August 9, 2020
Thanks to public pressure for key racial justice bills and pandemic relief, the Massachusetts legislative session has been extended through the end of the year. Many of the sections below have more information about bills that SURJ Boston and our partners are supporting. Keep up the pressure, contact your state legislators, and join us for the other actions and opportunities below! Find your state legislators here.
Every Wednesday 12 to 1 PM
Register here for action hours and invite friends to action hours on Facebook.
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!
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 the link for contact info and a prompt.
The legislative session has been extended and key housing justice bills have not been voted on—keep up the pressure!
Join us for a teach-in from noon to 2 PM on Sunday, August 30th, to learn more about the fight to pass the Tenant Protection Act, H.3924, which would lift the statewide ban on rent control that has been in place since 1994. Register for the rent-control teach-in here!
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 90% of the way to the 5,000 signature goal! Read up and sign it now!
Are you, or someone you know, worried about getting evicted? Call City Life/ Vida Urbana's hotline.
August 12th, 2:00 PM
August 19th, 2:00 PM
August 26th, 2:00 PM
Join us for a weekly Action Zap through August where we will take action together on pressing campaigns to get feds out of cities, #FreeThemAll, #DefundThePolice, and demand justice as part of Black and people of color led campaigns for collective liberation. Join with a cell phone and computer for this one-hour Action Zap to make phone calls and send emails to campaign targets around the country. Register here and see the Facebook event for more details.
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.
Sign these petitions to protect our people from police and prisons!
One of SURJ Boston's active members, Lisa, is working on a reparations project for a friend and comrade, karen marshall, a Black organizer. She and Lisa first met in Boston over 10 years ago and they have stayed connected and work on several projects together, one included hosting trainings led by Rethink youth in Boston. karen is a national leader and much of her work is connected to the Movement for Black Lives which is also very much connected to SURJ National. Please consider donating to this GoFundMe (and read more about her there).
Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), in conjunction with 14 other organizations, has released a statement denouncing ICE’s deportation of 30 Vietnamese community members on August 4th. Read the statement here and follow AARW to stay updated.
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:
With Congress’s decision to deny the continuance of the additional $600 of unemployment and COVID-19 still wreaking havoc mutual aid will be more needed than ever. This week, due to all of the donations, we filled up a Toyota Corolla on Saturday alone and we were able to distribute essential supplies to all three of our partners. Let’s keep this up! Together, we can take care of each other and our most vulnerable neighbors.
This week, in addition to the essential supplies, the Cape Verdean Association of Boston has asked for us to collect clean and secure travel size squeeze bottles to help them distribute hand sanitizer. In particular, they are looking for small keychain bottles to give their members easy access to hand sanitizer.
This week we’re asking folks to focus on the following items for 12th Baptist and CVAB:
For VietAID they are accepting the following donations:
To get connected to more ways to help out, please fill out our community offers survey (if you haven’t yet).
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.
Call Mayor Marty Walsh at 3-1-1 (617-635-4500). Tell him we reject the “hopscotch” plan for reopening schools that was put forth for Boston Public Schools, and that we want to return to our school buildings when it is safe for our students, families, and educators—we need to hear that plan first! Ask him to support a phased-in plan which includes expectations that every school is provided with sufficient PPE, cleaning supplies, working sinks, windows, and other building repairs, plus time for relevant and adequate professional development before students return. This is critical for a safe and smooth reopening.
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 3,850 of the 5,000 signature goal!
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.
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.
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 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.
Click on green text to follow links for more info!