GT Update: May 17, 2017

Dear Greylock Together,

What a week! How are you doing? Outraged? Desensitized? Tired? If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, astonished, excited perhaps, or maybe even defeated, I’m right there with you.

What will happen next with regard to Comey’s firing, the Russia investigation (hooray for the appointment of former FBI Robert Mueller as Special Counsel!), and repercussions at the White House remains to be seen. (Here’s a guideIndivisible has created regarding what’s been happening, if you need a primer.)

However, this frenzy of news, and our collective activism has me wondering how we can sustain our energy, or know which actions to take at what time. My feeling is that the one thing we can control is our own actions. We can decide which issues are of greatest important to each of us individually, how we’d like to express ourselves and exercise our voices as constituents, and what we’d like to share with our friends and family members.

Voter Suppression

In the meantime, receiving less coverage in the news was the May 11 establishment of a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, with Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State tapped to run the commission. This group and this man will inevitably lead to more voter suppression, and many rights groups are very concerned about this. See the ACLU’s take on this topic here.

Please Take the Voting Reform Survey

Don’t forget to weigh in on specific types of voting reform you’d like to see Greylock Together endorse as a group:

Mandatory Sentencing

Last Thursday, Jeff Sessions sent a memo to all Federal prosecutors requiring them to pursue mandatory minimum sentences for drug, gun, and gang-related crimes. This goes directly against the fairly widespread recognition that such tough sentencing for low level, non-violent drug crimes has not been effective in combating drug-related crimes, and has had a devastating negative impact on many in our country, in particular communities of color. Even the Koch brothers are against this policy. Call your state Attorney General to register your alarm and opposition:

Book Group: White Rage

Our Book Group meets tomorrow, Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois Street, North Adams. We will be discussing White Rage by Carol Anderson, which provides a stark reckoning of our country’s structural oppression and disfranchisement of our black citizens. Voter Suppression, Mandatory Sentencing – none of this is new.

Local Politics

Williamstown held its annual Town Meeting last night, and among the articles voted in were a resolution to become a Pollinator Friendly Community, to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, to affirm the town’s Immigrants Trust act (in support of town policy for town employees including police to not inquire about immigration status, or act at the behest of ICE), and zoning by-laws to restrict both by special permit and by location future applications for retail marijuana establishments.

Kids Connect Kiddos on Willinet

For your dose of cute, with a heaping lift of hope for our future, see what some of our most recent Kids Connect participants learned about pollinators!

Race Talk

This past Sunday, a group of us gathered to have a conversation about race. We shared stories about what we’ve seen and experienced in our own community, ideas for how we might both become and indicate that we are an inclusive and welcoming community, and thoughts on how diversity education initiatives might be brought about for young and old alike. This is only the beginning, and we will get together again soon to continue and widen the discussion if you missed it. Stay tuned.

Our Next Greylock Together Meeting is this Sunday, May 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m. at the Williamstown Youth Center. Join us for a visit by Dustin Reidy from NY-19, and for committee meetings, as well as planning for specific state-level voter reform action.

See you soon!

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