MLK Day 2017: How We Shall Resist

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This year, on AFSC’s 33rd Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., AFSC will sponsor a series of events over the course of the day – from the Sojourner Truth Walking Tour and a Children’s Program (run by Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene) – to a series of workshops and trainings in various spaces in downtown Northampton by local activists and activist groups.

Schedule of Events:

9am: Sojourner Truth Walking Tour (with Steve Strimer of the Ruggles Center)
Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue
Park and Pine Streets, Florence

10am: Children’s MLK Jr. Celebration (with Dr. Ousmane Power-Greene)
Jackson Street School
120 Jackson St, Northampton

Click to download workshop schedule


12 – 5pm: Informational Tabling
+ Come get a schedule and directions to the workshops, get a “Black Lives Matter” or “Good Neighbor” lawn sign, or visit organization’s tables.
Edwards Church
297 Main St, Northampton

1pm – 5pm: Social Justice Workshops
Various locations at Edwards Church, First Churches, the Unitarian Universalist Society, Northampton Friends Meeting

6pm: MLK Sing-a-long Celebration (with Evelyn Harris and more)
First Churches
129 Main Street, Northampton

Social Justice Workshops

If you or your group are interested in a space for a workshop, please contact us at office@afscwm.org or call us at (413) 584-8975.

Edwards Church (297 Main Street)

1-2pm: What’s Happening in the Criminal Legal system in MA
A presentation of what’s going on today in the state, and how you can affect it, with Lois Ahrens. Lois is the Founding Director of The Real Cost of Prisons Project and a Founding Member and staff person of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

2-3pm: Guantanamo Bay: What Now?
Hear from Nancy Talanian and Bruce Miller on the work they have been doing as members of No More Gitmos. Other speakers will be returning from Washington, DC from demonstrations on the Guantánamo anniversary to talk about the experience and the views and plans of activists they met from around the country.

3-3:30pm: #WhyIMarch: The Women’s March on DC Information Session
Lindsay Sabadosa, the organizer of buses to D.C. and Boston, will be talking about the effort, including current status, march logistics and the vision for the march.

3:30-4: Social Media: What is it good for?
Sabine Merz will go over a background of social media as a form of resistance – What social media can do for you? How to manage social media? How to deal with trolls and other unfortunate creatures? and Cybersecurity during a social action.

Unitarian Universalist Society (220 Main Street, Northampton)

1-1:30pm: Making Northampton a Blue Community
Bill Diamond will briefly describe what Blue Communities are, and then have a discussion of how we can make the Northampton the first Blue Community in the United States, how to make the program most effective in Northampton, and how to help other communities become Blue Communities.

2-3pm: The Struggle for Immigrant and Worker Justice
Come learn about the work of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Hear from Immigrant Worker Leaders and members of the Sanctuary in the Street Movement Members. This will be an opportunity to find out about how you can jump in and be involved in building the local resistance! The time has come for us to stand with one another, as neighbors, friends and strangers. Come learn about the new solidarity network, Sanctuary in the Streets (SiS), to protect all people of the Pioneer Valley from acts of hate, workplace retaliation and raids and from deportation. Members of this Network will receive emergency emails and texts that notify them of peaceful public actions in response to immediate needs. We imagine that the Network will be called upon to bear public witness to active deportations, to hold quick-response public rallies against acts of hate, and to respond to injustice in ways that we cannot yet know. In the next month, we will be finalizing plans for a 24-hour Hotline number to receive reports of deportations and acts of hate. We will need your help in publicizing this number widely. We will also be contacting the Network with multiple training opportunities in the upcoming months, to ensure all actions taken by Sanctuary in the Streets are unified, peaceful, and remind our country of our better selves.

3-4pm: Moving Congregations into Justice and Sanctuary Work
Rev. Margaret Sawyer and Steve O’Neill will hold a discussion for Clergy and Lay Leaders on how to increase social action work in your congregation, the history of the church sanctuary movement, and how we can together build a sanctuary network for Western Massachusetts.

First Churches, Lyman Hall (Center Street entrance)

1-3pm: The Climate Justice Movement: Solidarity, Mobilization & Resistance in High Stakes Times
The climate justice movement is rapidly growing as more and more people realize that sustained mass action is our greatest source of power. We invite everyone who wants to help to build a vibrant, unstoppable climate justice movement to join us. We will gather as one group for the first half hour to talk about climate justice organizing in Western Mass and beyond. Then we will break into two groups: (1) Building a Powerful Climate Justice Movement: Solidarity, Mobilization and Resistance. We will explore pathways for non-violent direct action and other strategies in a solidarity based movement in connection with local and national resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure and (2) Climate Action Now’s plan for an equitable transition to 100% clean energy: CAN is a dynamic, grass roots organization. Adele will present our legislative priorities with an emphasis on what individual residents can do to help support them.

3-5pm: Still Standing: Standing Rock’s Struggle Continues Under a Trump Administration
This 2 hour workshop will be about the present and continued peaceful struggle for Indigenous and Environmental Justice in Cannonball, North Dakota. Linda Black Elk will be joining via Skype to discuss the present situation at the camps and what she believes will be the best way to fight the pipeline and keep the resistance alive under the upcoming Trump Administration. Urban Thunder, an inter-tribal Native American drum group will be guiding the workshop by singing prayers throughout the event. Local Indigenous Activists, who have recently traveled to Standing Rock, Rhonda Anderson and Anthony Melting Tallow will speak of their experiences at the camp as Water Protectors. We will also hear from Laurie Leyshon, a local advocate for Indigenous rights who also spent time at Standing Rock, on the importance of decolonization. Information will be provided regarding the importance of continuing the Defund DAPL movement especially under the upcoming Trump Administration and also the need to continue peaceful and non violent direct actions locally. Western Massachusetts Stands in Solidarity With Standing Rock. We will remain standing for Indigenous and Environmental rights in North Dakota and around the world.

Northampton Friends Meetinghouse

1-3:30pm: Film:Doctrine of Discovery
Join Frances Crowe for a screening and discussion about this film about the basis of U.S. imperialism and its Christian roots dating back hundreds of years.

3:30-5pm:: FilmWhite Like Me
Made by the local Media Education Foundation (MEF) about race, racism and white privilege in the U.S. – and hosted with Sut Jhally, director of MEF.