Opinions are Not enough.
To protect our Democracy, we must take action.
And taking action usually involves joining with others to do so.
A great example of this is Berkshire Brigades, the Massachusetts Democratic party’s county wide organization. Berkshire Brigades was created as an ad hoc group in 2004 to support then- Senator John Kerry’s campaign for President in the face of the so-called “swift boat veteran” attacks and was formally organized in 2005.
The Brigades’ purpose is to promote and actively support the progressive values and candidates of the Democratic Party locally, statewide, and nationally. As such, the group is dedicated to building a strong base for political action by improving communication, local organization, education, and participation by people of all ages, creeds, color, ethnicity, race and gender in the electoral process. The Brigades seeks to unite and recruit grassroots organizers throughout the
Berkshires’ many towns and two cities, strengthening the efforts of individuals into one cohesive organizing group. For example, Senator Elizabeth Warren began her first political tour of Massachusetts from the Berkshire Brigades’ office. Please note below just some of the activities of the Brigades over the last couple years.
The Brigades is presently led by its officers: Chair, Sheila Murray; Vice Chair, Sheila Irvin; Treasurer, David Orenstein; Secretary, Frank Farkas; and a Steering Committee. Special interest sub-committees address the issues of importance in today’s political climate. These include:
- Campaign finance reform (Move to Amend – Overturning Citizens United)
- Women’s Rights – Equal Rights Amendment
- Consumer Protection
- The 2016 campaign and state ballot questions
- Progressive state issues
- Climate change
- Events – speakers and candidates
So, wherever you are, no matter what issue is most important to you, find and join a Democratic organization in your area to make your voice heard. Few things are as clear as the age old wisdom: “there is strength in numbers”.
From time to time, the Brigades will post news items and issues statements on this website, to further their communication and organizing efforts.
If you have any questions about how the Brigades makes a difference or want information about upcoming election-year activities, contact Sheila Murray, Berkshire Brigades Chair:
5 Washington Square, West Stockbridge 01266
Some recent Brigades’ activities:
- Established and managed first regional office of the Mass Democratic Party for one year
- Held open house of new office with elected officials including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayors of Pittsfield and North Adams and members of the State Committee and about 150 attendees
- Hosted Ed Markey for Senate event with about 300 attendees
- Held introductory forum to meet all Democratic Candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor
- Host “Common Sense” TV show with guests that included all candidates running for office in 2014 both locally and state wide, and continue to interview leaders of local groups who represent various social and political issues.
- Represented Berkshire Brigades at first “Gather-In 2014” of the NAACP in Pittsfield and again in 2015
- Held 10th Anniversary of Berkshire Brigades with local elected officials speaking
- Assisted with organizing 2014 Coordinated campaign of Senate and Governor
- Host a table each month at the Pittsfield Third Thursday community gathering on Pittsfield’s main thoroughfare, attended by thousands of citizens, representing the Berkshire Brigades to register voters and obtain signatures for state legislation important to the Berkshires
- Participated in Union picket line against local company denying negotiations of workers’ pay and benefits
- Hosted quarterly meeting of the State Democratic Committee
- Hosted Q&A with Maura Healey, Attorney General