Notes from the Field...

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

Senate Republicans Aren't Hearing So Well

At least not when it comes to Trump's Cabinet nominees. In their rush to confirm, they have skipped over some crucial steps of the vetting process. If we don't make them slow down and do their jobs properly, we may end up with a Cabinet who will serve only themselves, not the American people.

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JP Progressives take on Criminal Justice Reform

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Report from the field  -- JPProgressives convened a community conversation on mass incarceration, following the lead of their chapter members. Engaging with neighbors, activists, advocates and legislators, JPP is doing the work of bending the arc towards justice. By joining the Jobs Not Jails coalition, the JP chapter of Progressive Mass will continue to represent progressive grassroots commitment to social justice, and help lead the organization to productive engagement and action. The chapter invites you to join the JNJ rally on Dec 13. More details are below.

Criminal Justice Reform is a core objective of our Progressive Platform. The Massachusetts Legislature will reconvene in January. Our Legislative Agenda will once again indicate which bills need our advocacy to get us closer to the goal of undoing the injustices of mass incarceration. Stay tuned for more from us on the legislative front. 


 More Than 150 Neighbors Attend Forum in Jamaica Plain to Discuss Mass Incarceration

This year, a standing room only crowd of nearly 200 people filled the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain for a forum on the problem of mass incarceration.  The event was organized by JP Progressives, whose members had previously established mass incarceration as their top social concern.  The forum was co-sponsored by 10 other organizations, including the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Mildred Hailey Tenant Organization, Black Lives Matter Boston, and the Jobs Not Jails Coalition.

The keynote speaker at the event was Rahsaan Hall, Director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program.

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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. 


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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. 


 

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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: progressivewatertown@gmail.com

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

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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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