Notes from the Field...

...occasionally feature, from the work of our grassroots member activists and our chapters.

College Students Work to Put a Price on Carbon, All of Us March

Off the coast of New England, warming waters may have led to the collapse of the cod fishery that gave Cape Cod its name. In our daily lives, however, the effects of climate change have been harder to notice. The average temperature and precipitation patterns have changed even here in Massachusetts, but such shifts are masked by day to day and yearly variations. To change that perception, and to build support for carbon pricing, several student organizations from local colleges and universities hosted a viewing of the episode “Priceless” of National Geographic’s “Years of Living Dangerously” (season 1 is available here) and an expert panel discussion afterwards. 

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Watertown Hosts a Public Forum: What is the Role of the Media in a Democracy?

If you’re angry that Trump spewed lie after blatant lie during the election and yet somehow won, you’re not alone. As a candidate and now as President, Trump has consciously eroded trust in traditional news sources by wildly calling any unfavorable coverage “fake news”. Meanwhile actual fake news has some people convinced that Clinton was responsible for the murders of dozens of people, and that a pedophile ring was being run out of a pizza restaurant (also connected to the Clinton campaign, of course). Yes, really. During this election we’ve witnessed the alarming movement of conspiracy theories from the fringe to the mainstream.

Short of grabbing our Trump-befuddled friends and family members by the shoulders and shaking some sense into them, what can we do to fight this disinformation campaign? What can we do to prevent ourselves from being taken in by half-truths and outright lies, and what can the responsible journalists do to stop their propagation?

To get to some answers, Progressive Watertown hosted the public forum "What is the Role of the Media in our Democracy?” last Sunday, April 2nd.

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Protecting the Earth from Supervillains, Locally

A Congress that is set on gutting environmental protections. An administration filled with climate change denialists and close friends of the fossil fuel industry. It looks like the environment will have a tough time over the next few years if we don’t step up big league at the local level to protect it.

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Hundreds Strong for Progressive Pioneer Valley

Unstoppable! That’s what we are.

230 of us crammed into the library community room on Monday night, representing critical movements up and down the Valley. The energy was amazing, and we accomplished three big things:

1- In 17 breakouts, we dove deep into climate justice; LGBTQ rights, race and anti-hate; economic justice and the foreclosure crisis; immigration, and voting rights and democratic engagement.

2- We clarified how Progressive Massachusetts’s concrete legislative and electoral resources can augment the region’s heroic grassroots movements.

3- We triumphantly announced the first Progressive Mass chapter in western Mass: Progressive Pioneer Valley!

 

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Worcester: Rally in Solidarity with Immigrants

Progressive Worcester endorses tonight's rally in support of the immigrant and refugee community. 

Please show up in solidarity and reject the toxic policies of Trumpism from creeping into Worcester. After the Rally, see it through, stay for the City Council meeting. City Council must hear from you. 

And remember,

We can take action as a state. But the Legislature must act.

The Legislature can pass the Safe Communities act, to establish 'sanctuary' in Massachusetts, and protect vulnerable communities under Trump's coming policies. Right now, Legislators are choosing which bills they will choose to highlight with their co-sponsorship.

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The Human Toll of Austerity, or What Got Left out of Baker's State of the State

During his State of the State speech last Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker congratulated himself on his commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic. He also congratulated himself on curtailing public spending in order to reduce the deficit without raising taxes. These priorities, however, are in fundamental conflict.

In December, in an act largely buried by the news around the presidential transition, Governor Baker unilaterally cut $98 million from the state budget, taking the axe to a wide range of programs. Among the agencies hit was the state Bureau of Substance Abuse Assistance (BSAA), which faced cuts of nearly $2 million. This money is neither an abstraction nor a rounding error: this is money that would be used to hire treatment and prevention coordinators, as well as to fund various treatment and community programs that directly combat addiction in local communities.

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Jeff Sessions and Criminal Justice in Massachusetts

Do you know what North Korea and the United States have in common? They have similar per capita rates of incarceration, among the highest in the world. But lately some states have used an approach called justice reinvestment to dramatically cut the number of people in prison while continuing to lower crime rates, saving money in the process. In Massachusetts, a few bills are up for a vote this legislative session that take this approach to justice reform.

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