Hundreds March

On March 15 in Springfield about 50 people attended a rally calling on politicians to pass stronger gun control laws. The first photo, below, shows the rally. James Debney is CEO of gun maker Smith & Wesson, which is based in Springfield. The photo is by Liz Steinhauser. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” The two groups that organized the rally have web sites at www.bPeaceForJorge.net and www.PioneerValleyProject.org.

Workers Unite

On March 10 in Chicopee, Massachusetts hundreds of Stop and Shop workers came to a union meeting and voted unanimously to give their elected union leaders the power to call a strike. Chicopee borders Springfield and Holyoke. Low wages are one of the main reasons workers voted yes. Stop and Shop is owned by a corporation based in Holland that has about 370,000 employees, including about 2,000 in western Massachusetts. Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.

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.

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.

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.

Workers Unite

Twenty-five workers formed a union in the town of Monson, Massachusetts, about four miles from Springfield. They drive school buses for a multinational corporation. “A worker needs to have a union,” Clifford Nurse told the Valley Post. He lives in Springfield and drives for the same company, First Student. “I work for a giant corporation. I can't fight them by myself. With the union, I can. First Student has tried to fire drivers because their bus got rear-ended.”

The below photo from his Facebook page shows Nurse.

Victories

A giant corporate bank wants to evict a low-income family from the family’s home in Springfield. The community is fighting back. On October 17 at 6 p.m. there will be a rally outside 91 Deepfield Road. The public is invited to attend. The event organizers have a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org. They have had several victories in Springfield.

Local News Round-up

Thousands of people marched in Northampton for the Women's March in January 2017 and January 2018. Debby Pastrich-Klemer helped organize both marches. On October 1, 2018, she told the Valley Post that the next Northampton Women's March will be on January 19, 2019.

A Victory for the Environment

The USA is losing 6,000 or so acres of open space every day. But here in the Valley, about 640 acres of farmland and forestland were permanently protected from development. A land trust based in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, about 9 miles from Greenfield, announced the news on August 2.

1,000 Rally for Immigrants

In the Valley, more than 1,000 people attended rallies against president Trump's immigration policies June 30. The rallies were in Springfield, Greenfield, Brattleboro, and Keene. The same day in Boston, more than 15,000 people marched from city hall to the statehouse to protest Trump's immigration policies. People from the Valley were at the Boston march. “No borders, no nations, stop the deportations!” thousands of people chanted.