Jesse Baer

8 posts

Get Ready to Fight Supremacy

Members of Indivisible Somerville will be participating in the Fight Supremacy march and rally in Boston on Saturday, August 19. If you would like to join us, we ask that you first carefully read this document.

To begin with, if you come, you are responsible for your own safety. While we will do everything we can to stay safe, there is no guarantee that others will share our commitment to nonviolence. If you are not comfortable with this risk, there is no shame in staying home.

The march organizers have been working closely with the Boston Police Department to coordinate this event, and pledged their commitment to a nonviolent direct action. If you decide to walk with us, we insist that you honor this commitment.

The march begins at Reggie Lewis Track Center in Roxbury at 10am, and proceeds to the Common (1.9 miles) after a very brief speaking program. We have coordinated two meeting places.

  1. We will gather at Sullivan Station at 9am for briefing and planning. We’ll have two way radios so that we can split up and find each other if there’s no cell coverage. From there, we’ll get on the Orange Line to Roxbury Crossing at 9:20, to get there about 15 minutes before the start.

  2. If you’re meeting us in Roxbury, find us across Tremont Street from Roxbury Crossing station, on the bridge near the bus stop:

Dos and Don’ts

DO make sure you get something to eat before or during our ride out to Roxbury. It’s going to be a long day and you will need fuel. Also, bring a bottle of water and a snack.

DON’T bring signs with sticks, weapons, or other provocative materials. Signs should be small and portable.

DO fully charge your cell phone. If you have a smart phone, consider downloading the FireChat app (iPhone / Android) in case the cellular networks get swamped.

DON’T engage the opposition or agitate people on the other side.

DO wear comfortable clothing and shoes (closed toed-no flip flops) for walking, and if you have it, a bandana.

DON’T bring large bags or backpacks. Less is more. If things go badly, you want to be able to move quickly and efficiently without worrying about your stuff. Don’t bring anything you cherish or will miss if lost.

DO be aware that all bags you do bring are subject to police search.

DON’T wear lotion, or even sunscreen if you can avoid it. In the event that tear gas is deployed, these will make it stick to your body more.

DO be alert. Its cliché, but if you see something, say something. Even as you chant, sing, march, and bear witness, always keep an eye on your surroundings.

DON’T lose sight of your fellow members and our group. It is strongly suggested that we buddy up in groups of 2-3. We will have two-way radios to communicate, but keep an eye on your buddy/ies. We want to be sure that at the end of day everyone is accounted for.

DO carry some cash — $40 is the average for a simple assault charge. Again, we are committed to nonviolence but you may have to defend yourself, or get swept up in a chaotic situation.

DO write the name and number of an emergency contact on one arm. This is only a precaution, but it will cover a lot of bases. If you're arrested, the cops will take your cell phone, so you’ll need a number to call. If you are incapacitated, the hospital will know whom to call. Another good number to note down is that of the National Lawyers Guild: 617-431-6626.

If you would like to learn more about de-escalating tactics and preparing for tomorrow click here for a slide show presentation from BLM.

Also, here is a great list of tips tweeted the other day by Boston activist Robin “@caulkthewagon” Jacks.

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.

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

Events Roundup

It's August 7, 2017. Do you know where your Events Roundup is? Right here, that's where. Read on!

Small Steps

Our founder and fearless leader Nina Vyedin wrote a piece that was featured on the main Indivisible blog. She was also quoted in a New York Times story about Resistance School, which several of us attended earlier in the summer.

Indivisible Somerville's own resident power couple, Zayda Ortiz and Keith Bernard, hit up town halls for Rep. Katherine Clark and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. We'll be posting a full report from them later today. In the meantime, here is some photographic proof:

If you missed Community Hours at Becca's place on Saturday, you missed, among other things, a sneak peak at our website redesign-in-progress and an exciting mini-meeting of the #ChoosingBattles lab — not to mention the usual scintillating snacks and delectable discussion.


Events

Two lab meetings triumphantly return this week after a week off. #Writing is back, from 7 to 8 pm on Tuesday, at 6 Shady Hill Sq in Cambridge. #Action reclaims its usual time and place, 10 am to noon on Friday at the Somerville Public Library.

In between those — on Thursday 8/10, from 6 to 8pm at the Green Room — Family Lab has its second ever meeting! This month they'll be focusing on defining what activism means our group, and what issues we should tackle moving forward. Come by to share your ideas and let them know how Family Lab can serve YOU!

Governor Baker's latest Trumpian anti-immigrant move — filing state legislation that would force local and state law enforcement to collaborate with ICE in deporting immigrants in our communities — has earned him swift backlash. This week provides you with at least two chances to get out on the streets and join a chorus of condemnation right in front of the State House, where the powers that be will hear it loud and clear. On Tuesday 8/8 at noon, the ACLU of Massachusetts and Mass Jobs With Justice are holding a "No Ban No Wall" rally
(optional signup form here). The next day, Wednesday 8/9, at 11 am, Centro Presente and the Brazilian Worker Center are rallying behind the cry that Immigrant Rights and Human Rights Are Not Negotiable!

Community Hours will be held on Saturday 8/12 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, at 6 Shady Hill Sq in Cambridge.


Horizon

The next monthly meeting of #Creative will be on Thursday, 8/17, from 7 - 9 PM.

The next Indivisible social meetup will be on the evening of Thursday, 8/24. The Indo is closed for renovations this month, so location TBA.

Note: Our last Events Roundup erroneously noted that the Org Meetings had switched to a bimonthly schedule, and the next one would be held on August 24. In fact, we're now doing Org Meetings once every three months, so the next one won't be until October. Sorry for any confusion. We'll keep you posted with more details as the event gets closer.


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.

Events roundup

Hey children, what's that sound? That's the sound of Trumpcare going down! Welcome to your IS events roundup.

Small steps

The beginning of the week was dominated by action against the latest bad sequel in the Republican Party's horror franchise, Repeal and Replace. On Monday, we had a conference call with other Massachusetts Indivisible chapters, as well as Marguerite Suozzo-Gole from Indivisible HQ, to coordinate strategy. We had another phone bank session on Tuesday to save the ACA, and of course, members made calls all week. We were aided by an amazing tool from the national org, just for blue staters, which allowed us to call in to voters in red states, and easily connect them directly to their Senators. It's impossible to know what the total call volume was, but by all accounts it surged dramatically in the lead up to the vote.

And then, in the wee hours of Friday morning, we finally won. It was a sweet end to a stressful week. But even as we celebrate this hard-fought victory, we acknowledge that the fight for universal health care isn't over - not by a long shot. For one thing, we have no doubt that Republicans will seize on any opportunity that may arise to breathe new life into this campaign of death. For another, the ACA is far from perfect: it still falls short of universal coverage, it hasn't done enough to bring costs down for many Americans, and it has proven vulnerable to political sabotage. This issue isn't done with us, and we're not done with it.

That said, it is nice to win.

Squad of badasses that they are, #Action lab had its regular meeting mere hours after the roll call that defeated the latest iteration of Trumpcare. And both #Writing and #EE had had their own regular meetings earlier in the week. But it was really on Saturday that we kicked it back into high gear.

The day began with Community Hours at the home of #ChoosingBattles co-leader Stacey McCullough. The turnout was high, the snacks were delicious, and the conversation was lively.

Later in the afternoon, several IS-ers hit up the Medford Civic Engagement Day. Here's a report from #RedStateRising chair Keith Bernard:

Not only did we promote the Safe Communities Act and promote #Mystic-Valley, but spoke with many local and state politicians including State Representative Paul Donato (35th Middlesex), State Representative Sean Garballey (23rd Middlesex), and Medford's Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke. We also had several difficult discussions with several Medford residents who were not pro-immigrant, but I believe we were able to open their minds as to what we were doing.

Props to the members of the #action lab and #Mystic-Valley that came out to help run the table, including Lorraine Theroux, Gile Beye, James Hof, and Rachel Tannehaus). Additional shout outs for Gile pressing Rep. Donato with hard questions, and to Lorraine for not only delivering the SCA Postcards, but defending the SCA with great talking points against some conservative arguments we encountered. Finally, we need to thank Maria Scott-Osborne for organizing this event and allowing us to promote Indivisible Mystic Valley.

In addition to the above, IS members showed up for two separate rallies on Saturday: one for trans rights, in the wake of President Trump's bigoted attack on service members, and one to defend and expand health care for all, both here in Massachusetts and nationwide.

Last but not least, this week we brought aboard a new Meister of All Things Social Media: say hello (by tweet, wall post, or just in person) to Morgan Simko!


Events & lab meetings

This week's calendar is relatively light — all the better to recuperate.

Tonight (Monday 7/31) at 6pm, the #RedStateRising lab will have its third meeting, this time at a new location: "The Shed" at 17 Fremont Ave in Somerville. Come and find out how you - yes you! - can take the fight to the GOP's back yards.

Tuesday, 8/1 at noon, there will be an interfaith gathering in support of Francisco Rodriguez Guardado. It will be held at the South Bay House of Correction in Boston.

That same evening, at 7pm #Outreach will be meeting at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. This lab is all about preserving IS's soul as a relationship-based organization. Yes, we care about the issues — but we have to care just as much about each other. #Outreach helps new members find their place within the organization, and connects with other organizations and local leaders to form collaborative partnerships.

#EE meets at 7 on Wednesday, also at "The Shed". On this week's agenda: curbside composting, energy reform and volunteer opportunities.

#Action is taking a well earned week off, but never fear - they will be back in force the following week.

Community Hours will be held as usual on Saturday morning, but the location is still TBA. Keep your eyes on the IS Calendar, where details will be posted soon.


Horizon

Mark your calendars for Monday, August 24 at the Green Room, when we'll be having our next Org Meeting. This will be our first since we shifted from monthly to bimonthly - so there should be a lot to talk about!


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.

Events this week

Hear ye, hear ye, here we are back again, with another issue of the Indivisible Somerville events roundup!

Small Steps

On Tuesday, #RedStateRising had its kickoff meeting at the Somerville Library. This lab is all about deepening our successful partnerships with Indivisible groups in Oklahoma and West Virginia, and expanding this model to support Indivisible chapters in other red, purple (and if we're successful, increasingly blue) states. There was fantastic turn out at this first meeting, with a great mix of existing IS members and total newbies. Current efforts in Oklahoma & West Virginia were discussed, as well as the goals & expectations of this lab. Meeting #2 is a week from today (Monday 7/31) at The Shed.

On Thursday morning, a week after Francisco Rodriguez was detained by ICE, IS was back at the State House, joining other groups and individual supporters to rally for his release. Zayda Ortiz, our #Mystic-Valley lab lead, filed this report:

Francisco's 10-year daughter Mellaine spoke, pleading for her father's return to their family: “I need my daddy. He needs to come home, where he belongs.”

She was followed by Democratic gubernatorial candidates Robert Massie and Jay Gonzalez, who gave rousing appeals for Francisco’s immediate release. Both candidates called upon Governor Baker to speak up for Mr. Rodriguez, and end the Administration's arbitrary assault on the immigrant communities of Massachusetts. After the speeches were over, the assembled crowd went into the State House to personally deliver a letter to Governor Baker, asking him to speak out on the case. A response did come eventually: a few hours later, in the form of a vague, noncommittal statement to a reporter.

Although Francisco remains in detention and Baker's position remains characteristically doughy, we were encouraged by an interview on Saturday night. Speaking with WGBH, Shawn Neudauer, Chief Regional Spokesperson for ICE, admitted that this highly visible campaign could work to Mr. Rodriguez's advantage. “We deal with the protests and the rallies the same way everyone else does. I think at the end of the day, yes, there are some people [at ICE] who say 'hey, we’ve got all these people that are making a lot of noise about something'… and if there’s a lot of strong opinion about it, absolutely we we’ll take a second look.”

Rally for Francisco

Francisco has been granted a stay, but he’s still in jail and unable to see anyone yet beyond clergy and lawyers. Supporters are encouraged to send him letters of support and donations to his family.

On Thursday afternoon, #Action joined forces with MIRA at Faneuil Hall to help register new US citizens to vote.

Finally capping off a jam-packed Thursday, that night we had our first "official" IS drinkup, at the Independent in Union Square. It was a nice change of pace to hang out with each other without any larger purpose but having fun.

Drinkup promo

On Saturday morning, one of our newest leads, Melinda Green, became the latest member to open up her home for Community Hours. A productive, delicious, and convivial time was had by all.

Later that afternoon, the #ee lab hit the streets of Davis Square handing out flyers for Somerville's Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) plan.

Finally, on Sunday, OnPoint Improv had its monthly benefit show for Indivisible Somerville.


Events

Starting Tuesday, this coming week presents you with a veritable smorgasbord of options for your consideration.

On Tuesday 7/25 at 6:30 in Central Square, IS is joining up with Cambridge-Somerville for Change and Cambridge Area Stronger Together to phone bank for affordable health care. We'll be continuing to make calls to swing districts about the ACA, and also call key areas in MA about the Safe Communities Act.

At 6:30pm the #Mystic-Valley lab has its regular meeting at Chicken and Rice Guys on 64 Salem St in Medford. Have some good food and meet likeminded folk. Learn about the issues we’re working and the actions were taking to make an inviting community for all.

Then at 7pm, #Writing meets again at 6 Shady Hill Square in Cambridge. We're looking to beef up the content on the IS website to include more features and opinion pieces. Bring your ideas!

On Wednesday 7/26, the Energy & Environment lab (#ee) has its regular meeting. Even in a blue state like Massachusetts, there is a ton more we could be doing to mitigate environmental harms and lead the country on saving the planet. Find out about the initiatives #ee is organizing behind, and how you can get involved!

On Friday 7/27, #Action is back in its namesake at the Somerville Public Library on 79 Highland Ave for its weekly meeting.

Saturday 7/28 is another day with a lot going on. #Action will be showing up at Medford's Civic Participation Day from noon to 2:30 at the Condon Shell, 2501 Mystic Valley Parkway. Come meet candidates for local office, learn about local grassroots organizations, and find out how you can get involved. Attendees are also encouraged to help their neighbors by bringing canned goods or school supplies.

Also on Saturday, the City of Somerville will be holding another open house about the proposed citywide zoning plan, from 9 AM to 2 PM at the High School on 81 Highland Ave. City staff will be on hand to answer questions and take feedback. (Portuguese, Spanish, and Haitian translators are available. For disability accommodations, call in advance: 617-625-6600 x2323)

Last but not least, we will of course have Community Hours. This time they will be at the home of #ChoosingBattles co-lead Stacey McCullough in Arlington. (See our calendar for details and the exact address.)


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.