Rallies for Abortion Rights, Affordable Housing

In Northampton on January 20 about 65 people attended an abortion rights rally, organizer Marisol Pierce Bonifaz told the Valley Post. The event was organized by the group Generation Ratify Amherst.

A major cause of climate change is overpopulation, according to:

www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/climate/

The average American produced about 15 tons of carbon dioxide last year. The average Ugandan produced about 0.1 ton. The average Swede produced about 4 tons. That data is from:

https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions-metrics

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In Brattleboro, there was rally to call on politicians to do more to build homes for homeless people. About 100 people were there, Fred Breunig told the Valley Post. One of the groups that organized the event is Groundworks Collaborative. Dan Handy works for Groundworks Collaborative and referred the Valley Post to Breunig. The rally was on January 18.

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On January 22, Sally Loomis told the Valley Post that Hilltown Land Trust, which she runs, saved 132 acres of forestland in the Massachusetts towns of Goshen, Conway, and Williamsburg. All three towns border each other; Northampton borders Williamsburg.

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In Northampton, about 50 people attended a rally protesting Israel's war on Gaza, Sanza Parzybok and Oscar Patterson told the Valley Post by email on January 6. They organized the rally, which was on December 19. The organizers are students at the public high school in Northampton. The interview, which was facilitated by the school principal, was delayed by the school's Christmas – New Year's holiday, and by the Valley Post's annual vacation which was from January 7 -- 25.

The organizers said, “We were calling for a permanent ceasefire, but also wanted to spread education about the atrocities occurring in Gaza and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. We wanted to hold our government accountable for the billions of dollars of military aid sent to Israel, and for funding a genocide. Our walkout promoted peace, and we made it very clear that there was no place for anti-semitism or Islamophobia.”

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On January 23, Brattleboro resident Diana Whitney gave the Valley Post permission to publish the following, which Whitney wrote:

I was disturbed by (the Brattleboro Reformer daily newspaper's) biased reporting on the termination of former Brattleboro high school principal Steve Perrin (“Former BUHS Principal Perrin Lawsuit in Discovery, Wrongful Termination Count Dismissed,” January 16).

(The Reformer reporter) quotes extensively from Mr. Perrin’s attorney, foregrounding the perspective of the alleged perpetrator, without giving equal weight to the victim’s experience. Even more harmful, (the reporter) refers to the student who allegedly endured sexual harassment and mistreatment by Perrin when she was a high school sophomore as a “woman.”

A 10th grader is a girl — a minor — not a woman. This mistake reveals the same misogynistic bias seen in the reporting on Jeffrey Epstein, when many media outlets, including the New York Times, referred to his victims as “underage women.”

As Megan Garber writes in her incisive piece in The Atlantic (“Jeffrey Epstein and the Myth of the ‘Underage Woman’”, August 15, 2019): “There is no such thing as an ‘underage woman.’” Garber observes that this erroneous reporting “suggests an American culture that remains reluctant to equate the interests of powerful men and the interests of vulnerable girls.”

This culture is alive and well in Brattleboro, where the protection of self-described “child molester” and longtime BUHS English teacher Zeke Hecker continues. It is alive and well in the delayed investigation into decades of sexual abuse in our school district, whose results have not been shared with the community with any kind of transparency or accountability.

In future reporting, I ask The Reformer to clarify the facts for readers. Mr. Perrin is alleged, in his capacity as principal, to have inappropriately handled the rape of a student and to have sexually harassed her over a period of time. This student was 15 or 16 years old. Mr. Perrin was fired by the WSESD for these allegations, and for a third count related to a separate incident in 2020, of instructing at least one employee not to report harm to a different student, then age 14, as mandated by law.

When Mr. Perrin was provided with an appeals hearing as prescribed by statute, the board upheld its decision to fire him. His attempt to claim “wrongful termination” was dismissed by the court. As the public knows, Mr. Perrin received his annual salary of $120,000 for over six months while enjoying an extended leave in 2022. He is currently trying to get more money from the district through his lawsuit.

It is essential that The Reformer cover the issues of sexual violence and abuses of power with accuracy and journalistic integrity.

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