Fight for the Trees

The USA is losing 6,000 acres of open space to development every day. In Easthampton, Massachusetts, people are saying “enough.” Easthampton borders Northampton and Holyoke. “When you cut out a good section of forest and replace it with houses, you've disrupted the environment, period! Anything you do after that to mitigate the situation never makes up for the habitat you destroyed in the first place,” John Bator told the Valley Post in an email. He's president of an Easthampton group that has a web site at www.pctland.org. Details about the battle are below.

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Big Win for Climate

In a major victory for bicycle and pedestrian activists, construction is underway on proper sidewalks and physically-separated-from-cars bicycle lanes in two cities, both of which border Springfield. The work is happening in the cities of West Springfield and Agawam. Springfield is home to 154,000 people, 69 percent of whom are people of color.

“This area has been a desert of bike infrastructure,” Galen Mook told the Valley Post in a voice phone interview on March 1. He runs the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition.

Rally to Abolish Police

The group Northampton Abolition Now organizes to move money from the police department into programs that make the community safe. On February 13 and 14, the group held a rally in Northampton. Dozens of people attended. A contact person for the group, Mary Jones, can be reached at (512) 413-5592 and mary.m.jones12@gmail.com.

She told the Valley Post, “We hope Mayor Narkewicz will shift the resources we now pour into policing, directly into community initiatives whose core aims are helping, healing, and sustaining people, rather than controlling them.”

The group has a web page at:

Rallies for Justice

In Greenfield on February 6, there was a Black Lives Matter rally. It was one in a series of weekly rallies at the town common. For every 100,000 black men in the USA, 2,306 are in prison. For every 100,000 white men in the USA, 450 are in the prison.

No nation keeps such a high percentage of its people in prison as the USA. Europe's rate is a third of ours.

This is the most recent data available. It's from www.PrisonPolicy.org. Nine people were at the Greenfield rally. The rallies happen every Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Taking it to the Streets

About 250 people attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Putney, Vermont on July 22. Putney is about 10 minutes from Brattleboro by car. Vermont has the nation's most racist prison system, which may help explain why it is one of the whitest states. Vermont sends prisoners to a private prison in Mississippi.

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Officer Fired for BLM Support

A Latina police officer in Springfield was fired for posting in support of Black Lives Matter on Instagram. Florissa Fuentes was fired on June 19, 2020. Yolanda Cancel ran for Springfield mayor last year. She won the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. Tanisha Arena runs the Springfield group Arise for Social Justice. Arena referred the Valley Post to Cancel. In a July 1 interview with the Valley Post, Cancel condemned the firing. Cancel provided the Valley Post with the below photos and comment. Also below is a photo of Cancel from her campaign web site.

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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.

First Rally Since Virus Began

The first labor rally in the Valley since the virus began – not including car rallies -- happened May 7 in Springfield. The below photo shows the rally. 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. The photo is by an employee of the union that has a web site at www.MassNurses.org and that organized the rally.

Jobs With Justice

More than 80 people took part in car rallies in Holyoke and Springfield on May 1. The same day in Brattleboro about 50 people took part in a car rally. The rallies were for workers' rights. The Massachusetts rallies were organized by the Pioneer Valley Workers' Center. The Brattleboro rally was organized by the Vermont Workers' Center.

Three Rallies on May 1

On May 1 there will be car rallies in Brattleboro at 12:30 p.m., in Holyoke at 2 p.m., and in Springfield at 4 p.m. The rallies are for workers' rights. All three are caravans. A similar rally in Greenfield on April 24 drew more than 100 people. The Brattleboro rally starts at the high school parking lot and will pass grocery stores and hospitals. It's being organized by the Vermont Workers' Center and other groups.