To Protest, 330 Rally, 14 Quit Jobs

About 250 people marched for Black Lives Matter in Northampton on September 5. They also attended a rally. The Pioneer Valley Workers Center promoted the event. According to the group's web site, “The Pioneer Valley prides itself on being a hub of the local food movement which values sustainability, buying local, and fair trade, yet the jobs of those who serve food in its restaurants are characterized by low wages, few benefits, discrimination, no voice at work, and little opportunity for advancement. Currently it is employers and consumers who dominate the dialogue around the food systems in our region while the voices and interests of workers are left unheard.... Direct action (is) needed to create the systemic change that improves conditions for all food workers.”

A large percentage of McDonald's workers are African American, according to


About 80 people attended a rally in Springfield on September 3 to protest a proposed biomass plant in the city. It would convert trees to electricity. “The rally went very well,” Tanisha Arena told the Valley Post. She runs one of the groups that organized the rally. Arena's group has a web site at

According to:

“Biomass power is polluting, emitting greenhouse gases, worsening the climate crisis, and emitting air pollution that harms vulnerable communities. Biomass is expensive and dependent on subsidies that take resources away from truly clean energy alternatives like solar and wind.”

A biomass plant is being proposed in Brattleboro too. Abby Mnookin of the group 350 Vermont told the Valley Post her group is fighting the scheme.

The biggest cause of climate change and air pollution is overpopulation. The Center for Biological Diversity works nationally and employs dozens of lawyers. Stephanie Feldstein is the group's population and sustainability director. On June 23, 2020 she told the Valley Post, “We can’t ignore the reality that global population has more than doubled in the past 50 years and continues to rise. If we don’t address population growth through reproductive freedom and gender equity, our efforts to fight climate change will always be an uphill battle. And this isn’t just a problem in other countries – the average American has a carbon footprint 700 percent larger than the average person in most African countries, yet nearly half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned. The climate crisis demands action on all fronts. We must simultaneously shift to clean, just renewable energy, hold polluting corporations accountable, transform our food system, and expand human rights to stabilize our population. When we avoid talking about population, we’re not only leaving out a critical piece of the puzzle to reduce emissions and advance reproductive rights, but we miss an opportunity to confront xenophobia and inequality as perspectives that have no place in the environmental movement and that interfere with real solutions.”

According to

“In just 2.3 days the average American or Australian emits as much (carbon dioxide) as the average Malian or Nigerien in a year.”

While the chances of stopping climate change may seem small, in 1989, the chances of Nelson Mandela -- who was then seven years into a life sentence in prison -- becoming president of South Africa were also small. In 1994, Mandela was elected president and one of the world’s most brutal and racist governments was overthrown.

In the United States, 155 years ago, ending slavery and granting women the right to vote both seemed unlikely. Mass movements of ordinary people won justice.


Fourteen of the 60 or so “residential life” workers at Keene State College quit their jobs during the first two weeks of this semester to protest inadequate virus safety measures.

SEIU Local 1984 is a union with 10,000 or so members that represents many of the people who work for the New Hampshire state government, of which Keene State College is a part. Rich Gulla is president of the union. He told the Valley Post the college's residential life workers aren't members of his union. But, he said, “this seems to be an overarching theme in this pandemic. As a union we are always willing to work with the employer to create a safe and productive work environment for all.”


In Brattleboro, members of the ACLU are working to get the Vermont governor to not renew the state's contract with a private prison corporation in Mississippi. Vermont sends prisoners to Mississippi to save money. The contract is up for renewal October 1. To help go to


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