100 Rally

About 70 people attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Keene on July 4. It was organized by Conor Hill and two other people. Hill did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The Valley Post has interviewed him in the past and will post his comment in the “comments” section at the bottom of this article.

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Until now, no news outlet has covered a July 1 Code Pink rally in Northampton. Dozens of people attended the rally. The rally was to protest Trump's support of Israel’s annexation of the West Bank in Palestine. More information is at www.CodePink.org.

A Hot June for Valley Marches, Rallies

Democracy and the kind of extreme economic inequality that now exists in the USA are incompatible. Unions reduce inequality. In Brattleboro on June 15 there was a well-attended union rally, seen in the below photo. A follow up rally is set for June 22. Details are available from Sy Creamer, the union president. Her email address is at:

www.unap.org/unap-locals/brattleboro-retreat

A phone number is at:

www.unap.org/about/contact-us-2

To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “view full size image.” Then you can click on the photo to zoom in more.

Wins for Workers, Nature

Thanks to the work of activists in Springfield, 1.5 miles of abandoned train tracks will be turned into a rail trail. "The design for the McKnight Community Trail is in progress," Liz Stevens told the Valley Post on March 8. She is part of an all-volunteer group that has a web site at www.WalkBikeSpringfieldMA.org. "The actual construction of the trail is expected to happen in 2023.... On March 6, I walked on a section of the trail with Andy Krar, the city engineer, and saw work being done by... the company contracted to create the trail design. A crew was there to collect soil samples....

Workers Win

Thanks to the labor movement, on January 1 the minimum wage will go up to $12.75 an hour in Massachusetts and $10.96 an hour in Vermont. The New Hampshire minimum wage will remain at $7.25. In the 1930s workers went on strike around the nation, forcing politicians to pass the first minimum wage laws. To this day, unions lobby to raise the minimum wage. One of the most active unions in the Pioneer Valley and Brattleboro has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com. New Hampshire unions have a web site at www.nhaflcio.org.

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Local News Round-up

On December 6 there will be two climate rallies. One is in Springfield at noon outside city hall. The other will be at 3:30 p.m. at the main entrance to Mount Holyoke College. The organizers of both rallies can be reached via www.facebook.com/SunriseSouthHadley.

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On December 1 in Keene there was a rally to impeach Trump. “There were around 30 people there,” Jim Murphy told the Valley Post. Pat Brady Martin told the Valley Post, “The music at the rally was great.”

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Civil Disobedience

Three people from the Brattleboro area were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience on September 28 at a facility that turns coal into electricity in Bow, New Hampshire. In all, 69 protesters were arrested. “We cannot sit idly by as our world burns,” Abigail Mnookin of Brattleboro told the Valley Post after she was released from jail. “The fossil fuel industry receives billions in subsidies and our elected officials are allowing -- or encouraging -- this to happen. We must keep fossil fuels in the ground and make a swift, just transition.”

16 More Protesters Arrested

Sixteen people were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience between August 22 and August 27 at Wendell Massachusetts State Forest near Greenfield, bringing the total number of arrests to 25 since August 6. The goal was to stop planned logging of 80 acres of 110 year old oak trees on publicly owned land.

The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day. Stopping logging on publicly owned land forces logging companies to buy their own land. If the loggers want to grow new trees after logging, the land can't be paved.

Activists Fight for Nature

On June 25 a group that is fighting planned logging on publicly owned land near Greenfield said the logging will likely start soon. “On June 24, the loggers began installing gates on Carlton Road and Dirth Road in Wendell (Massachusetts) State Forest. Installing the gates definitely means the beginning of logging,” said James Thornley, a spokesperson for the group. “Gates are not an independent, unrelated factor. The loggers are paying to have these gates installed — they would not spend this money if they were not about to commence cutting.”

200 at Rally

More than 200 people attended a rally in Northampton calling for raises for workers at the city's public schools. At Northampton public schools, starting pay for cafeteria workers is $11.64 an hour; for custodians it's $12.01. Teachers' pay is below the state average. The workers organized the rally. They have a web site at www.nasemta.org. The rally was on June 12.

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More than 100 people were at a Northampton rally on June 15 calling on congress to impeach Trump. The organizers have a web site at www.IndivisibleNoho.com.

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Local News Round-up

In Springfield, pedestrian rights activists had a win May 30 when construction started on a $4 million project. “It's hard to imagine an intersection that is less friendly to pedestrians,” Stacey Beuttell told the Valley Post on June 3. She works for Walk Boston, a group that, despite its name, works statewide to make walking safer. Beuttell said the Springfield project is a victory. The intersection that will be fixed is at the corner of Alden, Walnut, Hancock, and Ashley streets. The mayor says it will be done by the end of next year.

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