Updates

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then there’s a law that says that it’s treated as though it were issued on Day 15 of the next session and it can be repealed with a simple majority not subject to filibuster (more details from CRS here).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

How will we serve? 17 January 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you for the ways in which you have responded to our four-year crisis in ways that center service. We have all—in myriad ways—become a collective team of those who show up, stand up, speak up, and serve in order to begin again. We seek to serve the collective good and the belief in a just and equitable multiracial democracy, one that our country has betrayed when faced with the same choices, again and again.   

There are many specific opportunities to serve TOMORROW in order to honor and uplift MLK’s life and legacy. Find a way to keep leading by joining in, giving back, serving your neighbor, your community, your commitment, your hope, your truth. Thank you all for your dedication not just tomorrow—but each and every day; we are mighty Together. (Links to virtual connections below.)

NORTHERN BERKSHIRE COMMUNITY COALITION:
2021 MLK JR. DAY OF SERVICE

 

Multicultural BRIDGE: MLK VIRTUAL DAY OF SERVICE: SAFETY & JUSTICE IN OUR BELOVED COMMUNITY
 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Day of Service 2021 with the NAACP-Berkshire County Branch at Berkshire Community College

Crooked Media’s MLK DAY OF SERVICE

(4 MORE DAYS!!! )
 

Resist and persist!
Jess

GT Alert, 13 January 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Last week,the legislature passed an Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, and Governor Baker has until this today to sign it.    

The bill represents a tremendous, bi-partisan effort to produce the strongest bill possible to support urgent climate action. 

An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy (S2995):

  • reinforces the Commonwealth’s efforts to steadily and permanently reduce its greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and pace that science demands
  • codifies the goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050
  • codifies a comprehensive definition of environmental justice to ensure protections for overburdened communities
  • maximizes our ability to fairly and efficiently achieve climate goals that will build a thriving economy that creates jobs, protects health, and benefits all of us

Please call the Governor at (617) 725-4005 or email him using this link and ask him to sign this bill immediately. You can find sample scripts for your calls or emails here.
 

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

GT Newsletter, 12 January 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

Well.  That was a hell of a thing, wasn’t it?

The House in 2018.  The presidency in 2020.  And the Senate in 2021.  President Trump will leave office broadly recognized as a proto-fascist white supremacist, who incompetently managed every domestic crisis and tried to corrupt every institution within his reach.  In his final flailings, Trump gathered a mob, told them to march on Congress with him to overturn the results of an election, and then went home to watch the carnage.

The vote for the second impeachment is tomorrow morning.  Just a few minutes ago, the 55-page report from House Judiciary counsel was released, laying out the facts of the case.  The third-ranking Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, has announced with other Republicans that they will join in the impeachment.  No matter what happens in the Senate — and it’s not a foregone conclusion! — President Trump will go down in history as the only president to be impeached twice.

Sorry, I’m really underselling it.  President Trump is a failure of historic proportions.  He’s the only president to lose both chambers of Congress and their own reelection.  He has failed to pass any significant legislation except for a swathe of tax cuts, most of which have a ten-year duration.  His accomplishments will amount to a legion of judges, gift-wrapped to him by Minority Leader (!!!) Mitch McConnell, half a border wall, and a broken Republican Party.

And so we will bid goodbye to Trump, and

The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.


Next.  What then for the future?

We’ll be starting monthly meetings again soon.  We’ll have sharp focus on things we can change.  Greylock Together has always been a practical group.

  • We’re going to demand progressive results from the people we worked so hard to elect.  They work for us.
  • We’re going to be working on reforming our state party.  You might be surprised to find out how much clout we have, and how much we need to do with it.
  • We’re going to fight for racial justice.  There’s work to do, both here and elsewhere.
  • We’re going to fight for economic justice.  No one should be hungry.
  • 2022 is going to be a hard election, and right next door in particular: New Hampshire needs our help.

Fight for change.  Do what you can.  We stop when the earth is free.

Thank You.  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard for so long.  Stay safe — we are grateful for your tireless work!

Indivisible Guide.  There’s a new version of this short (30 page) guide.  The 2016 version changed the country and informed our every call to action.  Now there’s a new playbook.  Take a look.  It’s basically 100% right.


Indivisible Mass Call for Action.  The state Indivisibles pass this on:

We are rallying residents of Western Mass to send mass numbers of calls to our MoC’s encouraging their support of Trump’s removal from office immediately.

We ask that you call Congressman Neal and Senators Warren and Markey on Wednesday, starting at 9:00AM (calls can also be made throughout the week).

You can use this tool from Indivisible to be connected to Congressman Neal.

https://indivisible.org/demand-your-representative-take…

And this tool from Indivisible to be connected to our Senators.

https://indivisible.org/demand-your-senator-return…

Book Group.  The February book group pick will be Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson.  The March pick will be Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America, by Kurt Anderson.  Grab your copies soon and get ready to read and chat!

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

GT Newsletter, 2 January 2021

Dear Greylock Together,

There are only a few days left before the Georgia runoff elections that will decide control of the Senate.  It is — shockingly, unbelievably, amazingly — nearly a tossup.  Do you want to be a part of this?  Do you want to help change things?  Spend an hour making calls.  You can make a difference.  Right here, right now.

☎SPANISH SPEAKERS ONLY: Call Latino voters with Mijente PAC

Latinos helped turn Georgia blue in November, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure they feel empowered for these Senate races. NOTE: This opportunity is for very proficient Spanish speakers. If you feel very comfortable speaking Spanish, please make calls to mobilize the Latino vote during a time that works for you all the way through Election Day on January 5. 

Dates: Multiple times available from January 2 to January 5 — Register here.

☎️Black Joy Call Party hosted by Color of Change

Black voters turned out in record numbers for the general election, and we’re eager to see how far their momentum takes them for the runoffs. Join Color of Change to make calls to Black voters (and have some fun in the process!). All allies and members are welcome.

Dates: Multiple times available starting tonight through January 5 — Register here.

☎️Indivisible’s GOTV Call-a-Thon with a special guest

Make calls in the final hours before Election Day with our special guest — Alyssa Milano! Talking directly to voters is the most effective way to increase voter turnout. Join our Indivisible community to help get out the vote.

Date: January 4 at 6 pm EST — Register here.

DeLeo.  The Speaker of the Massachusetts House has resigned in favor of a teaching position.  His lieutenant and chosen successor, Majority Leader Ron Mariano, has already taken control. There was virtually no chance of a different outcome in the House; for his dozen years in power, DeLeo’s motto seemed to be that he wished to avoid difficult votes as much as possible, working to duck any issue unless it could attain the support of nearly the entire Democratic caucus.  This made him a moderate roadblock to some important change; it took until 2018 for the passage of a law that will increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2023, for example.  We need to continue to work for structural change to the rules of a chamber that permit one moderate to restrain policy changes that have supermajority support.  The Massachusetts Democratic Party is not an idol, and we shouldn’t sacrifice good policy on its altar.

Roe Bill & Police Reform.  The state legislature has expanded access to safe abortion and put a backstop behind the principles of Roe v Wadeoverruling Governor Baker’s veto and preparing for possible restrictions from the conservative Supreme Court majority.  They have also finally passed a police reform bill, watered down first by the House and then by Governor Baker, successively.  The biggest wins in the bill are public disclosure of police misconduct records and a new database to keep track of police violence.

Restorative Justice Book Group.  Bridget S passed on this message from First Church Williamstown:

As part of our ongoing discernment process as to how First Church Williamstown embodies the Not in Our County Pledge, we invite you to participate in a book study of “The Little Book of Restorative Justice” by Howard Zehr.  The group will meet via Zoom on Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.
The group will be facilitated by Michael Rich, family law attorney of Arlington, MA, and Brenda Nolan, chairperson of the Restorative Justice Task Team of the UCC’s Southern New England Conference, along with Reverend Mark Seifried. All three helped educate and lobby legislators for the Commonwealth’s 2018 omnibus bill for Criminal Justice Reform, which includes Restorative Justice as a tool for prosecutors, police and sheriff’s departments, and judges. 
Please sign up here by December 25th deadline: https://forms.gle/hcUJGMNFRwSssktH7 
Books are available for purchase at the Williams Bookstore ($5.99 each) and there is also a copy available to read online: https://www.unicef.org/tdad/littlebookrjpakaf.pdf

“Eulogy.”  Bette Craig passes on this free video of a recent performance by Shaun Leonardo in North Adam’s MASS MoCA, called “Eulogy.”   It’s a half-hour long, memorializing through song and word the “generations of Black lives lost to police violence in America, giving voice to the essence of powerlessness and vulnerability evoked by systemic oppression.”


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

7/30/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,

Do you feel the urgency of now?

It’s hard out there.  There’s a pandemic that’s put many of us out of work and out of childcare.  We’re rocked by the strife of our inequitable systems.  And we’re years-deep into a bitter battle with governmental cruelty.

And so… we let the moment slide.  We’ll volunteer next week.  We’ll make some calls some other day.  We’ll write letters when things settle down.

But now is the time, folks.

You can’t afford to wait any longer.  The primaries are about to open to early voting, federal races for a dozen senate seats and the presidency are about to hit their peak, and every single day people suffer because of injustice.  There is a fierce urgency to this moment — you must feel the fierce urgency of now.  What will you say to your children or grandchildren if you watched this moment pass you by?

There’s a list of things to do below, and we are desperate for volunteers.

We need you.  Now is the time.  Get involved!  If you know someone who might possibly be interested, forward this to them.  Now is the moment when you are needed!


Morse Force.  The following is from Tashi, a student activist who is helping change her world.  Join her and help her.

Canvassing is on Friday (1-4 and 4-7) in Pittsfield and Springfield; on Saturday (10-1, 1-4, and 4-7) in Pittsfield, Springfield, and Holyoke; and on Sunday (10-1, 1-4, and 4-7) in Pittsfield, Springfield, and Chicopee! Which times and locations work for you? Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1MonthOut

Phone banking is on Friday (5-7), Saturday (10-12, 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9), and Sunday (10-12, 1-3, 4-6, 7-9)! Which times work for you? Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1MonthOut

We are also encouraging the Morse Force to show their support for this campaign by putting a lawn sign in their yard! To receive your own personal yard sign, sign up here: http://bit.ly/MorseYardSigns

Meet with Markey!  Volunteer for Markey!  Senator Markey will be in town this Friday (7/31).  He’s endorsed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Boston Globe, and backed by Greylock Together.  Come and see him in Pittsfield at Park Square from 2:00 – 3:00 pm, where he’ll talk about justice, health care disparities, COVID relief, and our essential freedoms.  After that, he’ll be in North Adams at MASS MoCA between 4:30 and 6:00, discussing teachers and climate change.  Come and chat with your senator!

Volunteer Owen T needs your help, too!

This election is going to be close, and every single phone call we make can make a difference! We’re looking for volunteers to make calls – any time that works for you works for us, but we’d love to have you at our Thursday evening phonebanks (5:30-7). Please let me know if you’re interested!

NC Phonebanking.  The map of possible Senate gains keeps expanding, and that means so do opportunities for activism!  Please join our phone banking efforts in North Carolina. Every Tuesday from 6:30-8pm we call to reach unaffiliated voters in this critical state to determine their stand on three key races: the presidential (Joe Biden), the governor’s race (Roy Cooper), and the US Senate seat (Cal Cunningham).  Register for the phone bank here.

Thank You Action Volunteers!  Tremendous thanks to our terrific team who represented GT on Saturday at the NAACP’s Student Day of Action in Pittsfield! Liza Barrett, Lucy Shepard, Karen Shepard and Wendy Penner welcomed many new faces and sold 75 BLM signs! They reported a steady stream of interested, engaged folks with many new NAACP-Berkshire County Branch memberships, voter registrations and fabulous student orchestral music in honor of Elijah McClain. Folks throughout the county continue to come to us for sign purchases! We are grateful to Elinor Goodwin at The Print Shop in Williamstown for making these available every day on Spring Street ($10/sign). Thank you, Elinor!

Brady Reforms from DA.  District Attorney Harrington has mandated new policies to ask flag questionable witnesses and spells out a process for determining what evidence is discoverable by defense attorneys.  It’s an important step in bringing our local prosecutors in line with the Brady decision.  Read more and promote the link on Facebook.

Eviction Moratorium.  Remember that Gov. Baker has extended the moratorium on evictions!  Until October 17th, no one can be evicted for the following reasons:

  • Nonpayment
  • Foreclosure
  • No fault/no cause
  • Any fault/cause except
    • Criminal activity that impairs health and safety of other residents, health care workers, emergency personnel, persons lawfully on the subject property, or the general public (collectively, “others”);
    • Lease violations that may impact the health or safety of “others”.

Letter-Writing.  Jeanne Marklin and Bernadine Williams are heading up this letter writing drive.  Want to help write letters from home to marginal voters in other states?  It motivates them to get to the polls!  Write or text Jeanne at jeanne.marklin@gmail.com or 413 672-1766, or Bernadine at bhw1@williams.edu or 781 956-6622. Let us know if you need us to include stamps, or if you will provide them for your packet. You can also print your own letters by going to the VoteForward.org site and signing up. You can really make a difference!

Voting.  The state primary is September 1 and the general election is November 3.  Everyone is eligible to vote by mail, however.  If you didn’t get an application to vote by mail, you can download one here.  You may need to register to vote first.  It can be sent in by mail, email, or fax to your local election official (town or city clerk).    Applications must reach your local election office by August 26 for the primary and October 28 for the general.  IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, JUST REPLY TO THIS EMAIL AND ASK!

BLM Vigil Every Friday in Williamstown.  Friday at 5:00 pm at Field Park, as usual, we will continue our weekly vigils in partnership with First Congregational.  Facebook event here.  Please wear a mask; social distancing practices observed.
 

ANTIRACISM IN ACTION – THIS WEEK’S RESOURCES

READ

LISTEN

WATCH

GIVE


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)

Greylock Together Meeting via Zoom
August 9 @ 3:00 – 4:30 pm

 

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

7/21/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,

“We showed that we are united and that we, young people, are unstoppable,” says Greta Thunberg. “We can no longer look away from what our society has been ignoring for so long whether it is equality, justice or sustainability.”

We’re witnessing something mighty, folks. 

We witnessed it in the spring of 2017 after the massacre in Parkland, FL at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, when students like Emma Gonzalez spoke up, stood up, and organized for the national March for Our Lives in DC; the tragic moment grew into a sustained movement, fueled by our youth, now 300 chapters strong. We witness it every Friday as Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, now 17, strikes for our climate; she has reached week 72, never missing a Friday, having spent 18 months of her young life changing the lives of millions across the globe. We witness 17-year-old Indiginous teen activist, Helena Gualinga, as she fights to protect the forests in Ecuador because, “It’s about my home.”  We witness young BLM activists fighting tirelessly for racial justice as it intersects so many of their daily spaces—from gun violence to educational access to representation to the planet they have inherited. Zee Thomas, 15 (Nashville, TN), Tiana Day, 17 (San Roman, CA), Shayla Turner, 18 (Chicago, IL) and Brianna Taylor, 19 (Olivette, MO) are four of the young women leading the BLM youth revolution for racial justice. We’ve witnessed this before. John Lewis was just 23 when he delivered this speech at the March on Washington in 1963 as the youngest civil rights activist to deliver an address to the crowd that day, and he has left a legacy of good trouble in his wake. We are now the beneficiaries of this new, compassionate and spirited generation bringing truth to power. It is OUR job as voters, to listen and learn from these brilliant young folks, to amplify their calls, and to do all that we can to be sure that their hard work is answered this fall. “Young people are raising their voices and proving to everyone that there’s no age limit for social change.”  Greta’s clarity reminds us that, “Humanity has not yet failed.”  Therein lies the hope we are all invited to put into daily action. Our local youth right here in Berkshire County use their voices and their activism in astounding ways, every day.

 


NAACP Student Day of Action.  This Saturday (July 25th) is the Student Day of Action at Common Park in Pittsfield from noon to three.  We are co-sponsoring along with Berkshire Pride and the MWPC.  Stay socially distanced and wear a mask as you show up to this day of action!

  • Musical protest in honor of Elijah McClain – PHS orchestra members
  • Voter Registration
  • NAACP Membership Drive

We will be tabling at this event and will NEED VOLUNTEERS, since our contribution will be to sell BLM signs (all proceeds going to NAACP).  Contact Liza B if you can help.

GT Team Leader for Markey.  Meet Owen-Tucker Smith and commit to helping him as we re-elect Senator Ed Markey!

“For those of you who don’t know me, I just graduated from Mt. Greylock this spring, and this summer I have been spending time working as a fellow for Ed Markey’s senate re-election campaign! Ed is not only an original co-author of the Green New Deal, but he’s been fighting for progressive climate legislation all throughout his career. He’s also fought for Medicare for All, legislation combating qualified immunity for police officers and the Black women’s maternity crisis, and most recently bills to respond to the catastrophic impacts of COVID-19: paid sick leave, expanded unemployment insurance and food security programs, and moratoriums on evictions and mortgage payments. If you want to learn more about what Ed’s all about, click here!

 Basically, Ed is the most progressive US senator currently serving. Losing him would mean losing a ton of momentum in his fight for environmental justice, which we cannot afford right now. Good news – you can help Ed stay in the senate! In addition to regular county-wide Markey volunteering events, there are now weekly phonebanks specifically for Williamstown and Northern Berkshire County! We have been holding them on Thursdays from 5:30-7 pm, each beginning with a training to get you comfortable with making calls. Even if you’ve never made calls for a campaign before, we would love to have you—no experience required. If you’re interested in volunteering in any capacity with the campaign, whether it be coming to a Williamstown phonebank or one of the other Berkshire County events (there are a ton of opportunities, so if you’re busy on Thursday evenings there will be many other options!) please email me at owentuckersmith@gmail.com or text me at 413-884-5359 so I can get you info and get you connected with the right people! We’d love to start a team of Greylock Together folks who are interested in keeping this progressive champion in the senate.”

  • You might not be surprised to know that Owen and Maddy (our #TeamGideon captain) have done amazing work throughout their time at MGRHS leading the REV student group (Register Educate Vote); both worked as Fellows for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. Now as MG graduates, they are representing the voices of our youth progressive activists to ensure we turn Washington BLUE and put our most promising, progressive candidates in office this fall!! Greylock Together is grateful for their work and leadership.
  • Let’s flood the area with Markey signs! Thank you to GT leader Arlene Kirsch who is our local sign distributor. Want a lawn sign? Contact Arlene with your address and contact info: ackirsch@post.harvard.edu and 508-615-1056

GT Fundraiser: Cocktails and Conversation with Jon Lovett.  Our next fundraiser will beTuesday, August 25, 2020 at 5:00 pm with Jon Lovett, former presidential speechwriter, as well as a TV writer, podcast, host, and straight shooter widely respected on both sides! In 2017, he founded Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor to build a progressive media network with shows, analysis, and content that informs, entertains, and inspires action. There, he co-hosts “Pod Save America” and hosts “Lovett or Leave It.”  

 100% of funds raised will go toward flipping Senate seats in the swing states of Maine, Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, and Montana. This event is a collaboration between Greylock Together and Force Multiplier.

Inclusive Food in the Berkshires.  Wendy P sends along this invite to an event from her team at NBCC:

Please join the Berkshire Food Access Collaborative and the MA Food System Collaborative in a virtual community conversation that will focus on: “A Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Local Food System”.  This will take place on July 28th, from 10:00am-11:30am.  Please register here.

BLM Vigil Every Friday in Williamstown.  The vigils continue every Friday from 5:00 to 5:30 pm in Williamstown.  Facebook event here.

Planning Board Meeting Williamstown.  They’re holding a hearing on Wednesday (July 22nd) at 7:00 pm on allowing weddings and other events on farms, marijuana cultivation, and nonconforming dwelling rules.  Zoom link here.

 

ANTIRACISM IN ACTION… THIS WEEK’S RESOURCES:

READ:

LISTEN:

WATCH

  • Just Mercy – Film based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative 
  • Anguish and Action – Obama Foundation, Town Hall with John Lewis, 6 weeks before his death; “President Obama recently joined Congressman John Lewis, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, writer and survivor of police brutality Leon Ford, Jr., and youth leader LeQuan Muhammad, in an intergenerational panel moderated by activist and author Darnell Moore, to discuss the mental toll racism takes on people of color.”
  • John Lewis: Good Trouble – Extended through 7/30 at Images Cinema!


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)

NAACP Day of Action
Common Park, Pittsfield
July 25 @ 12:00 to 3:00 pm

Greylock Together Meeting via Zoom
August 9 @ 3:00 – 4:30 pm

 

Resist and persist!
    Jess

7/15/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,

We live in an incredibly litigious society.  People sue each other constantly over all kinds of nonsense — I mean, last year a Tennessee doctor sued a former patient for $25,000 because she left him a bad Yelp review.  But astonishingly, you usually can’t sue the police.  They’re protected by qualified immunity, so you can only sue police officers (or any agent of the state) when they violate your rights if that right has been “clearly established” beforehand (ie. if a court has previously ruled on that exact scenario).

So this past May, for example, when Fresno police robbed Micah Jessop and Brittan Ashjian at gunpoint of $225,000 during a search, their lawsuit was dismissed because (as the court said): “There was no clearly established law holding that officers violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment when they steal property seized pursuant to a warrant”.  Seriously.

If a roofer steals from you while putting up your roof, you can sue them.  If a doctor empties your wallet while removing your appendix, you can sue them.  But if a cop steals from you while searching your car… well, you can file a complaint.

We must end qualified immunity.  There’s a bill that just passed the state senate which would sharply limit it to cover only when “no reasonable defendant could have had reason to believe that such conduct would violate the law,” which seems like it will work.  Now it’s hit the House of Delegates and it’s open for public comment until Friday.  Email your testimony about why this is important to Testimony.HWMJudiciary@mahouse.gov

Find out more about qualified immunity at NPR’s MarketWatch or this Washington Post column.


Voting.  The state primary is September 1 and the general election is November 3.  Everyone is eligible to vote by mail, however.  If you didn’t get an application to vote by mail, you can download one here.  It can be sent in by mail, email, or fax to your local election official (town or city clerk).    Applications must reach your local election office by August 26 for the primary and October 28 for the general.  IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, JUST REPLY TO THIS EMAIL AND ASK!

Hunger Stories.  If you are experiencing food insecurity due to the pandemic, your story deserves to be heard.  Share your experiences so The Food Bank of Western Mass. can better address hunger in our communities. Anyone who fills out the survey will be entered into a drawing to receive one of two $50.00 grocery store cards. Anonymity will be upheld. Learn more here.

NAACP Day of Action.  Save July 25th in your calendar to attend the Day of Action at Common Park in Pittsfield from noon to three.  Stay socially distanced and wear a mask as you show up to this day of action!

  • Musical protest in honor of Elijah McClain – PHS orchestra members
  • Voter Registration
  • NAACP Membership Drive

We will be tabling at this event and will NEED VOLUNTEERS, since our contribution will be to sell BLM signs (all proceeds going to NAACP).  Contact Liza B if you can help.

RCV on the Ballot!  Thank you to everyone who signed the petitions — ranked choice voting has been certified for the ballot!  Now we just need to tell everyone we know to vote YES on RCV!

Williamstown and North Adams Racial Equity Committees.  The Williamstown committee has been tasked with a purpose, and the members appointed (listed here).  The North Adams working group purpose is here.  The first meeting of the North Adams working group will be next Thursday (23rd); details about the agenda and a link to watch are here.

Let’s pause to recognize that while it’s great that this work is beginning, it is work.  These are people — most of them Black and Brown — who are not only dealing with the same difficulties as everyone else, plus the systemic racism of our times, but now they’re also going to be volunteering their time and energy to try to change their communities.  Thank you, heroes!

Housing Stabilization Bill.  Let’s ask the rest of the Berkshire delegation, esp. Senator Adam Hinds and Rep. John Barrett, to join Tricia Farley-Bouvier in cosponsoring HD5166/SD2992, An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability during the Covid-19 Emergency and Recovery. Prevent evictions and homelessness among vulnerable communities in our state!

Markey.  Vote for him.  Tell other folks to vote for him. Volunteer if you can.
 


BLM Vigil Every Friday in Williamstown.  The vigils continue every Friday from 5:00 to 5:30 pm in Williamstown.  Facebook event here.

Planning Board Meeting Williamstown.  They’re holding a hearing on Wednesday (the 22nd) at 7:00 pm on allowing weddings and other events on farms, marijuana cultivation, and nonconforming dwelling rules.  Zoom link here.

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST RESOURCES FROM JESS

READ

LISTEN

WATCH

“Using interviews and rare archival footage, John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 79 years old, Porter explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In addition to her interviews with Lewis and his family, Porter’s primarily cinéma verité film also includes interviews with political leaders, Congressional colleagues, and other people who figure prominently in his life.” 

 

FOLLOW & SHARE

  • SURJ – @showing up for racial justice
  • @mvmt4blklives

LEADERS TO FOLLOW

RAISING ANTIRACIST KIDS


Check out more news from this week at Muckraker Farm.

Events (GCal,iCal)

GT Book Group via Zoom
July 16 @ 7:00 pm
How to Be an Antiracist

NAACP Day of Action
Common Park, Pittsfield
July 25 @ 12:00 to 3:00 pm

Greylock Together Meeting via Zoom
August 9 @ 3:00 – 4:30 pm

 

Resist and persist!
    Alexander

7/7/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,
 

“I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice,
there is no easy way to get it.”  
 – Claudette Colvin

 

118 Days to the General Election. But who’s counting??  Let’s CELEBRATE the victories we are having as we continue to build momentum!

 

No faithless electors:  The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the presidential electors who make up the electoral college are not free agents: they can be compelled legally to vote for the winners of the popular vote in that state. While this rule does not favor any political party, it was critical that the issue be settled in advance of November, thus eliminating the risk that “faithless electors” might decide the next president. (Next step? Let’s eliminate the Electoral College, please). Join the coalition of voters ready to mobilize if #45 refuses to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. Thank you, Indivisible! Protect the Results 

Vote-by-Mail passes in Massachusetts: A new law temporarily allows Massachusetts voters to cast their ballot by mail without specifying a reason. The law applies to both the September 1 primaries and the November 3 general election. It is set to expire at the end of the year.
 
Facebook feels the heat: More than 750 companies — including major corporations like CocaCola, Unilever, Best Buy, Ford, Starbucks, and Hershey’s — have suspended advertising on Facebook to protest the platform’s tolerance of hate speech and disinformation. Feeling the heat, Facebook met with civil rights leaders from the N.A.A.C.P., the Anti-Defamation League, and Color of Change, all of whom remained unpersuaded.
 
GOP senate candidates are getting sweaty, too: A new poll spells trouble for GOP senate candidates in Arizona, Michigan, and North Carolina. Meanwhile, Susan Collins appears to be in trouble, too. (Which swing-state senate candidate are you helping to elect? Let’s flip that senate!)

#MorseForce (Thanks to GT member, Samantha Page!)

What: Join friends and neighbors in support of Alex Morse and his campaign for Congress! We’ll be holding signs, waving at cars, dancing, and celebrating a candidate who will work for our community. THIS EVENT WILL PRACTICE SAFE SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES.

When: Saturday, 7/11, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Where: Field Park roundabout, Williamstown
What to Bring: A mask, a friend, water/snack, hand sanitizer, charged phone, homemade sign—showcase your #MorseForce Artwork
What the Campaign Will Provide: Beautiful Morse for Congress signs! Extra Masks, water, hand sanitizer
Register here:
https://www.mobilize.us/alexmorseforcongress/event/286184/

#TeamMarkey (Thanks to Kristen Elechko!)  

…will be hosting a Berkshire County Organizing Extravagnza and phone bank kickoff for Ed! 

Wednesday, July 8, from 6 – 7:30 pm over Zoom. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at this link, and the Zoom info will be sent to you: https://secure.ngpvan.com/A0Rti2PaMU26By9We9NirA2

We are energized to be building momentum in Berkshire County with chances to volunteer occurring every week. Be sure to join us for this informative opportunity as we kick off a Summer of campaigning! You might even get the chance to win a coveted Ed Markey lawn sign! 

#VoteForward

Help us reach our goal of sending 1000 letters to less-likely registered voters! Write or text jeanne.marklin@gmail.com or 413-672-1766, or Bernadine bhw1@williams.edu or 781-956-6622 to join in! 

#TeamGideon

Join Team Gideon for a Greylock Together GOTV Zoom phone bank on July 11 at 3 pm. No experience necessary! Want to get involved to defeat Collins in Maine? LOTS of other opportunities!
Email Maddy at maddyzart@gmail.com. Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/saragideon/event/283889/

Black Lives Matter Signs — WOW!! 

The terrific #BLM sign crew has gotten 700 BLM signs into our local communities! Their donation this week to the Berkshire County NAACP is over $1,600 directly from sign sales. Bravo!! We are grateful for our partner, Elinor Goodwin at The Print Shop Williamstown at 30 Spring Street for taking over sales duties. The signs will now be available for consistent hours and days/week at her business. It takes a village to change the world, and we are thrilled to see this tremendous effort magnify the visibility of our commitment and support of #BLM. Thank you, Janine, Julie, Janie and Liza for this remarkable team accomplishment. May we continue to go forth and MULTIPLY!! Words matter. Signs matter. Black Lives Matter. 

GT Book Group— Gather around our pre-pandemic March Book Pick…what could be more timely and critical?  Thursday, July 16 at 7 PM we will discuss Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist. Email gdoench@gmail.com for more info.

#BLM Weekly Vigils —  We continue our weekly vigils at Field Park. Join us in solidarity as we recommit to the daily work of dismantling systemic racism Together, and pay tribute to the countless Black lives lost to police brutality and other white supremacist violence.  RSVP on Facebook or just come by.  Please wear a mask; social distancing practices observed. 

GT MONTHLY MEETING via ZOOM – THIS SUNDAY!
It is months like these that we are ever grateful for the team and community we have built Together. Join us during this time of upheaval and hope for updates on all fronts, including the critical and urgent work being done in Williamstown and N. Adams around Race & Equity.
Special Guest(s) Mayor Tom Bernard and/or Ben Lamb will join us for updates on North Adams Racial Justice and diversity initiatives.
Remember that hope is an action. So many incredible folks doing the WORK of justice. (Zoom Link in Calendar Events below)

This week’s HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST RESOURCES – from Jess:

READ

LISTEN

WATCH

GIVE

FOLLOW & SHARE 

  • @michaeldtubbs—Stockton, CA Mayor, #StocktonOnMyMind premieres July 28 on HBO
  • @rachel.cargle #DoTheWork

LEADERS TO FOLLOW

RAISING ANTIRACIST KIDS

Events (GCal,iCal)

Greylock Together Meeting via Zoom
July 12 @ 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Guest: Tom Bernard/Ben Lamb
Zoom link here:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84160751696?pwd=dGZwSW8vZ1hKbHlUN1Buczdvc1FWdz09
Meeting ID: 841 6075 1696
Password: 852759

GT Book Group via Zoom
July 16 @ 7:00 pm
How to Be an Antiracist

Greylock Together Meeting via Zoom
August 9 @ 3:00 – 4:30 pm

 

Resist and persist!
 Ali & Jess

7/1/20 newsletter

Dear Greylock Together,

It’s crazy to think that it’s 2020 and we’re having a debate about how much we should be honoring the Confederacy.  Yes, they’re tearing down the Confederate flag in Mississippi, but there’s a looming conflict brewing over the defense bill in Congress — the president has vowed to veto it if it includes Sen. Warren’s requirement to rename bases honoring Confederate generals.  Ridiculous.

There’s a lot going on soon and a lot of news below.  Read and share, please!

Evictions.  There’s a looming eviction crisis.  The Baker admin has announced that “low-income households facing difficulty making rent and mortgage payments” will qualify for up to $4,000 in assistance with payment dating beginning in April.  Any household with an income of 80% or below the area median can qualify.  I don’t know what number that might end up being, but if you are behind on your rent or your mortgage from the last few months, and you might qualify, please try and apply and find out.  Applications start today.  Contact our local RAFT program provider, BHDC at 413-499-1630, Ext. 100, or get more information on their website.

A lot of people who might desperately need this rent assistance may not be subscribed to this newsletter.  Take a moment and think about who you know who might need this help, and forward this email to them!

Williamstown Select Board Part Deux.  Tonight there’s a special follow-up to last week’s meeting.  Thank you to everyone who showed up — we need you to do it again!  Keep pushing until we get a bit closer to equity!  It’s tonight at 7:00 pm on Zoom: link here or call in at 1 929 436 2866.

Mayor to Meeting?  We’ve invited Mayor Bernard to join our next general meeting, and we hope either he or a representative will come and discuss racial equity issues in North Adams.  Cross your fingers and mark your calendars for the 12th!

124 Days to General Election.  There’s 124 days left to the general election.  Four months — wow.  Time to buckle down, folks!

Indivisible National Webinar.  There will be a national activist webinar for all Indivisibles with info about what’s going on and what we can do on July 2, 8:00 pm. Sign up and join in!

#MorseForce  (from Ed Sedarbaum)

So impressed with how easy the Alex Morse for Congress campaign (The Morse Force) has made it to call voters on Alex’s  behalf. It’s all automated — all except for you, of course. The campaign dials voters for you and connects you only when someone answers. You don’t even need a phone if your computer has a microphone. When you get someone home, your first question appears on your screen. Depending on what the voter answers, your proper script unfolds on your screen. Easy as pie. If you want to give it a try, call me at 413-441-6006 or email esedarbaum@gmail.com.

Arlene Kirsch has Alex Morse yard signs!! Contact her at ackirsch@c4.net

#VoteForward

We’re hoping to send 1000 letters through VoteForward to registered voters who don’t vote on a regular basis. This has been shown to increase voting by as much as 3.5%! In order to do this, we can use donations of money — our goal is $500 to cover the postage. To donate toward this effort, please click the link at the bottom of this newsletter and give whatever feels right.  If you’d prefer to give physical stamps, just reply to this email and we’ll figure it out.

Jeanne Marklin and Bernadine Williams are heading up this letter writing drive. On Wednesday, July 1, (today!)  from 4-6, one of us will be in the parking lot at the base of Spring Street in Williamstown with packets of 20 letters ready to be picked up. If it isn’t raining, we’ll hang out at Lickety Split. If you’re going to come, please write or text jeanne.marklin@gmail.com or 413 672-1766, or Bernadine bhw1@williams.edu or 781 956-6622. Let us know if you need us to include stamps, or if you will provide them for your packet. You can also print your own letters by going to the VoteForward.org site and signing up. You can really make a difference!

#TeamGideon

Join Team Gideon in getting out the vote for the Democratic Senate primary! Sara needs a really strong turnout here to show Senator Collins and Mitch McConnell how excited Maine is to elect a pro-choice senator. Maddy Art will be leading a Greylock Together Get Out the Vote Zoom phone bank on July 11 at 3 pm. No experience necessary! If that timing doesn’t work for you but you’d still like to get involved, there are lots of other opportunities! Email Maddy at maddyzart@gmail.com
Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/saragideon/event/283889/

Reparations.  H.R. 40 is a bill that would set up a commission to examine the institution of slavery and its impact and make recommendations for reparations to Congress.  Momentum is building, and the time to act is now. The ACLU wants you to send a message to your members of Congress urging them to support H.R. 40 — click here.

For more info on the topic:

GT Book Group.  We’ll proceed with our pre-pandemic March Book Pick…what could be more timely and critical?  Thursday, July 16 at 7 PM we will discuss Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist.  (Zoom link to follow before that date — keep reading your newsletters!) Email gdoench@gmail.com for more info.

BLM Weekly Vigils Continue.  Friday at 5:00 pm at Field Park, as usual, we will continue our weekly vigils in partnership with First Congregational.  At 5:10 pm, a speaker will give a short reading as we recommit to the daily work of dismantling systemic racism Together. At 5:15 pm, we will join in respectful silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds at the perimeter of the green for visibility and solidarity in honor of George Floyd and the countless other Black people killed by police brutality and other forms of white supremacist violence.  RSVP on Facebook or just come by.  Please wear a mask; social distancing practices observed. 


This week’s HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST RESOURCES – from Jess:

“Far too often, people think of themselves as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu

READ

LISTEN

WATCH

GIVE

FOLLOW & SHARE

  • #WeAreDoneDying on Instagram
  • @dearpwi   –  From BIPOC at predominantly white institutions, to the white people that should listen  

LEADERS TO FOLLOW

RAISING ANTI RACIST KIDS


Events (GCal,iCal)

Greylock Together Meeting
Zoom
July 12 @ 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Guest: Alex Carlisle, maybe a mayor also

GT Book Group
Zoom
July 16 @ 7:00 pm
How to Be an Antiracist

Greylock Together Meeting
Zoom
August 9 @ 3:00 – 4:00 pm

 

Resist and persist!
    Alexander