August 2, 2020
Due to public advocacy for key racial justice bills and pandemic relief measures, the MA Legislature has extended their legislative session through the end of the year. This buys more time for us to keep the pressure on for the bills we need; this week, we've returned those bills to their own issue-area boxes.
Wins on the Way to Victory:
Watch Out for the BS:
SURJ Boston active members lead these weekly sessions to build collective power - we do a feature on a particular effort or issue, make phone calls, send emails, and sign petitions. Facilitators are on hand to answer questions!
The legislative session has been extended in Massachusetts and key housing justice bills have not been voted on - keep up the pressure!
Thanks to those who joined us at last month'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. When you're calling for the bill above, be sure to also ask them to vote on and pass An Act enabling local options for tenant protections (H.3924) which would lift the ban on rent control.
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. t's going to take thousands of people to join the housing justice movement. We are 90% of the way to our 5,000 signature goal! Read up and sign it now!
On Saturday July 18, 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 on CLVU's website.
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.
After 13 days, the encampment in front of the state house in support of driver’s licenses for all ended. The Work and Family Mobility Act, which was added as an amendment to the Economic Development Bill, was retracted. The next fight is to pass the original bill in the current legislative session that has been extended from July 31st to the end of the year. Follow Driving Families Forward and Cosecha Massachusetts for updates.
Check out Asian American Resource Workshop’s recent post about how financial institutions such as Fidelity are a part of the police/prison industrial complex. Fidelity Charitable allows millions of dollars from its Donor Advised Funds to go to organizations that espouse and uphold racist beliefs and practices. Read the original OpEd from our partners and follow Muslim Justice League and Asian American Resource Workshop for updates on how to demand that Fidelity Charitable stop funding organized bigotry.
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:
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. You can drop any of these off at SURJB member's porch near you by emailing email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued efforts to both donate supplies and drive donations to where they need to go. Together with our partners, we are helping get these essential supplies where they need to be.
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:
Click here to join the driving group: Auto-mobilize! our announcements (and clarifying questions) only WhatsApp thread. 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.
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 3,463 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.
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
Tuesday August 4, 6-7pm 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.
This past week, the State Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for a review of the racist Massachusetts state flag and seal. However, the House of Representatives has not yet voted on this important legislation. Call and email your reps TODAY during this extended legislative session and urge them to vote to change the flag and seal, and to ban Native mascots! Follow this link for contact info and a prompt.
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
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, 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!