Actions 8/16

Somerville's "Our Ville Stands with Your Ville: Charlottesville Vigil" is today at 6:00 in Davis Square. We hope to see you there!


Tell the EPA not to gut the Clean Water Rule by commenting here on their plans. The deadline is August 28. Here's a basic script. You can find lots of additional information online about the flaws in the justification for their proposal and its terrible long-term effect, and if you have expertise on this issue or a personal story, including them will strengthen the impact of your comments.

SCRIPT: Before finalizing the Clean Water Rule in 2015, the EPA held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders across the country, received over 1 million comments--more than 80 percent of which were in support of the rule--and published a synthesis of more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, which showed that the small streams and wetlands the rule safeguards are vital to larger, downstream waters. Repealing the Clean Water Rule would put many of our waters at risk, including waters that are critical for drinking water supplies, recreation, fish, and wildlife. It would also affect our economy. Consumers spend $887 billion annually in outdoor recreation, and the outdoor recreation economy is responsible for 7.6 million American jobs. Without protections for wetlands and small streams, the outdoor industry will likely suffer. The costs of treating our water also go up when streams and wetlands aren't protected.

Clean water is fundamental to our health and economy, something our nation recognized when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. I urge you to reconsider this proposal and leave the Clean Water Rule in place.

Events roundup

It's been a tough week — and this next one promises to be a long one. But you're here and we're here. So we walk on. Welcome to the Events Roundup.

Rallying for Immigrants

On Tuesday the ACLU and Jobs for Justice rallied in support of immigrants on the steps of the State House. Representatives of the ACLU, La Communidad, and the American Friends Service Committee all spoke out against Charlie Baker's unjust legislation.

Perhaps the most damning testimony came from physician Elisabeth Poorman, who spoke from her experience as someone who treats a largely Latino population. Dr. Poorman recalled having to comfort children who feared going home to find their parents taken away. She described seeing patients, terrified of deportation, who would refuse to say how they got injuries that were clearly work related. (Unfortunately, such concerns are reasonable: in one especially egregious case, one of her patients was told by their employer that “it would be cheaper to just call ICE" than to contribute to their care.)

The rally was attended by State Representative Denise Provost (D - 27th Middlesex) and gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren. Neither spoke at the rally, but Mr. Warren stayed afterwards to speak with attendees, including several from Indivisible Somerville. As the Mayor of Newton, a sanctuary city, he is directly opposed to the Governor's legislation, and fully supports the passage of the Safe Communities Act.

On Wednesday, Centro Presente and the Brazilian Worker Center co-sponsored a rally aimed squarely at Charlie Baker. Rep. Provost took to the podium in opposition to the governor's legislation, as did State Representative Mike Connolly (D - 26th Middlesex). Rep. Provost described the governor, and some of her own colleagues, as getting "swept up in the rhetoric" and losing sight of the law. Rep. Connolly described the Lunn decision, which set strong limits on local and state law enforcement's coordination with ICE, as "a real breakthrough for proponents of the SCA." He added, "it is inconceivable and unacceptable that we would backtrack.”

After the rally, a group of about 40 people, including Rep. Connolly, entered the State House and proceeded to Governor Baker's office. Here's a report from that action, from Mystic Valley Lab lead Zayda Ortiz, who was present:

Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, led us in chants and demanded that Mr. Baker come out and personally hear our concerns. Several staff members responded that he was not available. We were asked to cease and disperse for being too loud and obstructing free clear pathway in and out of the governor's office. Patricia defiantly responded that it was her constitutional right to assemble, and resumed the chanting: “Charlie Baker you can’t hide, we can see your racist side!” State troopers and other State House employees responded by roping off the furniture in the lobby and corralling us protesters in the center. At that point, a State House employee tried to manhandle an elderly woman, whom he felt was obstructing the walkway they created with the ropes. He backed off without incident when the crowd called him out as a bully. Finally, members of Governor Baker’s staff asked Ms. Montes what she wanted him to tell the governor on her behalf, and she read aloud a declaration demanding that his rhetoric and attack against the immigrant community should stop. She then presented them with the declaration and asked them to make sure he read it.


Last week's labs

Energy & Environment met on Wednesday, with an agenda full of specific policy issues at all levels of government. Whatever your areas of interest are, whatever your specific talents, this lab can use you. In this space, we've tended to focus on issues like immigration and health care, but it's important to remember that every single thing we fight for depends on us having a planet we can live on.

Family Lab met for the second time ever on Thursday. Here's a rundown from lab co-lead Karen Shakman:

We had four families attend, for a total of 8 kids and 9 adults. We read a book called Si Se Puede about the LA Janitors Strike and then talked about, first as individual families and then as the whole group, what issues we cared most about and how we choose to practice our activism. We came up with a great list of issues and possible actions, including ideas like "Lemonade Stands across the City" where kids share information about climate change, sell lemonade, and give the proceeds to an organization of their choosing that is concerned about climate change.

The Action Lab had a productive meeting on Friday, some of the fruits of which you'll find later in this roundup. But in addition to events you can join in with this week, they're also doing a lot of other great things as a lab, such as lobbying police chiefs to condemn Trump's recent speech to police officers and organizing a training session for activists who want to support immigrants. If you're ever free on Friday morning, you should stop by! (Well, not this Friday morning, which they are taking off.)

Choosing Battles met on Sunday, and worked on refining its pitch to potential partners, and brainstorming possible names for the finished product. Thanks as always to the Blue Shirt Cafe for allowing us to make their table look like this:


Looking ahead

At 6pm Monday, 8/14 (tonight!), the Red State Rising lab has its regular meeting. These are exciting early days for the lab, and while we're not ready to announce anything just yet, we already have new chapters (beyond West Virginia and Oklahoma) reaching out to us. Especially given the horrifying events we just witnessed in Charlottesville, it's more important than ever to show Americans in conservative parts of the country that we have their back.

Tuesday 8/15 is the National Day of Action for DACA and Immigrant Youth. Nearly a million immigrant youths have relied on DACA to go to college, support their families, and build their communities — but right-wing Republicans are pushing to remove it by September 5. Join Jobs with Justice at the State House at 11:45am to rally in support of DACA and Massachusetts immigrants. If you can't join the rally, spread the word online — share our #HereToStay image with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and tell them to call their legislators and demand that we protect DACA.

At 6:30, the Mystic Valley lab will be at its usual haunt, the Chicken & Rice Guys (64 Salem St, Medford, MA). Among other things, they will be celebrating the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School's decision to end its racially discriminatory policy on how students wear their hair. The now-overturned rules had been used to target two sisters who go to the school, which is what initially brought attention to the policy. This is one of the issues that the Mystic Valley lab has worked very hard on, and it's a big win. If you see anyone from this lab this week, give them a high five or a pat on the back. Or better yet - go to their meeting!

Also at 6:30, at Workbar Cambridge (45 Prospect St), there will be a phone bank to promote multiple progressive issues: paid family and medical leave, the Fight for $15 movement, and the Fair Share Amendment (a.k.a. the Millionaires Tax). In addition to Indivisible Somerville, this event is also sponsored by Cambridge Area Stronger Together, Cambridge-Somerville for Change, and Progressive Massachusetts.

At 7pm, the Fund lab meets at 15 Westwood Rd in Somerville. If you're not a numbers person, don't worry about it: they are gearing up for the first big Indivisible Somerville fundraising event, so it's also kind of like party planning! But seriously: for a little baby organization like ours, a little money goes very far indeed, so helping raise and manage funds is a great way to make a big difference.

Also at 7pm, the Outreach lab has its bi-monthly meeting at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. If groups were people, this group would be the people-person of IS. It's all about making new members feel welcome, building relationships inside and outside the organization, highlighting voices of people at the forefront of this fight, and overall just strengthening the sinew. If that sounds like your jam, come on down!

No lab meetings on Wednesday, but on Thursday 8/17 at 7 pm we're back in style, with the Creative lab. Some topics you can expect to come up: the ongoing website redesign project, helping other groups through the Red State Rising lab, and, of course, swag! Plus, whatever original ideas you bring to the table. Be Creative!

Friday is another without lab meetings… which brings us to Saturday 8/19.

As you may have heard, right wing groups are planning a "Free Speech Rally" in Boston next weekend, one that looks disturbingly similar to the "Unite the Right" rally that sparked mayhem in Charlottesburg. Black Lives Matter is organizing a counterprotest that is likely to dwarf the white nationalist rally to which it is responding. As of this writing, nearly 5,000 people have RSVP'd to this "Fight Supremacy" event on Facebook; another 14,000 have marked that they're interested. While Indivisible Somerville is not an organizer or sponsor of this event, we stand in solidarity with its cause, and many of our members plan to attend. That said, there is obviously a risk of violence breaking out at this event. To quote the Facebook event page:

Q: Will this be safe?

A: As with all public actions there is always a risk of injury and/or state violence. Please exhibit extreme caution and awareness if participating. We can not ensure safety at this event, however we will have visibly identifiable marshals and safety teams on site, as well as legal observers.

Bottom line: we do not endorse this event for anyone who is uncomfortable with the risk it entails.

If you do decide to attend, we hope you'll join the IS members who are there. More information, including a meeting place, will be posted to the Indivisible Somerville home page by Saturday morning.


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.

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Actions 8/14 and 8/15

It’s recess! Just the essentials this month.

Monday

Charlie Baker wants to know what we think! In a short survey with a space for comments. You know what to do.


For local events in response to Charlottesville, check Indivisible Guide’s searchable Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville.

Tuesday

Let’s keep up the pressure against Governor Baker’s plan to involve Massachusetts law enforcement in the Trump deportation campaign. He filed a bill, H3870, to allow state and local police to cooperate with ICE in detaining immigrants that pose “a threat to public safety,” defined in a very broad, and very unclear, way. It takes the side of the Trump administration against the decision of our Supreme Judicial Court. Last week we called and emailed the governor. This week, let’s tell our legislators to stand up against Baker’s bill. Below is a version of the script we used last week. If you’d like to come up with your own, there’s a lot of information available now, particularly a memo from MIRA and Mass ACLU outlining the ways in which the proposal is unconstitutional.

SCRIPT: Hi, I’m (NAME) calling from (ZIP) to tell the (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE) that I strongly oppose the anti-immigrant bill, H3870, filed by Governor Baker. It undercuts the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision protecting immigrants’ due process rights and supports the Trump administration’s deportation agenda instead. It’s also probably unconstitutional. The governor's bill stands in direct opposition to our deepest values as a state. I urge the (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE) to do everything possible to prevent it from becoming law. Thank you.

Defend DACA Day! If you didn't get a chance to call Senators Markey and Warren (or even if you did) when we posted last Thursday, today would be a good time to urge them to cosponsor the Dream Act (S1615), a bipartisan bill that would grant permanent legal status to Dreamers. Here's more info and a script. Scroll down to Thursday.

The Good News

The Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden dropped its ban on hair extensions following last spring’s protests—and we played a part. Here's to the courageous Cook sisters!


There’s nothing good about the hatred and violence in Charlottesville, or about Trump’s response—but at least some Republicans are finally calling out their president. Marco Rubio, for example: "Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists."


Senator Chuck Grassley, Judiciary Committee chair, said he no longer expected an imminent Supreme Court vacancy, bolstering the sense that Justice Anthony Kennedy won't retire this year.


Scott Pruitt’s EPA is being sued all over the place, and they’ve already had to back off a bunch of anti-environment moves.


Two LGBTQ rights groups filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members, on behalf of 5 trans women now serving openly.


Airbnb canceled a number of accounts and bookings associated with participants in the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.


A Washington, D.C., law firm has partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists to provide at no cost experienced private lawyers with significant government experience to federal scientists looking to protect the independence of their agencies and their scientific findings.


A federal district court struck down a Louisiana state law that required people born abroad to produce a birth certificate before receiving a marriage license, thus denying marriage equality to foreign-born residents.


The Orlando City Commission unanimously approved a resolution to move to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050. Orlando, the largest city in Florida, is the fortieth city in the U.S. to make such a commitment.


Chicago is suing the Trump administration for threatening to withhold public money from so-called sanctuary cities. "We cannot be forced to violate our residents' constitutional rights," the city’s lawyer said.


Bernalillo County commissioners voted overwhelmingly to retain the county’s immigrant-friendly policy after Jeff Sessions threatened to withhold federal grant money from Albuquerque, the county’s largest city.


FBI agents staged a pre-dawn raid on the home of Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, late last month and, using a wide-ranging search warrant, seized documents and other materials.


Mueller’s team has subpoenaed global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort and some of his companies and reached out to Manafort business associates, including his son-in-law and a Ukrainian oligarch.


Democrat Phil Miller comfortably defeated (55% to 45%) his Republican opponent in a special election for the Iowa House, allowing Democrats to hold on to a key rural swing district that Donald Trump won by 22 points.


As part of a settlement in which he sold his gun shop and agreed never to sell firearms again, a Florida gun store owner issued a statement calling on gun dealers to exercise great caution to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of the wrong people. The lawsuit was brought by the Brady Center and family members of victims killed by a gun obtained via straw purchase from the owner’s store.


The super PACs that raised tens of millions of dollars to help elect President Trump have seen their fundraising slow dramatically since the election.


Republicans can’t resist airing their dirty laundry on Obamacare—senators blaming each other, senators blaming Trump, Trump blaming senators, Hannity blaming anybody but Trump, and on and on.


Costa Rica plans to become the world's first country to achieve a comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.


Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the expanding investigation into Russian interference in the election is continuing apace and that the special counsel can investigate any crimes he might discover within the scope of his probe.


The New York Times published a comprehensive draft report on climate change written by scientists from 13 different agencies. The report is still awaiting approval by the administration.


Democrats have already filed to run in 385 House seats out of 435 for 2018 and in 79% of districts with seats held by Republicans, while Republicans have done the same for just 32% of Democratic seats.


A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Texas filed to get its law banning sanctuary cities declared constitutional before its September 1 implementation.


Oregon enacted the country’s first statewide employee scheduling law, requiring big companies in retail, hospitality, and food service to give employees schedules at least a week ahead of time.


Bruno Mars donated 1 million dollars to address Flint's water crisis through the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.


The army returned the remains of 3 Arapaho children who died at an assimilation school in 1883.


Hundreds of people of all faiths, ages, and races came together at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, to show their support and denounce the destruction wrought from an explosive hurled into an imam’s office last week.


The California Attorney General sued the EPA to compel it to say what steps it's taken to ensure its rule making and procedures remain impartial as it’s led by Scott Pruitt, who opposed the agency in at least a half dozen lawsuits.


Striking a blow for public-use activists in California, the state’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a suit challenging a billionaire’s claim that he had the right to block the only access road to a public beach because it was on his property.


Republican members of Congress are facing challenging questions about health care during their break. Even in a Georgia district that Trump won by 15.5 points, the crowds were “angry, wistful, and loaded with progressive activists”—in other words, us.


The federal Bureau of Prisons quietly issued a new policy requiring prisons to provide free tampons and maxi-pads to female inmates. Democratic senators had introduced a bill to do the same thing less than a month before.


The district attorneys of 4 New York City boroughs moved to dismiss 644,000 outstanding arrest warrants for minor offenses issued more than 10 years before in line with the city's discredited theory that petty offenses lead to more serious crime.

Actions 8/9

It’s recess! Just the essentials this month.

Tell Secretary of State William Galvin to drop his appeal of the ruling against Massachusetts' 20-day voter registration deadline, and ask him and your state legislators to support same-day voter registration. In a major win for democracy two weeks ago, the Suffolk Superior Court ruled the 20-day registration deadline unconstitutional. Secretary of State Galvin announced he will appeal the ruling. He suggested that allowing people to register closer to an election would create chaos, despite the fact that states with same-day voter registration—including most other New England states—haven’t found it to be a financial or logistical burden. Call Secretary of State Galvin at 617-727-9180 or email him at cis@sec.state.ma.us.

SCRIPT: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I'm calling from [CITY] to urge the Secretary of State to drop his lawsuit against the Superior Court ruling that Massachusetts’ 20-day voter registration requirement is unconstitutional. States with same-day voter registration, including most New England states, report no financial or logistical issues. Voter participation is central to our democracy, and same-day voter registration has the potential to improve turnout between 2% and 10%. I'd like to see the Secretary of State stand up for greater participation instead of fighting it. I'm asking him to drop his appeal and support same-day registration. Thank you.

While we’re at it, let’s contact our state representatives and ask them to support H.2093 and S.371, which would establish same-day voter registration.