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Don't Worry. Be Happy...

... as long as you are white, cis, straight, and wealthy!

Six days ago, we marked the one-year anniversary since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade—a grim milestone indeed. And even though many of us suspected that the axing of women’s rights was coming, the shock was still felt deeply. Even now, there still seems to be some level of disbelief that this happened. As Vice-President Kamala Harris said in a fiery speech last Saturday, “How dare they? How dare they attack basic healthcare? How dare they attack our fundamental rights? How dare they attack our freedom?…”

They dare because they know they would get away with it. And they are not done yet.

The ultra conservatives have been playing a long game for years. And now our country’s top court is packed with right-wingers who not only take kickbacks from billionaires, but actively have us “traveling backwards decades and more in its time machine of law.”

If you are on our mailing list, then you already know what I am talking about. Affirmative Action overturned. LGBTQ+ protections gutted. Loan forgiveness for those that need it most canceled. In other words, the most vulnerable among us are now even more vulnerable than when the week started.

It is hard to find any ray of hope here, but I am taking some solace in the dissents by Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor. There are still progressive American lawmakers who don’t want us to slip decades into the past. I also feel grateful to live in Massachusetts and in particular in Newton. But we cannot let the fact that we live in a relatively less terrifying state lull us into complacency.

It may feel absurd to go from seismic national politics right down to the upcoming City Council and School Committee elections, but it is not a stretch to connect the dots here. If the past week has taught us nothing else, it has shown us just how much elections really do impact our collective well-being.

The City Council and School Committee do critical work for our community and we need people who are authentically committed to social justice principles to serve. We also know that School Committees across the US have been embroiled in issues related to DEI and there is little hope that this will dissipate. This is especially true given the threats from GOP-backed groups like Moms for Liberty, who is one of the main groups pushing to ban the teaching of race and LGBTQ+ rights in schools. Just this week, the GOP showed up in force at their National Convention in Philadelphia. Among them was none other than Donald Trump who was happy to cheer on their extremist agenda, saying “Moms for Liberty is no hate group. You're joyful warriors.”

I guess some people find denying others their humanity a joyful experience.

But despair is not the answer. Getting activated is, and that is why Newton Upstanders was formed In March. We are not political experts, nor are we somehow more qualified to take on this fight than other members of our community. We are people just like you who care deeply about social justice in our community. And we will all be needed to work hard for the candidates who want to keep Newton on the right side of history.

There are hundreds of you reading this. I see you and appreciate each of you and am glad we found each other. We will all be needed soon. Candidates will need people to vote and to volunteer. They will need people to canvas, spread the word, and donate. And we will need people to help us hold them accountable for their commitment to social justice.

I know there are many more like-minded people in our community than those on our current mailing list. We need your help to reach them. So for now the most important thing you can do is spread the word. Please tell a friend about us. The more people we can activate when we are needed the better.


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