Volume 2, Issue 12 The Newsletter of Minuteman Indivisible March 20, 2018
Muster (verb) – assemble, especially for inspection or preparation for battle
We hope to see you at the March for Our Lives in Boston this Saturday, March 24th. Check the Morning Coffee Actions and Upcoming Events sections for schedule updates, transportation options, ways you can help support the March, and information on marches happening in other locations. The Morning Coffee Actions section also provides details on steps you can take to restore funding for research on gun violence prevention and lobby for critical gun control legislation here in Massachusetts.
We've become big fans of using postcards to help candidates and share our views on important issues. This week's Muster has an action that extends that concept to using postcards to help encourage eligible voters to register and vote! It also has information on the most recent "Postcard to Voters" campaigns, including two here in Massachusetts and another for a special election to help flip a congressional seat in Arizona.
Our Spotlight section usually focuses on team activities or key issues, but this week, it features an article that one of our members asked to write containing his impressions of the Minuteman Indivisible Board. If the article piques your interest, there are several openings on the Board - contact any board member using the emails in the Get Involved section at the end of this newsletter for more details.
We were surprised and delighted by the response to the fundraising letter we sent out earlier this month. We greatly appreciate your generous donations and vote of confidence in the work that we are all doing together. Thank you!
Your Devoted Muster Editors
MORNING COFFEE ACTIONS
(Actions you can do while enjoying your morning cup!)
Protect Special Counsel Mueller's Investigation
Over the weekend, Trump's attorney called for an end to Robert Mueller's investigation, while the President sent out a series of angry tweets about it. While some Republicans warned Trump against interfering with the special counsel's work and the White House issued a statement saying that Trump is not "considering or discussing" removing Mueller, please be prepared to join protests that are already being planned if Trump takes steps to impede the investigation (including, but not limited to, firing Mueller) and continue to ask MoCs to support legislation to protect the investigation.
Sign up for the Mueller Rapid Response protests here. Have your T-shirt and sign ready and tell your friends to signup too! Rallies are planned nationwide, including more than 25 here in Massachusetts.
Please also ask your MoCs to co-sponsor existing bipartisan bills to protect Mueller's investigation and ask your friends in other states to call their MoCs. Senators can co-sponsor these bills to protect against a Mueller firing: S. 1735, introduced by Senators Graham and Booker, and S. 1741, introduced by Senators Coons and Tillis. Representatives in the House can co-sponsor H.R. 3771, led by Representatives Cohen and Jones.
March and Lobby to Prevent Gun Violence
Join us this Saturday, 3/24 at the Boston March for Our Lives. The organizers are still looking for donations and volunteers; you can also purchase merchandise to help defray their expenses. They would like people to register using this link so that they can plan appropriately and have posted schedule updates, planning tips, and other actions you can take to help prevent gun violence (including lobbying for ERPO legislation in MA) here. MI is organizing carpooling - click here before Thursday, 3/22 if you need a ride or are willing to offer one. Lyft is offering free rides to marchers, and groups in some local communities, including Lexington and Wayland, are organizing bus transportation to the Boston March.
Want to participate in the March, but can't make it to Boston or prefer to attend a smaller event? Our friends at Indivisible Acton are helping to organize a March in Chelmsford and discuss the pros and cons of attending a big march in Boston or a smaller one here. You can get details on the more than 800 sister marches being planned on every continent here.
Support Federal Funding for Research on Gun Violence Prevention
For more than 20 years, the Dickey amendment has restricted the ability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research ways to prevent gun violence. Senator Markey has introduced legislation (S.834) that would provide funding for the CDC to conduct or support research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention and recently 25 of his Senate colleagues joined him in a letter urging a key Senate Committee to take action on it. Please thank Senator Markey for introducing and fighting for this bill which would allow the CDC to fund studies like the ones described in this recent article. If you have friends and family who are represented by Senators who did not sign the letter, please ask them to call these Senators and urge them to support this bill.
Sign Up for a Postcard Party to Encourage New Voters
Our friends at Sister District are engaging in a postcard campaign encouraging under-represented groups to register to vote in specific parts of the country. We'll need ALL the voters in November, so this campaign is a welcome initiative. The postcard party in Lexington this week is currently full, but follow this link to learn how to host a party or attend one in Cambridge this Thursday, 3/22, or in another nearby community.
Send Postcards to Voters for MA Candidates
We're incredibly enthusiastic about Postcards to Voters personalized approach to getting voters to the polls. We've had postcard parties for the special Senate election in Alabama and our Weekday Warriors team has sent postcards for several candidates, including Conor Lamb, at their monthly meetings. This week, Postcards to Voters announced campaigns for two Massachusetts candidates. Jim Hawkins is running to fill a vacant State Representative seat previously held by a Democrat, but is being outspent by Republicans in this special election scheduled for April 3rd. They also announced a campaign for Emily Antul, who is running against several incumbents for a seat on the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. It's really easy to do this on your own. The various ways to get started are described here. They will send clear instructions and once you're registered, you can request as many names as you like for any of their campaigns.
Bring the Blue Wave to AZ-08
Conor Lamb's stunning win in PA-18 shook the political landscape, causing many in the media to predict a tsunami of Democratic wins in November. Let's help keep the momentum going in a special election in Arizona's 8th district on April 24th! Dr. Hiral Tipirneni is an emergency room physician who believes in expanding Medicare and in treating gun violence as a public health issue. You can sign up to phonebank for Hiral here or to send postcards to help get out the vote for Hiral using this link if you're already registered with Postcards to Voters.
Bridging the Red/Blue Divide
Every month, the MI Book Club meets to discuss timely books that can inform our strategy and actions and help us achieve our goals. Last week, during our discussion of Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild, we examined how her stories of Tea Party conservatives in Louisiana might help us understand why people support Donald Trump and explored whether it's worthwhile to spend time having a structured conversation with conservative voters closer to home, an option we'll be investigating further. If you haven't read the book, you can watch videos of the author discussing her work on the PBS Newshour just before the presidential election, at Harvard's Kennedy School a year ago, and just recently in a conversation with Robert Reich. She will also be in the Boston area in early April, giving a free talk at the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University on Friday, April 6th and speaking at a ticketed event in Cambridge on Sunday April 8th, sponsored by the Harvard Book Store.
New members are always welcome at our book club meetings. On April 10th, we'll be discussing How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (details will be posted in future issues of the Muster and on our website soon). You can use this link to sign up for the book club, suggest books to read, or help us decide which books to discuss later this spring.
Combining Resisting with Other Activities
At Minuteman Indivisible, we encourage members to meet each other, work together, and have fun resisting. Last Friday night, several of our members and some of their friends combined all three goals at a painting party at artlounge in Arlington Heights, the same location where we held our MI birthday party in February. As you can see from the photos, they created lovely paintings to help provide inspiration as we continue to work for a "Blue Wave" in this year' elections.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE MI BOARD
This week's Spotlight section is an unsolicited article from Grant Carrow, an active member of our Healthcare and Democracy teams, providing his impressions of our MI Board:
I’d been hearing snippets from a few MI Board members in recent months about how the Board had been working to streamline processes as part of an ongoing effort of continuous improvement. That piqued my curiosity and I decided to see our Board in action. That is how I came to sit in on the March 9th MI Board meeting for the first time since I’d done so last November.
The transition in only a few months to a well-oiled machine was palpable and a marvel to see! Despite my numerous requests to be recognized during the meeting (after having promised our President, Marci Cemenska, that I’d try to keep quiet) Sarah Higginbotham still kept the meeting on track, concluding the completed agenda precisely at the appointed hour.
In the past, I’ve served as Chairman of the Board of a well-seasoned, volunteer national organization. That Board was very good, but I can attest that the MI Board functions as well as (or even better than) that more mature national organization. And it should be noted, that other Board had a part-time Executive Director paid to do what Sarah, Marci and other Board members do as volunteers in their spare time.
I’ve also heard from fellow MI members who’ve commented on how well organized and effective MI is. I wondered what they specifically meant by that general impression. When I asked members of our Healthcare Team my question, they, almost in unison, pointed to the high quality products like the Muster and website. A lot of that success is due to the members but the glue that holds it all together is our Board. So, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to our Board’s tireless work and extraordinary achievements. Congrats!
Tools for Becoming a More Informed Citizen
Last week, our local newspaper, the Lexington Minuteman, shared several articles, linked below, aimed at helping people become more informed citizens (a key goal of our Democracy team):
Every week, this paper, and many of its sister papers in neighboring communities, publishes the Beacon HIll Roll Call, which provides background and a "roll call" of votes taken on bills in the state legislature. This week's report covered the legislature's override of Governor Baker's veto of their $18 million pay raise. The Lexington paper doesn't provide an online link to this information, but the Somerville Times does - see the full report on the pay raise vote here.
UPCOMING MEETINGS & EVENTS
Elections Team Meeting Tuesday, March 20th 7:15-8:45 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 242
Join the Elections team as we discuss updates on what our candidates in KY-06, NJ-11, PA-06, and CA-04 need now; decide how to best respond to requests for support from compelling candidates in other House races; and introduce a new tool, currently under development, for following and supporting House races. We welcome new team members.
Democracy Team Meeting Wednesday, March 21st 7:00-9:00 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 245
Join the Democracy team as we discuss conflicts of interest, voting rights, AVR, Charlie Baker - see what we're working on and help us decide our next steps! Check our homepage for any last-minute storm-related changes.
March For Our Lives - Boston Saturday, March 24th 12:00-4:00 PM
Join us at this local march in support of the students from Parkland FL who are holding a march for gun control in Washington DC. Details on the local march here; RSVP using this link. Some local communities, including Lexington and Wayland, are organizing bus transportation to the Boston March. MI is organizing carpooling - click here if you need a ride or are willing to offer one.
A Crisis of Democracy: A Forum on Election and Voting Rights Tuesday, March 27th 7:00-9:00 PM
Arlington Senior Center, 27 Maple St, Arlington
MI is one of several groups supporting this free program organized by the Arlington Democratic Town Committee's Issues Subcommittee. Panelists include Chery Clyburn Crawford from MassVote, Greg Dennis of Voter Choice and Joyce Hackett from Lift Every Vote. Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts, will moderate.
Fundraiser for Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26) Thursday, March 29th 7:30-9:00 PM
Newton Centre (address will be sent in response to RSVP)
Our friends at Force Multiplier are hosting a house party for Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, congressional candidate in Florida's flippable 26th district. Debbie grew up in a hard-working family that emigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador when she was 14. Through her professional life and advocacy efforts, she has helped improve healthcare for working families in South Florida and raised awareness about the threat of climate change. Endorsed by Emily’s List, Debbie is dedicated to women’s rights, safer gun laws, and economic policies to help working people. RSVP and donate here.
Learn More about MI Teams
Are you new to Minuteman Indivisible? While it is not required, one of the best ways to get involved is to join one or more of our teams! (See our website for more information on the teams.) If you'd like to contact one of our team leaders, their contact emails are below. (Although many teams have more than one team leader, for simplicity's sake, we list just one contact point.)
If you haven't had a chance to sign up for a team and would like to get more involved, just fill out this form: TEAM SIGN-UPS
Send Us Your Photos and Follow Us on Social Media
We know our members are working hard on a wide variety of issues and spending time at town halls, protests, MI working meetings, and other events. We'd love to feature your photos in our newsletter, on our website, and on social media - just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We the peopleof Minuteman Indivisible are a team of concerned citizens living in the greater Lexington, Massachusetts area, home of the American Revolution. Our mission is to advocate for the rights and dignity of all people, informed by science and humanitarian principles. We are networked with many Indivisible groups throughout Massachusetts and the nation to build a strong and effective resistance movement against racism, authoritarianism, and corruption, and to promote a vigorous democratic process.