450 at Abortion Rights Rallies

About 450 people attended rallies in Northampton and Brattleboro on May 21. The rallies were calling on politicians to guarantee women's right to safe, legal abortions. “We had a great turnout,” Debby Pastrich-Klemer told the Valley Post. She was the MC at the Northampton rally. About 300 people were there, Pastrich-Klemer said.

10 Arrested for Civil Disobedience

Two students at Keene State College were among a group of 10 people who were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the New Hampshire statehouse. They were protesting a Republican effort to make it harder for people to vote. “It went really well,” Robby St. Laurent told the Valley Post in a telephone interview. He is one of the Keene students. The other was Jackson Brannen. In a phone interview Brannen told the Valley Post. “There were over 100 people there supporting us. It was a powerful moment. We want Governor Sununu to sign House Bill 106.” The arrests happened on May 7.

Ruth Moody Concert is May 12

Ruth Moody will play at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on May 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $23. You can hear one of her songs at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7LVzdyImdA

Climate March is April 22

In Northampton on April 22 there will be a march calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. The march will start at 5 p.m. at 129 Main Street. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/249294522680797

On April 9, five people from the Brattleboro area were among hundreds who completed a 65 mile, five-day march to the Vermont statehouse calling on politicians to do more to fight climate change. Among the five were Tara Bossard-Kruger, Nancy Braus, Byron Stookey, and Ann Zimmerman. The march organizers have a web site at www.350vermont.org.

31,000 Stop and Shop Workers Strike

On April 11, hundreds of Stop and Shop workers in the Pioneer Valley went on strike. They joined 31,000 Stop and Shop workers in other parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The Pioneer Valley workers have a web site at www.ufcw1459.com. They need people to boycott Stop and Shop, and show up at their picket lines, if they are going to win.

Low wages are one of the main reasons workers went on strike. Stop and Shop is owned by a corporation based in Holland that has about 370,000 employees, including about 2,000 in western Massachusetts.

Rally: Tax the Rich

On April 11 at 7 a.m., a bus will leave Springfield to bring people to a rally in Boston to call for raising taxes on rich people to help poor people and the environment. The bus will leave from 1381 Liberty Street. The Fair Share amendment is a proposal to amend the Massachusetts constitution. It would create a tax of an extra 4 percent on the part of a person’s annual income above $1 million. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on public schools, public colleges and universities, and public transportation, among other things.

Photo: Eastern Screech Owl

This photo of an Eastern Screech Owl was taken in Northampton. "Eastern Screech Owls are active at night and are far more often heard than seen—most bird watchers know this species only from its trilling or whinnying song," according to Cornell University's web site. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photo by Joe Oliverio

Protesting Trump's Wall

On February 18 there were rallies around the Valley calling on Congress to stop Trump's planned border wall and his “state of emergency.” Borders serve mostly to keep the world's poorest people out of rich nations.

The average white person is richer than the average black person in the USA and around the world because thousands of years ago, white people got lucky – not because, as racists say, white people are smarter or work harder.

Local News Round-up

About 130 tutors who are employed by the Keene public school system are planning a rally to demand justice. They may even go on strike, even though that is illegal. “We currently have 128 tutors with 14 positions still not filled for this school year,” Kathy Twombly told the Valley Post on January 19. She is a tutor in Keene and she is president of the tutors' union. Twombly's union is part of a bigger union that has a web site at www.nea.org.

She wrote a powerful essay explaining the tutors' demands. The full essay is at:

www.facebook.com/kathy.twombly.3/posts/10157120253007948

Grocery Workers Win Big Raises

In Northampton, about 100 grocery store workers who are union members saw their minimum wage go up from $12.50 to $15 an hour on January 7. “I'm excited,” Brian Pamaylaon told the Valley Post in a phone interview on January 11. He has worked at the River Valley Co-op for two years. “This means I will be able to start saving to buy a house, or so I will have money in case of an emergency.”