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Pioneer Valley No More Guantánamos
The Pioneer Valley group has been meeting in Northampton, MA, since May 2009. Its members come from several cities and towns, including Springfield to the south, Amherst to the east, Greenfield to the north, and many towns in between. It is currently working on outreach to other groups, including interfaith, and advocating on behalf of two current Guantánamo detainees.
We supported a resolution in Amherst to welcome the men to our community,which passed Amherst Town Meeting on November 4, 2009, and a second resolution that passed Leverett Town Meeting on April 24, 2010. We held a public forum in Northampton on November 19; watch the video. We have also written letters and signed greeting cards to Ahmed and Ravil.
Pioneer Valley No More Guantánamos is a local coalition that has come together as part of a national effort to reverse U.S. policies and practices that have denied hundreds of detainees their rights and freedom and that have made the U.S. and the world less safe. Our goals are to:
Assure that prisoners whom the United States continues to detain without trial are either charged and prosecuted for federal crimes, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and international law, or released
Shift public perceptions of Guantánamo prisoners from faceless, nameless “terrorists” to human beings who deserve human rights and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty
Use prisoners’ stories to overcome unfounded fears within our community about these prisoners
Enable prisoners cleared for release but who can’t return home to settle in the U.S. or help them get where they want to go
4 November 2009
Our nation was founded by men and women who lit a torch of freedom for nations yet unborn. The cause of freedom has cost us dearly, most profoundly in the lives of our service men and women, who often paid with their physical and emotional health, if not with their lives. We dishonor their sacrifices when our country—out of fear and hatred, and without cause or due process of law—imprisons, tortures and otherwise diminishes the dignity of others.