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

Springfield Labor Rally Is Nov. 10

On November 10 at 5 p.m., workers will rally in Springfield to protest a company that violated laws protecting workers’ right to form a union. The public is invited. A union election will be conducted by mail starting November 14. Ballots will be counted on November 30, said Ivette Hernandez, one of the workers who will vote on whether to join the Service Employees union Local 509.

Occupy Wall Street Rallies in Valley

Some 700 peaceful protesters were arrested in recent days in New York City. The Occupy Wall Street protesters’ web site says, “We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.” The protesters' web site is:

www.OccupyWallSt.org

Local Rallies for Public Transit, Peace, Justice

On September 17, 19, 20, and 21, there will be rallies in Springfield and Northampton calling for better public transportation, for peace, and for justice. On September 20 in Springfield, a 90 minute rally will start at 11 a.m. at the corner of Main Street and Liberty streets. The rally will oppose a plan now in Congress to cut 35 percent of federal funding for public transportation. Details are at www.SupportTransit.org