Families for Justice as Healing leads the campaign for No New Women’s Prison and a Prison Construction Moratorium in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Peace Action Racial Justice and Indigenous Solidarity Working Group has two action groups of people focused on educating ourselves and others about the profound challenges and inequities that Indigenous People and People of Color face in today’s world and then acting in solidarity with them.  The Racial Justice and Indigenous Solidarity action groups plan, educate, lobby and act!  Below are the 2023 priority campaigns, goals, and plans for each group.


Racial Justice


Decarceration, Support Building Thriving Communities

   Summary: White supremacy and settler colonialism are entrenched in the US. Our criminal-legal system embodies racism, with high rates of incarceration for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. We follow the lead of activists rooted in these struggles including Families for Justice as Healing (FJAH) and the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (The Council).

   Goals: 1) Pass the Jail and Prison Construction Moratorium (S1979/H1795) as early in the legislative session as possible with Gov. Healey’s signature. This puts a 5 year pause on building new prisons, jails and detention centers. We urge all who oppose the building of a new women’s prison to please contact the Governor, your senator, and your state representative using this form.  2) Spread their vision for “building what different looks like”: decarceration, clemency, and allocating resources to enhance communities. 3) Build support for Parole and Probation legislation, including for lifers, and push for clemency. Other groups: Parole Review for All & Inside the Sun.

Demilitarize Civilian Life

   Summary: The Pentagon reaches into civilian life in myriad ways. For example, the US is an outlier in relation to other countries in terms of gun violence and the use of military grade weapons in mass killings. The power of the gun lobby, aggressive marketing and sale of military grade weapons to civilians, messaging that guns provide safety, and the recent exposure of involuntary enrollment by JROTC programs in high schools across the country are all causes for concern.
   Goals: expose the role of the gun industry and the Pentagon in schools, the military’s outreach to children, teens and college students; hold at least two webinars on different aspects of militarization in our communities, support and engage in counter recruitment locally. Draw out the linkage between military outreach to youth and gun industry propaganda with our endless wars.

Partner with the New Democracy Coalition (NDC) on the reading of Martin Luther King’s Beyond Vietnam speech on May 2, at Boston City Hall Plaza.

   Summary: The same militarism and systemic racism that have been turned against our communities of color have been deployed against black and brown populations abroad for decades. We must overhaul our domestic and foreign policies, end police violence, racist incarceration at home and war abroad, and work for a peaceful and just future.
   Goals: Through this campaign, we strive to enhance our grasp of the links among racial, social, and economic injustice at home with US wars abroad; advocate for peace as a key to challenge the injustice toward Indigenous peoples, and racism toward Black, Brown and other groups.

Indigenous Solidarity

Tribal territories of Southern New England tribes about 1600. Grey dotted lines are approximate modern political boundaries. Nikater; adapted to English by Hydrargyrum - Wikimedia Commons
Tribal territories of Southern New England tribes about 1600. Grey dotted lines are approximate modern political boundaries. Nikater; adapted to English by Hydrargyrum – Wikimedia Commons

The Indigenous Solidarity Action Group supports Indigenous leadership in social justice, peace, environmental, and anti-colonial movements. We advocate for Indigenous led campaigns for justice, land back, and autonomy, and take advantage of opportunities to educate and encourage non-Indigenous people to actively support Indigenous efforts at survival and autonomy.  Use this map to find the Indigenous Territory you live on.

Land Acknowledgement – We acknowledge we are living on the traditional and unceded lands of the Massachusett, Mohican, Nauset, Nipmuc, Pamet,  Pawtucket, Herring Pond, Poccasset, Aquinnah, Mashpee, Chappaquidick  and Wampanoag peoples, and people of the Wabanaki confederation. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide, enslavement, and forced removal of Indigenous people from this territory and we honor and respect the many Indigenous people still living on these lands. In making this acknowledgment we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and we commit to dismantling the systems of oppression that have displaced Indigenous peoples.

Commitments and Values – The imperative for solidarity with indigenous people extends beyond mere acknowledgment. It calls for action, empathy, and a commitment to justice. By embracing this responsibility, we contribute to the healing of past wounds, the preservation of cultural heritage, the protection of our environment, and the pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable future. Let us stand together and champion the rights, dignity, and well-being of Indigenous People, for in doing so, we uplift not only their lives but our lives and the collective fabric of humanity.

Campaigns: At this time the MAPA Indigenous Solidarity group are working in partnership with Indigenous peoples in Massachusetts on numerous projects including:

Alliances – The MAPA Indigenous Solidarity Group looks for leadership to the Native American Indian Center of Boston and the United American Indians of New England. We also stand in solidarity with those who celebrate National Peoples Day , those who mark National Day of Mourning, and the campaign to support Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirits. MAPA also supports the Community Land and Water Coalition and Save Our Bay both of which include Indigenous people and awareness of Indigenous issues in their Coalitions.

RJ-IS Book Groups 

A small group of us is currently reading and studying Our Beloved Kin: Remapping a New History of King Philip’s War by Lisa Brooks.

We are interested in several books and plan to feature some authors to discuss their books via a webinar. Possibilities include: 1) Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernández 2) The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There is So Little Anti War Protest in the United States by Joan Roelofs. We have previously read An Indigenous People’s History of the United States – by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

Get Involved

The Racial Justice and Indigenous Solidarity Working Groups meet 3X monthly. If you’d like to get involved please email rj-is@masspeaceaction.org.

Racial Justice/ Indigenous Solidarity Working Group – Fourth Monday at 3:15-4:45 pm
Racial Justice Subgroup – Third Thursday at 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Indigenous Solidarity Subgroup – Second Thursday at 4:30 – 5:30 pm



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