RAD NH’s Organizing Director, Isaac Grimm, spent last weekend helping organize a car rally demanding the release of immigrants from Strafford County Jail.

RAD LEADERS IN ACTION

RAD Leadership Committee member Andrea Polizos was published in The Keene Sentinel speaking out against Gov. Sununu’s latest actions surpassing the Joint Fiscal Committee.
RAD Member Leader Nicole Fordey wrote a powerful opinion piece for paid family medical leave in the Nashua Telegraph.
Aislinn Kalob, an Americorps employee and one of the many educators affected by the transition to remote learning, gave powerful testimony to the affects of remote learning on education in NH.

STAFF UPDATES

This month, we said a teary goodbye to RAD’s beloved Communications Director, Shay Totten. We are excited for him and the new adventures on his horizon, but we will miss the guidance and vision he brought to RAD. Staff commemorated his final week by pondering the question: if Shay was an animal, what would be be?

Thank you. We can’t tell you how grateful we are that so many of you stepped up with one-day, and sustaining, contributions to Rights & Democracy on Giving Tuesday.

If you’d still like to make a donation, we won’t tell! Feel free to make your contribution here.

Your support means that we will be able to continue to provide support to people in our communities, while we also keep our eyes on making sure that any money coming into our states is distributed equitably. And, that any money is used to fund solutions that build a truly just and equitable society.

We know that we have a lot of work to do and that this crisis is far from over, especially for those who were already living in crisis before COVID-19.

We had a busy April with a big turnout for our political training for those thinking about running for office this year, turning out folks to drive-by car caravans calling on the release of detainees in ICE custody, along with great turnout at our regional chapter meetings and open office hours.

Read on for a short recap on what’s been happening at RAD this past month and what we have in store for May. Hint: It’s still a virtual world.

– Isaac

CAMPAIGNS

GREEN NEW DEAL VISIONING SESSIONS

After postponing our in-person gathering, originally scheduled for March, we are pleased to announce that on May 16th, RAD will kick off a series of visioning sessions with What Now to What’s Next: Visioning a Just and Equitable Future, a virtual training which will bring together key leaders from across Vermont and New Hampshire to develop a shared message and set of values for creating thriving communities in a post-COVID future. This training is a crucial first step in a process of evolving an interconnected set of values-driven policies and community-led solutions. Regional and community-level sessions will follow, so be on the lookout for updates!

MIGRANT JUSTICE

Rights & Democracy has supported logistics and turnout for 3 consecutive car rallies led by Never Again Action NH demanding the release of dozens ICE detained migrants at the Strafford County Jail.Jails are a hotbed for COVID-19 infection and for the safety of these detainees and the larger community, NH should follow the lead of other states who have already begun releasing non-violent inmates. Held every Sunday for the past three weeks, we have seen a steady growth of protestors, with over 75 cars congregating in front of the jail on Sunday, including faith & labor leaders, immigrant rights activists, climate activists, youth leaders, and state representatives and senators. NHPR covered the most recent rally. This weekends rally will be on Saturday at 1:00pm, with participants meeting at the Strafford County Courthouse Parking lot right next to the jail, NOT the Walmart parking like in previous weeks. See you this weekend!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Join us for a special screening of the  documentary Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point on May 19th. Learn about how healthcare works as it exists today and how a universal single payer system could transform our country. Gain the tools and knowledge to talk about this with confidence and detail. Register here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Our social media posts from this month point to the question – how RAD are you?
Our Earth Day was RAD…
Our pets are RAD (Thank you Hilary!)
…VT Organizing Director, Dan Fingas is always RAD…

THE NH PEOPLE’S BAILOUT: A COVID-19 TOWN HALL

Due to the challenges New Hampshire is facing, we’re hosting a unique town hall tomorrow at 6:30pm featuring community leaders and representatives. We’ll be discussing components of stimulus packages, sharing stories from our communities, and giving current elected officials the opportunity to speak to constituencies. We are calling on our governor, legislature, and leading administrative officials to follow the lead of people’s organizations and direct our collective resources as a state to those who most need our support now, and in the ensuing months. Let’s pull together, as we’ve done in times past, to demand that our government provide money and care to those who are hardest hit, not to the wealthy few. Our response to this crisis must fight inequality, not double down on the unjust status quo. You can register for the town hall here, and share our Facebook event here.

Earlier this month we hosted #NotMeUs: What’s Next for 2020 & Beyond, a special virtual forum with local, state, and national leaders to discuss how to keep the momentum going from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and continue growing the #NotMeUs movement. We had well over 200 participants on the call and panel guests included Congressman Ro Khanna (CA), politician and activist, Kaniela Ing and Ana Maria Archila of the Center for Popular Democracy as well as local and state representatives from across Vermont and New Hampshire. The conversation worked its way through difficult questions and concerns, and ended by outlining a roadmap for future action. You can watch a recording of this inspiring evening here.

CHAPTERS

In April, RAD New Hampshire organizers made over 800 calls to people throughout the Monadnock Region, Lakes Region, Manchester/Nashua, Sullivan County/Upper Valley and the Seacoast to coordinate COVID-19 mutual aid efforts, and had over 100 conversations in our deep canvassing efforts to build our electoral work across the state and share our list of COVID-19 resources.

Lakes Region organizer Kevin Pentz has been actively engaged in on-the-ground mutual aid work. He recently called a respondent on the local mutual aid form and discovered that she lived in a home with six other disabled adults, and the house was struggling with reliable outlets for getting food. Kevin worked with a local mutual aid leader to identify volunteers who can make weekly runs to food banks for the household.

Manchester/Nashua organizer Alissandra Murray has been working closely with the Manchester-based Mutual Aid & Defense NH (MADNH), a grassroots group that puts on a weekly “free store” to distribute material goods to neighbors that need them. Open to all, these distributions offer everything from donated clothes to snacks and medical supplies. In addition to outreach, they coordinate mutual aid efforts in  Southern NH connecting those in need with volunteers. If you can donate to help MADNH’s  efforts, 100% of the proceeds will be used to purchase necessary items. You can also donate items (or time) directly by contacting them on Facebook.

Monadnock Regional Organizer and RAD artist Heather Stockwell has recently begun organizing a mutual sewing network to create and donate masks in local communities. Ask her about it – and the history of New Hampshire’s own plaid tartan – and get involved during her open office hours every Wednesday at noon!

PROTESTS OF THE PAST

May 1st is a day of celebration and solidarity with workers around the world. The origins of International Workers Day – May Day – are usually attributed to the Chicago Haymarket riot of 1886, when a peaceful labor demonstration turned into a violent confrontation with the police, resulting in several deaths and injury to hundreds.

Dubbed “A Day Without Immigrants,” May 1, 2006 saw one of the largest protests in May Day history. Over 1.5 million people across the US walked off the job and stayed home from work or school to participate in nationwide demonstrations for immigrants’ rights. Listen to historian Peter Linebaugh, fill in the gaps of the “The Incomplete, True, Authentic & Wonderful History of May Day.”

With frontline workers risking their lives on a daily basis during this unparalleled crisis, worker solidarity on this year’s May Day is particularly poignant. Car rallies were held across Vermont and New Hampshire in support of workers, including RAD co-sponsored events in Burlington and the Upper Valley, with many getting key media coverage.