5/20/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,

Reporting on people quietly staying at home or doing their best to socially distance while doing essential work is… well, boring.  So it’s not surprising that the media is spending a lot of time reporting on people flouting the common-sense precaution of wearing a mask.  You get a lot of clicks when you showcase one guy being an idiot at Costco, or take a picture of a few jerks crowding next to each other.  But don’t let that fool you: most people are doing what’s right, most of the time.  On April 1st, only 27% of Americans said they were wearing face masks.  But as of today, fully 83% report that they’re doing so according to a USC Dornsife study!  That’s pretty great.

Don’t lose heart.  This situation is hard and it’s lasting a long time, but it’s working.  A University of Kentucky study estimates that social distancing and shutdowns were able to drastically reduce the spread of the pandemic in America.  Without these measures, we might be looking at 35 million cases.  So keep listening to the experts and we will keep saving lives!

Fundraising Success.  Together, we have all raised over $30,000 with our last three fundraisers.  Thank you so much to our partner Force Multiplier and the signal boost from Indivisible Pittsfield, Williamstown Democrats, and so many others.  It’s gross we need to spend time raising money to flip the senate at all, since money shouldn’t be so important in politics, but activists make change with the tools at hand.  Thank you to everyone!

Straw Poll: Markey/Kennedy.  We wanted to get a sense of where people might be on the upcoming primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey by Rep. Joe Kennedy III, so we put together a quick and easy straw poll.  Weigh in here.

Williamstown Rent Assistance.  The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will grant $500, or up to $1,000 for extreme cases, to people who earn 100 percent or less of the area median income.  The rental assistance program started on Wednesday. Applications are available at berkshirehousing.com or by calling BHDC at 413-499-4887 to leave a message. Paper applications are available at the Williamstown Food Pantry at 53 Southworth St. (Saints Patrick and Raphael Parish) and at the Williamstown Post Office on Spring Street.

Driving Without Fear.  This Thursday (tomorrow) will be a virtual town hall with Ayanna Pressley on how to advocate for the Work and Family Mobility Act.  Bridget Spann sends along details:I am sharing an invitation for Greylock Together members to participate in an important virtual town hall meeting on the Work & Family Mobility Act.  The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed additional reasons why qualified MA residents should have the ability to apply for drivers licenses regardless of their immigration status.  Please join us to learn how to advocate for this legislation and support immigrants in our community.The Facebook event is here.  RSVP here.

Williamstown Vote by Mail.  If you live in Williamstown and want to vote for the upcoming planning board seat, be sure to request your ballot for the June 23rd election.  They have only received a couple of hundred requests when last we heard, so let them know you need yours!  Here’s a video by Town Manager Jason Hoch on how to do it, or just go to the town website for brief instructions.  If you want to know more about the candidates, here’s the League of Women Voters candidate forum.

Reminder: Ranked Choice Ballot Question.  Ranked Choice Voting is one of our priorities, and we need to make a final push to get it on the ballot for November!  Because of COVID-19, they’re gathering signatures electronically.  Go here to sign.

Reminder: Signatures for Markey.  Senator Markey’s staffer sends along to say that COVID-19 has made it incredibly hard to gather signatures to qualify for the ballot.  Go to this link to get a paper sent to your house that you can sign and return.

Reminder: Food Resources.  The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is collecting information about food resources throughout the area.  If you live up here and you’re food insecure, you should be checking their Facebook page daily.  Pittsfield and south county will find the Greylock Glass food resource map very useful, especially the calendar at the bottom, as well as the invaluable Berkshire Mutual Aid Facebook group.

Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)Greylock Together Meeting
Zoom (link forthcoming)
June 7 @ 3:00-4:00 pm

Phonebank Training to Support Maine Senate Candidate Sara Gideon
Zoom (link forthcoming)
June 14 

Resist and persist!

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