|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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers of Color Land Trust Fundraiser. Contact Shira at email@example.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
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)
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Meeting ID: 918 3470 3595
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Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.
CONTACT INFO FOR GT TEAM ACTION:
Resist and persist!
Alexander, Jess, Wendy