1,700 at Springfield Rally for Justice

There were rallies for justice in Springfield on March 31 and April 2. About 1,700 people attended the March 31 rally, which was the bigger of the two. The bigger rally was to support Trayvon Martin, and to protest racist police. There were similar protests around the nation. Martin was an unarmed African American teenager who was shot and killed in Florida in February by George Zimmerman. The government has failed to charge Zimmerman with any crime; he is free.

Springfield Rally to Tax the Rich Is March 19

On March 19, activists will rally on the steps of Springfield city hall at 5:30 p.m. to support raising taxes on the rich to help the poor. The event is being organized by the Springfield Coalition of the Campaign for Our Communities to support a resolution that's before the city council. The resolution is sponsored by city council member Michael Fenton. It urges governor Deval Patrick and the state legislature to support the “Act to Invest in Our Communities.” The Act would raise taxes on the rich to help the poor.

Bank Protest In Springfield Will Be On March 6

On March 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Springfield, there will be a protest against a multi-billion dollar corporation that is trying to force a poor family out of the family’s home. The protest will be in front of the DeCaro family home at 152 Lucerne Road.

Freddie Mac corporation is a mortgage bank in Virginia. It wants to evict the DeCaros. Freddie Mac’s C.E.O. is Charles Haldeman. He was paid about $6 million last year. American taxpayers gave the company tens of billions of dollars in recent years.

Vermont Imprisons African Americans at High Rate

More than 10 percent of the people in Vermont prisons are African American. Just 1 percent of people in Vermont are black. Curtiss Reed is director of the Brattleboro-based Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity www.VermontPartnership.org. That's a statewide group that fights
racism and has full-time employees. On February 22, he told the Valley Post, "Last week I testified to the (Vermont) House Judiciary Committee on behalf of H. 535." That House bill would pay for a study to try to find out why black people are so much more likely to be imprisoned in Vermont.

Springfield Nurses Rally Is February 28

Nurses are asking the public to join them at a rally for justice in Springfield on February 28 at 9:30 a.m. “We want the community to understand that we are very serious about retaining our union rights,” said Donna Stern. She’s a nurse at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. “Those rights are key to providing nurses the ability to advocate for better working conditions and safer patient care.”

The union rally will coincide with a corporate PR event. Baystate Health System Corporation will unveil its new $252 million hospital in Springfield.

Road, Sewer Workers Win; School Crossing Guards Organize

Workers at the Amherst Department of Public Works voted last week to sign a two year contract with the town. They maintain Amherst’s sewer and drinking water systems, run the garbage dump and recycling center, fix the town’s roads and traffic lights, and take care of the parks and trees. They belong to the AFSCME union www.afscme.org local 1725. They will get 1.3 percent annual raises.

Vehicles Kill Pedestrian, Seriously Injure Another, in Keene, Brattleboro

One of the best ways to prevent climate change, and to prevent some of the thousands of deaths that are caused annually by lung cancer caused by smog from cars and trucks, is to travel by walking or riding a bicycle. These modes of travel also reduce obesity. Obesity causes health problems that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars annually.

Labor Rallies Will Be in Northampton, Springfield

There will be rallies to support workplace justice in Northampton and Springfield. The Northampton rally will be on December 2 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The Springfield rallies are on November 28 and 29 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

15 Activists Arrested in Springfield

On November 21 in Springfield, 15 activists were arrested for protesting Bank of America's decision to force poor people out of their homes. Hundreds of supporters cheered at the downtown action. Protesters were arrested for blocking the entrance to a Bank of America branch, and for refusing to leave the bank's lobby, where they held signs and chanted, "Bank of America, bad for America." Outside, people inspired by Occupy Wall Street chanted, "We/ are/ the 99 percent."

(To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "See full size image." photos by Eesha Williams)

Civil Disobedience and March Planned in Springfield

On November 21, from 11 a.m. until about 2 p.m., there will be a march and optional non-violent civil disobedience in Springfield to protest banks that pay their CEOs millions while evicting poor people from their homes in the Valley. People will meet behind the Dunkin Donuts at Central Street and Main Street, Malcolm Chu told the Valley Post. Chu is an organizer with the group Springfield No One Leaves www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org

The group has been endorsed by the local chapters of the:

American Friends Service Committee www.afsc.org

National Lawyers Guild www.nlg.org

and