WHEN: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 1-6PM
WHERE: LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL
(195 HANOVER ST., LEBANON, NEW HAMPSHIRE)
RSVP Here http://www.radnh.org/assembly2017
LEBANON, NH – Hundreds of Rights & Democracy members from across Vermont and New Hampshire will gather on Dec. 10th for the organization’s annual membership assembly and celebration.
RAD members will celebrate key victories in each state as well as Washington, DC and will look to the movement organizing that lies ahead in 2018 and beyond. That organizing will include the adoption of a multi-issue People’s Platform for each state.
Members will also discuss organizing campaigns that center on building a rural agenda in both states – from raising the minimum wage to decarceration to universal health care, among other topics.
Other highlights of the day’s events include a special “bird dog” training to show members how they can use direct action to hold their elected officials accountable, a potluck meal, as well as “Resistance Bingo,” and breakout sessions on core issue campaigns in each state. (RSVP For Birddog Training)
Before the event, there will be a special training “Resistance Through Bird Dogging Powerholders” run by three national trainers who have been helping organize the national resistance to the GOP and Trump agendas to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act and enact a tax bill that will make cuts to Medicaid and Medicare to give tax breaks to millionaires. That training will take place from 10:30AM – 12:30PM at Lebanon High School.
In just two years, Rights & Democracy has gone from being a scrappy startup grassroots organization with a handful of key Vermont leaders and staff to a bi-state organization with 12,000 members and a vision to change the world.
Here are a few of our key New Hampshire success stories from our first two years:
- Developed a robust canvassing operation to knock on 60,000 doors in the 2016 elections in support of Sen. Maggie Hassan in a tight race for US Senate, and brought thousands of our members who came in the door supporting Bernie Sanders to stay involved by defeating Donald Trump and Kelly Ayotte in incredibly tight races.
- Launched the Transgender Organizing Leadership Development (TOLD) project that has been a leading voice for transgender nondiscrimination in New Hampshire. Nearly 500 people turned out in Manchester’s Victory Park in the Summer of 2017 to stand in unity for LGBTQ+ protections in the coming legislature.
- Mobilized thousands of Granite State residents to take direct actions – like our “die-in” when US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (who has since resigned!) visited the state. Other actions included calling on Republican Gov. Chris Sununu to push back against the Trump administration’s most horrific proposals to kick millions off health care.
- Defeated yet another misnamed “right to work” legislation push that would undermine worker protections in New Hampshire.
- Won legislation to allow acupuncture to treat addiction, thanks to a grassroots advocacy effort led by Elizabeth Ropp, RAD NH leader and acupuncturist. The law allows frontline workers to use ear acupuncture to treat addiction to heroin or fentanyl, also known as auricular acupuncture or acu-detox.
- Worked with the Monadnock Progressive Alliance, which is now an affiliate of RAD, as a way to build a truly progressive movement in the region’s communities. RAD-NH’s long-term goal is to develop and invest in similar local organizing teams throughout the state.
- Connected with voters in two special elections in New Hampshire, which helped to elect Democrats to the NH legislature in districts that have, in previous elections, supported Republicans and even voted for Trump in 2016.
- Provided our key allies with support around clean elections, universal health care, immigration rights, reproductive freedom and more.
After the membership assembly, Rights & Democracy will celebrate with its inaugural Human Rights Awards. These awards are to designed to lift up the important work in both Vermont and New Hampshire that are making a difference in the lives our communities.
The inaugural awards will be presented to the following individuals and organizations:
Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization of dairy farm workers which organizes to advance human rights. The Milk with Dignity agreement reached on October 3, 2017 between Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry’s — an agreement three years in the making — continues to make waves across the country as one of the most significant wins for worker’s rights in 2017– at a time when rights are under attack. The news quickly caught the attention of major media outlets, from the New York Times to the AP to Vermont Public Radio and was also picked up in major media outlets throughout Latin America.
Vermont Racial Justice Reform Coalition is a coalition of organizations which led a grassroots effort to successfully pass a far-reaching Racial Justice Reform Law which sets forth guidance to “establish a panel to review and provide recommendations to address systemic racial disparities in statewide systems of criminal and juvenile justice”.
RAD VT’s Health Care Justice Heroes: Starting in the Spring and continuing in the Summer of 2017, leaders of Rights & Democracy, including nurses and people directly affected by the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, began participating in rapid response civil disobedience direct actions to push back on the Trump Administration and GOP leaders in the US Senate and House. These brave acts, along with organizing across the country, help prevent deep cuts to Medicaid and millions of Americans from losing their access to health care.
Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC), a youth slam poetry group created by Burlington and South Burlington High School students class of 2018 Kiran Waqar, Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa Abdikadir, is dedicated to social justice through poetry. Tired of having their voices ignored by older generations, they turned to slam poetry to be heard and to make a change. Since forming, these girls have competed at international levels, won numerous awards, performed widely, and help lead several local and national initiatives to increase cultural understanding, fight against racism and promote women’s rights.
Vermont Women’s March Core Organizers: Vermont’s solidarity rally with the Women’s March on January 21, 2017 was organized by a group of dedicated women organizers including RAD’s own Elise Greaves, Katie McCarty, Michelle Mraz, Bonnie Acker, along with Melinda Moulton, Cara Nelson, Marie Lallier, and Katie Titterton. The rally drew an estimated 25,000 people becoming the largest political rally in Vermont’s history.
New Hampshire Labor Movement for defeating “Right To Work in NH”: A grassroots effort defeated the Republicans first priority of passing so-called “right-to-work” legislation after winning the Governor’s seat and retaining majorities in the NH House and Senate. Despites having all the odds against them, the labor movement and allies led a push to defeat the bill in the House. RAD NH was proud to have contributed strategic field outreach in this NH Labor Movement struggle to defeat Right To Work against all odds
The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA): A grassroots advocacy effort led by Elizabeth Ropp, RAD NH leader and acupuncturist. The law they won for ear acupuncture to treat addiction allows frontline workers to use ear acupuncture to treat addiction to heroin or fentanyl. Known as auricular acupuncture or acu-detox, this is one treatment that practitioners insist can help recovering addicts deal with the painful symptoms of withdrawal and the accompanying stress.
Freedom NH and the Transgender Organizing & Leadership Development: RAD NH and Freedom NH have been working together to pass comprehensive legislation to protect trans folks from discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. Although our opponents in the State House tabled our bill in 2017, we’ve built impressive grassroots momentum around the issue and have started a statewide conversation about LGBT+ rights that is unprecedented in New Hampshire’s state history. In 2018, RAD NH and Freedom NH will again be introducing an identical nondiscrimination bill and will be working to pass it during the upcoming legislative session.
New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition and the tireless work of Dean Lemire on a grassroots level: for helping hundreds of people get into recovery through an all pathways approach, creating needle exchange programs and providing test kits to test level of Fentanyl. As we struggle for more public health solutions for these epidemics, Dean and the work of the coalition is doing critical work saving and turning lives around in our communities.