Welcome!

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.

Final Push: Racial Justice This Legislative Session!

People's movements work every day to build the movement for racial justice. This legislative session, we have the opportunity to see the needle move on racial justice in the Commonwealth. Most impacted communities have made it clear: they cannot wait another year for these important reforms! These bills create vital protections, connections, and programs for our communities while we build toward the end of racial capitalism and white supremacy. Script and contact info below.

Step 1. Read through the overviews of the bills we are supporting below:

Step 2. Call and email your own State Representative and Senator in support of these bills (get their contact information on the MA Legislature website)

Step 3. Call and email State House leadership:

Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues
(617) 722-1114
Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov

House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz
(617) 722-2990
Aaron.M.Michlewitz@mahouse.gov

Judiciary Chair Claire Cronin
(617) 722-2396
Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov

Senate Racial Justice Task Force Chair Sonia Chang-Diaz
(617) 722-1673
Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov

Senate Racial Justice Task Force Co-Chair William Brownsberger
(617) 722-1280
William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

Script/Guidelines

Our guinea pig caller took about 25 minutes to contact all her legislators, including House and Senate leadership. Building Up People Not Prisons offers a helpful script (note: we have included 2 bills not in their list), we also suggest trying these bullet points:

Get Involved

Public Education

📋 BEJA Petition

Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) is asking folks to sign and share this petition to ask the BPS School Committee to act swiftly in adopting 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, and we further call on the School Committee to direct the BPS to design an alternative selection process that does not use an exam for SY 20-21. The entrance exams are frequently a barrier for black and brown students and with the disruption to the school year due to COVID-19, they are even more problematic.

📋 BPS Parent Survey

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.

💵 SUPPORT Unafraid Educators

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.

Confronting White Supremacists

🍎 Local white supremacists continue to "Back the blue" (Boston Globe)

On June 27, a mix of white supremacist and neo-fascist groups gathered outside of the state house in another "blue lives matter" action organized by Super Happy Fun America

✊ join our announcement list

Join our Confronting White Supremacists Announcement List to hear from us about opportunities to learn more and take action against non-state white supremacists and fascists in New England

Indigenous Solidarity

🍎 Report-back from Dismantle Now! Prayer, Song And Drum Beats: Indigenous Groups Show Solidarity For Black Lives In Boston

Thanks to those from SURJ Boston who showed up to support BIPOC organizers last Wednesday at Dismantle Now! It was a beautiful display of solidarity. See this writeup from WBUR for more.

Housing Justice

✊ Stay tuned: Stand up to Prevent Mass Evictions!

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!

Report: Evictions in Boston & Structural Racism

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."

🍎 Join us in the fight for rent control!

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!

📋 Sign and Share the Housing Guarantee

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 just 600 signatures away from our goal. Read up and sign it now!

Eviction Help

Are you, or someone you know, worried about getting evicted? Call City Life/ Vida Urbana's hotline.

Prison Abolition

💵 DONATE TO HELP KIMYA'S HOUSE

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.

Week 17: Building Up People Not Prisons

Check back on Monday for an updated document with scripts and contact information. The focuses this week will be:

📋 Sign petitions to support our incarcerated community

Immigration Justice

📋 Invest in our recovery campaign

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice is a member of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition which has launched the Invest in Our Recovery Campaign. Let all elected officials know that MA can and should raise significant new revenue from profitable corporations and their shareholders this year to invest in public services. Stay tuned, find out more information about the campaign here, and sign their petition to Massachusettts lawmakers here.

Worker Solidarity

📋 OUR ESSENTIAL WORKERS DESERVE BETTER!

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.

✊ 💵 Support Whole Foods workers in Cambridge

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:

  1. A company-wide commitment to hiring more BIPoC for leadership positions
  2. Black Lives Matter apparel normalized within the company
  3. Backpay for all protesting employees, and related disciplinary points revoked

How you can help:

  1. Show up on Tuesdays or Fridays at 5:30pm at the 340 River St. Cambridge Whole Foods to join community rallies supporting the workers
  2. Donate to a GoFundMe! to compensate workers for lost wages
  3. Follow updates from the workers on Twitter and from community supporters

SURJB COVID-19 Mobilization

📋 Tell Governor Baker: Re-opening plan must protect workers and hard-hit communities

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.

☎️ 📋 ✊ Action Hours

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!

🚗 Driving

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!).

✊ 💵 Critical Supplies

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 surjbemergencyresponse@gmail.com for porch drop off information in JP, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, Allston/Brighton, Belmont, and Cambridge. We’re continuing to donate essential supplies to our partners at the 12th Baptist Church Roxbury, the Cape Verdean Association of Boston and Viet Aid. This week we’re asking folks to focus on the following items:

✊ 💵 Dorchester Grocery Distribution

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.

To get connected to more ways to help out, please fill out our community offers survey (if you haven’t yet).

Grab Yourself by the Bootstrap

Get Educated

🍎 SURJ Boston Brunches

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 August 9th, September 13th, October 4th, November 8th, and December 6th. Register for upcoming brunches here.

🍎 Boston KNAPSACK ANTI-RACISM GROUP

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.

🍎 White People Challenging Racism

Moving From Talk to Action: Find classes and sign up on the WPCR website

Community Change, Inc.

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.

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