will closely examine the vestiges of our town policies and Charter; to imagine creative improvements together will open Williamstown and its many gifts to others for decades to come.  In order to heal our community, may we be reminded of author and educator Michelle Alexander’s words from Thursday’s Claiming Williams Day at Williams College: From Racial Injustice to Restoration —

“There is no justice after the fact, but we can make the promise to minimize the chance that harm like this will never happen again.”
 

Want to stay connected to WRJPR?
Subscribe to WRJPR’s weekly newsletter and forward to a friend. Our website is also a great place for easy access to links to attend DIRE (Diversity, Inclusion & Racial Equity Committee) and Select Board meetings via zoom.

GT Newsletter, 17 February 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Just a few quick notes — full newsletter next week.

Berkshire Mutual Aid.  Berkshire Mutual Aid has been doing amazing work since the start of the pandemic, scrambling and bartering to get people the help they need.  Julie Berger and the rest of the group were the tip of the spear recently when the governor announced that caretakers for the elderly would also be eligible for vaccines.  It was immediately obvious that this would be exploited by the unscrupulous, and this article in the Eagle discusses the work BMA has done to fight that exploitation.  Check it out.

Navigating Difficult Conversations.  ROOTS Teen Center is holding a special workshop by ZOOM on February 17th, Navigating Difficult Conversations, led by Michael Obasohan, ROOTS board member and Associate Director of Readiness and Success at MCLA.

Do you find it hard to have conversations with friends and family on difficult topics such as race, religion, sexuality, and identity?  Don’t know where to start?  Attend this engaging session with a trained facilitator and gain the skills and confidence to navigate these types of conversations.

Contact dropin@rootsteencenter.org for details and registration.

Raskin.  If you appreciated the brilliant leadership and rhetoric of impeachment manager Rep. Raskin last week, then you can show your appreciation with a donation to the foundation he started to honor the memory of his son, the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals.

Resist and persist!

    Alexander

GT Newsletter, 9 February 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Maybe you’re following the big-ticket items on the news.  I understand they’re chatting in the Senate about an out-of-work insurrectionist these days, for example.  And you’ve probably seen the stimulus bill news and COVID-19 items, too — the 28% increase in vaccine supply, etc.  But here are some items of good news that you might have missed.  It’s okay to be happy about good stuff, folks.  This list got really long, so here’s just some of the highlights.

Good stuff, folks!

BIC Success.  The BIC fundraiser raised over $4,000.  Thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks to the companies that donated gift cards: Big Y, Stop & Shop, Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, Target, and the Berkshire Co-Op Market!

Williamstown and North Adams Vacancies.  There are openings in government in both towns and they need progressives to fill them.  In Williamstown, there are many openings (listed here), but most importantly there are two seats on the Select Board and one seat on the Planning Board that will be open.  You’ll need some signatures (not electronic, but real!) on official papers, which you can get from the town clerk (contact here) and which are due by March 23rd.  No word at this time about incumbents.  The list of North Adams openings is longer and can be seen here — notice Planning Board, Zoning Board have openings!

House Rules Delay.  New MA House Speaker Ron Mariano has opted not to immediately try to pass a rules bill, which leaves open the possibility of maybe getting a more open process.  Act On Mass is on it, and we hope for more movement on this front.  The rules vote is now going to be in six months… this is something we’ll be keeping an eye on! 

State Chair Nonapology.  The MA Democratic state chair Gus Bickford has apologized in a general way for his role in helping smear Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, formerly a candidate for MA-01, during last year’s election.  He didn’t apologize to Alex Morse.  There are no plans for significant change.  The whole thing is an outrage.

Punchbowl Chat.  Our friends at Force Multiplier MA are hosting a conversation with Anna Palmer, founder of Punchbowl News (a new publication focused on politics news that scooped up a bunch of big names in journalism last month).  It’s free and it’ll be fun!

GT Book Group.  The GT book group’s Feb 25th meeting (at 7) will be reading Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.  Their March 25th meeting will be reading Evil Geniuses: the Unmaking of America by Kurt Anderson.


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)

GT Book Group
25 Feb @ 7:00 pm
Zoom (link to follow)


CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

GT Newsletter, 21 January 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Yesterday, we watched as President Biden replaced Trump and Majority Leader Schumer replaced McConnell.  And it was great!  We laughed, we cried, and we clapped.  Good times!

But today, we’re making a few calls.  After all, we’re not here just to change out personnel… we’re here to change the world.

You might remember the Congressional Review Act from the start of the Trump presidency, when it was used to reverse a few rules passed during the end of the Obama administration.  The general idea is that Congress reserves for itself the right to study any rules coming out of the executive branch, so if a rule is issued too late in the session for proper study, then there’s a law that says that it’s treated as though it were issued on Day 15 of the next session and it can be repealed with a simple majority not subject to filibuster (more details from CRS here).  Because a “legislative day” is a pretty creative unit of time, that functionally means that this new Congress can reverse any rule issued by the Trump administration since August 21st.  That’s more than 1,455 rules — some of which were incredibly vile!

Take just a few minutes today to make three calls, and get our people to work on this right away!  They need to know we’re watching.

Hi there.  I’m a constituent from <TOWN> and I was calling to ask for you to take a look at starting immediately on putting together bills to will repeal some of the worst Trump regulations under the Congressional Review Act, especially <RULE>.  It’s very important and time is limited!  Thank you!

Possible rules to cite:

Rep. Neal: (202) 225-5601
Sen Warren: (202) 224-4543
Sen Markey: (202) 224-2742


Barrett.  Some GT folks met virtually with Rep. Barrett the other day and talked about possible changes in the MA House under new Speaker Mariano.  Barrett was optimistic about a more open process, and happy to support recent bills like the climate bill (reintroduced today, to be passed over an expected second veto from Baker).  He was unwilling to sign the Act On Mass pledge, but did say he’d commit to always tell us how he voted.

One thing I particularly loved was an anecdote Rep. Barrett told us from that time, when he went to the state HHS to ask about the testing.  He told the staffer in charge that she needed to change the policy immediately, because “there’s this group up here with me, Greylock Together, and they’re starting to make calls.  And they’re very annoying when they want something done.”

Rep. Barrett meant it in a good way, but he was right.  So let’s keep at it.  Make those calls!


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)

No events scheduled.


CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:

Resist and persist!
    Alexander