Protesting Trump's Wall

On February 18 there were rallies around the Valley calling on Congress to stop Trump's planned border wall and his “state of emergency.” Borders serve mostly to keep the world's poorest people out of rich nations.

The average white person is richer than the average black person in the USA and around the world because thousands of years ago, white people got lucky – not because, as racists say, white people are smarter or work harder.

Peace Action; 3,560 Acres Saved

On February 12 at 1 p.m. there will be a peace march and rally in Amherst. The event will start with a rally outside the main entrance to the Campus Center building at the University of Massachusetts.

Almost half of this year's entire federal budget of about $3 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart

With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends at much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

Two Marches Planned

A Springfield group is planning a march against police brutality. In about a decade, from 2006 to 2017, police brutality lawsuits cost taxpayers in Springfield some $3.9 million. On January 30, 2019, a jury ordered the city to pay another $250,000 to another victim of police brutality. “The march will be in May or early June,” Ellen Graves told the Valley Post in a phone interview on February 4. She works for Arise, a group that has organized well-attended marches in the city in recent years. The group has a web site at www.AriseSpringfield.org.

Grocery Workers Win Big Raises

In Northampton, about 100 grocery store workers who are union members saw their minimum wage go up from $12.50 to $15 an hour on January 7. “I'm excited,” Brian Pamaylaon told the Valley Post in a phone interview on January 11. He has worked at the River Valley Co-op for two years. “This means I will be able to start saving to buy a house, or so I will have money in case of an emergency.”

350 Acres Saved

On December 28 a land trust announced it had saved 50 acres of land in Harrisville, New Hampshire. Harrisville is about two miles from Keene.  The land trust has a web site at www.HarrisCenter.org.

On December 18, a land trust that has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org announced it had saved 300 acres of land in Dublin, New Hampshire. Dublin is also about two miles from Keene.

The USA is losing about 6,000 acres of open space every day.

Critical Mass Planned; Workers Win

Critical Mass bicycle rides started in 1992 in California and have since spread around the world. Hundreds of people ride together in a group on roads, forcing cars to go at bicycle speed. They often chant, “Critical Mass, don't use gas!”

There will be a Critical Mass ride in Brattleboro. It starts December 21 at the town common at 5:45 p.m.

The goal is to get politicians to deal with climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

Wins for Workers and the Environment

About 80 workers at the Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate newspapers are forming a union. The out-of-state corporate chain that owns both papers is fighting the workers. The workers are asking the public to attend a rally on November 27 at 11 a.m. at 115 Conz Street in Northampton. The workers are also asking people to sign a petition at:

www.massjwj.net/news/2018/11/19/stand-with-the-workers-at-the-daily-hamp...

Hundreds at Rallies: Tax the Rich, Stop Climate Change

President Trump wants to cut taxes for billionaires, and help fossil fuel companies make climate change worse. In the Valley on November 8 and November 10, hundreds of people attended rallies calling on politicians to fight Trump's agenda. Raising taxes on billionaires would make it possible for the government to cut taxes for everyone else, improve Amtrak, and help poor people in Africa, among other possibilities.

Valley Train Activists Celebrate

In June, more frequent passenger train service is scheduled to start between Greenfield and Springfield with stops in Northampton and Holyoke. It will connect with trains to New York City. “I'm cautiously optimistic that it will start in June,” Tim Brennan told the Valley Post on November 5. He runs the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, a government agency with 47 employees.

100 Union Jobs Hang in the Balance

The 100 or so union workers at a paper factory in Brattleboro are trying to save their jobs. The Georgia-based company that owns the factory says it will fire them all and close the factory. “We're working with other paper companies whose workers we represent to help one of them buy the Brattleboro factory,” John Shinn told the Valley Post on November 1. He's a top leader at the Steelworkers Union, which represents the workers at the Brattleboro factory, and which has a web site at:

www.usw.org/districts/4/contact