Events roundup

Just when you thought it was safe to take those Congressional offices off your speed dial, "Repeal and Replace" is back with a vengeance and a fresh dusting of sulphur. It is absolutely vital that wavering Republicans know that the opposition to this monster is as strong as it's ever been, and the consequences for embracing it this time will be no less dire than they would have been any of the times before.

At the same time, we realize that you cannot physically make calls continuously. Therefore, we give you permission to put that phone down for a few minutes and read this week's edition of IS Events Roundup. It's short!


In review

Ooooooklahoma!
Two of our leads, Nina Vyedin and Sean Edwards, flew to Oklahoma (on their own dime) over the weekend to visit our Indivisible friends there. We’ve had a really successful collaboration with them for months through the Red State Rising project, and it was exciting to finally meet in person. Stay tuned for a full rundown from Sean and Nina, coming soon!

DACA Rally On Saturday, Indivisible Somerville joined a coalition of grass root organizations participating in the "Stop Deportations, Defend DACA" rally and march in Boston. Our man on the spot, the inimitable Keith Bernard, sets the scene:

Gathering at the Common in front of the State House, we listened to rousing speeches from DREAMers like Carlos Rojas Alverez and members of the Latino Medical Student Association at BU. Various speakers asked the crowd not only to defend DACA but also to honor the sacrifices their parents made, to provide clear paths to residency and citizenship and to keep their families together.

“You will not turn the African American black people against our Latino brothers and sisters,” said Tito Jackson, mayoral candidate for Boston, coming out strong against the xenophobic agenda of our current administration. Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association said: “This isn’t about just welcoming our students, it’s about taking steps to protect our students and their families.” The crowd of hundreds lead by a marching band then marched through the Common and into Downtown crossing, chants echoing off of the buildings as we made our way to the JFK Federal Building. Zayda Ortiz, Lead of Indivisible Mystic Valley, was invited to speak and she reminded us all it was Mexico’s Independence Day, re-enacting a Mexican Independence Day tradition called “¡El Grito!” (the Cry to Freedom): “¡Que Viva los Dreamers! ¡Que Viva la libertad! ¡Que Viva Boston!”

Muslim Festival
Indivisible Somerville had a table at the Second Annual Muslim Festival, held on Sunday in Malden. Here is a report from our aforementioned indefatigable organizer Zayda Ortiz:

On Sunday, the Action and Mystic Valley labs joined forces again in support of our Muslim neighbors, and to let them know what IS is all about. We offered voter registration, information about the Safe Communities Act and our organization to the public. We also asked kids and adults alike to add a ring to our “Links of Hope.” We provided color paper and pens and asked everyone to write or color a picture with a personal message of hope, and then linked to everyone else’s who attended. Upwards of 4000 people attended, including several local politicians, and some visiting from as far away as Chicago. There was delicious food, great music, and activities for all ages.


Labs

  • Energy & Environment meets on Thursday 9/21 at Bloc Cafe in Union Square, from 7 to 8 pm.
  • The Action Lab will meet on Friday 9/22 from 10 am to noon at Somerville Public Library.
  • And for those of you who have had to miss out on Action Lab meetings, rejoice — for your time in the sun moon is at hand: our first-ever Evening Action meeting is on Thursday, 9/28 at 7 PM in Union Square. Exact venue TBD. Watch this space!

Events of interest

Friday 9/22: DACA Renewal Project
If you or anyone you know has DACA authorization, The Welcome Project will have lawyers on hand to help with renewals from 4–6pm. If you know someone who needs assistance, make sure you tell them about The Welcome Project’s clinic — there will also be another one next week.

Sunday 9/24: 2017 Somerville Democratic City Committee BBQ
Mix, mingle, and eat with other local Dems! The Somerville Democratic City Committee is holding its annual picnic at Powderhouse Park from 12–3pm. If you want to volunteer or enter some deliciousness in the bake sale, contact diane.masters@gmail.com. Suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children.


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

…and we're back! As you may recall, Indivisible Somerville held a organizational "shut down" last week, giving our hardworking members a chance to recharge. It was a bit of an experiment, and we had varying levels of success staying away from IS work. One thing seems consistent, however: we're all eager to get back into the fight.

There was one notable exception to the shutdown week: the DACA decision on Tuesday, which motivated many Indivisible Somerville members to come out in defense of the nearly 8,000 Dreamers who call Massachusetts home. Mystic Valley lab lead and immigrant activist Zaida Ortiz filed this report from the State House rally:

The vigil at the State House organized by Centro Presente featured speeches and delivered letters to Speaker DeLeo, Senator Rosenberg, and Governor Baker, asking them to speak out in support our Dreamers by passing the Safe Communities Act. Somerville’s Representative Mike Connolly pledged his continued support to the immigrant community. The program was closed out with the inspirational story of immigrant student activist and dreamer Carlos Rojas Alverez.


Events

Decisions, decisions… Two labs meet on Thursday the 14th at 6 pm: Family Lab and Red State Rising. Here are their pitches.

Red State Rising will be at Marjie's house — 15 Westwood Rd in Somerville. We’ve been working hard to develop some intake and tracking systems, thinking through (and screwing up and re-thinking through) some options, and would value the chance to fill everyone in, get your input and “train” all on what we’ve got so far. There will be blueberry crisp. Bring your laptops if you can, and we hope to see you there.

Family Lab will be meeting at the Somerville Library. This lab is meant for parents, grandparents, guardians, children, teens — anyone who wants to learn and get active with their family! We're going to pick up where we left off at our last meeting (but please come even if you couldn't join us in August!) and do some more planning for work to address an issue that is current and important to the kids.

Once you've dealt with that harrowing choice, the next day's lab attendance decision should be much easier, at least if you don't work a 9-5 office job: IS's flaming sword of justice, a.k.a. Action Lab, will be meeting at its usual time and place: 10 am at the Somerville Library.

This weekend, there are two big events we'd like to bring to your attention.

On Saturday, the Boston May Day Coalition is organizing a rally in defense of DACA and against deportations. The rally begins at the State House at 1pm, and will be followed by a march to the JFK Federal Building. Trump and his cheerleaders in the U.S. Congress are leading a generalized assault on our lives, rights, and living conditions. The leading edge of this assault today is the stepped up attacks against migrants. The government in Washington has stepped up attacks on migrants to levels not seen in years. Enough is enough!

On Sunday at noon, the 2nd Annual New England Muslim Festival will be held at 195 Canal St in Malden. Learn about the Muslim community, support local Muslims and immigrants, and push back against hatred! There will be entertainment with music from Turkish bands and African drummers, food trucks, and representatives from many Muslim organizations throughout New England. We'll also have a table there, where you'll find voter registration materials, postcards to send in support of the Safe Communities Act, and fun activities for kids.


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

Welcome to your Events Roundup. This is a light one. Enjoy!

Small steps

Since our last Roundup on Wednesday, we had our second IS "Drinkup" - at Cantina La Mexican in Union Square. A fun time was had by all. Here is a photo of Creative Lab lead Danielle Chapdelaine drawing on her takeaway box, because she is just that creative — she literally never stops.
Action met on Friday. From the looks of their meeting minutes, they had an incredibly productive meeting. In addition to the usual discussion of small-a actions, there was tantalizing discussion on the future of Action Lab itself. Several regulars were assigned roles, such as trackers for particular issues, liaisons with other organizations, and publicists for events. They also have begun working on a document to solidify the Action Lab's identity. Most excitingly, there is a new evenings/weekends Action meeting in the works, for those of us who work 9-5 schedules. More on that soon!

Outreach put on our monthly orientation for new members on Sunday. Look at these beautiful people:

Labs

Speaking of new members, Outreach has its bimonthly meeting on Tuesday 8/29 at 7pm, in Somerville's Diesel Cafe. We're trying to make it easier to get involved with IS, so if that's something you'd like to help with, this is a meeting for you.

Our monthly Leads meeting is on Wednesday 8/30.


Shutdown week!

For the week of 9/3 through 9/9, we're trying something new. Indivisible Somerville is run by a crew of passionate volunteers doing creative, often demanding work. Rest is an important ingredient in any quality endeavor, so for Labor Day week, we'll be powering down to give our members and leads time to catch up on home life. This means that there will be no lab or general meetings, and our communications channels will mostly go silent. We will of course still be following the news, and will organize in the case of an emergency. Otherwise, we will return in full swing on Sunday the 10th, refreshed and ready to charge forth into fall.


Horizon

IS will have a table at the upcoming Somerville Dog Festival, on Sunday 9/10 at Trum Field (541 Broadway,
Somerville). It is a chance to play with dogs and introducing them (and their owners) to Indivisible Somerville. You also get to hang out with one of our wonderful leads. Sign up here!

On Sunday 9/17, IS will be at the New England Muslim Festival, handing out postcards, registering voters, and spreading awareness about our org. We need folks to staff our table, and in general we also want as many IS folks as possible to attend! The festival will be held from noon to 6 pm at 195 Canal St, Malden, MA.


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

Welcome to your post-rally, post-eclipse IS Events Roundup. Let's begin.

Small steps

If you've been with us for a while, you know that this is the section of the events roundup where we review what we've done in the last week. In this case, the name is more fitting than usual. My pedometer tells me I walked about 14,000 steps at the march on Saturday. Assuming that was typical, and that the Boston Police crowd estimate of 40,000 is accurate, that totals up to 560 million steps — but since this is all rough anyway, let's just round that down to half a billion. Half a billion small steps against hate, Nazis, and white supremacy. Not bad, Boston.

The march itself, in a word, was joyous. It's ironic that it was in protest of a self-styled "Rally for Free Speech" because it's hard to imagine a bigger celebration and expression of free speech than the one that marched up Tremont Street from Roxbury to the Boston Common. People waved flags and wore stickers honoring Heather Heyer, the young activist who had been murdered a week before in Charlottesville. The march was shot through with song (courtesy of a New Orleans style brass band) and dance (courtesy of a swing dance troupe). Early on, a bunch of marchers clustered around on the ground, stencil spray painting bandanas. Toward the end, one of the socialist contingents burst out with the chant, "We're Here! We're Queer! We're Socialists, Don't Fuck With Us!" It was a hot day, but anonymous heroes flitted around the crowd, offering bottles of water and Gatorade, puffs of cool mist, and in one case, puffs of incense (which was unexpected, but wonderful). A few people handed out flowers, at least one of which ended up in a policewoman's hair.

The Fight Supremacy march capped off a week in which IS members showed up for several rallies. It began on Tuesday, when Indivisible Somerville, along with other Indivisible chapters across the country, joined with Action Network to defend the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) & TPS (Temporary Protected Status) programs. DACA and TPS protect over a million people who call our country home. In 2012 the DACA program allowed thousands of young people to be protected from deportation, attend college and work legally to help support their families. The TPS program helps people whose countries are unsafe due to civil wars, natural disasters or other extreme circumstances.

A handful of Republicans are attempting to take away these programs, and have given Trump a deadline of September 5th. At noontime, members of our Action lab joined Jobs for Justice, MIRA, and SEIU to rally in front of the State House. We again asked Charlie Baker to stop his racist agenda against our immigrant neighbors and to pass the Safe Communities Act. State Rep. Mike Connolly spoke about the SCA as well as DACA, and reminded us not to forget Francisco Rodriguez, who is still incarcerated: unable to see his wife, daughters, or newborn son.

On Wednesday, in what turned out to be but a small preview of what was to come on Saturday, the City of Somerville held a rally and vigil in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville and all those who showed up there to stand up against white supremacy. Many IS members showed up to the event in Davis Square, entitled "Our 'Ville Stands with Your 'Ville". We ran into Somerville Councilor-at-Large candidate Will Mbah, heard speeches from Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone and Rep. Michael Capuano, and saw State Rep Mike Connolly through the overflowing crowd.

On Thursday, it was Indivisible Mystic Valley's turn to shine, as its members did double duty, representing at rallies in both Malden and Medford.

First, at the Malden Unites Against Hate vigil, they joined their neighbors to create a "chain of hope" in which links were attached to one another, literally binding together the hopes of the community. The chain was then presented to the Mayor and city council members, symbolically entrusting them with those hopes.

Also on Thursday, at the "Resisting Hate Medford #ICUrally", Indivisible Mystic Valley joined members of the Interfaith Clergy Association to speak out against hate and violence. Reverend Wendy Miller-Olapade led a small exercise where the crowd joined in small circles and said to one another “I SEE YOU” — the intertwining theme of the evening. Laura Rotolo of the ACLU gave a rousing keynote speech. “When I talk about systemic racism," Rotolo said, "I talk about a system where our boardrooms and our government are filled with mostly white men, and our prisons are filled with mostly people of color. This system enslaves us all by causing injustice on all of us."


Around the labs

We like to check in with lab leads to hear about how their meetings have gone, and pass on their reports to you. Without further ado…

Creative Lab lead Danielle Chapdelaine:

The 8/17 Creative meeting was a great meeting full of IS newbies, creative lab vets and everyone in between. We went over what #creative does, what our ongoing projects and longterm goals are, and what tools we use. Breaking down into smaller groups allowed members to talk about specific projects and how to get involved. Oh, and there was pizza.

Mystic Valley lead Zayda Ortiz:

We had several new attendees, including connectors into the Malden Dems, and reviewed current initiatives such as the Mural. We talked about the local elections in Malden/Medford as well as maybe helping out the Malden Dems with a voter drive.

Red State Rising leads Marjie Alonso and Keith Bernard:

Red State Rising solidified our mission to help fellow Indivisibles in red & purple states meet their needs by offering training and technology assistance. We discussed our current relationships with partner groups and defined a clear, technology-enabled process of managing relationships with groups. Our next meeting is July 31st at the Shed in Union Square.

This week

We only have one lab meeting coming up: Action is at its usual time and place: 10 am on Friday at Somerville Public Library.

However! If you're looking for something to do on Thursday night, do not despair! For we have the return of our legendary #drinkup social night. It's the Indivisible folks you love (or will love, if you haven't met us yet) but without all the PowerPoint slides, phonebanking, or dedicated slogan brainstorming. And this time, it's at a brand new location: La Cantina Mexicana. Like our usual haunt, the Independent, it is in Union Square. Unlike the Independent, it a) is not currently closed for renovations, and b) has a Thursday night special: buy a pitcher of margaritas and get FREE NACHOS. Yeah, that's right. We'll see you there. 6:30 to 9:30.


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 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.