July 26, 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.
This is the LAST week to make calls for these bills -- impacted communities have made it clear: they cannot wait another year for these important reforms!
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)
Join a multiracial coalition of organizers from BIJAN, Kavod, AARW, Resource Generation, and SURJ for All Out Action Circles this week to make these calls and emails!
Step 3. Call and email State House leadership:
Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues
House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz
Judiciary Chair Claire Cronin
Senate Racial Justice Task Force Chair Sonia Chang-Diaz
Senate Racial Justice Task Force Co-Chair William Brownsberger
Step 4. By Tuesday 7/28 @ 12PM: Submit Testimony for the Guaranteed Housing Stability Act:
We still have a chance to prevent tens of thousands of evictions of Massachusetts residents when the moratorium ends in October. The Massachusetts State Legislature's Housing Committee is accepting testimony from the public on the Guaranteed Housing Stability bill, H.4878/S.2831, until Tuesday July 28 at noon. No matter who you are, your testimony matters! Submit now using this link: housingguarantee.org/testify.
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 several bills not in their list), we also suggest trying these bullet points:
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 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
Part 2: Tuesday, July 28, 6-7pm - link here; recording of Part 1 can be found here
During this virtual panel series, Indigenous leaders and allies will speak about their work in the public realm, and address how symbols perpetuating colonial myths contribute to the public health emergency of racism.
Last Wednesday, Massachusetts residents rallied for housing stability, racial and economic justice, and public health at the state house. Last weekend, City Life/Vida Urbana organized a car caravan across the city. City Life will continue to need volunteers like drivers, live streamers, and participants for stand outs for upcoming actions to prevent mass evictions and guarantee housing stability. You can sign up for action alerts here: http://www.clvu.org/action_alerts
Thanks to those who joined us at today's teach in for rent control. We will continue to hold these monthly to build people power for lifting the ban on rent control in Massachusetts. Take action now by calling your legislators and asking them to co-sponsor amendment #66 which is the Tenant Protection Act. Stay tuned for next month's teach in!
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."
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!
Are you, or someone you know, worried about getting evicted? Call City Life/ Vida Urbana's hotline.
Get ready for a final push! Join a multiracial coalition of organizers from BIJAN, Kavod, AARW, Resource Generation, and SURJ this week to demand action from MA legislatures before the current session ends July 31. In solidarity with Families for Justice as Healing and other Black-led abolitionist organizations in Boston, we will be calling and emailing state representatives and house leadership to demand that they vote to approve several important bills related to decarceration, no cost phone calls for incarcerated people, granting all MA residents drivers' licenses regardless of documentation status, and creating a pilot program for safe consumption of injected drugs. We will also be hosting an optional 30 minute training following each of the action circles where we will provide additional materials for participants to host their own action circles this week with their friends and family!
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.
Urge City Council to decline grants that will expand the impact of Boston Police’s BRIC, Boston Regional Intelligence Center. BRIC uses counterterrorism to justify the blanket surveillance of Muslims and policing of all Black and Brown people. If you are in the region impacted by BRIC -- Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop -- please sign this petition before Tuesday to let Boston City Council know they should reject these surveillance grants. Learn more by visiting Muslim Justice League’s toolkit.
On 7/17, impacted immigrant leaders and allies began an encampment at the Boston state house calling on the Massachusetts Legislature to pass Licenses for All before the end of the legislative session on the 31st. Find out more about the encampment and how you can show support here. Email your State Representative in support of Amendment #261 (driver's license) on the Economic Development bill H.4879 NOW at: http://bit.ly/dff-legislator-email.
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.
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:
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!).
Hi SURJ Boston family! 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. We so appreciate everyone’s efforts to donate and drive donations to our partners. Even picking up a few extra things at the store when you’re there makes a difference! This week we were able to donate quite a bit of hand sanitizer thanks to a generous donation.
This week we’re asking folks to focus on the following items for 12th Baptist and CVAB:
For Viet AID they have asked specifically for:
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.
Our partner the Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) is asking for folks to sign 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. This petition still needs more signatures and shares as they only have 3,403 of the 5,000 signature goal!
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.
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.
Sunday, August 9, 12:30PM
Featuring SURJB member Jon Barry and BLM member Martin Henson
Amidst the current political context of calls for defunding and abolition of police and prisons, SURJ Boston Community Care working group and Black Lives Matter Boston will co-host a conversation about transformative justice and community accountability. We'll be engaging in the following questions with local transformative justice practitioners: What are strategies for creating collective safety and well-being in our communities without relying on police and other carceral systems? How do we live into the world we're trying to create within our organizing communities?
Please register for this Zoom event here: tinyurl.com/2020surjbrunch. You will receive an email invitation with the Zoom link.
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
Sunday, August 9, 12-1:30PM
Global pandemic, schools reopening, police violence, murders of black people--sky's the limit! So much going on right now, so come in this processing space and connect with like-minded people. We will be going over some basic oppression/intersectionality theory and how and why people get co-opted to perpetuate this really illogical system, then will be dividing up the time in small groups or whole group for active listening and processing time.
What to bring: Your brilliant minds, and willingness to listen and learn.
Important to know: This is mostly a community building and processing session. There may be some time to share resources, but it is not the focus, nor is it is a space for "problem solving."
RSVP info coming soon!
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.
Click on green text to follow links for more info!