Events Roundup

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day, and welcome to your Events Roundup. We've had a busy week, so let's get started.

In Review

We'll start with where the last Roundup left off: our quarterly Org Meeting. It was our first since switching from a monthly to a quarterly schedule, and our first ever at a new location. Under the circumstances, one might have expected us to be a bit rusty, but afterwards there was general agreement that we had pulled off our tightest, most organized Org Meeting to date, without sacrificing any of the excitement of prior outings.

Among the evening's highlights:

• The lab formerly known as "Choosing Battles" now has an official name, and a website. Visit It's Our Call to find out all about this exciting project.

• Indivisible Somerville is throwing its support behind the Welcome Project's new Rapid Response Network, which aims to provide immediate support to the families of immigrants detained by ICE. They need volunteers! To find out more, email volunteer@welcomeproject.org.

• We had a bang-up quarter, welcoming 155 new members, two new lab leads, and a whole new lab (Evening Action).

• At the Org Meeting itself, we raised $229, 100% of which will be donated to relief efforts in Puerto Rico. If you would like to donate, Venmo @indivisiville or go to http://paypal.me/indivisiville. Make sure you include "PR" in your payment description.

Although today, Monday 10/9, is Indigenous Peoples' Day, it was Saturday on which Native groups and allies held a Sinking Columbus protest. Members of Indivisible Somerville took part in the event, which began with speakers at Park Street Station, and culminated in a march to the Christopher Columbus statue at the Seaport. Here's the skinny on how it went down, courtesy IS organizer Ashley Tartarilla:

In Saturday, IS members joined the Indigenous Peoples' Day rally and march in an effort to end the public celebration of Christopher Columbus, a man who symbolizes white supremacy, colonization, and imperialism. Protesters marched from Boston Common to the Christopher Columbus statue by the waterfront. The statue was "decorated" with posters depicting an honest telling of history, and speakers denounced the myth surrounding the "discovery" of America. In a final solemn and sacred gesture, the group turned to face the harbor, and prayed for the healing of Indigenous people present and past, and the Earth that sustains us all.

The march is an annual event hosted by Indigenous Peoples' Day Massachusetts, who are working tirelessly to pass legislation in the Commonwealth to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, as an officially recognized holiday.

The next day brought another action, this time of a much more lighthearted nature: Indivisible Somerville took in the great Somerville tradition, the HONK! Parade, in which activist street bands from around the country and even other countries march and raise a joyous ruckus for justice. This year we just carried a banner and a tambourine, but we're already starting to plan for next year's showing. Oh yes, we'll be back — and next time we're bringing the noise.


Coming up

This is happening in just about an hour from the sending of this message, but we mentioned it last week so hopefully you marked your calendars: we're hosting a Candidate's Forum tonight with Newton Mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Setti Warren. It will be held at the Green Room, at 62 Bow Street, from 5:45 to 6:45. He will speak, followed by a Q&A. This is a rare chance to meet a rising star in the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and quite possibly our next Governor, in an intimate setting. So be there, and bring your tough questions. :)

Tomorrow, 10/10, the Outreach Lab meets at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square from 8 to 9pm.

On Thursday, 10/12, Red State Rising meets at 15 Westwood St. in Somerville from 6 to 7pm. Right on its heels, the second-ever Evening Action meeting will be held at the Green Room, from 7 to 8.

The next morning, 10/13, the never-to-be-cowed-by-superstition Action Lab has its regular Friday morning meeting at 10am at the Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave.

On Saturday morning, 10/14, Community Hours are back! This week they’ll be hosted by Melissa Green at 14 Lincoln Parkway, Apt. 2 in Somerville. Chill with your favorite ISers, get some work done, have some snacks. It’ll be bomb, because it always is.


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 10/9 and 10/10

Lots of repeats, because lots of bills we support need an extra push—and at Indivisible Somerville, we don’t give up.

Monday

Passing the ACCESS (Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State) bill, H.536/S.499—which guarantees coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and supplies, including sterilization, without a copay—is even more critical, now that the Trump administration has gutted the ACA requirement for employer health plans to pay for birth control. For more information on the bill, see this guide from NARAL.

Let’s urge our our legislators to pressure the chairs of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, where the bill is under consideration, to report ACCESS out favorably as soon as possible so that it can go to the floor for a vote. Three Somerville/Cambridge legislators are members of the committee—Senator Sal N. DiDomenico and Representatives Marjorie C. Decker and Christine P. Barber.


Tell Congress to lift the Jones Act for Puerto Rico. The 3.5 million Americans there needs help, and the Jones Act is a major obstacle to their receiving aid in a timely, cost-effective way. It levies tariffs, fees, and taxes on foreign registry vessels, and the extra costs get passed on to the Puerto Rican consumer. Trump’s 10-day exemption has already expired, so let’s use this tool from Our Revolution, complete with talking points and phone numbers, to tell our congressional representatives to remove this impediment to Puerto Rican recovery.


Tuesday

Thanks to public pressure, several major environment bills—including increasing the Massachusetts renewable energy mix (H.2700, S.1880), carbon pricing (H.1726, S.1821), and removing the solar net metering cap (H.2706)—had positive hearings, with an outpouring of support from citizens and members of the legislature. They’re all sitting in the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy now, waiting to be reported out.

It’s time to contact our legislators and ask them to pressure the committee chairs to report the bills out favorably and bring them to the floor for a vote.

SCRIPT: Hello my name is [NAME], and I’m calling from [CITY] to ask the [senator/representative] to pressure the chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy to report out favorably several environment bills whose hearings showed overwhelming support. The bills I’m concerned with are H.2700, S.1880, S.1821, H1726, and H.2706. I appreciate your support in moving along these important protections for our environment.

For extra credit, you might call the committee chairs themselves, Senator Michael J. Barrett (617-722-1572) and Representative Thomas A. Golden (617-722-2263).


Let’s ask our friends and family members in other states to tell their legislators to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a successful program with wide congressional and popular support, which Congress nevertheless allowed to expire on September 30. CHIP provides health insurance, and thus health care, to nearly 9 million children nationwide through federally funded, state-administered block grants, and some states have already begun to run short of funds. Direct your friends to the Indivisible Team’s CHIP page, where they’ll find information about when their states’ funds will run out, as well as a script for calling Congress.

The Good News

After months of campaigning by housing rights activists, Boston City Council approved the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act, which will inform tenants facing evictions of their rights and protections under state law. This is a huge win for local activism!


The Mass. Senate is poised to consider a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would reform everything from the bail system to mandatory minimum sentences and fees and penalties that weigh heavily on low-income defendants.


The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, a coalition of 17 insurance providers, has backed the ACCESS bill for comprehensive contraceptive access. They’d previously opposed the bill.


The Cambridge City Council unanimously passed an order to create a fund that would reimburse DACA application costs for Cambridge residents.


Judges keep ruling that the Trump team’s attempts to wipe out significant chunks of the Obama environmental legacy violate federal law. This week, a federal court ruled that the administration broke the law when it tried to delay compliance with rules curbing so-called flaring, a technique oil and gas companies use to burn off leaking methane.


Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. were close to being charged with felony fraud in 2012 over misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo. When Trump’s attorney intervened, the charges magically disappeared. This story came to light as the result of intensive investigative reporting by ProPublica, WNYC, and The New Yorker—and that in itself is good news.


In a sharp rebuke to President Trump’s expanded deportation orders, California Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark “sanctuary state” legislation vastly limiting whom state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration authorities.


Ben & Jerry’s has signed an agreement with farmworker leaders from Migrant Justice ensuring that all dairy farms that supply them with milk provide humane conditions and fair wages for their workers and creating an enforcement strategy that encourages workers to speak up about violations.


36-year-old progressive Democratic candidate and Morehouse alum Randall Woodfin became the youngest mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, this week, defeating the two-term Republican incumbent by a near 20-point margin.


An Interior Department executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump administration reassigned him for disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities resigned this week. Dozens of other senior executive service personnel were suddenly reassigned in June, and the department’s inspector general is probing whether those reassignments were legal.


The inspector general for the Interior Department has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel during seven months in office, from his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes to his mixing of official trips with political appearances.


The EPA inspector general’s office announced that it planned to expand a preliminary investigation into Scott Pruitt’s air travel.


Four organizations—the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women's Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State—announced lawsuits against the Trump administration’s new rules allowing employers to drop insurance coverage for contraception, less than two hours after they implemented the changes.


And Maura Healey announced that day that she’ll immediately sue the Trump administration over the new regulation.


Massachusetts’ only Confederate memorial, which has been boarded up for four months, will be removed from Georges Island after Columbus Day weekend.


A Texas judge ruled against Trump's voter fraud commission, saying state officials would violate state privacy laws if they provided voters’ personal information to commission members.


An attorney for the state of Hawaii said in a letter to the Supreme Court that the state is planning to challenge President Trump’s new travel ban. The ACLU and other advocacy organizations have also announced they’ll challenge the ban.


Global organization Oxfam criticized the U.S. government's “slow and inadequate response” to the crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The organization will pursue a two-pronged approach to help the island, advocating for an overall improved response to the disaster and supporting local affiliates who are on site in Puerto Rico and can provide relief.


Puerto Rico’s governor has proposed switching the island over to a microgrid system that would localize the production of electricity to smaller regions, each of which would be powered by a small-scale power plant, such as a compact solar array or a few wind turbines.


A German provider of energy-storage systems will install microgrids to provide electricity for at least 15 emergency relief centers in Puerto Rico.


Two charities cleaning thousands of bikes left behind at Burning Man plan to donate them to hurricane victims.


While Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch spoke patronizingly about gerrymandering, trying to make the argument that the Supreme Court couldn’t involve itself in issues of redistricting on a state level, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg shut him down with just eight words: ““Where did ‘one person, one vote’ come from?” Her response invoked previous court precedents that made it clear that the court could tell states how to run their elections to ensure fairness and equality. And Justice Sotomayor grilled Wisconsin’s attorneys with tough and pointed questions.


Two former officials who worked on the sign-up campaigns for ACA health insurance exchanges when Barack Obama was president launched an initiative called Get America Covered to stand in for the administration's dramatically scaled-back efforts and get the word out about enrollment season. You'll want to follow them on Twitter.


Congress passed the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act making it a core priority for U.S. diplomatic, development, and military personnel to include women in preventing and resolving conflicts.


People stood in lines hundreds deep across Nevada to donate blood for victims of the Las Vegas shooting.


Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to ban the device the Las Vegas shooter used to make semi-automatic weapons fire more rapidly. Legislation to ban bump stocks has gathered bipartisan support rapidly over the past few days.


Rex Tillerson called Trump a "fucking moron" and nearly resigned this summer, according to NBC News. In response to the story, Tillerson denied considering resignation but did not deny the moron comment.


Representative Tim Murphy, a leading abortion opponent, announced he won’t run again after a story surfaced that the married Republican had asked a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair to get an abortion.


Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said he will not vote for a tax plan “adding one penny to the deficit.” This could be a major obstacle for the GOP tax plan.


Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized the Trump tax-reform framework after a think tank issued a report finding that many middle-class taxpayers could see their taxes go up.


A transgender woman who was beaten and threatened with death when she refused to collect extortion money for a Guatemalan drug cartel, was raped and tortured by Guatemalan police, and received death threats from coworkers because of her gender identity gained asylum in the U.S. this week after advocacy by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Hundreds of conservative grassroots supporters streamed into Washington, D.C. to rally for renewable energy and tell Congress why it’s critical to the county’s future.


TransCanada killed its controversial $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline proposal.


The Justice Department plans to unveil a new initiative to increase protections for women facing sexual harassment by landlords, security guards and other rental property staff


The City of San Francisco expanded its recycling program for the first time in 15 years so that residents can now put empty paper cups, paper cartons, plastic bags and bubble wrap into their blue bins.


The dean of Harvard Medical School (HMS) sent an email saying that HMS will now be recognizing "Columbus Day" as Indigenous Peoples' Day.


Saying he can “no longer stay silent” about police brutality, Michael Jordan donated $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations.


State Street Corporation, parent company of the investment firm behind Wall Street’s Fearless Girl statue, agreed to pay a combined $5 million to more than 300 women and 15 black employees who were paid less than their white, male counterparts. Looks like the statue is inspiring them as well!


General Electric announced it’s working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future, with two new fully electric models next year and at least 18 more by 2023.


The Senate Judiciary Chairman said there’s no way to avoid a public hearing for Donald Trump Jr., and Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said, "Before this is over with, we will know everything about the Don Jr. meeting.”


Robert Mueller's investigators met with the author of the Trump dossier, Christopher Steele, this past summer as part of an effort to learn if people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives broke any laws.


Trump's associates had two more previously undisclosed contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to documents turned over to congressional committees and the special counsel. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was invited to a conference in Russia that would be attended by Putin and he received a second proposal for a Trump-branded Moscow project during the campaign. Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, low-level foreign policy advisers, and now Cohen were all contacted by Russians with interests in business and politics in the weeks before or after Trump accepted the nomination.

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

Events roundup

Last week we had our first ever evening action meeting!

It wasted no time living up to its name: on Sunday, members from the group met at Market Basket & collected signatures to get paid family medical leave on the 2018 ballot.

Also on Sunday, the Mystic Valley lab tabled at the Hispanic Heritage Celebration in Malden. Here’s a report from Zayda Ortiz:

The Mystic Valley Lab introduced themselves to the Malden’s Hispanic community at the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. It was filled with fun: bouncy houses and fantastic pupusas, mariachi music and dancing.

We were there to collect signatures for ballot initiatives, offer voter registration, and speak with our neighbors about Indivisible. We ran into many municipal candidates running for both school committee and city council. The election is Nov 9.

Our urgent initiative right now to educate and give out postcards for the Safe Communities Act. The bill is still languishing in committee, despite overwhelming community support for our immigrant neighbors.

That same afternoon, we had a Leads meeting, mostly centered on planning today's Org meeting (read on for details). We also discussed our evolution into an official, legally recognized non-profit, and our completely overhauled and redesigned website – both coming soon!

Looking ahead

Thursday 10/5 (TODAY for most of you reading this)

Org meeting!! It’s back, in a brand new, awesome location — Canopy City (14 Tyler St). The meeting begins at 6:30pm. Afterwards, we’ll head over to Aeronaut for beer and food.

Friday 10/6

Action lab meets at the usual time, Friday at 10 at Somerville Library.

Saturday 10/7

Be part of the IS contingent at the Indigenous Peoples' March. It starts at 1 PM at Park St. and ends at the Christopher Columbus statue in the North End at 3PM. More details are available at the Mass Peace Action website and the official Facebook page.

Canvass for local alderman candidates with Our Revolution Somerville. Meet at Ward 1 Alderman Matt McLaughlin’s house at 50 Flint St to get started — he’s also firing up the grill so there will be BBQ FOODSTUFFS when you return from your route! State Representative Mike Connolly will also be stopping by to chat. If you’ve never canvassed before, it’s totally okay. There will be an optional, short training before you’ll be sent out with a partner. RSVP and learn more about the event on Facebook.

Sunday 10/8

IS is joining the parade — the legendary HONK! Parade that is. Join us! We will assemble at 11am in Davis Square, in the parking lot behind Starbucks. We'll have the IS banner. Colorful clothing, noisemakers and glitter are strongly encouraged.

Monday 10/9

Come to the Meet & Greet with Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Newton Mayor Setti Warren, from 5:45-6:45 at the Green Room. He'll be speaking, followed by a Q&A.

Calling All Volunteers

We are looking for someone to help coordinate a Handmaid Coalition protest on October 14, a Saturday, to support women's rights and the ACCESS bill. The job will involve e-mail coordination with the state organizer for the event (who is a bit short on time) and creating a Facebook event or other online info source. (The protest itself will meet outside the State House, then do some photos at locations in Cambridge.) We have other folks who can help organize costumes.

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 10/4 and 10/5

Wednesday

Our members of Congress have spoken out for the country’s 800,000 Dreamers (9,030 in Massachusetts). Now we need them to push for the DREAM Act (S.1615 / H.R.3440), which would give DACA recipients and others who arrived in the United States as children a path to permanent lawful status and eventual citizenship. As Republicans try to change the subject to taxes and confuse things with their watered-down alternative to the DREAM Act (the SUCCEED Act), we’ve got to keep Congressional phones ringing with support for the DREAM Act. Let’s call Senators Markey (202-224-2742) and Warren (202-224-4543) and our representatives and urge them to include a clean DREAM Act in any must-pass legislation. The script below is derived from the Indivisible Guide. You can find their full suggested dialogue here.

SCRIPT: Hello, My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [ZIPCODE]. I’m extremely concerned about President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA protection for 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children. I appreciate the [Senator's/Representative's] support for DACA, and I want to urge him/her to push to include the DREAM Act in any must-pass bill scheduled for a vote this month. Thank you.

Thursday

Spread the word that ACA health insurance open enrollment starts in one month. Since the president cut advertising budget by 90%, it’s up to us.

Many thanks to Jen Hoffman for this one.