Action Alert

Amid record levels of unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Massachusetts residents are struggling to pay rent and afford basic necessities. The statewide eviction moratorium prevents anyone from being forced out of their home for now, but if the Governor does not extend the moratorium, that protection could end on August 18th – flooding courts with eviction cases. According to landlord organizations, as many as an estimated 15,000 new evictions will be filed.

As part of the response to the tidal wave of evictions expected to hit when the moratorium lifts, Senator Sal DiDomenico has filed emergency legislation to establish a statewide Right to Counsel pilot project. The bill, SD 2971, would protect low-income renters and owner-occupants facing eviction in areas of the Commonwealth hit hardest by the pandemic by establishing projects statewide, within each of the Housing Court’s six divisions.

As a member of the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition, we know that without a lawyer, many tenants do not know how to protect themselves in and out of the courtroom from the threat of eviction. This bill is an important step in ensuring a fairer, more balanced process, preventing homelessness, displacement, unjust evictions, and creating a path to housing stability in the wake of the pandemic.

SD 2971 Fact Sheet

What You Can Do

Time is of the essence!

  1. Contact your Senator & Representative TODAY and ask them to co-sponsor SD 2971 Emergency Right to Counsel Pilot.
  2. Check whether your Senator and Rep co-sponsored Right to Counsel bills earlier this year. If they did, thank them for their earlier support when you ask them to co-sponsor SD 2971. 
  3. Use the starter email below which includes links to the fact sheet and information about the Coalition.
  4. Because elected officials get a lot of emails, follow-up with a phone call to ask whether the Senator or Rep will co-sponsor the bill.
  5. Click here to find your Senator and Representative emails and phone numbers. 

Sample Language:

My name is _______ and I am a Massachusetts resident from _____________. I’m contacting you to ask that you co-sponsor Senate Docket 2971, a statewide right to counsel pilot program to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. It is urgent that we advance this bill quickly to avert the coming eviction crisis. Landlord organizations estimate 15,000 new evictions will be filed when the eviction moratorium ends. 

Over 90% of tenants face eviction without legal representation, while 70% of landlords have lawyers – an imbalance that may be felt even more when the moratorium ends. Massachusetts needs a comprehensive eviction prevention response that includes full legal representation in eviction cases to stabilize people’s housing. 

Over 130 organizations have joined together to support a right to counsel in MassachusettsI hope you will join with others to co-sponsor SD 2971. Please see the fact sheet with more information about SD 2971. Thank you for all of your work to keep Massachusetts residents safe and housed.

Your name ______________

Organization/Contact Information


Thank you for supporting low-income and unrepresented tenants and taking quick action to expand access to justice!


SD 2971 Fact Sheet

Find Your Legislator

Did Your Legislator Co-Sponsor a Right to Counsel Bill?

Growing List of Supporters for Right to Counsel

Join the Right to Counsel Coalition

Our Response to COVID-19

From advocating for increased support for youth experiencing homelessness, to sharing multilingual resources to help immigrant and Limited English Proficient families withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – there’s work to be done. Learn more about steps we’re taking to aid our most vulnerable communities during the pandemic and how you can help.

Our Response to COVID-19


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America is hurting. The unjust murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others have sparked a national movement to hold our leaders accountable for the insidious racial inequality that penetrates both consciously and unconsciously throughout American society. People across the nation are fighting to overcome generations of pain caused by white supremacy, racial injustice, police brutality, and a broken criminal justice system that penalizes Black citizens at disproportionate rates. This is increasingly obvious as we are suffering through a global pandemic that is impacting communities of color at far higher rates than white communities due to the inequities these communities are forced to endure. We continue to see the over-policing of Black communities and the unjust use of force against Black citizens. Segregated schools and segregated educational opportunities reproduce inequality and racial disparities. These societal issues entrench racial injustice in our schools, neighborhoods, and jobs, which ultimately lead to the violence perpetrated against innocent people such as George Floyd.
Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with Black voices and Black-led movements across the country who are organizing and mobilizing citizens to fight for justice for all.  We share a common belief that change is necessary. In addition to calling out injustice, Appleseed actively works to find local solutions to national issues and make change happen at the state and local level through our 16 Centers across the country. Our Centers work tirelessly to fight racial injustice and transform our system into one that eliminates structural inequality in our society. We work to integrate schools, improve prison conditions, reduce jail populations, expand social safety net programs, increase access to basic services regardless of one’s country of origin, equalize access to healthcare, increase affordable housing, afford all people the training and education they need to compete for better jobs, fight unfair policing, and change unfair laws.  
For example, here are some of the projects our Centers are working on to improve the lives of people in historically marginalized communities:

This is only a small selection of the broad array of projects our Network works on every day. Please see below for a list of our affiliate Appleseed Centers with links to their websites, social media, and their latest work, press statements, or publications.
Additionally, we support those who are exercising their right to protest against racism and we strongly condemn the use of needless force by law enforcement against peaceful protesters. We encourage our supporters to check out the following resources on anti-racism shared by our Kansas Appleseed Center:

“Resources and Tools Regarding Racism & Anti/Blackness (& How To Be a Better Ally)”
“Anti-Racism Resource for White People”

    Appleseed Centers:

Alabama Appleseed – Twitter: @AlaAppleseed | Facebook: @AlaAppleseed

Chicago Appleseed – Twitter: @ChiAppleseed | Facebook: @ChicagoAppleseed

DC Appleseed – Twitter: @DC_Appleseed | Facebook: @DCAppleseed

Georgia Appleseed – Twitter: @GaAppleseed | Facebook: @GeorgiaAppleseed

Hawai’i Appleseed – Twitter: @HIAppleseed | Facebook: @Hawaii.Appleseed

Kansas Appleseed – Twitter: @KansasApple | Facebook: @KansasAppleseed

Louisiana Appleseed – Twitter: @La_Appleseed | Facebook: @ LouisianaAppleseed

Massachusetts Appleseed – Twitter: @MassAppleseed | Facebook: @MassAppleseed

Mexico Appleseed – Twitter: @AppleseedMexico | Facebook: @mexicoappleseed

Missouri Appleseed – Twitter: @MissouriApples1 | Facebook: Missouri Appleseed

Nebraska Appleseed – Twitter:  @neappleseed | Facebook: @neappleseed

New Jersey Appleseed – Twitter: @NJ_Appleseed | Facebook: NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center

New Mexico Appleseed – Twitter: @NMAppleseed | Facebook: @new.appleseed

New York Appleseed – Twitter: @AppleseedNY | Facebook: @NYAppleseed

South Carolina Appleseed – Twitter: @AppleseedSC | Facebook: @AppleseedSC

Texas Appleseed – Twitter: @TexasAppleseed | Facebook: @TexasAppleseed

In solidarity, and on behalf of the Appleseed Network,
Sarah Pacilio
Network Manager
Appleseed Network


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Here we are again, joining others throughout the world in grief, outrage, and, perhaps most perniciously, recognition over the tragic extrajudicial killing of yet another Black person, George Floyd. This, as we continue to mourn for the unjust losses of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people who have died needlessly at the hands of law enforcement in this country. We stand in solidarity with those engaged in protest. And as these protests increase in their intensity, it is crucial to refocus our attention to the violence that is wielded against Black communities every day.

The callous violence exhibited by those officers in the videoed moments of George Floyd’s murder is haunting and shocking. Yet, these officers’ actions fit comfortably within this country’s long-existing history of racial injustice. Their actions are rooted in the same myth of Black inferiority that justified slavery and thrived in the wake of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, lynching, redlining and segregation, the school-to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs, and countless other anti-Black policies – the presumption that Black people are untrustworthy and dangerous, that Black people as a whole are not equal, less capable, less deserving, less good, less human. It is no wonder that these deaths continue to occur.

This long-standing racial fiction has resulted in institutionalized racism and racial injustice in policies that impact every facet of life – social welfare, education, housing, employment, transportation, and city planning. If Black children are undeserving, then why invest in their education instead of handcuffing them for meaningless infractions? If Black families are untrustworthy, then why ensure that they do not experience homelessness and food insecurity at such disproportionate rates? If Black people are unequal, then why guarantee that the outcome of legal cases that threaten eviction, heavy fines, or imprisonment are based on merit, and not resources? These myths make it easier to look the other way. But, make no mistake, discriminatory policies that exclude Black students and families from educational opportunities, justice in the courts, and critical resources are violent. The chronic underfunding and devaluing of communities of color is violent. The disparate impact COVID-19 has had on Black communities is violent. Looking the other way does not make the destruction go away.

Massachusetts Appleseed’s work to change policies that marginalize, impoverish, and punish communities of color exists within the context of racism’s long, violent legacy; our commitment to promoting access to justice and opportunity is also a commitment to identifying and rooting out the destructive myths that perpetuate these policies. In this charged moment, we urge our lawmakers, policymakers, and leaders to turn away from a return to business as usual. It is clear that talking is not enough. Acknowledging is not enough. Instead, take this time to reimagine our future – one in which our systems support and protect the full humanity of every person, and in which our policies and institutions fulfill America’s most foundational ideals of fairness, justice, and equity.

In solidarity,

Deborah Silva
Executive Director
Massachusetts Appleseed

Melanie L. Todman
Chair of the Board of Directors
Massachusetts Appleseed


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