Many of us continue to feel mobilized in response to the long history of racist brutality and white supremacy in our country, most recently with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others. We know that our community will want to find ongoing ways to respond and that actions will be unfolding in real time. We will post here as we hear about them, and please email Martha or Almas with information we may want to include.
The Racial Justice Action Committee wants to help FPB members increase our collective impact in the critical work of racial and immigration justice and, at the same time, build a supportive community.
Movement for Black Lives emphasizes that there are opportunities for those who are unable to physically show up to still take action.
Stay safe, know that you are not alone, and reach out for connection when you need it. First Parish in Brookline is a caring community with a justice, anti-racist mission. We can be there for each other as well as for the world beyond our doors.
1. FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES
A. Desmond Hall & Christina Hammons Reed
Brookline Public Library & 826 Boston
Tuesday, February 23, 7-8pm
Two outstanding YA authors discuss their writing process, Black history, working on historical fiction, and the world of YA. The conversation will be led by 826 Boston student leaders.
B. A Medal for Willie by William Branch
Newton Theater Company & Newton FORJ
Saturday, February 27, 8pm
Join us for a virtual production of William Branch’s A Medal for Willie, a powerful play which examines the intersection of segregation and racism in a small town during the Jim Crow era with eerily contemporary parallels. Log on at 7:45 to live music by Danny Rivera, and stay for an audience Q&A with a panel of the cast, directors, and members of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ).
C. Talking to Kids About Race and Racism
Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group
Saturday, March 6, 2-4pm
Talking to our children about race and racism is also an ongoing, lifelong need. We, as adults doing this work, can use ongoing motivation and support in this work. Join this discussion to learn from each other. Register here.
D. Renaming Ceremony: Florida Ruffin Ridley School
Town of Brookline
Friday, February 26, 3:30pm
This virtual event marks a momentous occasion in the Brookline’s history and the culmination of the hard work of many Brookline residents: renaming one of our eight elementary schools for author and activist Florida Ruffin Ridley, an accomplished Black woman who lived in Brookline and whose life reflects the values of the community. Learn more about the school’s distinguished namesake through Hidden Brookline’s historical research, and about the processto change the school’s name. Watch the live stream at www.brooklineinteractive.org/live or on the community cable channels in Brookline RCN 3 and Comcast 3.
2. INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY
A. Support Indigenous Peoples Day
There is ongoing work to abolish Columbus Day and recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. You can learn more and get involved here. If you want to work on Indigenous Peoples Day in your town or city, be sure to connect with the larger campaign first.
- For people with Italian ancestry: local Indigenous leaders are asking that you get involved through the group Italian Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day and help counter the harmful messages of some Italian Americans, such as described in this post from Mahtowin Munro, of United American Indians of New England (UAINE).
B. Support Indigenous Resistance to Extractive Piplines #STOPLINE3
Right now, there is a growing Indigenous-led struggle to#StopLine3, a pipeline in so-called Minnesota. Line 3 would be disastrous for the climate. “The carbon output would be equivalent to opening 50 new coal plants—more carbon emissions than the entire current Minnesota economy,” these words were shared by Winona LaDuke, director of Honor the Earth in her recent article, “Stopping Trump’s Last Pipeline Will Take All of Us” in The Nation.
- There is a call for more people to show up in person to #StopLine3, including a request for people who can risk arrest to stop construction. If you’re interested in going to one of the camps, visit this website.
- Take action today by sending emails to the Minnesota government officials listed in this document. There are sample scripts included. (This document is from a recent event hosted by SURJ-Twin Cities.)
- Donate! Support the frontline resistance of Giniw Collective by clicking here. And click here to support an Indigenous organizer purchase land to continue the fight towards racial and environmental justice for Indigenous peoples.
- Follow and support Indigenous & allied orgs leading the movement. The Giniw Collective is on facebook, on twitter and instagram. On facebook you can also follow and share content from Honor the Earth, Red Lake Treaty Camp, Stop Line 3, and MN350.
C. Webinar recording: Stop Line 3 with Winona Laduke
Watch, via the Buffalo NY organization Nekanehsakt, Friends of Ekwehewe: Winona LaDuke speaks about the importance of the #StopLine 3 struggle.
You may watch this recording on Google Drive or YouTube. Unfortunately, the ASL interpreters are not visible on the recording. We truly apologize and we know this excludes community members who rely on ASL.
3. PRISON AND POLICING
A. No New Prisons: BUPNP Symposium
Sunday, March 7, 1:30-3pm
Those of us who have attended past symposia led by Families for Justice as Healing know how moving and important these sessions are! March 7 is the next opportunity to hear directly from formerly incarcerated women and their loved ones about the important Black-led organizing happening in MA. This session will focus on opposing plans for a new $50M women’s prison in Norfolk County (read more about it below). People in Norfolk County are especially encouraged to attend, but all are welcome! Register for the symposium here.
The DOC has been trying to build a new women’s prison in Massachusetts. Families for Justice as Healing has blocked progress twice in the last year, but continues to work on ways to stop it permanently. We’ll track updates in the next few weeks. Please read and share a Dig Boston article with quotes from Black directly-affected leaders!
B. From Building up People not Prisons
- Due to community pressure, the new MA budget includes the requirement for an independent ombuds office funded by the DOC, who would oversee the DOC’s response to COVID during this public health emergency. (Read more about the language in the budget and the vision for what this office could mean!)
- The Building Up People Not Prisons campaign is pushing for a directly affected, trusted expert to direct the independent Ombuds office. BUPNP has named their recommendation: Dr. Monik Jiménez! Dr. Jiménez is an exceptional epidemiologist with a research and teaching career at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. Most recently, she led independent research informed by formerly incarcerated people to understand the impact of COVID19 on incarcerated people and facility staff, positioning her perfectly to transition into this essential oversight role.
ACTION: Call the AG’s Policy and Government Division and leave a message at 617-963-2700
Script – feel free to personalize: “Hi, my name is ___________________ and I’m a constituent calling to ask the Attorney General to appoint an ombudsperson to oversee the DOC as soon as possible as our incarcerated community continues to suffer in terrible conditions during COVID19. Please appoint Dr. Monik Jiménez for this position. She is uniquely qualified as a directly affected person and an experienced public health expert. She is trusted by the community and will fulfill the obligations of this role. Thank you.
Monik C. Jiménez, ScD, SM, FAHA, is an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her resume and related experience is extensive.
C. MASC Pen Pal Training Program Launch!
Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement
Tue: Feb 23, 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Join us as we launch our new pen pal program, matching volunteers with people who are incarcerated. The MASC team is gathering the names of people who are incarcerated and who would like a pen pal. Join us for this gathering where we will explain how the program works.
The goals of our pen pal program:
- We want people inside to not feel alone and abandoned.
- Our intent is to create a program where people inside are connected with someone who cares about them on the outside.
- We want to create human connections through a commitment to letter writing.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
D. Drop Shimmy’s Charges
- On 12/12, prominent and beloved Boston activist and co-founder of Freedom Fighters Coalition of 2020 Ernst Jean-Jacques (Shimmy) was wrongfully arrested while peacefully protesting in Swampscott, MA immediately after having been assaulted himself by a Trump supporter. He was suspended without pay from his job, support him here.
- Demand the charges on Ernst Jean Jacques be dropped
- Call – Assistant DA Danielle Doherty at 978-745-6610 ext 5078
- Write – a letter to Assistant DA Danielle Doherty, 10 Federal St, Salem, MA 01970
- (Personal Note from Martha: The husband of a member of the First Parish justice- seeker phone calling group was a witness to this event . She was therefore very glad to see we are participating in this support effort.)
Moses Harris disappeared during an encounter with the Lowell police on December 19 and the police are refusing to meet with the Harris-Wahpo family to discuss the case. The family and the larger community want answers about the disappearance of Moses Harris. Contact the legislators that serve Lowell MA and ask that an investigation be initiated regarding his disappearance
- The DOC has been trying to build a new women’s prison in Massachusetts. Families for Justice as Healing has blocked progress twice in the last year, but continues to work on ways to stop it permanently. We’ll track updates in the next few weeks. Please read and share a Dig Boston article with quotes from Black directly-affected leaders!
- The National Council For Incarcerated Women and Girls (led by Families for Justice as Healing founder Andrea James) is calling on President Biden to grant clemency to 100 women in his first 100 days in office! Add your name to this #ClemencyWorks campaign here!
– Families for Justice as Healing petition: Sign to support FJAH demands to release Demetrius Wardsworth on bail
G. Support a Black activist targeted by police
On 10/18, while demonstrating against Super Happy Fun America, a white supremacist organization, a Black Lives Matter activist was violently arrested by Boston Police Department. He subsequently lost his job, support him here. Only $1,382 left to meet this goal — we can show up for our community!
4. PRISON ABOLITION
A. We Do This ‘Til We Free Us
Tuesday, February 23, 6-7pm
In We Do This ‘Til We Free Us, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle. Join this discussion about prison industrial complex abolition, seeking justice beyond the criminal punishment system, and finding hope in collective struggle for abolition, featuring Kaba and organizers Shira Hassan, Kelly Hayes, Rachel Herzing, Erica Meiners and Tamara K. Nopper. Register here
B. Abolitionist Social Work: Possibilities, Paradox and Praxis
Thursday, February 25, 7-8:30pm
As demands to defund the police often look to social work as an alternative, panelists Tanisha “Wakumi” Douglas, Mimi Kim, Kirk “Jae” James and Cameron Rasmussen discuss the cautions of and possibilities for abolitionist social work, given the field’s legacy of ties to policing and oppressive family regulation through the child welfare system. Register here.
5. IMMIGRATION JUSTICE
We must end our state’s longstanding involvement in deportations by supporting this critical legislation, endorsed by over 200 organizations. As the third session for this bill begins, passage remains an urgent public health and public safety priority for our communities and neighbors. Our state’s involvement in deportations preceded the Trump administration and will likely continue without state action, which requires our legislators to demonstrate a supermajority of support for the bill in both the House and the Senate.
Allowing Bay Staters to apply for driver’s license or identification card, regardless of immigration status, is a common sense public policy that benefits everyone.
We ask you to send a letter to your lawmakers in the Massachusetts State Legislature to urge them to support and co-sponsor An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility this legislative session. Use the Driving Families Forward Coalition’s Action Network platform to easily contact your legislators today.
Read BIJAN’s response to the Attorney General’s Office’s report regarding attacks made on community members detained in Bristol County this spring. Find sample email scripts and a Call To Action here. (BIJAN is Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network aka Beyond and First Parish in Brookline has ongoing been supporting their work).
6. HOUSING JUSTICE
A. Petition: tell Biden and the CDC to Strengthen the eviction moratorium
Biden extended the eviction moratorium, but evictions are still happening. To truly protect tens of millions families from eviction, we need something much stronger: a moratorium that lasts the full state of emergency, takes the burden off renters to apply, bans all types of evictions and all phases of the process.
B. Petition: Change the IDP (Inclusionary Development Policy) to 33% Truly Affordable Housing Please sign and share widely! The Coalition for a Truly Affordable Boston is calling on the city to change the IDP to more accurately reflect the need for affordable housing in Boston. Sign the petition here—help us reach our goal of 2000 signatures!
Sign & share this petition to support 3371 Washington Street in Jamaica Plain! This project will create 100% affordable housing for seniors and protect the current tenant, El Embajador restaurant. Three years ago City Realty Management tried to evict two local businesses and displace JP residents, but the community fought back. Let’s see this project through – sign on to show your support!
D. Petition: Stop non-emergency evictions of Mass. families
Victory! Frank Sharpe, a 71-year-old Dorchester resident & veteran, won 3 more months in his home on Friday. Stand in solidarity with him and other Massachusetts families being evicted this pandemic winter. Tell Governor Baker to stop non-emergency evictions and help Frank find affordable alternative housing. Sign the petition!
7. CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
From UU Mass Action: Status of the Climate Bill
Pass it Fast and Keep it Strong! TAKE ACTION
Last session we got so close to passing meaningful climate legislation that would promote environmental justice and moving away from fossil fuels. Though Gov. Baker vetoed last bill’s session, it was immediately refiled and passed the House and the Senate and returned to Gov. Baker’s desk at the end of January. This past Superbowl Sunday- Governor Baker sent it back with amendments that mostly weaken the bill. We want to thank and support Legislators as they work to pass this bill from last session so we keep going on our priorities, and encourage them to do everything in their power to move this forward quickly, keeping it strong.
8. LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
A. Screening & Discussion: Glory
Thursday, February 25, 3-3:30pm
RSVP for the virtual screening and discussion by Monday, February 22 at 9am and receive a link and password to watch the award-winning film about the Massachusetts 54th Regiment’s brave service and heroic story. Then join the discussion with filmmaker Ed Zwick and Leon Wilson, President & CEO of the Museum of African American History on the significance of this important moment in Black history. Register here.
B. Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations
Debby Irving & Shay Stewart-Bouley
Tuesday, February 23, 6-7pm
How can we speak openly and honestly in cross-racial conversations? What would such a conversation even look like? Shay Stewart-Bouley (Black) and Debby Irving (White) show us as they share racism’s impact on their lives and how cross-racial conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st-century racial dynamics. Get tickets here.
C.Discussing“Defensiveness” in White Supremacy Culture
Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group
Tuesday, March 2, 6-8pm
We have been taught White Supremacy Culture from birth and can’t avoid it in the U.S. But we can do our own personal work to break these habits and act differently. Based on the work of Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun (2001), we will be examining “defensiveness” and initiating/continuing the process to build skills to challenge this in a collaborative open dialogue in order to dismantle white supremacy culture and live into a culture of shared liberation. Register here.
9. DONATION OPPORTUNITIES
If you can spare some of your stimulus check you might opt to contribute to an immigrant-support organization
A. Support Cosecha’s Immigrant Community Mutual AidWith a new stimulus relief check recently approved, undocumented immigrants, many of whom are essential workers, have once again been excluded. Cosecha MA is restarting their redistribution campaign for the Cosecha MA mutual aid fund. Support their mutual aid fund and stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities!
B. La Colaborativa (formerly Chelsea Collaborative) – Please support our partner organization“La Colaborativa is proud to announce the Whatever It Takes campaign to sustain our immigrant community through early 2021. After quickly surpassing our initial goal of raising $100,000 by the end of the year, we have set a new goal to raise $200,000. We are nearly there! We will partner with families to provide everything from food distribution to virtual skill building workshops, connections to employers and rental relief programs. With your help, we will remain their trusted and fearless partner .” Click Here to DonateB. BOSTON IMMIGRANT JUSTICE ACCOMPANIMENT NETWORK:Join BIJAN and Movimiento Cosecha in fundraising $7,500 to provide emergency response & mutual aid to those impacted by Hurricane Eta.
C. Student Immigrant Movement Donate and become a Dream Sustainer to support immigrant youth to protect their community!
D. Support the Mass Undocufund
MassUndocuFund is a partnership among Massachusetts-based grassroots immigrant organizations and workers centers which support undocumented immigrants during the COVID-19 crisis. Support our community members who will not receive stimulus checks or other forms of relief!
Policing, incarceration, and deportation are rooted in white supremacy and anti-blackness. Black immigrants make up about 7% of the total non-citizen pop. in the U.S., but they represent over 20% of immigrants facing deportation because of the criminal punishment system. Donate to the Black Immigrants Bail Fund (a fund co-run by the Haitian Bridge Alliance and African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs) to join them in the call to #abolishICE.
Membership is a great way to get involved in MJL’s work – become a member if your new years resolution is to do more racial justice work!