by Louise Coleman
Recently, I was elected by the Sherborn Democratic Town Committee as an alternate for the upcoming state convention. Then, because of fears associated with COVID, only one of the delegates opted to attend the convention in person. Some delegates chose not to attend at all; others decided to attend virtually. Thus, unexpectedly, I was upgraded to delegate. What an honor! What an opportunity!
As a member of Massachusetts Peace Action and a devoted proponent of nuclear disarmament, I saw my new status as a delegate as a compelling opportunity to spread the word! On the morning of the convention, I stuffed my backpack with copies of MAPA’s newsletters, our new flyers on The Bad News about the country’s nuclear weapons program (how nuclear spending steals money from health care and other social and educational programs), and The Good News (what people can do about it). I also included information on the group Nuclear Ban, U.S.
On the morning of June 4, with my backpack bulging, I headed off to the Democratic State Convention being held in Worcester, MA. As I drove up to the DCU Convention Center, who should I see, standing a short distance out into the main street, but Maura Healey, currently Attorney General of Massachusetts and a candidate for Governor. She was talking to a policeman who was obviously very pleased to be spoken to in a positive way by the Attorney General. It was a little like arriving on a movie set.
I pulled around the corner and just as Cole Harrison, Executive Director of MAPA said might happen, an on-street parking spot appeared. I pulled into this auspicious space just before a disappointed motorcyclist reached it. My luck held as I approached the main entrance, where one of GBH’s political reporters asked me why I was attending the convention. I gave him a copy of the nuclearban.us nuclear weapons dossier, several of our new Bad News/Good News flyers, a few copies of MAPA’s newsletters, and more information on Nuclear Ban, U.S. I felt wonderful. What a great start for my venture. In my conversation with the GBH reporter, I highlighted the need for the Massachusetts State Senate to pass the new Nuclear Weapons Commission being considered in the State House. All this information was enthusiastically received.
When I went inside the Center, I gave the nice person at the reception desk some flyers. Given that I had registered online – an arduous, byzantine process – I was quickly able to go into the main hall. It was packed. I circulated throughout the crowd, handing out flyers and tracking down Press people. Senate President Karen Spilka was going to turn down my offer of a flyer but when I told her it was from MAPA, she accepted it. I am sure she was being besieged by offers of literature, but I wasn’t going to give up.
After the speeches by Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, I went to the Press Room. I love going to press rooms. Reporters and editors are generally talking casually, and it is much easier to ask them questions without seeming intrusive. Plus, they have comfortable chairs, water, coffee, donuts, and restrooms. I was particularly encouraged when the reporter from State House News Service said he already had a copy of the nuclearban.us dossier and was well aware of what the Nuclear Weapons Commission would do if given final approval. I gave him some flyers and updates (MAPA members should definitely make a trip to the State House again soon).
Mike Deehan was there. He used to be with WGBH and is now with Axios. I enjoyed kidding him about having a phone number listed that no one ever answers. Other reporters (one from The Republican and two with independents) gladly took flyers and Nuclear Ban, U.S. information.
There was only one other Delegate from Sherborn at the convention. He is a long-time Democrat activist whom I told about the proposed nuclear weapons commission, etc. His response was that we needed nuclear weapons because of the Russians in Ukraine. I countered that opinion with facts and he seemed to understand. I gave him a dossier, flyers, and more factual information. He was not hostile, he just didn’t have the information; in his role as a Democratic activist, he influences local and state-wide opinion so I was glad we had the discussion.
I had my photo taken with Senator Markey.
There was no indication when the actual voting would happen, so I decided to head for home, do some work there, and vote online. On the way home, I was able to give more flyers and dossier information to the helpful person who works at our local coffee shop.
My take-away message from the day: If we want peace, if we want to end the threat of nuclear weapons disaster, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to talk to people, particularly politically-involved people, and share the valuable educational materials that are available.
Louise is a member of Massachusetts Peace Action and a devoted proponent of nuclear disarmament