Notes from the Field...

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

Confronting Racism - Progressive Watertown Member Speaks at Rally

Richard Marcus is a member of Progressive Massachusetts and is on the Steering Committee of Progressive Watertown. Watertown's chapter held a series of forums on Race and the Criminal Justice System in 2016. He was invited to speak at the MetroWest Rally for Respect: Love Trumps Hate. 


The racism that threatened my father was not easily seen. 

On the day of my Mother & Father’s first wedding anniversary, they witnessed the Nazi Army marching into their home city of Vienna, Austria, under a cascade of flowers and cheers.

What my father had fled in his hometown of Berlin, was following him and it was time to flee again. Fortunately through luck and circumstance my parents were sponsored by a Jewish family in Dorchester and were able to flee to safety.  The special privilege that allowed me to be here today was that my father didn’t “look” Jewish.  My father’s family was fully assimilated and no longer practicing Jews, so my father was not circumcised.  When my father was stopped in the street by the Gestapo and was made to pull down his pants, he passed the test. Had he been I would not be standing here.

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Organizing Worcester for Progressive Wins

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Solving Transit and Traffic Problems in the Cambridge Corridor

PM Member Mike Connolly invites the Progressive Mass community to Saturday's forum on Transit and Traffic in the Cambridge Corridor. RSVP, on Facebook or this website. 



For the past few months, I have been working with members of the Mass. Budget For All coalition and the Cambridge Residents Alliance to organize a public forum on transportation issues in Cambridge and Somerville. The event is being co-sponsored by Green Cambridge, 350Mass. Transit Group, and the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance.

"Solving Transit and Traffic Issues in the Cambridge Corridor" will be held this Saturday, April 30th, from 2 to 5 pm at the Cambridge Senior Center (806 Mass. Ave in Central Square). Everyone is welcome to join us for conversation, light refreshments, and opportunities for public input on a topic that is vital to our future.

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We're Organizing to Take on Guns

america-and-guns.gifTwo recent New York Times editorials (Dec. 12 and Dec. 14, 2015) have called attention to the use of "Smart trigger locks" as an important piece of fixing our national problem with gun violence. Massachusetts can lead by an Attorney General mandate for such smart trigger locks on guns sold in Massachusetts. If Massachusetts takes this step, other states have pledged to follow. Progressive Watertown has made enacting Smart Trigger Locks a chapter priority.
Sign -- and share -- the petition and below, read more about their work, by Progressive Mass member and Progressive Watertown steering committee member, Richard Marcus. To get involved, contact:

6 people are killed by a design defect in Ford Pintos and Congress rushes forth with safety legislation.  Yet each year in the US, more than 30,000 citizens die to gun violence, and we follow a familiar pattern. A massacre, an outrage, another massacre, another outrage. Then nothing changes.
Congress not only sits on its hands, it ALLOWS it to continue. In 2005, Congress decided to indemnify gun manufacturers from product liability, removing another tool from the common sense toolbox.
Today 88 Americans will die from guns. Tomorrow, 88 more. They still don't act,  the next day another 88. That's 264 in three days! We can't wait for Congress. 
Massachusetts residents, there are steps we can take.  Our Attorneys General have a mandate over public safety, and our current AG has already exercised this mandate when she declared new regulations for online gaming. She can use that same authority to declare that all guns sold in MA must come with a smart tech gun lock that allows only the owner to use the weapon.   
A common sense approach to gun safety would be to treat guns like cars; you have to pass a course on rules, you must pass a test for usage, you must have a license to operate, you must register it, and you must have liability insurance. 
The NRA used to say you needed that for cars but not guns because cars kill more people. Except they don't...anymore. Because manufacturers and insurance companies demanded more and more automobile safety features (collapsible steering columns, seat belts, safety glass, etc.), guns kill more people each year, by a lot. 
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When We Organize, We Win! Housing Victory in Newton

Victory! Newton’s Board of Alderman Grants Special Permit for 28 Austin Street


As reported here, Progressive Newton has been working throughout 2015 with residents and other organizations to make the proposed development at 28 Austin Street in Newtonville a reality.

We are thrilled to report that on December 7, by a 17-6 vote, Newton’s Board of Alderman approved the special permit needed for the project to go forward.

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Progressive Watertown -- powering forward!

progwatertown.jpgOur chapters work on Progressive Mass’s state-wide priorities (legislation, campaigns, elections), such as Raise Up Mass, but they also organize locally around the issues important in their communities. We know that our strength comes from this energy and activism that comes straight from the citizen volunteers, and we want to share their work with you!

Progressive Watertown is one of our newer chapters, and is already off to a vigorous and successful start! Take a look at all they've achieved in their short history and their plans for the coming year, in this report by Sallye Bleiberg. Are you in Watertown/area and want to get involved? Sign up on Progressive Mass, and we'll help plug you in!

The approximately 40 dues paying members of Progressive Watertown have elected a steering committee of 19 co-chaired by Caroline Bays and Richard Marcus.  There are 120 people on the mailing list, welcome to attend all programs which are also open to the public at large. 

Collaborating Statewide

PW has been active this fall in obtaining signatures for several state-wide initiatives. 
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Progressive Newton Organizing for Housing

Our chapters work on Progressive Mass’s state-wide priorities (legislation, campaigns, elections), such as Raise Up Mass, but they also organize locally around the issues important in their communities. We know that our strength comes from this energy and activism that comes straight from the citizen volunteers, and we want to share their work with you!

First up: Progressive Newton’s tenacious fight for the Austin Street project, as part of creating a welcoming community for all and pushing back against increasingly unaffordable housing in their city. Take a look, with this update from Prog. Newton member, Robert Fitzpatrick.

austinstreet.jpgProgressive Newton strongly supports the Austin Street project, a proposed four-story building with retail space and 68 apartments in the city-owned Austin Street parking lot in the heart of Newtonville’s village center.

The Austin Street location is ideal for an apartment building: right on the commuter and bus lines and within easy walking distance of a supermarket, plus dozens of shops and restaurants.

It is exactly the kind of sustainable development Newton needs, especially now as soaring housing prices are putting our city out of reach for many.

For Newton to remain a welcoming and economically diverse community, we need affordable housing and a variety of housing options.

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