Charlene DiCalogero has been a lifelong activist working for the public good. Since first demonstrating at City Hall at the age of twelve to support public education, she has been a consistent advocate for the 99%.
Charlene DiCalogero was elected Library Trustee in Berlin in 2017, and served in her 3rd year as Chair. In the course of her 3-year term, she has been a leader in mobilizing support from constituents, and advocating for increased state funding of libraries all over the state, which resulted in FY2020 funding increases above the original amount requested by the Mass Board of Library Commissioners.
She also advocated at a State House hearing on the library construction bond bill to recognize the realities of increased building costs, and to get more funds for libraries needing to renovate or replace outdated facilities.
Charlene has enjoyed working with library staff, trustees, and Friends of the Library in numerous meetings to support a long-range vision for the Berlin Public Library. She won funds at Annual Town Meeting and then met with numerous town officials and the Mass Dept of Environmental Protection to come up with a solution to replace the building's septic system on its small and difficult site, while preserving limited parking and access to our children's room on the building's lower level.
In the first year of her term, she served as Auditor of the library budget.
Charlene has worked for small and large nonprofits, higher education, and businesses.
- She won millions in grants for high quality teacher professional development for early intervention
- oversaw multi-million dollar budgets at major public libraries and universities for adult and children's literacy, and graduate level teaching, training and research grants in health services, psychology, and science education.
- Charlene testified at the State House in support of bills to help people avoid unnecessary and even illegal foreclosures.
- Charlene researched and publicized the effects of teaching adults to use tools to better advocate for themselves.
Mental Health and Addiction Rehabilitation Services
- She helped hundreds of women obtain benefits to pay for drug rehabilitation and mental health treatment in a halfway house and shelter.
- Charlene collaborated with group of families and individuals to build 68 green homes including 14 moderate-income, while preserving 25 acres of green space, increasing the Berlin, MA, tax base, and helping the town meet its Ch. 40B affordable goals.
- As co-leader of of Sawyer Hill EcoVillage's membership and marketing committee, she sought out and supported 14 families through the application process to buy affordable homes, in addition to market-rate individuals and families.
- She has worked for businesses in software and the arts.
Charlene has advocated for the 12th Worcester district and state for well over a decade, and on national issues for most of her life.
For a True Democracy, Charlene:
- Organized to get the Ranked Choice Voting ballot initiative on the 2020 MA ballot that voters can pass this November 3rd. The Green-Rainbow Party of MA, of which she is current co-chair, is an endorser of this initiative.
- Collected signatures from district voters, and advocated with public officials for a MA state amendment and federal amendment, to affirm that only human beings may vote and contribute money to campaigns; and to get big corporations and big money out of Mass and U.S. politics and government.
- Refuses to accept money from lobbyists, officers of for-profit businesses that lobby, or SuperPACs.
- Seeks to transform elections and government for fairness and transparency.
For the Economy, Charlene:
- Led a regional MoveOn.org council, advocating for an economy that works for the 99%.
- Advocated for state bills to help people and communities affected by rising foreclosures through permitting municipalities to require pre-foreclosure mediation, and local governments to deal with the health and safety issues surrounding foreclosure.
- Organized demonstrations against big banks for profiteering through illegal subprime mortgages, illegally foreclosing many thousands of homes in MA and nationally.
For the Climate and Environment, Charlene:
- As a member of 350 Central Mass, was a co-founder of the Worcester Climate Strike Coalition in 2019. This coalition of groups in and around Worcester created events all through September 2019 to harness the growing alarm of people of all ages and communities about the climate emergency in a series of demonstrations, film discussions and workshops, culminating in two Climate Strikes that drew hundreds of people to Worcester City Hall to demand action.
- Participated in the writing of the Climate Emergency Declaration that was passed unanimously by the Worcester City Council in September 2019.
- Spoke at the Mass Transit listening session hosted by MassPort and the Union of Concerned Scientists to discuss the need for expanded transportation networks, increased Park N Rides for carpooling, and to ask for electric public buses and school buses in north central Mass. These green economy improvements would support increased and better employment for residents, more economic activity for business, and reduce fossil fuel pollution and stressful commutes, improving our health.
- Demonstrated at the State House to block the building of dangerous, unneeded gas pipelines in MA, and support accelerated building of renewable energy systems.
- Testified at a Department of Public Utilities hearing in opposition to the Governor's proposed new tax on National Grid and Eversource customers to pay for gas pipelines not yet built, to protect the profits of wealthy and irresponsible utilities and fossil fuel companies.
- Voted at Berlin Town Meeting to uphold Article 97 to protect conservation lands from having gas pipelines built on them.
- Spoke at the Attorney General's Listening Session in Worcester on Energy and the Environment, for requiring utilities to fix existing gas pipeline leaks, which cost ratepayers money for gas they don't use, and damages their health and adds to global warming. Requiring utilities to make these fixes will increase job opportunities, and should include a requirement to train people in areas with high un- and under-employment.
For Education, Charlene:
- Garnered support for the MA Fair Share Amendment, to raise additional revenue for public education and transportation infrastructure, from those who can most afford it.
- Opposed the MA ballot question that would have increased the number of charter schools, stealing even more money from our under-resourced and inequitably funded public schools.
For Social Justice and Peace, Charlene:
- As GRP co-chair, has issued statements asking members to take action in support of:
- the Movement for Black Lives, racial justice, and an end to systemic racism;
- immigrants' rights (supporting the states' Safe Communities Act and the Work and Family Mobility bills);
- the tribal sovereignty of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe; and
- opposition to any U.S. military or covert intervention in Venezuela.
- Stood with vigilers at a MA store selling weaponry, and supports the ban on all assault weapons.
- Demonstrated in support of women imprisoned for defending themselves against rapists and violent partners.
- Taught personal safety techniques, and discussed the causes and effects of personal and systemic violence, with groups of people most at risk of being targeted for violence, including children and women, people of color, people with disabilities, poor people and LGBTQ people.
- Blocked traffic with a spontaneous sit-down in the middle of Sixth Avenue in New York City along with hundreds of other demonstrators to protest the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick Supreme Court decision (since reversed), which upheld Georgia's discriminatory law used to arrest same-sex couples for consensual sexual activities in the privacy of their own homes.
- Participated in the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC, in support of women's right to make our own reproductive choices, in consultation with our medical providers, and without costly, discriminatory, deceptive, and potentially health-threatening barriers to reproductive education and healthcare, birth control, abortion or prenatal care.
- Participated in nonviolent civil disobedience at the South African consulate to spotlight the U.S. government's support of the apartheid regime of the 1980s.
- Walked in peace marches opposed to the Iraq war and military interventions in Central America.
- Performed at fundraisers for nonprofit and community groups, including church-sponsored causes.