RAD Leadership Committee member and NH Resident Sebastian Fuentes addresses the socially distant crowd at the rolling rallies to free immigrants from Strafford County Jail in Dover.
RAD LEADERS IN ACTION
RAD member Vicki Lampron was featured in the US Human Rights Network’s (USHRN) 2019-2020 Human Rights Report. Vicki spoke up for our dire need for adequate, accessible healthcare and shared her story.
“Because I can’t hold a job due to my illness — and you can’t “see” my illness — there are times when people don’t believe how sick I am.”
Here we are in June and it is finally starting to feel like summer. I hope this finds all of you safe, healthy, and supported. In light of the recent killings and protests, we go into this month with somber hearts and determined spirits – ready to double down on the movement-building work that lies ahead – work that is crucial, now more than ever. Our country, our states, and our communities must reckon with the legacies that got us here, while forging a path forward – one rooted in justice, equity, and compassion.
We had an incredible and hopeful visioning workshop last month with community leaders from across VT and NH, who joined us for From What Now to What’s Next: Visioning for a Just and Equitable Future. Workshop participants shared their stories and developed a shared vision for our collective future, kicking off our series of regional and community-level visioning sessions which are being held in spring and early summer. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll join us in taking this important step in laying the groundwork necessary to create the values-driven policies our communities need.
As election season gets underway, we are finalizing our early endorsements of candidates in local and state races in New Hampshire, who are longtime champions of our issues and leaders in the movement. Later this month, RAD members will review and vote on whether to endorse an additional slate of candidates, so be on the lookout for your ballot. Please encourage anyone you know who is interested in RAD and aligned with the work we’re doing to join our movement as a sustaining member and add their voice to the vote.
We are so honored to be doing this work with all of you. Let’s keep going.
Stay safe and take care of each other,
Many new and exciting changes on the staffing front. This month we said goodbye to a beloved RAD staffer, and had a few exciting shifts in existing personnel.
Our mighty New Hampshire Field Coordinator, Lisa Demaine, has moved on to pursue new adventures. We wish Lisa the best of luck!
We have several staff members who are stepping into new roles. Former NH Lead Canvasser, Tom Labore will be the new NH Field Coordinator, with regional organizer and canvasser Giselle Hart moving into the Lead Canvasser position. Annie Schwartz and Fronsy Thurman, previously the Digital Engagement Coordinators for NH and VT respectively, are now the bi-state Communications Co-Managers.
Congratulations to everyone! We are so grateful for the amazing folks who work at RAD. More updates to come as our team continues to grow!
Other than our Community Conversations, we have some great events coming up in June.
On June 25th we have our monthly Healthcare Justice Meeting hosted by our Monadnock Regional Organizer Heather Stockwell, featuring community leaders and health experts.
Save the dates! On the June 30th we’l be announcing our New Hampshire Candidate Endorsements, and on July 13th we’re launching a Public Speaking Training Series.
Like our page on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest announcements throughout this month.
JUST TRANSITION NH
Our kick-off event on the 16th was a huge success with nearly 70 community leaders and activists joining the call. We worked in conjunction with our national partners to develop a shared vision for a truly sustainable and just future. This work is essential to implementing the just change we need, on a local, state, and national level – and we invite you to be a part of it.
Join us this June at our upcoming visioning sessions, Community Conversations for a Just & Equitable Future. This series of regional virtual visioning sessions will bring together members, leaders, and activists from across Vermont and New Hampshire to develop a shared message and set of values for creating thriving communities in a post-COVID future. Sign up for your regions upcoming community conversation with the following links:
RAD members and allies have continued meeting regularly to strategize around our campaign for fair education funding. If you would like to get involved with our Education Justice team please contact Kevin Pentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our healthcare leaders organized a virtual screening of the documentary “FIX IT” followed by group breakouts and a panel discussion with NH based physicians Dr. Carl DeMatteo, Dr. Michael Dowe, and Dr. Robert Keifner. Interested in attending another screening, or joining our healthcare justice team? A great first step would be joining our monthly healthcare justice calls, which you can RSVP for here.
AROUND THE STATE
May was full of action, and June will be even more so. We united in our collective power to rally for the release of immigrants in jails across both states, and for justice in the killing of George Floyd. RAD has always stood in protest of injustice throughout not only our states, but country.
“Above at the NH State house we joined the socially distant National Day of Mourning to hold President Trump and the Republicans who enable him accountable for their chaotic, confusing, and corrupt response to the pandemic that has cost tens of thousands of people their lives.” – via RAD NH Instagram
“Demand justice for George Floyd and his family and support Black and Brown communities across the country who, not only have been marginalized and whose bodies are on the line, but who are forced to reckon with pain, fear, and anger anew every damn time this happens.”
Nashua regional organizer Alissandra has been heavily involved in mutual aid and defense support since the start of the pandemic. They, alongside NH Mutual Aid and Defense, have set up a free store and dispersed goods to those in need throughout the region. NH Mutual Aid and Defense is a grassroots group that In addition to outreach, coordinate mutual aid efforts in Southern NH connecting those in need with volunteers. If you’re interested in donating items (or your time), contact them on Facebook.
Kevin has continued supporting local mutual aid efforts which bring people groceries in the Lakes Region on a weekly basis, and is actively supporting local residents in applying for food stamps and housing assistance.
Regional Organizer Heather Stockwell has beendeeply involved in mask making and distribution efforts in the region.She also leads out monthly healthcare justice calls featuring local leaders and experts, which you can RSVP for here.
We have continued to support the ongoing “Rolling Rallies” demanding the release of ICE detainees from the Strafford County Department of Corrections. You can sign on and join us in solidarity at this weekend’s rally here.
RAD leaders in coalition with local organizations participated in a May Day rally aimed at raising up the rights of the most vulnerable in this crisis by joining a May Day Quarantine Caravan. Due to leaders’ efforts 30+ vehicles attended the action, with powerful moments at each location, and especially when inmates could be heard chanting and singing back to the caravan.
A PARTING NOTE…
As the art critic Jerry Saltz said, “When art wins, everyone wins.” Part of what’s driving our movement forward is the strength of our leaders – many of them occupy our world in numerous roles. Kiah Morris, our Vermont Movement Politics Director, regularly captivates us with the written word. For our visioning kick-off event on the 16th, she crafted a beautiful, evergreen poem on what a policy is, and is not – and you will be more for reading it.
THE MOVEMENT, MOURNING, AND MOBILIZING
The Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC covered the National Day of Mourning, a day of protest and condemnation of the Trump Administration’s failure to respond to the coronavirus, which has now taken over 100,000 lives in the US. Maddow mentions the protests in NH, led by a dedicated few RAD leaders and staff. Our leaders quickly mobilized within mere days to help lead this national, socially distant day of action at the steps of the NH State House, which you’ll see in this newsletters sidebar. You can watch the clip from The Rachel Maddow show here.
RAD is in this month’s Teen Vogue! Author and activist Jacob Swenson-Lengyel writes, “Unlike political candidates, you can rest assured that win or lose in November, they’ll continue working in those communities after the election ends.” Among other excellent points, Swenson-Lengyel gives a fresh take on the necessity of and power in supporting grassroots organizations during times of crisis. Given Teen Vogue’s popularity among young progressives, we are excited about garnering the attention of new movement-builders. Read the full article here.
May has been a heavy month on our hearts, with the tragic murder of George Floyd and the national outrage that has followed. Rights & Democracy partnered with and supported local BIPOC communities to help organize and mobilize protests in locations across Vermont and New Hampshire. Here’s coverage from NHPR in Manchester, NH. It’s moments like these that define us, shining light on the reality of Black oppression in America and the necessary work white allies must do to ensure it ends.