Social Justice Committee

The River Valley Co-op Social Justice Committee is a staff-driven group promoting positive social change and working to make our co-op more equitable and inclusive for all.

Social Justice Committee Update (11/23/2020)

Thanksgiving provides a time to reconnect with friends and family over a wonderful meal and create lasting memories. It also offers a time for reflection on how we can continue to become a better global society.

River Valley Co-op's Social Justice Committee offers you a way to rethink Thanksgiving as explained by Indigenous Peoples' organizations. We hope you find these perspectives worth supporting, as do we.


National Day of Mourning

Since 1970, Native Americans and our supporters have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth, MA to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Participants in the National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against racism and oppression.

Participate in the 51st National Day of Mourning, presented by UAINE

WHEN:  November 26, 2020  12:00 PM
WHERE:  Cole's Hill - Carver St, Plymouth, MA 02360


Let's Change the Narrative!

12 Things You Can Do to Help:

1. Learn the Real History

Learn about Thanksgiving and early colonial history from Native perspectives.

2. Decolonize your Dinner

Native chefs have created a culinary movement with the goal of getting Indigenous people to honor their ancestors through their dietary choices. Bring Native American dishes to the dinner table.

3. Listen to Indigenous Voices

Cultural Survival's Indigenous radio producers bring you the latest information on Indigenous Peoples' rights and how they are being implemented around the world. Listen to these programs designed for broadcast on community radio stations, including Public Service Announcements, interviews and documentaries about internationally recognized rights and the strategies communities are using to make those rights a reality

Visit to tune in. Other recommended broadcasts include...

4. #StandwithMashpee 

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is calling on members of Congress to help "protect the statute of reservation" after the Trump administration overturned an Obama era decision that could see their land taken from them. This marks the first time that Native land has been taken out of trust since the "Termination Era" of the 1940s - 1960s, a huge blow to Indigenous sovereignty. Stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe by calling your congressional representatives and asking them to pass HR-5244: The Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act.

5. Celebrate Native People and Read the Works of Native Authors

Mainstream media is finally focusing on the amazing Native talent Indian County has to offer. Check out these talented artists:

For too many years, Native people were silenced and their stories were marginalized. That's why it's especially important to read stories about Native characters, told in Native voices. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with books by Native writers.

6. Buy Native this Holiday

Research where you can buy gifts from Native artisans in your area. Cultural Survival ( is a great resource for discovering arts and crafts from Native artists and also has a seasonal bazaar. 

7. Share Positive Representations of Native People

Project 562 and Red Works Photography showcase contemporary Native America and Canada with grace, beauty and style. Matika Wilbur and Nadya Kwadibens are changing the perceptions of Native and First Nations people.

8. Watch Films about First Nation and Native Americans

Native Americans and First Nation peoples have to contend against decades of negative depictions by the film and television industries, but they are making real headway in changing perspectives. A few films to get started with include...

9. Plant Native!

Native plants support healthy ecosystems. For example, they sustain insects, which are the cornerstones of a healthy environment. Insects in turn provide needed energy to birds and help fuel their migration in the fall.
(info from The Smithsonian)

10. End Racist Native Mascots in Sports

There are still more than 1,000 high school, university and professional sports teams that continue to use Native American mascots. Though changes have been made at the high school and college levels, at the professional level there has been virtually no change. Start the change by building a grassroots effort in your community.

11. Have Discussions with Other People

Our empathy and perspectives change the more we discover and learn about others. Share what you have learned with your family and friends and they may have a fresh point of view you haven't previously considered.

12. Get Involved with Groups Working for Change!

Indigenous People's Day MA

United American Indians of New England [UAINE]

Cultural Survival

Native American Indian Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S. has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose!

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states also celebrate the fourth Friday in September—in Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day), but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.

For the Week of November 23-29, 2020...

River Valley Co-op will match up to $1,500 from Change for Change funds collected to United American Indians of New England [UAINE].

UAINE is best known for organizing a National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, MA every "Thanksgiving Thursday," and this year will be its 50th anniversary.

They also lead campaigns, as well as provide tactical and strategic advice to people in the region who are working on Indigenous Peoples Day efforts. UAINE works with others in coalition to organize and support Indigenous Peoples Day events. Additionally, they support many other Indigenous and progressive struggles—from the Black Lives Matter movement to climate justice and justice for migrants... and much more.


Western MassSocial Justice Groups and Projects


413 Staying Connected for Action (Florence, MA)

  • MISSION: To connect Western Massachusetts residents to affect policy changes that preserve and strengthen democracy at the local, state and federal levels. 413 Staying Connected engages in political action and civil disobedience to amplify a collective desire to influence elections and put progressives in office, changing the direction of our nation's politics. on elections. Currently, volunteers can participate in writing and phoning elected officials and candidates for office ahead of this year's election to convey facts and override the effects of negative and false political advertising. They are working directly with 11 freshmen Democratic congressional members faced with challenging races this November.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Volunteer Work - Phone Banking, Electoral Outreach and Voter Protection (Poll Observation)
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook - Twitter

ACLU Immigrant Protection Project of Massachusetts (Florence, MA)

  • MISSION: The ACLU of Massachusetts IPP is a coordinated regional effort by attorneys and different organizations to provide immigrants in Western Massachusetts with referrals for legal assistance and connections to other services.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Referrals to legal services (immigration court, family law, workplace, housing, free speech), social services (education, health, family & youth) and advocacy groups (immigrant rights, workplace concerns, community-based support)
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook

All Souls Church Anti-Racism Film Festival (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: To welcome all who seek fellowship in our liberal religious tradition; to nurture in the spiritual well-being of our children and ourselves; to show that people can transcend differences; to nourish and enrich each other in a common spiritual quest; and to provide information and opportunities for members of All Souls and others to act upon the issues of injustice and inequity.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: The Annual Anti-Racism Film Festival (a series of films is shown dealing with different aspects of racism, with each film followed by facilitated discussion)
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Amherst Human Rights Commission (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: To ensure that no power goes unchecked and that all citizens are afforded equal protection under the law; to promote a community of mutual respect and to honor diversity.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Advising Public Officials, Sponsoring Youth Programs, Human Rights Awards Nominations
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Amherst NAACP (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: To secure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Civil Rights Advocacy (legal, social), Community Organizing, Education
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Arise for Social Justice (Springfield, MA)

  • MISSION: A low-income rights and anti-oppression organization fighting for housing rights, the right to breathe clean air, the right to be free from police misconduct and unjust drug laws, jobs and income, an end to war--and much more!
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Educational Resources and Social Advocacy Tools
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Black Lives Matter (Local Chapter - Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: Black Lives Matter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, spark dialogue amongst Black people and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement, valuing dialogue and relationship building between and among Black people.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Political Advocacy, Community Organizing
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Coming Together (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: This is a local project seeking to bring people in Amherst, MA together to gain a deeper understanding of how race affects our area and our nation, make connections with each other and lay the groundwork for effective action to create a more equitable, interconnected and inclusive community.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Social Advocacy, Public Forums, Educational Tools
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Crossing the Waters Institute for Cultural Exchange (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: To build alliances between artists and others in the U.S. with groups in Africa and inspire new ways of thinking about African culture through sustainable partnerships in education, arts and healthy living initiatives, as well as projects catering to these specific needs. Their international exchange program creates cultural connections, dialogue and community collaboration by facilitating skills development and encouraging increased cultural awareness.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Social Justice Education, Visual and Performing Arts


The David Ruggles Center for Early Florence History and Underground Railroad Studies (Florence, MA)

  • MISSION: The center honors the sacrifices and contributions made towards the abolition of slavery by courageous individuals in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts, particularly those who came to the Northampton area to challenge slavery, live in freedom and establish a community based on principles of race, gender, class and religious equality. They seek to educate and inspire visitors to recognize current opportunities in the ongoing fight for equality and justice by sharing powerful voices from our shared past.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Volunteer-guided Tours, Historical Exhibits and Research Archives
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: The Franklin County CPR is dedicated to fighting for the same social, political and economic issues that were central to the Bernie Sanders political campaign platform of 2016, prioritizing campaign finance reform, civil rights and social justice, world peace, people-focused priorities, the ongoing climate crisis, workers' rights and people before profits.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Grassroots Campaigns, Social Demonstrations, Electoral Engagement, Educational Tools
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Gardening the Community (Springfield, MA)

  • MISSION: To promote food justice through youth engagement and development, urban agriculture and sustainable living in order to build healthy and more equitable urban communities. Youth members learn valuable skills, like growing their own foods and delivering them to local markets, as well as receive education and training in water conservation and eco-friendly commerce.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Work Training Programs, Urban Farming, Green Transportation, Conservation
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Great Falls Books Through Bars (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: Great Falls Books Through Bars is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to combating systemic injustice and inhumane treatment in our penal system by providing free books, legal resources and reading materials to prisoners incarcerated around Franklin County. They were inspired to start donating books after the U.S. witnessed a massive increase in imprisonment over the latter half of the 20th century. Today, they believe in and aspire to create a world without prisons, where no profits are generated through others' misery and where the communities they serve have both their needs met and opportunities to develop their potential in any way they desire.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Donations of Books, Learning Materials and Office Supplies
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Greenfield Human Rights Commission (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: The Commission believes that all citizens within their community have the right to be treated with fairness, impartiality and justice without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, religious convictions or disabilities. They develop local initiatives that work to this end, promoting a positive sense of community and unity based on both similarities and differences through dialogue, education, healing and a celebration of diversity. They are also tasked with responding, investigating, mediating and reporting to the community on allegations of human rights violations, as well as with providing resources, direction and counsel on matters of social justice.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Public Forums, Community Outreach and Organizing


Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley (Springfield, MA)

  • MISSION: Based on an understanding that racism afflicts our lives, businesses, neighborhoods, schools and interpersonal relationships, the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley was founded to discern the root causes and effects of racism and also build a better and more equitable community. Their signature program is a two-day Healing Racism session that provides a safe environment for engaging and transformative learning about the impact of racism nationally and locally.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Social Justice Seminars, Films and Educational Tools


Change the Mass Flag Campaign & State Commission (Boston, MA)

  • MISSION: For nearly four decades, the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs has worked with a select few state legislators to introduce legislation setting up a commission to recommend changes to the MA state flag and seal--and in 2020, that panel was created and something was finally being done to address the problem. The bill set up a commission of state legislators and representatives of Native Nations within the borders of Massachusetts to investigate changes to the state flag, seal and motto, with the resulting recommendations of the commission eventually moving on for approval by the legislature in order to implement the much-needed changes.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Grassroots Campaigning, Native American Education
  • FOR FURTHER READING: The Boston Globe


Lost River Racial Justice (Brattleboro, VT)

  • MISSION: As an all-white organizing group and affiliate of Showing Up for Racial Justice [SURJ], Lost River Racial Justice recognizes that white folks have an important role in educating themselves and each other on issues of race, and for taking action to end racism and work towards liberation for all people. They seek to build relationships within white communities that use their collective voice, power and privilege to support and uplift those from different ethnic backgrounds through promoting accountability and maintaining strong relationships with people of color-led organizations.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Community Organizing, Study Groups, Public Forums, Media Campaigns
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Massachusetts for Equality and Racial Justice (Berkshire County, MA)

  • MISSION: Founded as an organization to be operated by individuals who were both activists and members of marginalized groups, the MERJ's central goal is to achieve true diversity in leadership roles by focusing on the intersections of race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical disabilities, neurodiversity, immigration and socioeconomic status and geographic location to bring an authentic voice and perspective to all public endeavors. They seek to create opportunities for community involvement campaigns and events designed to educate MA residents about the varied and diverse populations living across our state. Their primary goal is to connect people from all walks of life in the hopes of creating a model for inclusiveness that can be followed throughout the Commonwealth.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Promoting Diversity in Leadership, Grassroots Demonstrations and Campaigns, Public Forums
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Mass Slavery Apology / Racial Justice Rising (Leverett, MA)

  • MISSION: To help construct a movement for racial justice by promoting a deeper understanding of systemic racism and racial justice, as well as through engaging in restorative activities that heal the racial divide and deliver justice for those targeted by racism in our society. They aspire to bring folks from all backgrounds and life experiences into the racial justice movement, as well as to help garner public support for reparations of slavery and restorative justice for descendants and present-day survivors of slavery around the world, victims of genocide and others afflicted by racial oppression. Their statement of apology for slavery reaffirms a commitment to restorative action and serves as a powerful teaching tool for moving forward and healing our country's racial wounds.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Community Outreach and Organizing, Vigils and Public Forums, Educational Tools


Multicultural BRIDGE (Lee, MA)

  • MISSION: BRIDGE is a women-led nonprofit dedicated to grassroots organizing that advances equity and justice while promoting cultural competence, positive psychological positioning and mutual understanding and acceptance. The organization strives to be a catalyst for societal change through community collaboration, training programs, educational opportunities, open dialogue, fellowship and sociopolitical advocacy. They connect the most vulnerable members of local communities to key resources and support networks while providing education to local institutions and the public at large.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Diversity Training and Social Services, Educational Programs, Community Organizing
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


The Nolumbeka Project (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: To acknowledge that all of us are standing on and benefiting from land seized, expropriated and stolen from indigenous peoples who lived here for thousands of years—native groups like the Pocumtuck, Norwottock, Woronoco, Agawam, Nipmuck and Abenaki. The Nolumbeka Project aims to promote a deeper, broader and more accurate depiction of Native American groups before European contact and during colonization, as well as to protect sacred and historically rich Native sites around New England with preservation projects, cultural events and by working in partnership as much as possible with the tribes.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Archival Research, Volunteering (maintaining and protecting sacred sites), Donations (legal and operating expenses), Outreach Projects
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Not in Our Town Greenfield (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: As a local chapter of Not in Our Town, NIOT-Greenfield shares in the larger organization's goals of building safe, inclusive communities where all can feel safe, comfortable and free from bullying and harassment. Their vision is to unite all the town's residents to stand together and stop hate while promoting safety and inclusion, as well as to work directly with students and school administrators to prevent bullying and intolerance. They seek to promote kindness while eradicating hatred and bigotry from our hearts and minds. Additionally, by opening channels of communication with local law enforcement and community leaders, they encourage them to join forces and promote better understanding to prevent hate crimes or any other form of violence from occurring in their communities.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Educational Forums, Civil Rights Demonstrations, Phone Banking
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Nuestras Raíces (Holyoke, MA)

  • MISSION: This grassroots urban agricultural organization seeks to create and provide their local communities with healthy environments while celebrating "agri-culture," and harnessing collective energy to advance a vision of a just and sustainable future in the city of Holyoke. Their founding members came to the area as migrating farmers in a place with very few opportunities to match their skills, inspiring them to create a network of community gardens (now 14 in total) throughout the city. Their approximately 600 family members operate urban farms that focus on urban agriculture, economic development and food systems changes. The group also strives to educate individuals and strengthen their understanding of a just and sustainable community food system, with access to healthy food and food justice encompassing the heart of what they do and hope to achieve.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Job Training, Youth Programs, Financial Services, Community Building
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Pioneer Valley Workers Center (Northampton, MA)

  • MISSION: To support and empower immigrants living and working throughout Western Massachusetts, organizing to build communities and achieve real change in the lives of those they serve. They envision a society free of hate and oppression; one which provides sufficient resources and financial opportunities for immigrant workers and families. Through worker-led campaigns, the PVWC has laid the groundwork for a multiracial working-class movement to dismantle systemic exploitation and fight for racial and economic justice and collective empowerment, promoting happy, healthy lifestyles for all. Some of their projects include a grassroots campaign to pass local wage theft ordinances and construction of a network to stop state-sanctioned violence against working people, including immigrants and people of color.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Resources for Immigrants, Women in Leadership, Food Justice Projects, Worker Committees
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


The Roots Social Justice Center (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: To provide a physically and financially accessible space in the Southern Vermont area where social justice groups can congregate and work towards goals promoting equity and justice for all. As a hub for racial justice organizing, the Roots prioritizes people of color in leadership and shifting resources to racial justice work and diversity advocacy. They operate collectively to sustain a place that is free of all oppression, harm, injustice and intolerance while providing leadership opportunities for people of color in the local community. Some of their volunteer-led programs include Soul Food Sundays (an inter-generational space for people of color to build relationships, heal and connect professionally), Youth 4 Change (a program to dismantle white supremacy and racist cultural infrastructure that shifts away the balance of power) and #IAmVTtoo (a social media campaign focused on creating understanding and awareness in majority-white communities of perpetuating racial stereotypes and inflicting harm on people of color).
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Community Organizing, Youth Leadership Programs, Arts & Events
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee (Florence, MA)

  • MISSION: Following the horrific beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1992, a group of Pioneer Valley citizens came together in the name of racial equality and justice for all citizens. The Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee was founded with two goalsto create and establish a recognizable symbol that showed the community's desire to eliminate racism and challenge oppression, and to honor Sojourner Truth in that capacity, as her life's work was entirely dedicated to ending racism and promoting equality. The committee unveiled the Sojourner Truth statue and park in 2002, and since then they've embarked on numerous projects including partnering with area schools to bring Sojourner Truth's life story into classrooms, celebrating her legacy at an annual community celebration, granting scholarships to local high school students active in social justice efforts, and an online walking tour of the African-American Heritage Trail to promote awareness of the history of abolition and racial activism in Western Massachusetts.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Educational Tools & Events, Community Outreach and Grassroots Campaigns
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership (Florence, MA)

  • MISSION: The Truth School offers classes with the goals of promoting and facilitating the skills required to build a social movement and equipping people of all ages and backgrounds with organizational expertise for affecting civil empowerment and social change. They help future leaders develop the skills and confidence they need to organize vigils and demonstrations, run for elected office, write op-eds for local and national news outlets, engage in civil disobedience, lobby elected officials and participate in discourse with care and sensitivity. The Truth School operates in Fall and Spring with around 40 classes each semester, all of which are free and led by paid trainers with experience in building cultural movements. They recognize and acknowledge that removing the extractive, white-supremacist ideology of this country will take the efforts of many, so they seek to educate future leaders to change the course of history for a more fair and equitable future.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Social Justice Education, Community Development Programs, Leadership Training
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (Springfield, MA)

  • MISSION: The Undoing Racism Organizing Collective organizes, educates, communicates and provides resources to undo racist mentalities in our families, communities and public and private institutions, which they seek to do with humanity, integrity and accountability. Their collective hosts workshops intended to strengthen the anti-racist analysis and practice of individuals and community-based organizations in the Pioneer Valley, as well as to educate, challenge and empower people to contribute to the reversal of systemic racism. Their analysis moves beyond a focus on symptoms of racism, going further by offering a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be racistwhat it is, from where it originates, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be stopped.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Educational Tools, Community Workshops, Social Networking
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Visioning BEAR Circle Intertribal Coalition (Greenfield, MA)

  • MISSION: The mission of the VBCIC is to prevent sexual and domestic violence from occurring in intertribal communities across the Northeast and to eliminate all forms of harm and violence against Mother Earth. The acronym B.E.A.R. stands for "Balance, Equality and Respect," which is carried out through a women-led, unique and nationally recognized curriculum that offers learning and training tools for people of all genders, races and backgrounds. A key notable element of their education program, Walking in Balance with All Our Relations, includes survivor stories which create spiritual experiences between the land and people and serve as lessons for female youth in identity and empowerment. The curriculum is divided into thirteen separate three-hour modules, designed to serve as a way of life by building leaders to keep children safe in their communities.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Educational Programs, Safety & Prevention Training
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network (Amherst, MA)

  • MISSION: The Western MA Health Equity Network seeks regional strategies and opportunities to create conditions in which communities are able to attain the highest levels and standards of health for all their residents. They focus on reducing and eliminating preventable health and care-related inequities in areas of public policy, racial justice, data collection to emphasize a voice for marginalized communities and cross-sector collaboration including planners, funders, public health, hospitals and health care and community development organizations. In order to win the fight for health equity, the network believes in and values treating everyone equally with focused and continued societal efforts to address fully-avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices and the elimination of disparities in health care.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Health Care Access, Community Outreach, Educational Resources
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Western Massachusetts Showing Up for Racial Justice (Springfield, MA)

  • MISSION: SURJ believes in collective liberation through the complete and long-overdue destruction of systemic white supremacy. They work to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help construct a racially just and equitable society through resourcing and organizing, led by people of color, while maintaining strong accountability relationships with organizers and communities of color. To achieve this, group members take an inclusive and open-hearted approach to organizing, circumventing barriers for participation while maintaining clear political lines. Western MA SURJ employs three chief principles in their organizing approach—to de-legitimize racist institutions, fight for a fair economy that refuses to pit communities against one another and to shift culture, or underlying belief and value systems, away from white supremacist viewpoints.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: Social Justice Education, Community Organizing
  • SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook


Other Local Resources:


Educational Resources

White Supremacy Culture Characteristics

From "Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups," by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun [ChangeWork, 2001]

A list of characteristics which define white supremacy culture and show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is ever-present while at the same time very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed here are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being proactively named or chosen by the group(s) they reference. They are damaging to both people of color and white people, as well. Organizations that are led by people of color (or a majority of people of color) can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.

Click here to read and review the list of characteristics.

Action Steps & Policy Platform for Food Sovereignty

by Soul Fire Farm

These food sovereignty action steps were compiled by the Soul Fire Farm community and Northeast Farmers of Color alliance. It is divided into seven sections, including...

  1. Policy Platform
  2. Individual Actions
  3. Reparations
  4. Alliance Building
  5. Internal Organizational Transformation
  6. Grant-making and Funding
  7. Self-Reflection and Education

This document is designed for anyone who has ever asked, "How can I help make the food system more just?"

Click here to read the action steps.

11 Terms You Should Know to Better Understand Structural Racism

by the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute posted a list of terms and their meanings to help people further understand structural racism and racial equity. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the meanings behind terms like "institutional racism" and "systemic racism."

Click here for the list of terms.

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Compiled by Johnetta Elzie, a protestor and activist noted for her work in the Ferguson, MO protests.

This impressive Google doc is better than anything we could have put together independently. It includes articles to read, videos to watch, organizations to follow on social media, tools for white parents of white children and much, much more. It also links to other lists of resources that are worth checking out, as well.

Click here for the list of resources.

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

by The Medium [2017]

An older, yet still extremely relevant article from The Medium that details and describes 75 clear courses of action white people can take to be actively anti-racist in their everyday lives.

Click here for the list of actions.

The Case for Reparations

by Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic [June 2014]

"The Case for Reparations" has been lauded as an arresting and highly accurate cataloguing of the black struggle in twentieth-century Americaespecially regarding the critical role property has played in both the historical and contemporary oppression of black people.

Click here to read the story.

Social Justice Donation Recipients

We continue to feel overwhelmed by fear, grief and anger over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, as well as everyone else who has lost their lives to injustice and racial violence. This added urgency to our commitment to do what we can in and throughout our co-op to undo racism. In early June, our Board of Directors made donations to support important anti-racism work in our community and to help support protesters' efforts to address racial justice locally and elsewhere in the United States. You can learn more about these organizations here.

The National Bail Fund Network $2000

The National Bail Fund Network is a nationwide effort to pay community bail and bond funds for those who are trapped by the system. Their mission is to free inmates by paying their bonds while fighting to abolish pretrial detention and the monetary bail system in the United States. Through an established network of funds across 33 states, as well as their national bureau, they seek to end the systemic incarceration and unjust persecution of Blacks and Latinos. Their members recognize and understand the injustices in our policing, bail and prison systems, and they work closely with locally allied organizations to educate the public about the cycles of dehumanization and marginalization in a system that routinely entraps, institutionalizes and destroys families.

For more about the Bail Fund Network, click here

This donation originally went to the Western Mass Prison Abolition Network, but they asked that we redirect it to the National Bail Fund Network. Click here to learn about their efforts ending mass incarceration in our local area.

The Twin Cities Mutual Aid Society $1000

Members of the Organic Consumers Association founded the Twin Cities Mutual Aid Society to protect those standing in solidarity for racial justice while potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19. Organizers are collecting donated funds and supplies to support and protect activists as they deliver their critically important message of widespread change. At the co-op, we are focused on helping the group direct essential health resources into communities where demonstrations and rallying calls for changes are taking place. The resources being distributed include personal protective equipment [PPE] and wellness kits containing masks, gloves, thermometers, immune-boosting products and more. They also contain reading materials advising people on how to care for those who are ill and which preventative measures to take while doing so.

To make a donation to the Twin Cities Mutual Aid Society in support of the assembly and distribution of these kits, click here.

Arise for Social Justice $3000

Arise for Social Justice has an extensive history of defending the rights of low-income families while fighting racial and gender oppression across the board. Their members unite communities impacted by poverty and racial inequality and teach them how to defend their legal rights. They encourage taking an active stance in all levels of the political process while contributing to causes that advocate proper housing for the homeless, environmental justice and public health.

Arise for Social Justice can be reached through Twitter or by phone at (413) 734-4948. Click here to learn more about their Springfield chapter’s work in our local area.


Black Lives Matter (Boston Chapter) $1000

Black Lives Matter is the nation’s largest movement of justice-seeking Americans standing together to end violence and systemic injustice against Black people while eradicating racism from our culture. The group was first formed in 2013 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and his killer’s subsequent acquittal. Through an active network of local chapters across the U.S., the group has made cultural waves and awoken many to the cold realities of white supremacy and police brutality. They sponsor TED talks, organize rallies and petitions, provide resources for learning and raise public awareness about incidents of violence against Black people that haven’t yet made national headlines.

To stay posted on upcoming Black Lives Matter marches, vigils and demonstrations in Massachusetts, click here. To make a donation in support of the movement, click here.

Undoing Racism Organizing Collective $1000

The UROC of Western Massachusetts does the work of providing education, workshops and resources for undoing racism in our local communities. Their primary goal is to teach how cultural messaging in our society harms perspectives of race through stereotyping and negative portrayals of Black culture in the media. They share videos, books, research papers and news articles to help the public understand and conceptualize just how widespread this problem is. The UROC also promotes local events and fundraisers to aid the cause regularly across social media.

To learn more about the UROC, click here. To make an individual donation, click here.


EmbraceRace $1000

EmbraceRace emphasizes the importance of having meaningful family discussions about race. They encourage mindfulness over what values and themes our children are being exposed to through the stories they read, watch or hear. They conduct workshops and online events, including reading sessions with stories by Black authors portraying Black children in a positive light. They’re also working hard to raise awareness to the disproportionate rate at which Black Americans are contracting COVID-19, particularly in these times where solidarity is needed now—not later.

For resources, guides and other materials aimed at educating youth about race, click here.


The Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership $1000

The Truth School is an area nonprofit that teaches and trains the public with the goal of building and maintaining a movement to end racism. They offer free classes where instructors give individuals and groups lessons on how to organize in their communities, stay active politically, deliver effective messaging and much more. Some of their specific lessons include teaching people how to organize a vigil, run for elected office, write guest editorials for local and national news outlets, engage in civil disobedience and lobby elected officials. The Sojourner Truth School strongly believes that we can affect change on a large scale by empowering each other with the knowledge and skills needed to stop racial violence and prejudice at home and across the country.

To make a contribution to the Truth School, click here. To stay up-to-date on their local efforts, including town halls, vigils and peaceful demonstrations, visit their Facebook page here.