Many of us continue to feel mobilized in response to the ongoing history of racist brutality and more emboldened white supremacy in our country. We know that our community wants to find ongoing ways to respond and that actions unfold in real time. Feel free to 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. 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.For more information, contact Martha Leader or Almas Dossa.
1. UU-Related EVENTS
No updates at this time
2. INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY
A. Petition: Support Indigenous Peoples Day; Change the Boston Marathon Date!
The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) has decided to schedule the Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021. October 11, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day and is meant to celebrate the Indigenous peoples of this land and their contributions (past and present). The BAA has the chance to acknowledge the importance of keeping the spotlight on Indigenous Peoples Day rather than steal the spotlight for the Marathon. There are other days available for the Boston Marathon.
B. MA Legislative Agenda
From UAINE (United American Indians of New England): Send an automated email to your state rep and state senator asking them to co-sponsor five bills in the 2021-2022 MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda! and share!
- Remove Racist Mascots
- Honor Indigenous People’s Day
- Celebrate and Teach Native American Culture & History
- Protect Native American Heritage
- Support the Education and Futures of Native Youth
3. PRISON, POLICING AND RACIAL JUSTICE
Note: We often include instances of people of color, activists and others unfairly swept into the criminal justice system for whom there is a community effort to act in solidarity with their cases. Most of these posts come from Building up People not Prisons, Families for Justice as Healing, and Showing up for Racial Justice.
A. Free Will Allen
William Allen is a man who deserves clemency. William, a Black prisoner – and an incredible, kind, fully-rehabilitated man – is seeking a second chance. He was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when, at 20, he participated in an armed robbery in which another man stabbed and killed a man. Although Will has spent 27 years in prison, and will die in prison without commutation, the actual killer was paroled years ago. Four years ago William petitioned the parole board for clemency. He has finally been granted a hearing in mid-June.
Brockton Interfaith group and Second Chance Justice ask you to pledge to take three action steps:
- Sign onto the Letter of Support for William for the Parole Board
- Write and send to us a letter to Governor Baker to support William’s commutation petition (to Second Chance Justice)
- Spread the word and invite friends & family to a one-hour upcoming Zoom SCJ info-session Monday 5/10 6 pm registration at this link
To learn more about clemency in Mass., here are some digital resources.
B. From Building up People not Prisons
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. View instructions on how to contact MA legislative committee chairs to support passing the prison and jail construction moratorium bill and how to keep putting pressure on architecture firm HDR.
- Do you represent an organization that wants to get behind the Moratorium Bill? Read more and then sign on here!
Call legislative committee chairs about the Moratorium Bill, which is now in committee! If you haven’t heard, directly affected women came together to write groundbreaking legislation to stop all jail and prison design and construction across Massachusetts for 5 years.
D. Justice for Mikayla Miller Action Alert
Every single day since her family lost 16-year-old Mikayla Miller two weeks ago, a beautiful and passionate Black girl with dreams of attending an HBCU, her grieving loved ones have asked for what any of us would demand if she was our own: honesty, transparency, accountability and answers from authorities.
But instead of answers, the response from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, State Police and the Hopkinton Police has been the exact opposite: disrespect, slammed doors, misdirection, glaring inconsistencies, extreme confusion, and ultimately, silence. The only thing these authorities have proved since April 17th is that they are completely incapable of properly investigating this case. Mikayla and her family deserve so much better.
(Source: Tito Jackson FB post)
Last week, several UUs from our network joined in a vigil which asked participants to take action to call for an independent investigation. Please call DA Marian Ryan to ask her to recuse herself from this case so that there can be an independent investigation. You can call at 781-897-8300.
E. Neglect of Black pregnant mothers and Infants in prison
At Karnes Family Prison, reports of extreme medical neglect of Black pregnant mothers and infants are rampant.
Trump’s racist administration failed to stop this abuse. Now, we’re calling on the Biden administration to take action.
This Mother’s Day, we’re demanding that DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas stop detaining pregnant women and children and immediately shut down Karnes. Will you add your name now?
4. IMMIGRATION JUSTICE
When: Thurs, 5/13, 7:30-9pm
This fun, free, online concert will have the theme of driving in Massachusetts with the goal of supporting our immigrant neighbors. Undocumented adults performing essential jobs in food supply and delivery and in health care need safe transportation options, including driver’s licenses need our support. See actions below
B. Support these 3 bills for Immigration Justice:
* SUPPORT THE FAIR WORK WEEK BILLWorking families have been facing terrible working conditions for decades— unpredictable work schedules, fluctuating paychecks, and underemployment. Most notably, the pandemic has hurt Black and Latinx working women and mothers, who are being forced out of the workplace at alarming rates, Call on your legislators to support the Fair Work Week Bill to give restaurant, retail, and hospitality workers more control over their schedules and lives.
*EMAIL: FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER #MASAFECOMMUNITIESACT!
Take action to support the Safe Communities Act! Call and email your legislator to urge them to cosponsor the bill. Passage of this bill remains an urgent public health and public safety priority to protect our communities and neighbors. Our state’s involvement in deportations preceded the Trump administration and is likely to continue without state action.
*CALL & EMAIL: WORK AND FAMILY MOBILITY ACTThe Work and Family Mobility Act would allow all folks in Massachusetts to apply for a driver’s license and/or ID card, regardless of immigration status.
- Email your state representative and senator about co-sponsoring the Work and Family Mobility Act
- Find your legislators’ phone numbers to call and ask them to co-sponsor
5. EDUCATION JUSTICE
A. Call/Tweet/Email Governor Baker and Education Commissioner Riley to Demand they Cancel the 2021 MCAS and more
- Find a call/email/tweet script from the Boston Education Justice Alliance and SURJ Boston Public Ed AP here
- Please adapt the scripts if you are NOT a BPS parent and want to speak out!
Standardized testing has never been a measure of student learning, and in a pandemic teaching to this test will cause BIPOC, disabled, and poor students to fall even further behind. Allow parents to opt their students out of testing.
C. Boston Residents – Call/Tweet/Email Boston Mayor Kim Janey to Demand Fully-fundedm, Safe Schools and more
- View the call/email/tweet script from the Boston Education Justice Alliance and SURJ Boston Public Ed AP here
- Please adapt these scripts if you are NOT a BPS parent and want to speak out!
6. HOUSING JUSTICE
Call Your Legislators: Help Stop the Eviction Crisis
Call and email your Massachusetts representatives today to voice your support for the COVID 19 Housing Equity Bill (HD3030). Over 8,500 new eviction cases have been filed in Massachusetts since October and many people are excluded from assistance programs. This bill would require landlords to cooperate with these programs, protect the most vulnerable from forced removal, pause no-fault evictions and foreclosures, among other things.
7. BROOKLINE COMMUNITY EVENTS
No updates at this time
8. FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES
Talking About Race and Racism with my Children – RootsConnectED
When: Wednesday, May 12, 6-7pm
I know I have to talk to my child about this, but where do I start? What do I do? What do I say? How much is too much? Our experienced facilitators will share practical ways to support families in engaging in meaningful conversations with their children. Register here.
9. CLIMATE JUSTICE
Let’s build on our historic climate justice win in Springfield and keep biomass out of the RPS!
The Baker administration wants to expand ratepayer subsidies for existing biomass plants across the Northeast through proposed changes to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by the Dept. of Environmental Resources (DOER)
Our powerful collective “NO” to the proposed biomass plant in Springfield resulted in DOER adding new language that bars biomass plants sited in or near environmental justice communities from qualifying for renewable energy credit
Let’s build on our win by flooding the Baker administration with this message: we don’t want to subsidize dirty biomass power plants ANYWHERE Please click here to send a letter supporting the new environmental justice provisions and demanding that DOER keep the state’s existing science-based biomass standards
You can also attend the public hearing on the regulations:
Wednesday, May 12th at 10:00 AM
Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/278301770665913
Official posting here:https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3712
10. LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
A. Evictions Disproportionately Impact Boston’s Communities of Color
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Boston’s neighborhoods of color have faced eviction rates twice as high as neighborhoods where most renters are white, a recent report by City Life Vida Urbana shows. The report also found that 70 percent of Boston’s eviction filings were in neighborhoods of color, despite rentals in this area making up only 47 percent of the city’s total rental housing. Note: This report has a lot of vivid graphics to illustrate the information – very user friendly. Read the full report here.
B. (divorcing) White Supremacy Culture
When: Thursday, May 13, 8pm
Over 20 years ago, Tema Okun, informed by the wisdom of the late and beloved Kenneth Jones and the teaching of Daniel Buford, Sharon Martinas, and many others, wrote the widely distributed article on the characteristics of White Supremacy Culture. Now Tema, in collaboration with the help of many brilliant friends, has created a website designed to update and add to the original article. Join Tema, SURJ, and special guests Scot Nakagawa (Change Lab), Jaki Shelton Green (NC Poet Laureate), Michelle Johnson (Skill in Action), Vivette Jeffries-Logan (Biwa Consulting), Kari Points (Finding Freedom), Misha Heij-Mariano (SURJ), and Cristina Rivera Chapman and Justin Robinson (Earthseed Land Collective) to launch the website and share what we’ve been learning about white supremacy culture in these last two decades. Register here.
C. Embodying Antiracism
When: Mondays, May 10, 17, 24, June 7, 14, & 21, 7-8:30pm
This new course is designed to support white folks who understand that being antiracist goes beyond book clubs, social media posts and voting, but don’t know quite know how to move from awareness into action that is aligned and sustainable. Facilitated by Nicole Lee (Raising Antiracist Kids: The Power of Intentional Conversations about Race and Parenting) and Laura Halpin (Cradle Community & Cradle Conversations). Register here.
11. DONATION OPPORTUNITIES
For those who can afford it, there are many ways to donate part or all of your stimulus check to folks who are struggling and/or do not even have access to this benefit. We will rotate options each week.
In a huge victory for the community, Raymond Gaines finally was released after 47 years incarcerated! He has been wrongfully incarcerated since he was a teenager and now he needs our support for food, shelter, and medical care to address decades of untreated health conditions.
B. COVID-19 Relief Efforts in India
This site was posted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – it takes some exploration and not all fundraisers accept foreign donations.
SUPPORT COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS IN INDIA
India is currently experiencing a massive COVID outbreak, exacerbated by colonizing nations constricting the vaccine supply.