Member Highlight: Nancy Lopez

Meet Nancy Lopez, a N2N member who spent hours and hours knocking on doors and talking to neighbors in Springfield last fall.

Nancy first got involved with N2N seven years ago – she remembers coming to our office in downtown Springfield, on the second floor above a restaurant. The first campaign she worked on was with the N2N Action Fund to elect a progressive ally to Springfield City Council.

“I like to help the community. I never miss a meeting.”
– Nancy Lopez, N2N Member

This year, she reconnected with Enid, our Springfield Organizer, on Facebook and hit the streets with our team to bring neighbors out to vote. Even after long days of knocking doors, N2N members would cheer when they passed each other in the streets to keep the excitement going.

Nancy stays involved because she likes bringing people together, going in groups to elected officials’ offices to fight for what we believe in, and getting her community out to vote.

You’re supporting members like Nancy in doing this work on the ground – thank you!

Celebrating 25 years of Neighbor to Neighbor

With you by our side, Neighbor to Neighbor has won countless victories over the last 25 years.

You’ve helped us back the leadership of N2N members, who align with our values, to step up to run for office. You’ve helped us champion policies to raise the minimum wage and win paid medical leave. You’ve helped us stop polluters like the Mt. Tom coal plant from putting their own profits before the health of our people and planet.

Thanks to you, we have a lot to celebrate as our organization turns 25. And your support means we’re gearing up for an even more powerful future.

Our team is stronger than ever, and we’re growing. We’re excited to welcome Terry Gibson, Cultural & Field Organizer, Enid Ramos-Ginés, Springfield Organizer, and Ruthy Rickenbacker, Communications & Digital Coordinator, to the team!

Going forward, N2N will lead the way on campaigns for community control and community ownership.

We’re fighting to make housing a social good, bring democracy to the workplace, and ensure that our people live in safe, healthy communities and are at the leading edge of the clean energy economy.

Thanks to you, N2N will continue to be a place, a true political home, that pushes the boundaries of what is possible – for 25 more amazing years to come.

Take action for housing justice statewide

Get ready to take action: N2N is launching a campaign to fight for housing justice statewide!

We know our people are facing a housing crisis, made worse by racism, COVID-19, and the climate crisis. The rent is too high, and our communities are being displaced from the cities we call home.

Last fall, you supported us in bringing together neighbors in Springfield, Holyoke, Worcester and Lynn to have real conversations about our struggles with housing. Together, we also imagined solutions. We envisioned a future where renters are protected, housing is affordable, and our people can afford to stay in their homes.

Now, we’re gearing up to fight for that future.

Are you ready to fight for housing justice? Make sure you stay in the know by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Gerena

The German Gerena School opened in 1975 to serve the growing North End population and to unite the North End through its system of tunnels. The tunnels now suffer from persistent water and mold due to aging and broken waterproof lining and poor ventilation. The water and mold exacerbate health concerns such as asthma, which affects Springfield residents at a rate twice that of the state average.

These issues have prompted community action. Organizations such as Neighbor 2 Neighbor have called on the city and state to make Gerena safe for the school children and community members who rely on the tunnels. Driven by a sense of  mutual aid, organizers draw attention to the connections between income inequality, environmental injustice, and racism. Gerena is one site that demonstrates these injustices in the North End community. As such, activists have been persistent and resilient in the fight to make Gerena a safe and vibrant space for the North End once again. Through organization and grassroots activism, local groups empower those who are directly affected by injustice to take control of decisions that impact their communities. 

In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT), which is responsible for the upkeep of the Gerena tunnels, approved funding for waterproofing the Gerena tunnels. These tunnel repairs were estimated to cost up to $3 million. In October of 2020, the city of Springfield completed a repair plan for the tunnel system’s water leaks. In April 2021, Mass DOT approved the plan and agreed to fund $1.2 million of the estimated $2.18 million project. 

For more information on the history and issues surrounding Gerena, view these segments presented by New England Public Media’s Connecting Point.

Lower Valley Mutual Aid Press Release

Contact:

Katie Talbot, Organizer, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, (413) 270-4694, Katie@n2nma.org 

Zulma Rivera, Organizer, Neighbor to Neighbor, Massachusetts, (413)364-4247

Zulma@n2nma.org 

[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ]

Lower Valley Mutual Aid

LOWER VALLEY- Eleven months into a global pandemic, and our communities throughout the lower valley continue to struggle to make ends meet. During the early months of the pandemic Neighbor to Neighbor was introduced to the mutual aid network from a few of its members who saw first hand how many people were struggling to obtain basic necessities, paying bills, and providing food. In the attempt to assist with community needs, N2N connected with various mutual aid groups in search for the best practices to connect with the community. 

The Lower Valley Mutual Aid formed in the Holyoke/Springfield/Chicopee area to strengthen connections among neighbors and share talents and resources. Katie Talbot and Zulmalee Rivera, from Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) have worked to support Neighborhood Point People who agree to be neighborhood leaders; to be the eyes and ears on the ground and to help the effort connect with as many people as possible. They have launched the Appleseed Time Project, where participants can offer their skills through time exchange. 

Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month a food distribution drive is hosted at 413 Main Street in Holyoke. Additionally, the partnership with the COVID-19 Massachusetts Tracing Collaborative, food can be delivered to folks who are quarantining after testing positive. The collaborative community effort has already assisted over 180 community members. In the midst of the pandemic the group continues to thrive – building strong neighborhood ties in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield. 

Instructions to make donations via Indian Orchard Community Council (IOCC), the non-profit fiscal sponsor for the local N2N are below:

To donate on-line use this link. It brings you to the Indian Orchard donation page. Be sure to click on the options box and choose Lower Valley Mutual Aid. Or you can write a check to IOCC (Indian Orchard Community Council).  The Memo line should say Lower Valley Mutual Aid. Mail checks to Indian Orchard Community Council, PO Box 51593,  Indian Orchard, MA. 01151

Every donation small and large is welcome.  Thank you for your generosity to our neighbors! 

Lower Valley Mutual Aid formed in the Holyoke/ Springfield area with the support of Neighbor to Neighbor to strengthen connections among neighbors & share talents & resources. In addition, they established the Lower Valley Mutual Aid Fund. Read more & find out how you can contribute here.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Environmental Justice Press Contacts

María Belén Power, Associate Executive Director, GreenRoots, Inc., (617) 466-3076 mariabelenp@greenrootschelsea.org

Andrea Nyamekye, Co-Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, (508) 505-6748 andrea@n2nma.org

Environmental Justice Organizations, Grassroots Groups, and Allies Angered by Squandered Opportunity.

Boston – Environmental justice was dealt a devastating blow today by Governor Baker’s veto of the much-anticipated Next Generation Roadmap Bill. Enactment of S.2995 would have created long overdue protections for the Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant and low income communities who experience disproportionate impacts of pollution and climate change and are often excluded from adequate participation in environmental decision-making.

Members of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Table, a broad based coalition of environmental justice organizations, grassroots groups, and allies, led by GreenRoots, Inc. and Neighbor to Neighbor MA, are shocked and disappointed to see this opportunity squandered. Not only would the bill have helped to reassert Massachusetts’ leadership on climate change, it would have anchored state decarbonization efforts in racial and economic justice, in the wake of the nation’s racial reckoning and in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the imperative to do so is no longer in question.

We thank our legislative sponsors, who have been leaders in bringing the issue of environmental justice to the forefront, and for their hard work over the past two years and more. We also thank the Senate President and Speaker of the House, who have come out publicly and committed to refiling the Next Generation Roadmap Bill as soon as possible.

Maria Belén Power, Associate Executive Director, GreenRoots Inc, said, “Once again, so-called “progressive” Massachusetts has shown it’s true colors. We are led by a Republican Governor who is not interested in defending and protecting the most vulnerable residents of our Commonwealth, in particular immigrants, people of color and low income residents. Governor Baker has sent a clear message for 2021, he has zero interest in advancing equity and providing much-needed protections for environmental justice communities. It is shameful that after everything our country and our Commonwealth has been through this past year; after so many public health inequities being uncovered and exposed; and after the racial uprisings of this past summer, Governor Baker refuses to grant justice to the most vulnerable communities of our Commonwealth. ”

Andrea Nyamekye, Co-Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor MA, said, “After 20 long years, we still do not have true environmental justice protections for our most vulnerable communities in the Commonwealth. This bill could have been the first step in ameliorating public health and environmental harms that have plagued Massachusetts communities, and disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant, and low income communities, for far too long. Governor Baker had a chance to put environmental justice into state statute for the first time, but he decided to allow environmental racism to persist in Massachusetts despite the overwhelming statewide support for these protections. We are thankful to our coalition partners for the work that was poured into getting environmental justice legislation this far, and to our five legislative sponsors who pushed their legislative colleagues to act on justice. The Governor may think he has silenced us and our fight for justice, but we will be back because our communities can no longer wait.”

Sofia Owen, Staff Attorney, ACE (Alternatives for Community & Environment): “We are deeply disappointed that the Governor did not sign the Roadmap Bill. The environmental justice provisions would provide Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant, and low-income communities in Massachusetts with baseline protections that are long overdue. Our communities are the most polluted in the state, and by not signing this bill, Governor Baker is failing to protect the health of the communities who need it most – even in the midst of a global pandemic. This is unacceptable. Today’s veto ensures that environmental racism will continue to thrive in policymaking in Massachusetts.”

Jean-Luc Pierite, President Board of Directors, North American Indian Center of Boston: “There is no environmental justice without first considering the Indigenous peoples of Massachusetts. The Next Generation Roadmap Bill includes critical measures for equity for our communities on the front line of climate change. It ensures that Indigenous peoples are not excluded from decision making processes because of race or language barriers. It also ensures further investment in businesses rooted in our communities. This means the most impacted are those who can foster solutions for a sustainable future. Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto stands against a loud outcry for equity from environmental justice communities.”

Heather McMann, Executive Director, Groundwork Lawrence: ““I am very disappointed that Governor Baker did not sign the Next Generation Roadmap Bill,” said Heather McMann, executive director of Groundwork Lawrence. “I know that Groundwork Lawrence and the rest of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Table will continue to work together and step up our efforts to make our voice heard and advocate for climate policy that directly addresses both the causes of climate warming and actively develops process to address the pervasive social inequity that has our environmental justice population bear the brunt of the burden of climate change. It is critical, to protect our planet and to protect its people, that aggressive measures such as the ones included in this Bill, become law of the Commonwealth.”

The Massachusetts Environmental Justice Table is led by GreenRoots, Inc. and Neighbor to Neighbor MA and includes Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), A Better Future Project, Coalition for Social Justice, Clean Water Action, Community Action Works, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Groundwork Lawrence, Health Care Without Harm, Lawyers for Civil Rights, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), and Unitarian Universalist Mass Action.

# # #

We are Neighbor to Neighbor

You‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌an‌ ‌integral‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌to‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌community, importantly anchoring us ‌‌through‌ ‌our‌ ‌recent‌ ‌Executive‌ ‌leadership‌ ‌transition.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
We‌ ‌are‌ ‌excited‌ ‌to‌ ‌continue‌ ‌building‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌power‌ ‌of‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌to‌ ‌Neighbor:‌ ‌building‌ ‌power‌ ‌with‌ ‌and‌ ‌in‌ ‌“New‌ ‌Majority”‌ ‌communities‌ ‌to‌ ‌bring‌ ‌about‌ ‌‌real‌ ‌‌change‌ ‌in‌ ‌people’s‌ ‌lives‌ ‌and‌ ‌cities.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌

And‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌excited‌ ‌to‌ ‌usher‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌new.‌ ‌ ‌

 ‌
You,‌ ‌like‌ ‌us,‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌at‌ ‌an‌ ‌inflection‌ ‌point.‌ ‌Communities‌ ‌are‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌fight‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ ‌lives‌ ‌around‌ ‌racial‌ ‌justice,‌ ‌environmental‌ ‌justice,‌ ‌economic‌ ‌justice,‌ ‌and‌ ‌more.‌ ‌This‌ ‌path‌ ‌to‌ ‌liberation‌ ‌will‌ ‌take‌ ‌deep‌  organizing‌ ‌and‌ ‌community‌ ‌building‌ ‌to‌ ‌achieve‌ ‌meaningful‌ ‌and‌ ‌transformative‌ ‌change.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
And,‌ ‌you,‌ ‌like‌ ‌us,‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌to‌ ‌radically‌ ‌shift‌ ‌from‌ ‌our‌ ‌current‌ ‌extractive‌ ‌economy‌ ‌into‌ ‌one‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌regenerative,‌ ‌just,‌ ‌and‌ ‌loving‌ ‌of‌ ‌black‌ ‌and‌ ‌brown‌  people‌ ‌and‌ ‌working-class‌ ‌people,‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌build‌ ‌power‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌bottom‌ ‌up.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
In‌ ‌the‌ ‌midst‌ ‌of‌ ‌continued‌ ‌uncertainty‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌fight‌ ‌for‌ ‌change,‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ deep‌ly ‌grateful‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌stand‌ ‌by‌ ‌N2N’s‌ ‌side!‌ ‌
 ‌
We‌ ‌are‌ ‌seeing‌ ‌our‌ ‌democracy‌ ‌and‌ ‌society‌ ‌crumble‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌curtain‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌pulled‌ ‌back,‌ ‌exposing‌ ‌injustices‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌all‌ ‌have‌ ‌known‌ ‌for‌ ‌too‌ ‌long:‌ ‌the‌ ‌chipping‌ ‌away‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌social‌ ‌safety‌ ‌net,‌ ‌growing‌ ‌disparities‌ ‌between‌ ‌the‌ ‌rich‌ ‌and‌ ‌poor,‌ ‌the‌ ‌death‌ ‌of‌ ‌black‌ ‌men,‌ ‌women,‌ ‌and‌ ‌trans‌ ‌folks‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌hands‌ ‌of‌ ‌police‌ ‌violence,‌ ‌a‌ ‌planet‌ ‌in‌ ‌ecological‌ ‌collapse,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌disproportionate‌ ‌number‌ ‌of‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌deaths‌ ‌in‌ ‌black,‌ ‌brown‌‌, and‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
These‌ ‌injustices‌ ‌are‌ ‌right‌ ‌here‌ ‌in‌ ‌Massachusetts‌ ‌too:‌ ‌
    ●Continued‌ ‌displacement‌ ‌of‌ ‌working-class‌ ‌and‌ ‌people‌ ‌of‌ ‌color‌ ‌families‌ ‌in‌ ‌Lynn,‌ ‌Worcester‌‌, and‌ ‌Springfield,‌ ‌as‌ ‌rents‌ ‌increase‌ ‌and‌ ‌people‌ ‌get‌ ‌pushed‌ ‌out.‌ ‌ ‌
    ●Lack‌ ‌of‌ ‌representation‌ ‌in‌ ‌local‌ ‌governments‌ ‌run‌ ‌by‌ ‌entrenched‌ ‌power‌ ‌structures‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌incapable‌ ‌of‌ ‌hearing‌ ‌the‌ ‌lived‌ ‌experiences‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌people‌ ‌we‌ ‌organize‌ ‌every day.‌ ‌
 ‌

The‌ ‌survival‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities‌ ‌and‌ ‌the environment‌ ‌is‌ ‌at‌ ‌stake.‌ ‌

 ‌
In‌ ‌this‌ ‌video,‌ ‌you‌ ‌will‌ ‌see‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌many‌ ‌faces‌ ‌of‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌to‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌who‌ ‌have‌ ‌made‌ ‌this‌ ‌organization‌ ‌their‌ ‌political‌ ‌home.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
Our‌ ‌members‌ ‌like‌ ‌Nelly‌ ‌Medina,‌ ‌have‌ ‌learned‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌many‌ ‌challenges‌ ‌she‌ ‌and‌ ‌her‌ ‌neighbors‌ ‌face‌ ‌in‌ ‌Worcester‌ ‌all‌ ‌come‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌root:‌ ‌an‌ ‌economy‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌extractive‌ ‌in‌ ‌nature,‌ ‌and‌ ‌these‌ ‌inequities‌ ‌are‌ ‌shouldered‌ ‌by‌ ‌people‌ ‌of‌ ‌color,‌ ‌the‌ ‌poor,‌ ‌the‌ ‌working‌ ‌class,‌ ‌immigrants,‌ ‌and‌ ‌LGBTQ+‌ ‌folks.‌ ‌
 ‌
In‌ ‌order‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌transition‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌just,‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌center‌ ‌people‌ ‌most‌ ‌directly‌ ‌impacted,‌ ‌and‌ ‌bring‌ ‌decision-making‌ ‌power‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌These‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌faces‌ ‌of‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌to‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌leading‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌towards‌ ‌a‌ ‌Just‌ ‌Transition‌ ‌and‌ ‌Solidarity‌ ‌Economy.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
However‌ ‌2020‌ ‌ends,‌ ‌you‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ ‌our‌ ‌work‌ ‌cut‌ ‌out‌ ‌for‌ ‌us.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌collective‌ ‌hands‌ ‌to‌ ‌bring‌ ‌forth‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌world‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌all‌ ‌know‌ ‌is‌ ‌possible.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌

This‌ ‌is‌ ‌our‌ ‌shared‌ ‌vision‌ ‌for‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌to‌ ‌Neighbor‌ ‌and‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌We‌ ‌will‌ ‌organize‌ ‌and‌ ‌build‌ ‌people‌ ‌power‌ ‌to:‌ ‌
    ●Shift‌ ‌economic‌ ‌and‌ ‌political‌ ‌control‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌ ‌
    ●Democratize‌ ‌wealth‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources.‌ ‌ ‌
    ●Advance‌ ‌ecological‌ ‌restoration‌ ‌and‌ ‌create‌ ‌resilient‌ ‌structures‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌
    ●Elect‌ ‌movement‌ ‌leaders‌ ‌who‌ ‌hold‌ ‌Just‌ ‌Transition,‌ ‌Solidarity‌ ‌Economy,‌ ‌and‌ ‌co-governance‌ ‌principles‌ ‌to‌ ‌alter‌ ‌the‌ ‌entrenched‌ ‌power‌ ‌structures‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities‌ ‌and‌ ‌statewide.‌ ‌

 ‌We‌ ‌are‌ ‌continuing‌ ‌to‌ ‌lay‌ ‌the‌ ‌foundation‌ ‌for‌ ‌our‌ ‌collective‌ ‌liberation.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
Will‌ ‌you‌ ‌take‌ ‌our‌ ‌hands‌ ‌and‌ ‌walk‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌path‌ ‌towards‌ ‌a‌ ‌better‌ ‌world‌ ‌with‌ ‌us?‌ ‌
 ‌

Now‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌ever,‌ ‌we‌ ‌ask‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌double‌ ‌your‌ ‌gift.‌ ‌‌For‌ ‌the‌ ‌many‌ ‌faces‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌video,‌ ‌for‌ ‌our‌ ‌communities,‌ ‌for‌ ‌you,‌ ‌for‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌us.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
With‌ ‌your‌ ‌additional‌ ‌gift,‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌building‌ ‌power‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌world‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌all‌ ‌know‌ ‌is‌ ‌possible‌ ‌to‌ ‌create,‌ ‌centered‌ ‌around‌ ‌values‌ ‌of‌ ‌cooperation,‌ ‌self-determination,‌ ‌and‌ ‌mutualism.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌
In‌ ‌imagination,‌ ‌solidarity,‌ ‌hope,‌ ‌love,‌ ‌and‌ ‌deep‌ ‌gratitude,‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌

Andrea‌ ‌Nyamekye‌ ‌&‌ ‌Elvis‌ ‌Méndez‌ ‌
Co-Executive‌ ‌Directors‌ ‌
Neighbor to Neighbor MA
To learn more about Andrea Nyamekye please click here.
To learn more about Elvis Méndez please click here.

A Farewell to you, with love and gratitude

Amidst a pandemic and a righteous uprising, N2N’s Board of Directors kept a steady hand and eyes on the prize, successfully completing a transition in our executive leadership.  Navigating this transition amidst it all is truly a testament to the breadth and depth of N2N’s leadership.

We could not have done this without you. And because of you, the future looks bright, promising, and exciting for N2N and Massachusetts. 

And so, my wondrous journey at N2N has come to an end. And I could not be more grateful and gratified.

Sometime along my organizing journey someone told me that a good organizer organizes themselves out of the job.  I took that very seriously.  

And indeed, 

  • what is a people’s organization, if not one that is leader-full? 
  • What would structural change mean if at least a single organization could not shift power relations enough so that leadership, power and decision-making are shared throughout?
  • What would empowerment and self-determination mean if the very people in historically marginalized communities were not the ones in charge of their own community organizations as means of charting their own futures?

N2N is indeed leader-full at the board, staff and chapter levels. Decision-making is shared across all levels of the organization. And our gradual shift to boost our field operations and go deeper at the local level has resulted in greater indigenous leadership and chapters that direct their own strategy.

All of the above is best exemplified by N2N’s Board of Directors’ wise selection of Andrea Nyamekye and Elvis Méndez as Co-Directors.

  • Andrea and Elvis come from and are rooted in New Majority communities. 
  • All N2N has done in the past two years has been done in conversation, consultation and consensus with them. 
  • It was their own vision and proposal that the next leadership structure be a Co-Directorship, indicating N2N’s continued path in deepening democracy and power sharing.

Over the past two years, Andrea and Elvis have been leaders in their own right, accumulating significant experience and expertise. 

Andrea has been our in-house expert in all matters relating to environmental and climate justice.  Under her leadership, N2N’s intersectional analysis got sharper and our campaigns bolder. Because of her vision, N2N got on the path of Just Transition.  She has represented us beautifully and powerfully in many state coalitions.

Under Elvis’ leadership, N2N has deepend and strengthened our positioning, presence and power in Western MA and Worcester.  He co-designed and co-led the pilot of our Movement Politics Institute, which yielded an additional council seat in Springfield last year, and this year resulted in two of our members launching electoral bids for the State Legislature.  He has led our recent efforts to continue organizing during this pandemic, digitally, virtually, and on the phones. In the process, Elvis has mentored and coached a team of chapter organizers who have grown tremendously over the past year. 

After working with Andrea and Elvis over the last three years, I know that both are well positioned to issue in N2N’s next chapter. I am certain that their leadership will be vibrant, visionary, innovative, powerful and relevant. This gives me so much hope, for the world needs their kind of energy and vision, particularly in these times of growing uncertainty, chaos, and polarization.

Soon, Andrea and Elvis will share with you a bit of where they’re headed.  I am sure that you will share in my hope and joy.  I am sure you will support them as you supported me. 

I am certain because it is N2N, the community, and the issues you care about that you have supported all along.  All of that, and more, will remain, grow and strengthen under Andrea’s and Elvis’ leadership.

As you can see, my work at N2N indeed has come to an end.  I am pleased and satisfied with the result. Above all, I am gratified because once again I confirmed and reaffirmed that it was COMMUNITY that carried me and N2N along these years.  And It will be community which will continue carrying and sustaining N2N and its two new leaders. 

And YOU, dear friend, are certainly a cherished member of N2N’s community.  You, too, share in this accomplishment.

As a chapter in my own organizing life closes, a new one opens.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to join the Episcopal City Mission (ECM) as their Director of Philanthropy, Learning and Evaluation. ECM has a compelling and powerful faith-based social justice mission that is advanced by a beautiful, brilliant and devoted staff guided by Rev. Arrington Chambliss’ wise and loving leadership.  I am quite humbled to join them and look forward to contributing to ECM’s mission. I am certain that, as happened with me at N2N, I stand to learn and gain much more than I will give. 

And yes. I learned and received way more than I gave in my years at N2N. As I look back on my journey, I am quite amazed at my good fortune. While it is true that I learned a new organizing model (I had never knocked on doors before!) and about electoral politics and campaigns, the most precious thing I take with me is a bigger WE, a WE that includes YOU.

Indeed, I leave richer because I:

  • came to know and love the richly and beautifully diverse communities N2N organizes
  • joined hands with many diverse coalitions working on many different issues
  • found the support and confidence in my leadership among so many generous donors and funders.

My Infinite and eternal gratitude to YOU for you steadfast and continued support of N2N.

My infinite and eternal gratitude to:

  • the very best Boards of Directors I have ever had the blessing to serve, particularly my two Board Presidents Shaitia Spruell and Eliud Alcala
  • the most loving and patient staff team ever who put up with me over the years
  • John Maher, always PRESENTE, our founder, who first made my bigger WE possible, and who became my friend and mentor.

With love and gratitude, yours and always en la lucha!

Maria Elena Letona

Neighbor to Neighbor is hiring!

Neighbor to Neighbor is hiring 2 Regional Coordinator positions: Centeral/Eastern Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator & Western Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator

1.

Neighbor to Neighbor Central/Eastern Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator Job Description

Neighbor to Neighbor is seeking a Central/Eastern Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator to co-develop, lead on strategies, and tactics to advance the organization’s priority campaigns in our Central/Eastern Massachusetts chapters in Worcester,  and Lynn. 

The successful candidate will be a proven community, labor, or political organizer. The successful candidate is adept at the art and science of leveraging time, resources, and relationships into concrete campaign victories that build power with and for LGBTQ+, women, immigrants, the working class, and communities of color. The Central/Eastern Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator will directly supervise the Worcester, and Lynn Area Organizers. They will work with the organizers to set basebuilding metrics, troubleshoot organizing issues, and collaborate with the organizers to build power in the two cities, and in the region. This position reports to the Co-Executive Directors. 

About Neighbor to Neighbor 

We are the New Majority: people of color, immigrants, women, and the working class on a path to liberation. N2N’s statewide membership organizes to put people, and the planet before profit. In an era of income inequality, environmental degradation, and racism, our chapters build power to confront this triple crisis in Massachusetts. We fill the ballot boxes with our votes. We fill the streets with our voices. We seed the new alternatives that put power, and decision-making in our hands. We are certain that a new world is possible, and that we are the ones to build it. Our website.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Supervising, and supporting the Worcester, and Lynn Area Organizers.
  • Leading direct organizing work, co-creating strategic campaigns with the Area Organizers, and developing workplans, and benchmarks in collaboration with the Area Organizers.
  • Representing the organization in regional coalition spaces. 
  • Work with the Development Director to set annual fundraising goals, and to cultivate a list of 30 donors.
  • Collaborate with the Co-Executive Directors, and Development Director in providing information for grant writing, and reporting.

Qualifications: We’re seeking candidates who excel in relationship-building, come from an organizing background, and have strong management and supervision skills. This includes:

  • Working for racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice. You consistently integrate a deep understanding of key racial, economic, gender, and environmental equity concepts into work projects and interactions. You address the structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.
  • Proven success as an organizer, and movement builder. You have a history of building alignment based on values and long-term vision that has resulted in advanced campaigns that have won, or moved the issue to the forefront. Your previous work includes conceptualizing, building and playing a leadership role in transformative organizing campaigns, field expansion efforts, and/or collaborations designed to make strategic interventions in a field or sector 
  • Ability to align and move people into action. You communicate your ideas, and plans in ways that build credibility, inspire, align people, and motivate action. You have experience with identifying the appropriate asks of individuals, creating commitments, and mutual accountability. 
  • Ability and desire to work in a fast-paced environment, and manage workflow across teams and the region. You prioritize and switch gears quickly between multiple projects. You successfully plan and coordinate workflow across teams, consistently meeting deadlines, and motivating others to do the same. 
  • Great sense of humor. You complement rigor, and high standard with an ability to encourage fun, and laughter in a team environment. 
  • Three to Five years experience in community, labor, environmental, or grassroots electoral organizing – including member recruitment, leadership development, and campaign organizing strongly preferred.
  • Experience managing organizing teams preferred.
  • Fluency in Spanish or Portuguese preferred.

Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position is $50,000-$60,000. We make a particular effort to recruit LGBTQ+, women, and BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) folks to apply for open positions.

How to apply: Please email a cover letter, and resume with references to n2nma@n2nma.org with the title of the position in the subject line.

2.

Neighbor to Neighbor Western Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator Job Description

Neighbor to Neighbor is seeking a Western Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator to co-develop, lead on strategies, and tactics to advance the organization’s priority campaigns in our Western Massachusetts chapters in Springfield,  and Holyoke. 

The successful candidate will be a proven community, labor, or political organizer. The successful candidate is adept at the art and science of leveraging time, resources, and relationships into concrete campaign victories that build power with and for LGBTQ+, women, immigrants, the working class, and communities of color. The Western Massachusetts Regional Field Coordinator will directly supervise the Springfield, and Holyoke Area Organizers. They will work with the organizers to set basebuilding metrics, troubleshoot organizing issues, and collaborate with the organizers to build power in the two cities, and in the region. This position reports to the Co-Executive Directors. 

About Neighbor to Neighbor 

We are the New Majority: people of color, immigrants, women, and the working class on a path to liberation. N2N’s statewide membership organizes to put people, and the planet before profit. In an era of income inequality, environmental degradation, and racism, our chapters build power to confront this triple crisis in Massachusetts. We fill the ballot boxes with our votes. We fill the streets with our voices. We seed the new alternatives that put power, and decision-making in our hands. We are certain that a new world is possible, and that we are the ones to build it. Our website.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Supervising, and supporting the Springfield, and Holyoke Area Organizers.
  • Leading direct organizing work, co-creating strategic campaigns with the Area Organizers, and developing workplans, and benchmarks in collaboration with the Area Organizers.
  • Representing the organization in regional coalition spaces. 
  • Work with the Development Director to set annual fundraising goals, and to cultivate a list of 30 donors.
  • Collaborate with the Co-Executive Directors, and Development Director in providing information for grant writing, and reporting.

Qualifications: We’re seeking candidates who excel in relationship-building, come from an organizing background, and have strong management and supervision skills. This includes:

  • Working for racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice. You consistently integrate a deep understanding of key racial, economic, gender, and environmental equity concepts into work projects and interactions. You address the structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.
  • Proven success as an organizer, and movement builder. You have a history of building alignment based on values and long-term vision that has resulted in advanced campaigns that have won, or moved the issue to the forefront. Your previous work includes conceptualizing, building and playing a leadership role in transformative organizing campaigns, field expansion efforts, and/or collaborations designed to make strategic interventions in a field or sector 
  • Ability to align and move people into action. You communicate your ideas, and plans in ways that build credibility, inspire, align people, and motivate action. You have experience with identifying the appropriate asks of individuals, creating commitments, and mutual accountability. 
  • Ability and desire to work in a fast-paced environment, and manage workflow across teams and the region. You prioritize and switch gears quickly between multiple projects. You successfully plan and coordinate workflow across teams, consistently meeting deadlines, and motivating others to do the same. 
  • Great sense of humor. You complement rigor, and high standard with an ability to encourage fun, and laughter in a team environment. 
  • Three to Five years experience in community, labor, environmental, or grassroots electoral organizing – including member recruitment, leadership development, and campaign organizing strongly preferred.
  • Experience managing organizing teams preferred.
  • Fluency in Spanish or Portuguese preferred.

Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position is $50,000-$60,000. We make a particular effort to recruit LGBTQ+, women, and BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) folks to apply for open positions.

How to apply: Please email a cover letter, and resume with references to n2nma@n2nma.org with the title of the position in the subject line.

Holyoke’s loss of $275K energy grant sad loss for city’s future

06/11/2020 by Katie Talbot, Holyoke Organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor

https://www.masslive.com/opinion/2020/06/holyokes-loss-of-275k-energy-grant-sad-loss-for-citys-future-guest-viewpoint.html?fbclid=IwAR2b8jP9O4cTBl5Rxv1xGqPsf6kQcGfjMSd-aJAGiYvTKsvKZJruzNxg_C0

The Barr Foundation rescinding the $275,000 grant to the city of Holyoke is a sad loss for the city’s residents and future. The grant was an opportunity for the city of Holyoke to analyze its energy use with the pro-bono support of Rocky Mount Institute (a nationally recognized organization), Conservation Law Foundation and UMass. It was an opportunity for residents, business owners, city departments and the utility company to come together to re-imagine Holyoke, as a 100% green renewable energy city.

The lack of action from a few city councilors based on misinformation and fear, yet again, leaves the people of Holyoke out. Throughout the debates in the city Council the concern of having Neighbor to Neighbor as a player in this partnership, whose role was to share education and bring the voices of the community to the table, has been cited as the reason for not accepting these much needed resources. What we see from the council is a lack of interest in broadening civic participation beyond the subcommittees of the council, a lack of faith in their city residents to be entrusted with determining their own energy future, a blatant disregard of marginalized voices, and in truth, a silencing of community voices.

We have witnessed the benefits of having the community involved in the decision-making process with the closing of the Mt. Tom Coal plant which has been beneficial to Holyoke’s residents and environment. We have also witnessed the long-term failures of projects when the community voices are not heard in the decision making process.

We are witnessing the protests throughout our country, black people and allies screaming to be heard and valued after centuries of being left out of the process.

A city councilor expressed concern that Neighbor to Neighbor hoped to advance an agenda through the climate action process. To which I say: yes, absolutely, guilty as charged. Yes, we want to push an agenda that values the lives of what we know as the new majority, working class people, black people, brown folks, the poor, Immigrants and LGBTQ folks.

Yes, we absolutely want to push an agenda that prioritizes the public interest, that puts people and the planet before private profit. Yes we want to drive an agenda that acknowledges the climate crisis we are ALL facing and seeks alternatives to fossil fuel dependency for the future of our children. Yes, we want to champion an agenda that creates space and opportunity to bring folks into the decision making processes that have left them out for far too long.

I am saddened for the residents of Holyoke that fear won over hope and opportunity. Neighbor to Neighbor will continue to strengthen the voices of Holyoke, we will continue to support residents of Holyoke to take leadership roles in their communities and we will continue to support structural changes in Holyoke that value the new majority.

Katie Talbot is a Holyoke organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor