Last month Manny Pintado attended the Jobs for Justice annual conference in Washington DC. On the school scene, he reported hedgefund managers are undermining public education by funding only charter schools. They’re also donating to colleges huge sums of money with strings attached, to influence the course material. On the  work front, only 13% of US jobs are now unionized. Many workers can earn only the federal minimum wage — $7.25/ hour –with no benefits, and an irregular schedule.

On March 8 we co-sponsored an International Woman’s Day celebration in Lyman Hall. The group honored several women from different parts of MA who are organizing against the Kinder-Morgan pipeline, a 30” diameter pipe running from the fracked-gas fields of PA to the coast, for export, contaminating whatever it touches, including MA protected forest land.  Also receiving an award was P&J president, Sharon Moulton for her work with Climate Action Now (CAN). CAN is trying to influence two committees of the Boston legislature that are each considering an anti-global-warming law: (1), a carbon tax , and (2) getting rid of the cap on new solar projects (so Northampton would be able to put solar panels on the old dump). Sharon urges everyone to call their representatives about these issues.

Congratulations to Denise Karuth who received the Betty Gayzagian Advocacy Award from the Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB), the Massachusetts affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), a national advocacy organization for people with visual and other disabilities. The award was given:

“In recognition of her dedication, determination, leadership and hard work on all issues of importance to people with disabilities, as well as blind or visually impaired individuals in Massachusetts and across the nation.” 

Denise received the award at BSCB’s annual meeting in Burlington, Massachusetts. She was especially pleased when long-time friend and colleague Charles Crawford, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, former executive director at ACB in Washington, DC and retired director of services for blinded veterans at the VA in Washington DC, said, “Denise, you’ve earned this award a thousand times over.”

On the day before Easter, Oonagh Doherty and Em Jollie organized a vigil on First Churches steps to celebrate Berta Cáceres. She was an internationally recognized Honduran peace activist who was not crucified on a cross like Jesus, but was gunned down last week by soldiers bursting through the door of her home. She was protesting corporate damning and flooding Indian land to sell hydroelectric power for their own profit. The US helps finance the Honduran military dictatorship.