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  • NEW DATE: The Health of Democracy: Voter Suppression and Disenfranchisement

    Civil Disobedience

    (From Pat at Cambridge Forum)

    ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2015, AT 7:00 P.M. Cambridge Forum hosts political scientist ERIN O’BRIEN discussing the new movement toward voter suppression and its impact on our democracy. PHILLIP MARTIN, senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, responds, reflecting on the legacy of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in light of today’s changes. O’Brien examines the varied ways in which ballot access is currently being restricted and the causes for these new policies. Where does the impulse toward voter suppression come from? What roles have extra-governmental organizations played in developing current policies? What about the courts? What can citizens do when laws and public policies conflict with the ideals of democracy? The free program takes place a First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square.

    ERIN O’BRIEN is chair and associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research and teaching interests focus on the politics of poverty and social welfare policy, voting access policymaking in the United States, and gender in political participation and representation. She is the author of The Politics of Identity: Solidarity Building among America’s Working Poor and co-editor of Diversity in Contemporary American Politics and Government and has contributed chapters to numerous other books. Among her journal articles, “Jim Crow 2.0?” detailing her study of new voter restriction policies, excited interest in both academic and media circles. In addition to her academic publications, O’Brien has written policy briefs and contributes regularly to the popular press. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic; The Boston Globe; The Washington Post; The Daily Beast; Huffington Post; Salon; and on the Melissa Harris Perry Show (MSNBC); Politics Nation with Al Sharpton (MSNBC); The Takeaway with John Hockenberry (NPR); Under the Radar with Callie Crossley (WGBH, NPR); and Boston Public Radio (WGBH).

    PHILLIP MARTIN is senior investigative reporter for WGBH News, where he has reported on human trafficking, the Boston Marathon bombing, Whitey Bulger, carbon offset schemes, police shootings, training and race, the Occupy movement and the fishing industry in New England, among other topics. In 2011 he joined a group of students who marked the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders by recreating their journey. Martin has received various journalistic honors, including a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism, the Margaret and Hans Rey WGBH producer of the year award, the 2010 Asian American Journalists Award for National Radio Reporting, the 2008 Ruben Salazar Award and the 2005 NABJ Radio Documentary Award.

    This program is funded in part by MassHumanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    The program is free and open to the public. The forum takes place at the First Parish in Cambridge, 1446 Massachusetts Avenue in Harvard Square. Cambridge Forum is recorded and edited for public radio broadcast. Edited podcasts are available, and select forums can also be viewed in their entirety on YouTube.

    Cambridge Forum
    3 Church Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    Massachusetts Transportation Summit

    (from t4ma)

    Over the past few months, we’ve received the same message from residents across the state: we must fix our transportation system. It’s been broken for years now, but this winter served to highlight just how dire the straits are.

    The problems are clear. Now it’s time for solutions.

    On May 1st, joined by some of the smartest policy thinkers, community leaders, app developers, and urban planners, we will meet in Worcester for the first ever Statewide Transportation Summit: “Fixing What We Have and Building What We Need.” We want you to join us for this great event, which will give you the chance to both learn from thought leaders and share your ideas with hundreds of others. To register, go to

    We hope to see you there!

    FloodBoston Spokes Meeting Sunday

    FloodBoston Spokes Meeting Sunday 3-5:30pm at E5 3-5:30pm at E5

    Hey folks,

    The weather is heating up and so are activists.

    • Colleges around the country are participating in a wave of escalated action this spring around divestment from fossil fuels, and April is prime time! With rallies at BC, Harvard heat week, sit-ins, banner-drops, etc.
    • The labor movement is joining countries around the world in a fight for $15!
    • Efforts to stop the natural gas pipeline expansion in West Roxbury and beyond has evolved into the campaign for no new pipelines and is meeting with legislators each Tuesday this month with escalating tactics planned,
    • and much more!!!

    It’s the same deal as every first Sunday of the month, but lots of actions are anticipated so hope to see a lot of you there: the spokes council meeting will be this Sunday April 5th from 3-5pm at Encuentro 5.

    Bring your love and solidarity!
    E5 Address: 9 Hamilton Pl, Suite 2a, Boston, MA 02108

    Represent.Boston on April 15th

    Perhaps you have already heard of Represent.Us, a relatively new, nationally based, nonprofit, cross partisan, anti-corruption organization.

    I am happy to report that there is already a local group, called Represent.Boston, that is working actively in Cambridge. We are working on passing legislation that gives residents more power to voice their opinions in the face of big money. The legislation sets up a public-voucher system, involves improved transparency and disclosure, and ensures that locally elected leaders can not vote on zoning changes for companies from whom they have received money.

    We’re having an event on Wednesday, 4/15 from 4-6 p.m. in the heart of Central Square. Look for a tent near the T station. You are more than welcome to come by and see what we are up to. I think it may help you to feel a bit more hopeful about the future of our democracy!

    The legislation that Represent.Boston is proposing is based on the American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA) proposed by Represent.Us. The overall strategy is to think nationally, but act locally. If you have a few minutes, you can:

    1. Watch a 4.5 minute informational video about Represent.Us
    2. Read about our Cambridge legislation
    3. Sign to support this local act
    4. Sign up to volunteer for Represent.Boston
    5. Tweet your support to @representboston

    If you like what you see, please be sure to endorse what we are doing in Cambridge by co-sponsoring AACA. The more endorsements we collect, the more likely it is that Cambridge will respond positively to our legislation and pass necessary reform.

    Contact: info(AT)

    Money ≠ Speech Overpass Light Brigade Protest


    President Obama is currently contemplating issuing an Executive Order requiring disclosure of campaign contributions for federal contractors. This would be a very exciting victory for our movement to shine the light on corporations that are attempting to buy our elections. It is very likely that significant grassroots pressure will make the difference.

    Join us as we encourage President Obama to shine the light on corporate corruption of our democracy as part of nationwide rallies on April 2 – the year anniversary of the McCutcheon U.S. Supreme Court ruling that further put our democracy up for sale. The McCutcheon decision equated money with free speech – Sean McCutcheon argued that the $120K cap on contributions to individual campaigns limited his free speech, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. The ruling applies to corporations also since they earned corporate personhood in the 2010 Citizen’s United decision.

    We will debut our Overpass Light Brigade-inspired signs that will read “Money ≠ Speech”. We plan to meet in the Boston Common right in front of the Mass State House. We will have a rally, take some great pictures, and those willing to carry the signs to a walking bridge over Route 28 will share our message there!

    Contact us

    Occupy Boston Media <> • <> • @Occupy_Boston