New Year’s Memo to Members and Allies

Other work in progress: A Midlands Public Transit Riders Association that we are helping to organize is coming along nicely. We are meeting every Wednesday at 2pm. Leadership from riders has emerged to run the group. After winning the fight for the penny tax in Richland County for transportation, we need a transit riders group to lobby for just and necessary changes. It shouldn’t be left up to the Chamber of Commerce to shape public transit. The Workers’ Rights Project did a nice job with the Longshoremen Dec. 20 in shutting down the Charleston port for two hours to protest a shipment of garments from Bangladesh destined for WalMarts. Some of the clothing came from the factory where 112 workers lost their lives in a fire last Nov. This is the price of always low wages. We will continue to ponder new opportunities for community-based labor organizing. Immigrant Rights advocates will meet with Sen. Graham’s staff in Columbia Jan 11 and Charleston Jan 10 to thank the Senator for his leadership on establishing a path to citizenship. There is a caravan of “Dreamers,” young people raised in the US but without documentation, passing through SC on the way to DC. Sen. Graham is the major Republican player necessary to get immigration reform. The Network set up the meetings and is seeking community support for other activities. See the Network’s calendar for details. Last year was one of the Network’s most successful. We won the fight over SC voters having to show photo ID to vote. We helped prevent critical budget cuts that hurt South Carolina’s most vulnerable. We worked to help pass the penny sales tax to fund public transit in the Midlands. We steadily improved the Network’s visibility in the community and online. We did it all on a shoestring budget with the help of a talented board and gang of dedicated volunteers. Let’s work together to make 2013 even more productive. And fun.

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