Racial and Immigration Justice: Take Action This Week

Dear Friends,

In these especially challenging times, it can be overwhelming to decide how to make a difference.  The Racial Justice Action Committee wants to help FPB members increase our collective impact in the critical work of racial and immigration justice and, at the same time, build a supportive community.

Recognizing that it is harder to take action "out in the world" right now and that many of us still yearn for ways to make an impact and support those who are most vulnerable, we are also sending, through our First Parish in Brookline communications such as the weekly update, a number of ways to get involved.  Look for posts on food insecurity, the UU Mass Action Advocacy Day on April 14, and UU the Vote, among others.

Stay safe, know that you are not alone, and reach out for connection when you need it.  First Parish in Brookline is a caring community and we can be there for each other as well as for the world beyond our doors.

We encourage you to save this link and check it early in the week.  Action opportunities will be posted on the website each Monday.  However, during rapidly evolving situations, we may add action opportunities during the week.  Even a five minute call can make a difference.  You will notice the sense of urgency for action from the groups posted below, and less editing down than usual!

For more information, contact Martha Leader or Almas Dossa.


1. Virtual Phonebanking for Justice! 

There are a lot of scary things happening in the world right now - but also so many possibilities for positive systemic change.  In this time of physical distancing, one of the most effective tactics to stand with those who are most vulnerable and leverage our power over lawmakers is with phone calls. Thousands and thousands of phone calls. Let’s make some of those phone calls together! It’ll be fun! We’ll provide the phone numbers and the talking points. Members of the Racial Justice Action Committee will be hosting these virtual phonebanking sessions every Thursday from 2-3 pm. To sign up, please call / text Danny Keefe at 617-460-5238 or email at  or call / text Martha Leader at 617-314-0998 or email at . Together in community we can be so powerful.  

2. Ban Evictions and Foreclosures

Please reach out to your legislators to put a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unconscionable that in a time where people need shelter both for their own health and for the health of their communities, there are still evictions and foreclosures occurring, which disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us. Members of the MA legislature have created a bill to stop foreclosure and eviction for the duration of the COVID19 emergency. What you can do: 
  • Search for your lawmaker here; contact them by phone or email and urge them to get on board.
  • Sign onto City Life/Vida Urbana's petition for moratorium on evictions during COVID19. 
  • Contact Governor Charlie Baker directly and urge him to pass HD4935. Call him at (617) 725-4005, and send him a message.
  • When you reach out, you might also want to suggest the possibility of rent forgiveness or rental assistance, which could help prevent a spike in foreclosure at the conclusion of the current public health crisis. 

3. Our congregation has raised funds and members have showed up in multiple ways through the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network. Below is a portion of BIJAN's messages in response to COVID-19.

We are committed to freeing as many people as we can before the spread of coronavirus prevents our ability to pay bond as part of reducing harm. We are in the throes of bonding five more people out this week. Please give if you can. Donations go directly to paying immigration bond and legal resources to free people facing the spread of coronavirus exacerbated by ICE detention! We know that’s not enough so please continue to join us in calling for the release of all people in immigration prison and a full halt to the harm of ICE operations at this time. 
To donate to BIJAN go to their webpage: https://www.beyondbondboston.org
Can’t make a donation right now? Please ask your networks to donate and make phone calls to your elected officials. More info and suggested script at bit.ly/BIJANCOVIDcalls
BIJAN calls for the following: 
*Release all people in Massachusetts immigration prisons including Bristol County House of Corrections, Plymouth County House of Corrections, Franklin County House of Corrections.
*All Massachusetts hospitals, public health departments and local governments should declare themselves ICE and CBP free zones to protect any noncitizens seeking treatment or resources.
*Suspend all ICE and ISAP check-ins at the Burlington ICE office.
*Stop issuing notices of removal for any missed immigration court hearings or missed check-ins. 
*Stop incarcerating people for missing immigration court or missing check-ins. 
*Stop all ICE and CBP enforcement activities that create fear and prevent people from making the best choices for their health. 
*Provide increased, unrestricted, frequent access to hygiene including soap, showers, sanitizing wipes, clean water and testing and treatment for COVID-19 to all in immigration custody in MA at no cost to incarcerated people or their families.
*Ensure that if people in immigration custody are not released, as they should be, people should continue having access to attorney visits, regular communication with their legal & support team, and access to court proceedings.
We must protect our immigrant communities. 
Please let me know what is being done in this regard."
-- Statewide, call: 
Gov. Baker: (617) 725-4005
Sen. Warren: (617) 565-3170 or (202) 224-4543
Sen. Markey: (617) 565-8519
-- And your Rep. in the House:
Rep. Neal: (202) 225-5601
Rep. McGovern: (202) 225-6101
Rep. Trahan: (202) 225-3411
Rep. Kennedy: (202) 225-5931
Rep. Clark: (202) 225-2836
Rep. Moulton: (202) 225-8020
Rep. Pressley: (202) 225-5111
Rep. Lynch: (202) 225-8273
Rep. Keating: (202) 225-3111
-- And your county officials, partial list: 
Middlesex County DA: 
Marian Ryan ()
-- Norfolk Count DA: 
Michael Morrissey ()
Suffolk county DA: Rachael Rollins ()
-- Bristol County Commissioners: 508-824-9681
-- Bristol County Sheriff: 508-995-1311

4.  From the BLACK LIVES MATTER Certified Working Group

If you’ve never been able to join an in-person Black Lives Matter Working Group, Now’s your chance!  The April meeting is a zoom video meeting - all our welcome!

We are going ONLINE for our next quarterly meeting, which will be: Saturday, 4/4/20  10:00 AM - 12 noon ONLINE.  

Please do join us, especially if this is your first time.  We are always open to new members and you don't even have to leave your home.  Instructions to join the video call (via zoom) are included on the Proposed Agenda at the link below.  Also, here is a link to quite a few one minute instructional videos from zoom that may be of use to first time users: https://zoom.us/resources

A proposed agenda with directions can be found here  

5. Legislative Action Alerts 

Recommended by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard Law School

  • Join Families for Justice as Healing's ongoing week of action for decarceration. Make calls, emails, and post on social media every day this week to demand release right now.

Contact your MA state rep by email or phone and ask for their support for An Act Regarding Decarceration and Covid-19. Read more about it here.

6. Resource Redistribution Phonebank

When: Saturday, April 4, 12-2pm

Where: Zoom invite

Join Showing Up for Racial Justice - Boston for a virtual phonebank to get our neighbors connected to resources! As the crisis continues to escalate, community members in predominantly people of color neighborhoods of Boston need to get connected to resources from various mutual aid efforts in the city. Liz Miranda and other state representatives, are providing us with lists to call our communities and get them connected: we will provide a brief training, script, and encouragement. You'll be on mute during the meeting, making calls together to combat isolation. YOU MUST REGISTER here  so we can send you materials

7.  Five anti-racist actions for white people in the time of COVID-19

Showing Up For Racial Justice

  1. Join a group or deepen your commitment to one.
  2. Support efforts in your community to get people out of jails and detention centers.
  3. Interrupt racist stories about who is to blame. 
  4. Fight to protect our elections.
  5. Participate in a mutual aid project or fund. 

Read more here.