Racial Justice/ Indigenous Soliarity Working Group
Decarceration, Support Building Thriving Communities
White supremacy and settler colonialism are entrenched in the US. Our criminal-legal system embodies racism, including 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). We will connect with other groups as we are able.
Policy Goals: decarceration, close prisons, and increase investment in communities disproportionately impacted by incarceration.
Objectives for 2023: with the leadership of FJAH and The Council, pass the Jail and Prison Construction Moratorium (S1979/H1795) as early in the legislative session as possible and signed by Gov. Healey. Build support for Parole and Probation legislation, including for lifers, and advocate for clemency.
Further policy goals led by FJAH & The Council to pass legislation to put a 5 year pause on building new prisons, jails and detention centers; spread their vision for “building what different looks like,”: decarceration, clemency, and allocating resources to enhance communities. Push for other bills proposed by FJAH/The Council, appeal to Gov re: clemency.
In partnership with the group Parole Review for All, advocate for an Act to Reduce Mass Incarceration, geared toward lifers.
Take steps toward advocating for probation reform together with Inside the Sun, which advocates for Harold Adams’s probation.
Coalition work: FJAH & The Council, Build up People not Prisons Coalition (PNP), Parole Review for All, and possibly Inside the Sun re: Probation.
Demilitarize civilian life
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.
Policy Goal: Demilitarization of civilian life
Objectives for 2023: Hold at least two webinars on different aspects of militarization in our communities. Support and engage in counter recruitment locally.
2023 Activities: Webinars & articles on the 1033 /1122 programs that provide military equipment to police depts; expose the role of the gun industry and the Pentagon in schools, the military’s outreach to children, teens and college students. Consider using and sharing resources provided by counter recruitment activists, Rick Janhnkow and Gary Ghiardi. Elaborate on the linkage between military outreach to youth and gun industry propaganda with our endless wars. Possible webinar presenter Joan Joeloff, author of the book Trillion Dollar Silencer:-Why There is So Little Anti War Protest in the United States.
Coalition work: Consider other partners including WILPF and Vets for Peace.
Education on Connection between Militarism and Racism
Partner with the New Democracy Coalition (NDC) to plan, promote and support the reading of Martin Luther King’s Beyond Vietnam speech on May 2 at Boston City Hall Plaza.
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 move toward a peaceful and just future.
Policy Goal: Build awareness among progressive activists and US people on the linkage among racism, poverty, and social injustice at home with our country’s endless devastating wars around the globe.
Objectives for 2023: Partner with the New Democracy Coalition (NDC) on Dr. King’s Beyond Vietnam speech; enhance our grasp of the links among racial, social, and economic injustice here with US wars; advocate for peace as a key to challenge the injustice toward Indigenous peoples and racism toward Black, Brown and other marginalized peoples.
2023 Activities: actively participate to plan, outreach, fund and complete the event at Boston City Hall Plaza May 2.
Coalition work: Primarily with the NDC while also drawing in from our existing networks of organizations, institutions, faith communities and others. Continue ongoing work with NDC.
Also build coalition with Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign; Mother’s Day Walk for Peace (Louis D Brown Peace Institute).
Actively work for the passage and enactment of the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda and other actions led by Indigenous organizations in MA. To send a quick reminder to your legislators to support these bills please see: http://maindigenousagenda.org/contact-legislators/
The Indigenous Solidarity Subgroup supports Indigenous leadership in social justice, peace, environmental, and anti-colonial movements. We advocate for Indigenous led campaigns for justice, land back and more, and take advantage of opportunities to educate and encourage non-Indigenous people to actively support Indigenous efforts at survival and autonomy.
Policy goal: Acknowledge the just demands of Indigenous Peoples for redress and sovereignty.
Objectives for 2023: Work year round in allyship with Indigenous Leadership and issues related.
Activities: Continued work with the Mass. Indigenous Legislative Agenda on five bills introduced to the 2023-2024 State House Session. This is our most important work in this subgroup, Also hope to include:
Flag and Seal Commission push!– Maura Healey should support- time to act-letters and petition. The Commission has been reinstated until Fall 2023 on 3/25/23
Two Book reads: 1) Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands / by Kelly Lytle Hernández- a webinar with the author talking about her book. Can open beyond our WG, maybe work with immigrant and Latin American working groups. Summer or Fall.
Look into a smaller group doing The Red Deal, Start up internally. Later open to the public.
Continued work with Save the Pine Barrens – (Community Land and Water Coalition)
More focused work to speak out on destruction of Indigenous historical, cultural and sacred sites. Join the campaign on Massachusetts Historical Commission – Being put together now, near launch in April or May. Rallies for later in June.
Supporting Land Back Projects throughout Massachusetts Connections with Native Land Conservancy, Massachusett Tribe land back projects, and keep close to Nipmuck projects to gather new land in Central Massachusetts.
View film, talk and work on releasing Leonard Peltier from federal prison- Ongoing until release.
Organization of RJ-IS WG
Co-Conveners: Rosemary Kean & Claire Gosselin
Subteams and their Conveners and Co-Conveners:
Racial Justice: Claire & Rosemary
Indigenous Solidarity: Craig Simpson and Bruce Taub