July 12, 2020
Whether this is your first time getting our newsletter or your five thousandth, welcome! We hope it will be a resource for us to learn, take action, get more deeply involved, and move our world toward justice.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are some things you can do right now.
Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) is asking folks to sign and share this petition to ask the BPS School Committee to adopt the recommendation of the BPS Opportunity Gap Task Force and suspend the exam based admissions policy for Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Sciences. We further call on the School Committee to direct the BPS to design an alternative selection process that does not use an exam for school year 20-21. The entrance exams are a barrier for black and brown students and with the disruption to the school year due to COVID-19, they are even more problematic.
If you are a Boston Public Schools parent please fill out this survey about re-opening and remote learning to share your concerns and needs around school this fall. Please share this survey with people you know who have students in the system as well.
Unafraid Educators has set up a COVID-19 Relief Fund for students and families in Boston Public Schools who need financial support during this time. Please share the form with those who might need it, and donate to the fund if you are able.
Thursday, July 16; 10:30 AM - 12 PM; Mass. State House
After 400+ years of genocide and colonialism, the time has come! Join for a rally and press conference at the State House steps to pass legislation this month to Change Massachusetts' Racist State Flag and Retire All Native American Mascots. All must Wear Masks and Observe Social Distancing Precautions. And send a letter in support of changing the Massachusetts state flag, which depicts a Native American person with a sword above their head.
Thanks to those from SURJ Boston who showed up to support BIPOC organizers this past Wednesday at Dismantle Now! It was a beautiful display of solidarity. See this writeup from WBUR for more.
The moratorium on evictions in Massachusetts ends on August 18. Not only are housing courts predicting that 20,000 eviction cases will be filed immediately after it ends, Black and Brown communities will be hit the hardest. Lisa Owens, the executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana, said in an interview for the Boston Globe: “We are facing what could be dramatic levels of homelessness, and neighborhood and citywide instability.” City Life is planning actions every weekend until August 18 to fight this coming wave: sign up for CLVU's action alerts to stay tuned and check out a video of the last #cancelevictions car caravan across the city!
Learn more about “An act to guarantee housing stability during the COVID 19 emergency and recovery”: read the fact sheet or watch this legislative briefing. This bill will stop unjust evictions and foreclosures due to COVID-related debt, prevent rent hikes and no-fault evictions, and help establish a Housing Stability & Recovery Fund for small owners. Call your legislators to express your support and send them a thank you email if they co-sponsored this bill.
Want to learn and share more about evictions in Boston and their disproportionate effects on communities of color? Our partners at City Life/Vida Urbana released a report in collaboration with MIT uncovering the structural racism in patterns of eviction in Boston. “During the COVID-19 pandemic and before the evictions moratorium, over 3/4 (78%) of all evictions filed in Boston were in census tracts where the majority of residents are people of color."
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’ve won a huge victory. On 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! We’re further along than ever before and we need everyone now: Sign up for our next teach in on Sunday, July 26th here!
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. We are 900 signatures away from our goal. Read up and sign it now!
Are you, or someone you know, worried about getting evicted? Call City Life/ Vida Urbana's hotline.
Kimya's House is a re-entry home run by and for formerly incarcerated Black women -- open on time in spite of setbacks from the pandemic.
Greg Diatchenko, a #DeeperThanWater organizer, was re-incarcerated after attending a public protest calling out draconian visitation restrictions, toxic water, and other abuses inside MA prisons. This spring, he contracted COVID19 while locked inside. He has finally been granted parole and has extensive medical needs in addition to rent, food, and other necessities while he rebuilds his life! We encourage everyone to dig deep and match your donation to Greg with a donation to Kimya’s house above.
Check back on Monday for an updated document with scripts and contact information. The focuses this week will be:
The July 15th deadline for the Safe Communities Act to leave committee is almost here! Please ask the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to issue a favorable report so the bill can continue through the legislature. Find out more about the act here and contact legislators here!
An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility, a critical bill for undocumented immigrants, is stalled. Email your legislators and urge them to pass An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility this legislative session. Cosecha, one of the Driving Families Forward coalition members, has suggested call/email scripts here. Find out more about the act and find other ways of taking action here.
On June 15th, the Trump administration published a new regulation that, if implemented, would drastically limit the ability of individuals to obtain asylum in the U.S. Submit a comment in opposition by July 15th. Find out more information and submit your comment here.
Monday, July 13th, 12 PM
Massachusetts State House
Join the Harvard Graduate Students Union- UAW and the Graduate Employees of Northeastern University-UAW for a rally outside the state house to stop the student ban and to stop deportations. Find out more here.
Demand that Stop and Shop executives extend hazard pay for essential workers past the original July 4th cut-off and until the pandemic is over. Sign this petition to show Stop and Shop it needs to stop putting profits before its workers.
Workers have been sent home without pay and punished for wearing BLM masks. They are connecting organizing efforts at other stores, but are going up against a behemoth of white supremacist capitalism. They are demanding:
How you can help:
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 July, 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!).
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, we are still looking for folks to donate essential supplies to our partners so they can be distributed to those who need it most. We so appreciate everyone’s efforts to donate and drive donations. Even picking up a few extra things at the store when you’re there makes a difference! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for porch drop off information in JP, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, Allston/Brighton, Belmont, and Cambridge.
This week we will still be highlighting the asks of our partner Cape Verdean Association of Boston from last week:
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.
SURJB Brunches - now digital! - are a great place to come together to build community. Each brunch will occur on from 12:30 - 2:30pm on a Sunday with a different theme, and we'll update the dates with topics as we plan them. The brunches will be July 12, August 9th, September 13th, October 4th, November 8th, and December 6th. Register for upcoming brunches here.
Knapsack is a multiracial/cross-class group of folks dedicated to the struggle for shared liberation. We engage in a variety of group discussions to build community and awareness, and take action to disrupt the systems of racism in the U.S. and beyond. We support the efforts of racial justice leaders and organizations.
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.
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.