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.
Information on this page is updated on a bi-weekly basis. It is an aggregation of current actions, education and donation opportunities. The following organizations are key resources and can be accessed at any time. To stay current with their work, sign up for their mailing list and/or newsletter.
1. UU-Related EVENTS
UU Certified Working Group
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Our next quarterly meeting, via Zoom, is:
When: Sunday, November 14, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PMPlease join us, especially if this is your first time. We are always open to new members and you don’t even have to leave your home. Contact Patty Shepard if you have questions. Please REGISTER HERE.A proposed agenda can be found here
If you’re new to Zoom, here is a link to several one minute instructional videos from zoom that may be of use to first time users: https://zoom.us/resources
2. VOTING RIGHTS
No updates at this time
3. INDIGENOUS SOLIDARITY
In collaboration with the Agrarian Trust, members of the Massachusett and Nipmuc tribes are working to purchase and preserve a 64-acre plot of farmland on their traditional lands. Donate by 11/1 to help meet their fundraising goal and rematriate Black Swamp! Use the password AT1234 when prompted.
For decades, Christopher Columbus has been celebrated as a “hero” who “discovered America.”
Indigenous people have made it clear that in truth he and his men were responsible for the enslavement, rape and murder of countless Indigenous peoples in the Caribbean, and that the lands where he arrived were invaded, not “discovered.”
Since the 1970s, Indigenous people have asked that Indigenous Peoples Day should instead be celebrated on the second Monday in October as a positive day to learn about and honor Indigenous history and peoples. States such as Maine and Vermont already celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, as do an increasing number of cities and towns in Massachusetts, from Holyoke to Northampton to Provincetown, Somerville and Cambridge. The time has come for the entire state of Massachusetts to stop celebrating Columbus and instead honor Indigenous Peoples Day. An Act establishing an Indigenous Peoples Day will make that happen.
4. 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.
The Public Safety Committee is hearing important corrections bills on Thursday, October 21st at 10 am! They are also looking at solitary confinement, see B and C for separate posts on this critical issue.
Sign up by the 19th at 5pm to give oral testimony or submit written testimony. Either way, learn more and get help at a testimony prep event on Monday, October 18th at 6:30pm.
B. Decarceration & Ending Solitary Confinement Updates
On Sept 27 a civil rights lawsuit against Executive Office of Public Safety & Security (EOPSS) SecretaryTurco, DOC Commissioner Mici, and dozens of DOC staff, arising from the staff on prisoner brutality in January 2020.
The Massachusetts Department of Corrections announced plans to end the Departmental Disciplinary Unit (DDU) and eliminate restrictive housing “as it is currently defined”, following a report released by the Falcon group determining that the “innately punitive culture” of these units “minimizes the interests of rehabilitation or positive behavior change.” This is promising news and also demonstrates why legislative action is necessary and urgent to protect the most vulnerable from cruel conditions of confinement.
While abolition is UU Mass Action’s ultimate goal, our immediate focus is to end the torture of solitary confinement.
Solitary Confinement is torture and torture is never an option.
Help get the MASC bills passed: Contact your legislator – thank them if they already cosponsored, ask them to cosponsor if they have not. You will be automatically directed to the correct letter. Click Here
Grassroots petition (we are collecting signatures until the public hearing later this year). This petition is open to all Click to add your name
C. Public Hearing on Solitary Reform – see resource packet for good information on the issue and a template to write and submit comments
From UU Mass Action:
Solitary Reform Hearing This Week Make your voice heard. It’s time to end state-sanctioned torture in MA
The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is hearing public testimony on the Solitary Reform bill
Date: Thursday, Oct 21 at 10:00 AMHere’s everything you need to know to submit written testimony:
This packet also provides information on how to participate in the hearing and provide oral testimony (deadline to register is Tue Oct. 19 by 5:00 PM)If you do sign up for oral testimony, please let us know by adding your info HERE
D. Support Grassroots Law Project to free an innocent man from death row
Julius Jones is an innocent man convicted in Oklahoma for a crime he never committed.The whole case is a mess. He has an alibi. And people who testified against him have already admitted to lying under oath. Despite all this, he is sitting on death row, facing a possible execution on November 18th. The next key date is on October 26th, when the Oklahoma Board of Pardon and Parole will hear Julius’ case for clemency. They’ve voted for him once, and if we organize and speak out, they’ll do it again. Governor Stitt has commuted sentences for hundreds of incarcerated people with the stroke of his pen – he can again. But to make sure that happens, he needs to hear from us – ALL of us.
The first step is to add your name to our new super-petition to demand clemency for Julius. Add your name here, and you’ll be part of the action team too.When you add your name, our platform automatically emails Governor Stitt and other key decision-makers who have the most influence in this case. Then, call our special dialer tool at 405-777-7840. Check your inbox for the next action steps.
5. IMMIGRATION JUSTICE
A. Join: Unmasking Fidelity In-Person Actions: Trick or Treat, Disclose or Deceive?!
When: Thursday, October 28th, 4:00-7:00pm
The #UnmaskingFidelity coalition is committed to challenging Fidelity Charitable’s role in funneling millions of dollars through Donor Advised Funds to white supremacist, anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant organizations and institutions. Muslim Justice League is calling for Fidelity Charitable and Fidelity Investments to disclose their role in enabling white supremacist violence. Join MJL and other local orgs for an action at Fidelity Headquarters in Downtown Boston 4-7pm, October 28th. Register here to join in-person or virtually. Learn more and take action through this online Unmasking Fidelity Toolkit
B. Sign the Petition: Passing the Safe Communities Act
Momentum is building in Massachusetts to end our involvement with deportations!
This month, Plymouth County announced it would end its 287(g) collaboration contract with ICE (Link) on the heels of a legal challenge by advocates.
Help us continue the momentum by signing and sharing this petition!
With the end of Sheriff Hodgen’s Bristol County 287(g) in May, that leaves just Barnstable County and the Department of Corrections with these shameful contracts.
But the Biden Administration continues to leverage 287(g) and other local public safety resources to deport immigrants, which is undermining access to police, court, and medical protection. This must end. We must set our own course in Massachusetts.
The Safe Communities Act will have a public hearing this fall before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. Our coalition is gathering 5,000 signatures to present to the Chairs at that hearing, urging the Committee to advance this bill again this year.
On Behalf of the Safe Communities Coalition
6. EDUCATION JUSTICE
No updates at this time
7. HOUSING JUSTICE
CALL, EMAIL, AND RECORD TESTIMONY FOR THE COVID HOUSING EQUITY BILL
Legislators said they weren’t hearing the urgency from the community to pass this bill, though it is desperately needed. If you or someone you know is affected by the housing crisis, submit video testimony here. Keep calling and emailing your legislators too!
8. BROOKLINE COMMUNITY EVENTS
9. FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES
A. FAMILY-FRIENDLY LEARN
Who Was Florida Ruffin Ridley?
Where: Brookline Main Library (in person)When: Through Sunday, October 31
What made Ridley a wonderful choice for our Coolidge Corner school? She was a Brookline-based trailblazer for justice, organizing locally and nationally against lynching and racism and for women’s suffrage. She and her mother published the first newspaper by and for African American women. She was a Harlem Renaissance writer. And much more! Come see photos from her life in Brookline, her responses to racism, and more.
B. Chalk Art
Where: Boston Public Library Roxbury Branch, 149 Dudley Street (in person)
When: Saturday, October 23, 11am-12pm
Join visual artist and art educator Zahirah Nur Truth for a participatory chalk art activity for the whole family. Help make the new Roxbury Branch even more beautiful!
C. Family Friendly Learn – METCO Boston Education Activism Tour
Where: Boston Public Library Roxbury Branch, 149 Dudley Street (in person)
When: Saturday, October 23, 1-2pm
High school students in METCO—the historic voluntary school desegregation program between Boston and the mostly white suburbs—travel between worlds every day when they ride their buses to school and back. Now they want to take everyone on a journey into Boston’s past to uncover the dynamic history of the Black community in Roxbury. These young people will use Nubian Square’s landmarks to uncover the stories of decades of artistry, activism, and achievement, culminating at the brand new Nubian Square headquarters of METCO itself, whose founding story has many lessons for today.
D. Black Heritage Trail Tour
Boston African American Historic Site (in person)
When: Wednesdays through Sundays starting July 28, 10-11:30pm
Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial, 24 Beacon Street
Join a Park Ranger from the National Parks of Boston to explore the rich history of Beacon Hill’s 19th century Black community on the Black Heritage Trail. Before, during, and after the American Civil War, this community struggled and organized for equal rights and access to equal education, championed the movement to abolish slavery, and even housed freedom seekers on their journey along the Underground Railroad.Register here.
E. Talking About Race and Racism With Your Child
When: Wednesday, October 20, 6-7pm
In this workshop, experienced facilitators will share practical ways to support families in engaging in meaningful conversations with their children. Register here.
10. CLIMATE JUSTICE
Environmental Justice & Climate
Legislative Briefing on Environmental Justice in Siting
From UU Mass Action
When: Tues, October 19th **, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM (new date)
Invite your legislator to attend. **If you already sent an invitation, make sure they know that the date has changed.**Siting Justice: https://tinyurl.com/SitingJusticeJoin the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Table for this important briefing for legislators and open to the public. Spanish interpretation provided. S.2135/H.3336 An Act Relative to Energy Facilities Siting Reform to Address Environmental Justice, Climate, and Public Health FACT SHEET
Decisions on where to locate energy facilities play a critical role in managing pollution and safeguarding communities. But the Energy Facilities Siting Board needs to be required to consider EJ, public health, and climate change as part of its deliberations. The Massachusetts Siting Reform Bill will protect vulnerable communities, provide clear guidance and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
11. LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
A. An Evening with Alicia Garza, co creator of Black Lives Matter, presented by California Institute of Integral Studies (online)
When: Wednesday, October 20, 10-11pm
Where: On line Join performer, social worker, and activist Honey Mahogany for a powerful conversation with Alicia Garza about her life, her work, and how to build transformative movements to address the challenges of our time. Register here.
B. Join the Discussion: “The Black Family in the age of mass incarceration”
When: Thursday, October 28, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Drop into our second of two prison abolition education sessions discussing this Ta-Nehisi Coates article.
Facilitated by SURJB Prison Ab AP member Paul Fallon.
Email email@example.com for the link.
C. Roots Deeper Than Whiteness
When: Four Sundays, October 10, 24, November 7, 21, 4-6:30pm
Late registration runs Monday, Oct 11 through Friday, Oct 22.
This foundational course from White Awake is designed to help white people build a healthy sense of self rooted in liberatory knowledge and practice. This course offers a broad political analysis, historical understanding of the creation of white racial identity, hidden histories of resistance, tools to help understand and care for your emotions, and support for creating an action plan to build on the work of this class and personally engage in the work of social change. Register here.
- All sessions will be recorded. Live attendance is not mandatory. Materials from the course will remain accessible through Feb 21, 2022 (three months after final live session).
- Zoom video conferencing platform (with phone call-in option)
- Please allow 2-3 hours for homework per session.
- Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
D. White Rage and White Fragility
Joshua Frank, Equity Intersection
When: Four Tuesdays, October 19-November 9, 10am-12pm
In this course, we will take a deep dive into two books: Carol Anderson’s White Rage, which describes the history of backlash against civil rights gains of African Americans, and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, which describes the emotional responses and defensive moves that white Americans frequently engage in to simultaneously deny their own racism and to hold racism in place. Register here.
A. St Boniface hospital is a major trauma center in the south of Haiti. First Parish in Brookline member Dr. Michele David is about to become chair of their board. If you can help please go to this site and donate. https://healthequityintl.org/
B. Haitian Refugees needing housing and help
A link is provided for people who want to welcome one or more families https://airtable.com/shrZYl2ByljbBxnnb
If you want to make a donation, please visit our website at https://www.ifsi-usa.org/donate