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Conditions are Ripe for David to Beat Goliath on MA Casino Law, Press Conference Called For at Harvard University

Harvard University students, faculty, organizers, and community leaders that have been working behind the scenes throughout the casino saga in Massachusetts have called for a press conference to be held at Harvard Divinity School inside of the Braun Room at Andover Hall at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, July 15 (45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138).

For nearly one year, organizers, activists, community leaders, Harvard students, and faculty have been quietly working at the grassroots level to connect the rich resources of Harvard University to much of the state’s religious communities. “Our grassroots campaign strategy for the statewide repeal of casinos has been working in place since the anti-casino victory in East Boston last November”, said Pedro Morales of Stand For Democracy. Harvey Cox, the Hollis Research Professor at Harvard Divinity School and a top adviser to Stand For Democracy stated, “In East Boston, there was a magnificent manifestation of various religious institutions who came together to engage the public on the casino issue. The same will be the case in this election, only on a more massive scale. Therefore, it is crucial for the religious component of the casino issue to publicly take the stage because people of faith will be the difference maker in November”.

Stand For Democracy is a group of Harvard students, faculty, and alumni as well as community leaders from throughout the state who have experienced the unstable casino licensing process in Massachusetts as a threat to this country’s most sacred democratic right to vote. Moreover, it is a group that specializes on designing campaign strategies which equip those left most vulnerable and seemingly powerless with powerful tools and key insight to fight back against the massive pro-casino misinformation campaign that is imminently on the horizon.

Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts said, “We are now at the point of the story where David has his slingshot, has gathered his stones from the river, and is now attacking Goliath”. The famed UFW and Obama campaign grassroots organizer, and Stand For Democracy adviser Marshall Ganz once wrote a book called Why David Sometimes Wins, analyzing the conditions under which David can defeat Goliath. In it, Ganz writes that the key to defeating Goliath is building strategic capacity, and in this case the strategic capacity lies within the churches of Massachusetts and they have been organized.

While Harvard Divinity School has not officially endorsed Stand For Democracy, those in attendance and speakers will include Harvard faculty members Harvey Cox and Dan McKanan as well as multiple Harvard student groups and organizations such as the Muslim Student Council and Harvard Divinity School Unitarian Universalists. Furthermore, key speakers will also include Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling, community leaders, and representatives from the Catholic Church, Mainline Protestant Churches, and the Muslim community.

Source: Sunha Kim, Stand for Democracy, July 14, 2014
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