Activists: 'Healthcare is a Human Right'

About 400 people attended rallies in Amherst and Keene on January 15, declaring, “Healthcare is a human right.” President-elect Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are planning major cuts to programs that provide free or reduced-price health care to poor people. The Amherst rally was also intended to protest plans to cut Social Security.

About 200 people were at the Keene rally and about 200 attended the rally in Amherst. The rally in Keene was organized by the Monadnock Progressive Alliance, which has a web page at:

www.facebook.com/groups/MonadnockProgressiveAlliance

Quabbin National Park Proposed

A new group is working to stop clear cut logging in the Pioneer Valley's biggest area of protected open space. The activists want to do that by persuading politicians to convert the 87,000 acre Quabbin state forest into a national park. Of that area, 58,000 acres is land, the rest is water. Stopping logging on the land would make it more profitable for logging companies to buy forestland that might otherwise be turned into houses, roads, Walmarts, and parking lots. Logging companies can be required to log sustainably, not using clear cut logging. This kind of rule exists in Vermont.

Photos: March, Rally in Solidarity with Native Americans

More than 100 people marched in Brattleboro September 13 in solidarity with Native Americans in North Dakota who are fighting to stop a proposed oil pipeline. On the same day in Amherst, about 100 people attended a rally for the same cause. Both events were promoted by www.350.org. The Amherst photo shows the activists standing in a circle on the town common; they also held signs at the main downtown intersection. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." The Brattleboro photos are by Eesha Williams; the Amherst photo is by Gilbert Wermeling.

Environmental Victory

Activists saved 65 acres of land in Amherst and 45 acres in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Belchertown borders Amherst. Protecting land from development is one of the best ways to stop climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life. Most of the money for protecting land comes from the government; politicians decide how much to invest in saving land, versus tax breaks for billionaires, war, and prison for non-violent people.

Photo: Verizon Workers' Picket Line

This photo shows Verizon workers on strike in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst, on April 14. One of the people in the photo is Jack Stankowski. He lives in Deerfield, Massachusetts, near Greenfield. He has worked at Verizon for 19 years. In winter, he often has to work on top of telephone poles. "I'm here for the working class," Stankowski told the Valley Post. "Corporations just want to take, take, take."

34 Climate Protesters Arrested

At UMass Amherst, police arrested 34 people for non-violent civil disobedience on April 12 and April 13. The protesters were calling on the university to divest from fossil fuels. More information is at their web page: www.facebook.com/divestUmass.

Local News Roundup

On March 7 at 1:30 p.m. in Springfield activists will hold a rally to stop a bank that wants to evict a low-income family from its home while the bank's CEO makes millions of dollars a year. The rally will be at 139 Maebeth Street. Details are available from rally organizers, who have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org. They have had a number of recent victories. Details, and photos, are at:

www.valleypost.org/node/1101

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March to Stop Climate Change

To fight climate change, activists are organizing a march and rally in Northampton and a march in Amherst. Both are on November 29. The march starts at 5:30 p.m. at Northampton high school and goes to city hall, where a rally starts at 6 p.m. The Amherst rally will be at 6 p.m. at the town common.

More information is available at www.350.org. Phone and e-mail contact info is at:

http://350mass.betterfutureproject.org/contact_us

Photos: Hundreds at Rally for Free College

In Amherst on November 12, hundreds of people attended a rally to call for tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, and a $15 an hour minimum wage for college and university employees. The rally was at the Student Union building at UMass Amherst. The organizers have a web site at www.phenomonline.org.

photos by Ferd Wulkan

10 Arrested at Protest

Ten Valley residents were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at a protest against fossil fuels in Boston October 22. “It went really well,” Gabriel Shapiro told the Valley Post in a telephone interview. He lives in Amherst and was one of the people who were arrested.