On Saturday, April 13th, a team of local cyclists will set out to ride from Northampton to the Statue of Liberty to raise funds to defend the safety of immigrants and refugees.
The Liberty Bike Ride will arrive in New York City on Monday, April 15th at the Statue of Liberty, a welcoming symbol of hope that has greeted so many of our parents and grandparents for over a century. We believe that new arrivals in America should be treated with dignity, kindness, and open hearts. In support of that belief, all funds raised by the ride will be donated to the Pioneer Valley Workers Center to protect immigrant workers here in our community and throughout the United States.
Local teacher Katie Joyce decided to organize the Liberty Bike Ride after hearing about families who had traveled thousands of miles to the U.S. border only to be harassed and detained in prisons and to be separated from their children. This highly visible biking event aims to bring attention and funding to this cause on a national scale, while directing donations toward immigrants here in Western Massachusetts who suffer from the same oppressive policies as asylum seekers on the Southern Border.
The ride will be at a relaxed pace and cyclists of all abilities are welcome to join. We will be riding 60 miles a day and there will be a support vehicle if riders would like help. We are encouraging friends who are not doing the ride to drive to meet us at the Statue of Liberty! There will be potential to get a ride back to Northampton with friends or take the train.
For information about joining the ride and/or contributing funds, contact Katie Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Liberty Bike Ride Facebook page. Donations can be made directly to the Pioneer Valley Workers Center.
Day of Solidarity with Lucio Perez: Marking One Year in Sanctuary on October 20
Stand in solidarity with Lucio Perez on Saturday October 20!
Join us for a Community Gathering and Public Action at First Church Amherst, 165 Main St. Please sign up here to attend, we hope 400 people will join the action. You are also invited to join in a Solidarity Fast, details below.
We will gather together in the church sanctuary at 4 pm for a time of reflection, recognition, and re-commitment, joined by many sanctuary volunteers and a number of elected leaders.
At 5:15, we will exit the church for a public action, encircling church building hand-in-hand to call for justice and protection for Lucio, for Irida, and for all immigrants living in our country.
We will close with a reception in the church dining room. Please bring simple snacks to share, and we will break the fast together.
Solidarity Fast: Many of us will fast on October 20. Fasting is a spiritual practice in many faith traditions--a way of focusing one’s energy, reflecting and repenting. Fasting is also often used as a form of protest. As we refrain from eating on October 20, we will protest our country’s treatment of Lucio and immigrants nationwide, as we dedicate ourselves to working for a better world. Here is the sign-up link again, to attend on October 20 and to join in the fast.
Rideshare and Accompaniment Trainings
Rideshare & Accompaniment Trainings Wednesday, March 13 and Saturday, March 16. Join us for our next round of trainings at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center located at 20 Hampton Ave #200, Northampton, MA 01060
The Pioneer Valley Workers Center's Sanctuary in the Streets (SiS) network seeks build the trust and solidarity needed to confront injustice. Through SiS's solidarity programs, we provide direct support to worker leaders to promote organizing.
Join our network through participating in our Rideshare and/or Accompaniment programs! In order to be part of this network, you must join us for one of our orientations. We request that you attend the Rideshare training BEFORE attending the Court Accompaniment training. If you've already been trained for Rideshare, you can sign up for accompaniment only. You can attend Rideshare training only or do both of these training on either of the two available dates. Please see below for signup information!
Driving is essential, but many of our members are not able to drive for a variety of reasons. Rideshare drivers participate in a one-hour training and are then notified of opportunities to drive community leaders when needed. Many of the rides are specifically to support Lucio Perez, living in sanctuary at First Church Amherst to fight his deportation case. Drivers support his family in visiting him, in addition to providing support to other community members. With at least 10 rides per week, we always need more dedicated drivers!
Immigrant community member’s sometimes request that someone accompany them to an appointment with Immigration officials or to a court date. In today's political climate, these meetings can be very scary, and indeed sometimes do lead to deportations. Volunteers will assist the immigrant community member by providing a ride, helping locate the appropriate office, providing support, observing and taking notes on the proceedings, and communicating with the Workers Center about the meeting's outcome. Familiarity with Spanish or other languages is useful but not necessary. Please join our one-hour training to participate in accompanying Immigrant Community Members to appointments. We hope to develop a large enough pool that we can always find someone available to fill each request.
We have bilingual volunteer opportunities and phone responder trainings for Sanctuary in the Streets.
Learn how you can help with:
- Court accompaniment
- Interpreting for meetings & events
- Rideshare coordinating
- Answering the Sanctuary in the Streets Hotline
Sanctuary in the Streets
Our Sanctuary in the Streets Rapid Response network meets every first Monday of the month from 6-8pm at the Parlor Room. (32 Masonic St, Northampton.)
UPCOMING DATES: 2/5, 3/5, 4/2, 5/7
Are you looking for a welcoming place to practice your Spanish? Did you take Spanish in high school, but find that you are a bit out of practice? Or would you like to start from the beginning and learn to greet friends and neighbors?
Come join us! Lucio is hosting Spanish conversation classes and would love for you to attend. These casual conversation sessions will be an opportunity for people of varying Spanish ability to develop their vocabulary and confidence in the language. Both individual and group sessions are available.
Classes are taught at First Church Amherst (165 Main St, Amherst MA 01002) in individual and group formats
Justice Cup | October 8th, 2018
The Justice Cup is our annual summer soccer tournament. Teams from Holyoke to Greenfield play soccer, enjoy good food, and celebrate the amazing social justice work being done across the Pioneer Valley. You don’t have to play soccer to come and enjoy the fun. The tournament also provides a platform for local workers to lift their voices and speak up at the mic about their experiences on the job.
Art on the Menu | Date TBA
Every winter, this event showcases the many talents of the workers who fuel our downtown restaurant scene. They are parents, immigrants, artists, musicians, students, and much more. We celebrate the creativity of these people be providing an opportunity for them to sell their artwork and play their music and dance.
Interested in participating in next fall’s show or want to help plan it? Contact us!
No Somos Máquinas / We Are Not Machines
No Somos Máquinas first opened as a week-long exhibit in July 2016 at the APE gallery in downtown Northampton, where hundreds of people flocked to see it and to participate in a series of events that we hosted throughout that week.
Western Massachusetts workers called for a general strike on May 1, 2017. Immigrant and U.S.-born workers stayed home from their jobs, businesses shut down, and consumers closed their wallets. On May 1, we joined millions nationwide, including the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Jobs with Justice, to demand full protection of immigrants and low-wage workers in the United States. We organized actions and events up and down the valley, growing the movement and making all kinds of headlines.
On May Day, we shut down the streets and articulated these demands alongside hundreds of our members and allies. May Day has come and gone this year, but our demands remain the same:
- We demand full protection of immigrants living in the United States.
- We call for an end to the deportation machine that is ripping immigrants from our families and communities.
- We call for a living wage of $15/hour, the right to organize unions, dignity and respect for immigrants and all workers nationwide, and an end to the growing war machine.
We will continue fighting to protect the most vulnerable members of the working class: people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people.
We are committed to actively supporting workers who want to improve conditions, many of who striked on May 1. We also asked businesses to join this strike by committing to close their doors on May 1, pay full wages to workers, and not retaliate against workers who participate in the strike. In participating, businesses demonstrate their solidarity with immigrants and low-wage workers.
Businesses that Resisted
Check out the Western Massachusetts’ businesses that closed on May Day.