Workers Win

Workers in the Valley walked off the job April 13 as they joined the biggest strike in the USA in five years. They work for Verizon. Community supporters joined them on picket lines in Springfield and in Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst. On June 1, the strike ended with a major victory for the 39,000 or so striking workers. Their wages will increase by 11 percent.

Two Rallies

In Greenfield on May 25, there was a rally for workers' rights. In Springfield the next day, there was a rally for environmental protection. The below photos show the Springfield protest. “The rally in Greenfield went really well,” Amanda Brooks-Clemeno told the Valley Post in a telephone interview May 27. She was at the event. Brooks-Clemeno lives in Worthington, Massachusetts, near Northampton, and works as a teacher at the Collaborative for Educational Services, which is funded by the state. The rally organizers were calling for higher wages for the teachers.

Salmon Return

About 200 years ago all the salmon in the Connecticut river in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut died because of pollution caused by humans. Before that, tens of thousands of salmon lived in the river. Now, thanks to the work of environmental activists, wild salmon are returning to the river and laying eggs.

CJ Chenier Concert is February 5

CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band will perform in Northampton on February 5 at 7 p.m. CJ Chenier was born in 1957. According to his web site, he “spent his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas.” Chenier played with Ringo Starr on Paul Simon's album Rhythm of the Saints. Chenier performed with Simon on a concert tour. A video of CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band performing live is at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMMSv2WpYKw

Greenfield Cop Publicly Displays Confederate Flag

A sergeant in the Greenfield police department hung a Confederate flag in his garage and left the garage door open so the flag was visible from the public road. In a photo, the flag appears to be about 25 square feet. A police sergeant is a boss of police officers. The flag was visible at 85 Shelburne Road. The sergeant is Daniel McCarthy.

March Against KKK

About 85 people marched through downtown Brattleboro November 5 chanting, “Hey hey, ho, ho, the KKK has got to go.” On October 29, someone put KKK literature in the mailboxes of two African American women in Burlington, Vermont, that city's police chief said. The KKK, whose membership is limited to white people, is responsible for the murder by lynching of hundreds, and possibly thousands, of African Americans in the USA between 1877 and 1950. The KKK still has thousands of members.

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Grassroots Victories

Activists in Springfield are celebrating recent victories. Bank CEOs who make millions of dollars a year wanted to evict poor people from their homes. Because of grassroots activism, they failed. Earlier this year, a group known as Springfield No One Leaves (SNOL) held a rally outside the home of Deb Graham, who Chase Bank was trying to evict. “Chase Bank heard the message loud and clear,” said Malcolm Torrejón Chu, an organizer with the group. “Deb just bought her home back for $100,000 – a 44 percent principal reduction -- and her payments are $650 less than before the foreclosure.”

Peace Action

New Englanders who refuse to pay taxes that fund war will speak at a free public event October 16 in Amherst. Almost half (45 percent) of this year's entire federal budget of $2.9 trillion is being spent on war. That’s according to:

www.WarResisters.org/FederalPieChart

For more information on the Amherst event, which will include a speech by author Frida Berrigan, contact Daniel Sicken (pronounced See-kin) at (802) 387-2798 or dhsicken@yahoo.com. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at 120 Pulpit Hill Road.

Blues Concert Review

Luther Johnson and the Magic Rockers performed an excellent, public concert in Northampton on July 25. The Iron Horse Music Hall appeared to be almost sold out. The audience applauded enthusiastically after all the songs. Johnson sang, "She said, 'Luther, you don't have to be a superstar, I love you just the way you are.'"

A highlight was Johnson's version of the Jeannie Cheatham song "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On."

Photo: Brattleboro Peace Rally

Parker Huber has stood in front of the Brattleboro main post office every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. for the past 12 years holding a sign that said, "Silent Witness for Peace." Earlier this year, a new postmaster told Huber he would be arrested if he continued his weekly vigil. Brattleboro resident Steven K-Brooks appealed to the postmaster's boss and apparently won. K-Brooks organized the rally, which happened on May 29 and was attended by 12 people. “Brattleboro's long tradition of free speech on the post office sidewalk was reaffirmed,” he told the Valley Post.