Events Roundup

When the last Events Roundup went out, our Candidate Forum with Setti Warren was about to begin. Let us begin where we left off, with this report from IS Organizer Ashley Tartarilla.

Last Monday evening, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, joined us at the Green Room for a meet and greet. Warren talked to IS about his two terms as mayor of Newton, his reasons for running against Baker in 2018, and how he plans to defeat Baker in the upcoming election. Notably, he reminded the audience that it is not only the Trump agenda that we need to be resisting, but also the Baker agenda. Warren's talk was followed by a Q&A where audience members asked the mayor questions on affordable housing, policing, and criminal justice reform.

This week

Tuesday, October 17

If you're free at 10 am, the Action Lab invites you to come support the Tenant Right of First Refusal Bill (H3017) in its public hearing at the State House. This bill would allow tenant groups to work out a mutually beneficial deal with their landlords when buildings are sold, preventing displacement and preserving affordable housing. The meeting will be held in Room B-2. For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 18

Get social at our next Drinkup, hosted by our Outreach Lab. It's happening at 9 Nevada Ave in Somerville, from 7 to 9 pm. We've planned this one specifically to connect new members with existing ones who can answer their questions. So whichever of those groups you belong to, you should come! There will be good people, a crackling firepit, and snacks. There will also be booze, but you'll have to bring that. More info on the event's Facebook page.

The Energy & Environment Lab meets from 7 to 8 at Bloc Cafe. They're throwing their support behind three big environmental bills now being considered by the Massachusetts legislature. Apropos of nothing, did you hear Trump just appointed another "climate skeptic" as the White House senior adviser on environmental policy? Basically, if you've ever thought of getting involved with #ee, now's as good a time as any.

Thursday, October 19

Creative Lab meets from 7 to 9 at Canopy City (14 Tyler St, 3rd Floor). Meet fellow creatives, learn more about IS and #Creative, talk about existing initiatives and possible proactive projects, decide on the next few creative meetings and more. RSVP and check out the agenda at the Facebook event page.

Don't fancy yourself a "creative type"? Or are you just really into a) numbers, b) money, and/or c) party planning? Well then, dear reader, let the Fund Lab be your jam. It's meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 at 18 Harrington Rd, Cambridge, MA. With that Day of the Dead fundraiser coming up, it's sure to be an a) fun, and b) important meeting!

Friday, October 20

Action Lab will be meeting at the usual time (10 am) but, sneakily, at a different location — Bloc Cafe. They will be back at the Somerville Library for the following week's meeting on October 27. Gotta keep an eye on those wily #actioneers.

Saturday, October 21

Our next installment of Community Hours will be held from 12 to 2 at 163 Forest St in Arlington. Here's the skinny from your scintillating host, Stacey McCullough:

Come snack and work with fellow members of IS! ~10-15 min walk from the 77 bus at Mass Ave and Appleton St. We have one spare parking spot. Otherwise, there are usually open spots on Edmund Rd. or Sunset Rd.

Two scaredy cats with lots of fur, but they're mostly hypoallergenic. Lots of stairs to get up to the house.

One other super-important note: This is a bring-your-own-coffee event! (Tea and hot chocolate and instant decaf available.)

Looking ahead

Thursday, November 2

Look, we know you've received two nearly-identical emails about it already today (technical snafu, sorry!) but we can't exactly close an Events Roundup without mentioning our upcoming Day of the Dead fundraiser. It's going to be the bee's knees. (Or… the Monarch Butterfly's… wings? No? Ok.) Mark your calendars: Thursday, November 2nd, 6:30 to 9:30, 15 Westwood Rd., Somerville. Details and RSVP link on Facebook.

Sunday, November 12

Also, FYI, there's going to be a statewide Indivisible MA conference on November 12. It will feature workshops on organizing, tech, elections, and more! Most of all, it's a chance to meet and mingle with other Indivisiblers across the Commonwealth, and find out what they've been up to. For additional information and to register, visit www.indivisible-ma.org.

Give

If you like the work we do, please consider setting up a small recurring donation to IS. Sustaining donations are what keep us afloat and able to pay for meeting space, web hosting, coffee, poster supplies, etc. You can set one up in less than 2 minutes on our donation page.

If there's something you think we should know, drop us a line via the anonymous feedback form. We read each and every response.

Actions 10/16 and 10/17

Monday

Let’s go all out to pass the Massachusetts Senate’s criminal justice bill (S2170). Our criminal justice system is badly in need of reform, with a prison population four to five times larger than four decades ago, and incarceration rates that disproportionately affect black and Hispanic residents. We have the highest Hispanic-to-white disparity in the US and a higher than average disparity between blacks and whites. The Senate bill goes a long way toward addressing these issues, but the House appears to be considering a much more conservative bill.

Key provisions of the Senate bill:

  • Removal of mandatory minimums for offenders for nonviolent drug violations.
  • Expansion of diversion eligibility.
  • Elimination of some court fees, such as the indigent counsel fee and parole fees.
  • Complete overhaul of the bail system, ensuring bail will be more affordable to all defendants.
  • Protections for inmates in solitary confinement.
  • Raise of the age of criminal majority and criminal culpability.
  • Sealing of criminal records (CORIs) after 3 years for misdemeanors and 7 years after felonies; seals juvenile records after 1 year.
  • Lift of the felony theft threshold to $1,500 from $250.
  • Requirement for the court to make written findings before sentencing a primary caretaker.

This is our best chance for meaningful criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. We can’t allow the House to undercut it. Let’s act now by calling or writing our House representatives and telling them we strongly support the Senate’s bill and we want the House to enact its provisions in their version of the bill. For bonus points, tell your senator to do everything possible to ensure the criminal justice bill passes the Senate by a margin big enough to force the House to support similar reforms.

Update

The ACLU has pointed out some flaws in the Senate criminal justice bill. You'll find them outlined here.


Deadline reminder

Last chance to tell Homeland Security what we think of its plan to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results” in the immigration files of all immigrants, including permanent residents and naturalized citizens. You can comment on the plan at Regulations.gov through October 17. See our October 2 post for details.


Tuesday

It’s time to push to get the Mass Safe Communities Act out of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and onto the floor for a vote. The bill’s hearing was all the way back in May, this summer's Lunn decision supported key provisions, the Trump administration’s been stepping up its targeting of immigrants in Massachusetts—and still the SCA sits in committee.

We need to tell our legislators to push for the bill. Progressive Massachusetts has info on each legislator’s stand as well as basic scripts tailored to those stands. Let’s add our own twist to the scripts by urging our legislators to pressure the committee chairs to report out the bill favorably so the legislature can finally vote.

The Good News

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) tweeted, "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning" in response to a Trump tweetstorm attacking Corker, an early Trump supporter.


Maura Healey is among the 19 attorneys general who filed suit against Trump’s plan to end subsidies to insurers that help millions of low-income people pay medical expenses.


She also pledged to sue the Trump administration over its move to kill the Clean Power Plan limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.


And Gov. Baker affirmed that Massachusetts is dedicated to meeting Clean Power Plan targets.


Charlottesville activists took the streets in a march for Community Defense Against All Fascism, in response to another ten-minute terrorist photo-op torch rally by Richard Spencer and his followers.


All three Democrats running for Mass governor joined together in downtown Boston to collect signatures to put the millionaire’s tax on the 2018 ballot.


Nancy Pelosi nailed Trump’s newest anti-immigrant proposals. “They are not principles, they are trash.”


30,000 Israelis and Palestinians participated in a Women Wage Peace rally.


Russell Okung of the L.A. Chargers is building a coalition of players to stand up to owners and fight racial injustice.


The Utah police officer whose manhandling of a nurse protecting a patient’s privacy went viral has been fired.


At least 16 of the 17 pro sports teams that stayed at Trump properties in recent years are no longer customers.


Javier Flores Garcia returned to his wife and three children after 11 months of sanctuary in a Philadelphia church. He was granted a waiver deferring deportation while his immigration case moves forward.


A new package of U.S. disaster assistance sailed through the House despite President Trump’s expressed impatience with devoting federal resources to the recovery of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.


The Massachusetts Senate voted to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks (two attachments that increase the firing rate of a weapon) the day after the Mass. House passed a bump stock ban. The versions must be reconciled before a final bill goes to Charlie Baker, who has said he would sign it.


The chairs of the Mass Financial Services Committee asked the Center for Health Information Analysis to expedite its mandated cost analysis of the ACCESS contraceptive bill so that the legislature can consider the bill soon.


The National Women’s Law Center announced a new Legal Network for Gender Equity staffed by 73 lawyers to aggressively defend women and girls from sex discrimination in the workplace, schools, and the health care system.


The Office of Congressional Ethics reported that there’s substantial reason to believe that New York Rep. Chris Collins, one of Trump's strongest congressional allies, violated federal law in insider stock trading.


On Columbus Day, people in New York City, Pittsburgh, protested for the holiday to be renamed Indigenous People’s Day. The Boston protest took place the Saturday before.


Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating $64 million to help the Sierra Club’s campaign to close two-thirds of U.S coal-fired plants by 2020.


The judge who ordered Dreamhost to turn over data about protesters said this week that information on third-party users must be redacted to protect their identities


India’s supreme court ruled sex with a girl under 18 is considered rape, regardless of whether she is married or not. Girls who are raped by their husbands can now bring charges within one year of the offense.


Pope Francis said the death penalty is "inadmissible" and called for church doctrine to prohibit it, the church's strongest comments yet on the issue.


Governor Jerry Brown and California lawmakers took a big step to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for skyrocketing prescription drug prices by passing a law that will require drug makers to notify the public ahead of price hikes, provide a detailed explanation for the increases, and file annual reports outlining how drug costs impact health care premiums.


Hustler's Larry Flynt placed a full-page ad in the Washington Post offering $10 million for information leading to Trump's impeachment and removal from office.


Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Reince Preibus Friday, another sign the investigation is reaching into the highest levels of Trump’s aides and former aides.


Paul Manafort is linked to entities that engaged in a previously unreported $26 million loan with a company owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with reported ties to the Kremlin, according to an NBC News investigation. This brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade.

Compiled with lots of help, and even more inspiration, from the amazing Abby Brockman.

Day of the Dead Dinner

Sponsored by the Fund Lab.

You may be familiar with the "drink-ups" we hold from time to time. But we're about to go somewhere new: our first "eat-up" as a fundraiser for Indivisible Somerville. Come and celebrate Day of the Dead, enjoy good company, and support IS!

Our very own IS lead Zayda Ortiz will be cooking up some Mexican dishes. We'll also be serving wine from New Zealand and local craft beer. (Yes, we're fudging the theme a bit with the alcohol, but trust us, it will be good.)

Cost: It's up to you, but we request a minimum donation of $25 per person. If you're wondering, yes, that price includes alcohol.

Space is limited! Reserve your seat by filling out this RSVP form.

Payment methods:

  • Paypal to paypal.me/indivisiville
  • Venmo @Indivisiville
  • In person at the dinner with cash, check, or credit/debit card

We hope to see you then!

Here is some background on the Day of the Dead:

Día de los Muertos originated in ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico and northern Central America) where indigenous groups, including Aztec, Maya, and Toltec, set aside part of the year to commemorate loved ones who had passed away. After the arrival of the Spanish, this ritual of commemorating the dead was intertwined with two Spanish holidays: All Saints' Day on November 1st, and All Soul's Day on November 2nd. Día de los Muertos is often celebrated on November 1st as a day to remember children who have passed away, and on November 2nd to honor adults.

The Mesoamericans believed that death was part of the journey of life. Far from an end, they saw death as a source of new life. Día de los Muertos is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of those who live no more.

The Ofrenda is a temporary altar made to honor departed loved ones. Items such as pictures of the deceased, some of their belongings, or things they liked, are placed with the Ofrenda to provide comfort to loved ones as they are said to revisit the land of the living. Every Ofrenda also includes items representing the four elements:

  • Water - a favorite beverage of the deceased
  • Earth - a favorite food
  • Wind - Papel picado, or traditional paper banners
  • Fire - candles

Finally, the Ofrenda is decorated with cempasúchil, a type of marigold flower native to Mexico. Their strong scent and vibrant color petals are used to make a path that leads the spirits from the cemetery to their families' homes.

Monarch butterflies are believed to carry the spirits of the departed home. This belief stems from the fact that the first monarchs arrive in Mexico for the winter each fall on November 1st, which coincides with Día de los Muertos. Skeletons and skulls are not seen as morbid symbols, but rather as an absurd reminder of the cyclicality of life. This is why they are traditionally brightly decorated and doing whimsical things.

Actions 10/11 and 10/12

Wednesday

We need to keep after Congress to pass the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R.3440). There’s been a lot of noise lately about many issues, but we can’t let our representatives forget that the country’s Dreamers are in crisis, their fates in the hands of Congress as the president makes his heartless demands. Last Wednesday, we asked you to call your Massachusetts representatives and urge them to fight for a clean Dream Act. It’s helpful to repeat those calls weekly. Here’s how.

Let’s also enlist our friends and family members in other states to talk to their representatives about the Dream Act. The Indivisible Team has supplied a calling script as well as information about the number of Dreamers in each state.


Thursday

Get Americans covered by the ACA. Health insurance open enrollment begins November 1, and it’s time to start spreading the word—the administration decided to shorten the enrollment window this year. Now there’s a group that can help. Two former officials who worked on the sign-up campaigns under Obama have launched an initiative, Get America Covered, to stand in for the administration's dramatically scaled-back efforts. They’ve got information on helping friends and family enroll and on starting an open enrollment street team, and their fliers, fact sheets, Facebook and Twitter graphics, and suggested posts make it easy to help people get the health coverage they're entitled to.