June 14, 2020
"Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair." -Mariame Kaba, founder of Project NIA, co-founder of We Charge Genocide, Chicago Freedom School, and more
To all the new, old, and returning friends, welcome again. We wanted to open this week by encouraging you to check out two videos. The first video, from SURJ National, is White People's Work to End Racism, and is a great grounding, framing, and call to action from white movement folks connected to multiracial organizing and rooted in storytelling. The second video, from the Movement for Black Lives and The Rising Majority, is Making Meaning of This Moment, and helps bring in more framing of this moment, based on a historical analysis, and is led by black movement leaders.
We hope our newsletter this week can be a resource for you to learn, take action, get more deeply involved, and move our world toward justice.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are three things you can do right now.
Want to go deeper?
We're 95% of the way to our new goal of raising $4,000 for the annual Maine Lobster FeedThe Lobster Feed supports eight incredible local grassroots organizations:
Another world is possible -- support long-term movement organizing! Can you help SURJ Boston raise $4000?
The Youth Justice & Power Union (YJPU) is a youth led organization for and by people of color, calling to defund the Boston Police Department, fund black and brown communities, and fund youth jobs. Call Mayor Walsh and his budget staff today and tomorrow to help ensure these demands are met.
The Youth Justice & Power Union (YJPU) are calling to defund the Boston Police Department, fund black and brown communities, and fund youth jobs. Sign their petition and see the prison abolition section of this newsletter for even more ways to intervene in the police state.
Housing Court staff estimate 20,000 eviction cases will be filed immediately after the moratorium ends. An Act to Guarantee Housing Stability during the COVID-19 Emergency & Recovery will provide protections for renters and homeowners for a year after the state of emergency is lifted to ensure housing stability beyond the state of emergency. You can read more about the protections the bill will include here. We will provide more information next week about contacting your legislators to urge them to support this bill.
As Governor Baker rolls out his reopening plan, Massachusetts residents may soon face eviction, foreclosure, and huge amounts of housing debt when the state of emergency officially ends. It's going to take thousands of people to join the housing justice movement calling to:
Every Friday through June 19, Homes for All is putting on a series of webinars to learn about the movement to protect housing as a human right and win homes for all. You can register for upcoming webinars here. If you’d like to join a text thread with SURJ housing justice members to watch together an upcoming or recorded session and discuss, email Thea Patterson.
We have been fighting for a truly affordable and stable Boston by working to lift the statewide ban on rent control, which has been in place since 1994. We just won a huge victory! On Wednesday, May 29, the Tenant Protection Act - which would lift the ban on rent control - passed favorably out of the Housing Committee with a 13-2 vote! The Act has not passed completely yet and we need everyone now: learn more in our next teach in on 6/20 from 12 to 2 PM.
Are you, or someone you know, worried about getting evicted? Call City Life/ Vida Urbana's hotline.
Thursday, June 18th, 5:30 to 6:30 PM
Register for Abolition Hour here
This is a version of our action hours designed to focus specifically on ending prisons, policing, and parole.
Monday, June 15th, 7 to 8:30 PM; registration required
Join Families for Justice as Healing and New Beginnings Re-Entry Services for a panel and policy discussion with formerly incarcerated women and women with incarcerations focused on solutions. This event is hosted by the UCC Actual Justice Task Team and UCC Restorative Justice Task Team. FJAH is led by incarcerated women, formerly incarcerated women, and women with incarcerated loved ones. Most impacted women will share their lived experiences and what's happening inside Massachusetts jails and prisons right now. After the panel presentation, there will be time for discussion and questions. The panelists will also share more ways to get involved. Register for the Building Up People Not Prisons Symposium here.
This week will continue to focus on budgets and cutting funding for police and prisons. If you live in Cambridge especially, please commit to pressuring the Cambridge City Council based on the asks linked above. We're continuing to make sure that the upcoming Boston City Council budget decreases funding for the BPD as well.
The doc will be updated by Monday! Keep checking back. As ever our weeks will feature:
#DeeperThanWater member and loved penpal of one of our organizers is coming home early on parole, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Help us raise $5000 to cover his housing and living expenses after 28 years in a cage.
Black and Pink’s mission is to abolish the criminal punishment system and to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV who are affected by that system, through advocacy, support, and organizing.
These drop ins welcome any kind of abolitionist energy, whether reading and entering mail into the database, writing letters, playing cards, or just chatting. Formerly incarcerated and court involved people especially encouraged to attend. Cis, straight and/or free world allies are welcome!
Dropbox folder with the video and caption text or watch on Facebook. A big heartfelt thank you to those who donated (we were able to cover honoraria and most of the cost of captioning!) and participated.
After a powerful week of action calling on Marty Walsh to defund BPD and to invest in community, stay tuned for next steps. Explore the DefundBosCops Toolkit to learn about the city’s budget process and timeline for BPD funding and check the Prison Abolition section of this newsletter for more calls from our partners!
On June 11th, community groups throughout New England filed a formal complaint to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Dartmouth Board of Health and demanded an immediate investigation into Bristol County House of Corrections (BCHC). Now they need community members to follow up and support this demand. Learn more about the public health crisis inside BCHC and take action here.
Our partner Boston Education Justice Alliance is continuing to fight the state takeover of 15 schools in the Boston Public Schools. If you haven’t done so yet, please sign and share the petition in the Our City Our Schools Campaign.
If you are interested in learning about the resources it will take to safely re-open Boston Public Schools, please read this article from School Yard News.
It is very likely we will have asks connected to the reopening plan for BPS (Boston Public Schools) as thus far our partners tell us the process of creating the reopening plan has not been very transparent and has largely not included parents, teachers, or students. Stay tuned!
Call on Governor Baker to follow baseline measures to protect public health in any reopening plan and ensure that all ongoing discussions of Massachusetts' COVID-19 response and recovery include robust representation of labor, communities of color, seniors, and public health experts from across the state.
Wednesdays in June, 12 to 1 PM
Register here for action hours. This link is recurring, you can choose one or more sessions, and you can register again if you don’t know your schedule yet.
SURJB members will guide participants through an hour of making calls, sending emails, signing up for volunteering, and signing petitions. We hope this helps combat isolation while building social solidarity!
In order to simplify outreach about driving opportunities, we want to invite anyone willing to offer this service to our announcements (and clarifying questions) only WhatsApp thread. Click here to join the driving group: Auto-mobilize! We will announce
Joining this thread is a commitment to actively engage and fulfill driving asks. The announcements on this list may not be for general knowledge, do not share anything outside of it without permission.
As this crisis extends, many supply distribution centers are experiencing volunteer turnover, so this is also a great time for you to get in the game if you’ve been on the bench (and we all need to be on the bench sometimes so we can stay fresh!).
SURJB is helping to collect critical supplies for 12th Baptist Church in Roxbury and Cape Verdean Association of Boston. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for porch drop off information in JP, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, Allston/Brighton, Belmont, and Cambridge. We're suggesting that folks who utilize the SURJB porch system drop off donations Tuesday before 8 PM and Friday before 8 PM (SURJB drivers deliver donations every Wednesday and Saturday to our partners).
This week, we'd like to highlight donating non-perishable food, toilet paper, disinfectants, and hand sanitizer.
Drop off only at these times: Saturday, 11 AM to 2 PM; Wednesday, 4 to 6 PM; Thursday, 1 to 3 PM. VietAID boxes at 42 Charles Street, Dorchester.
These donations may also be left on SURJB porches.
Take a look at a portion of what you helped donate to VietAID this week! Let's keep it up!
Redistributing our stimulus checks as an act of mutual aid is grounded in an understanding of the inequitable systems we all operate within and of the value of everyone in our community, individually and collectively. No-one is expendable; we need each other, and we must support and protect each other.
Fundraising team members will be reaching out to pledgers individually to check when they receive their checks and help them direct their money to MA Redistribution Fund or to individuals referred to us by our partners.
We are highlighting three organizations who do an excellent job reaching out to their communities and ensuring that people get the help they need.
All of these organizations help people who might otherwise not receive assistance and generate a sense of community in these troubling times. Further, all three have been consistent partners with SURJB since the COVID-19 crisis began.
SURJB Brunches - now digital! - are a great place to come together to build community. Each brunch has a different theme and we'll update the dates with topics as we plan them. The brunches will be on the second Sunday of each month from 12:30 to 2:30 PM, except October and December when they will be on the first Sunday. Register for upcoming brunches here.
From our national, zoom based opportunities to learn and grow in racial justice work as white people.
Knapsack is a multiracial group hosted by Community Change Inc that is committed to challenging the system of racism in the United States and the world. We engage in dialogue, build community, and support the efforts of racial justice leaders and organizations. We are dedicated to the struggle for shared liberation.
Moving From Talk to Action: Find classes and sign up on the WPCR website
SURJ Boston is a project of Community Change Inc (CCI), a Boston-based organization shining a spotlight on the roots of racism in white culture with the intention of dealing with racism at its source.
Join Community Change Inc. (CCI) Zoom Calls
In 1968, as a result of the Civil Rights Movement and in response to the Kerner Commission which named racism as "a white problem”, CCI was birthed. CCI promotes racial justice and equity by challenging systemic racism and acting as a catalyst for anti-racist learning and action. CCI accomplishes its mission through education, advocacy and working in solidarity with others to organize for change.
Commit to doing just one thing this week.
We can do this.