On April 29, there will be marches in Springfield and Keene calling on politicians to pass laws stopping pollution. The focus is on pollution that causes climate change. "Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet," according to the United Nations Paris Agreement, which was signed by the leaders of almost every nation in 2015.
Free, non-stop bus rides from Amherst and Northampton to Springfield are available for people who want to attend a February 11 rally to defend access to contraception and safe abortions. The Republican-controlled federal government is trying to limit access. The rally starts at 1 p.m. at 36 Court Street. Organizers have a web site at:
Dozens of people attended a rally to support reducing the prison population. The rally was outside the Springfield office of governor Charlie Baker. “People need opportunities for jobs, housing, and addiction treatment if we're going to reduce recidivism and incarceration,” Bill Toller told the Valley Post. He is on the board of the group that organized the rally. The group has a web page at:
More than 2,000 people marched in Springfield on November 13 to protest the policies proposed by Donald Trump. These policies include cutting taxes for the rich, cutting programs that help poor people, making it easier for oil companies to cause climate change, deporting immigrants, and banning abortion.
In Springfield, there will be a rally for LGBTI rights November 9 at 9 a.m. LGBTI means lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex. The rally will be outside the federal courthouse at 300 State Street.
At 11 a.m., a trial will start inside the courthouse. An LGBTI advocacy organization in the east African nation of Uganda is suing Scott Lively, a Springfield-based anti-gay extremist. “Lively has actively participated in the conspiracy to strip away the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in Uganda,” rally organizer Cathy Kristofferson told the Valley Post.
There will be a march to stop a planned fracked gas pipeline. The march starts in Agawam, Massachusetts on September 24 at noon. Agawam borders Springfield. Fracked gas causes climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.
The march starts at 1615 Suffield Avenue. More information about the march is at www.350ct.org. People in the Valley used marches and rallies to stop a similar pipeline that was proposed in the Greenfield area earlier this year.
Deb Bys has worked as a para-educator in Springfield public schools for the past 17 years. “My husband had a good job, so we were OK. Then he got laid off and we are struggling to survive," she told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on September 1. "A para starting out in the city makes about $15,000 a year, far below a livable wage. I make less than $20 an hour."
With Labor Day right around the corner, the Valley Post spoke with a worker at a Springfield-based union for an update. Grocery workers are negotiating their first union contract at Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Matt Szulborski told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on August 12. He works for United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1459. In February, the 42 workers at Wild Oats joined the union, which has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com.
The environmental group 350.org is promoting rallies on July 21 in Keene and near Springfield, in Hartford, Connecticut. The Keene rally starts at 6 p.m.; the Hartford rally is at noon. Hartford is about 30 minutes from Springfield by car; Amtrak and Greyhound provide non-stop service.
“If elected, Trump would be the only national leader in the world to outright dismiss the science of climate change,” said event organizer May Boeve.
The Keene rally is at 44 Central Square. The Hartford event will be at 31 Pratt Street.
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 and are asking the public to join them on picket lines. Some 39,000 striking workers are demanding a fair union contract. The company's CEO Lowell McAdam makes $18 million a year. But McAdam is refusing to give the workers job security or a good retirement, and wants them to pay more for health care. He wants to be able to force workers to work so far from their homes that they need to live in hotels for months at a time.