Images by Chris Faraone unless otherwise noted
First some disclaimers for positive measure …
This post is not intended to suggest or imply either bonds or divisions between movements or organizations. Members of some groups we included may have ideological differences with others, while a few have especially productive relationships. We hope to explore such dynamics in the coming months, as unrest continues in response to epidemic state brutality and myriad tangential issues. In the meantime, our hope is to help identify the people standing up for change despite the coming cold front.
Secondly, we’d like to note the dedicated organizations that have been hammering away on these issues in the Hub for years, from nonprofits to purely grassroots efforts. A lot of critically important work goes unseen, and is not always acknowledged when titanic movements arise as is now happening. At the same time, there’s certainly significant collaboration and crossover between causes and coalitions, particularly around issues of race, but on other, often related fronts as well like housing, labor, and the fight over a Boston Olympics.
Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, the Dig is determined to record and represent the stories of these groups and their actions as accurately as possible. The information herein is culled from past interviews, coverage so far, and various other resources. If you have something to add, you are welcome to harangue us in the comments, but please also feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. So long as people chase these causes, we’ll be right there following along and listening.
THE FRONT LINES
The group Black Lives Matter is among those at the forefront of the response to police misconduct nationwide, and their forces in Boston have so far led or endorsed a number of enormous marches that changed the tenor of Hub protests for the foreseeable future (Note: While the #Boston4Ferguson rally on November 25 was called by BLM, Saturday’s gigantic Millions March Boston, in solidarity with a huge showing of heads in New York, was organized by ally groups). BLM organizers have said they’re planning in response to calls in communities of color for specific reforms, and forging ahead with peaceful actions alongside teeming peers everywhere. Watch their Facebook page for breaking news and announcements.
THE COLLEGE FRONT*
Here’s the thing about college students that conservative pundits conveniently ignore: They’re not all spoiled pricks. Some fit the description, sure, but many have made major sacrifices to attain their education, and have also sacrificed energy and time on protest lines over the past month. Young people from seemingly all schools in the region have jumped into action, with Harvard drawing thousands to a rally in Cambridge this past Friday. We asked organizers from that event to share the pledges that they read out loud outside the Harvard Science Center, as they could as well apply to future leaders from any institution:
Harvard Graduate School of Design: As architects, landscape architecture, urban planners, designers, and policy makers, we pledge to challenge and dismantle all forms of institutionalized racism and structural discrimination. We pledge to seek justice in the current epidemic of the killing of unarmed black men and women. We swear to plan, design, and built, not only a more equitable built environment, but also one that is universally just.
Harvard Law School: We swear that as lawyers we will seek out and eliminate all sources of injustice in the legal system. We will be empathetic and compassionate. Above all we will remember that the law is never neutral, and will always act accordingly.
Harvard Kennedy School: As aspiring policy makers we strive to understand the socio-historical context of our domestic and international policies. We pledge to remain mindful of how structural and institutional racism continue to impact the communities that we serve and we will examine disparate impacts in order to achieve racial justice.
Harvard Medical School: We vow to pursue equitable care for our patients and humans everywhere, by: acknowledging and confronting our own biases; educating ourselves about institutionalized oppression in the US and worldwide; and working to eradicate systemic injustice in health and health care.
Harvard Divinity School: As students of religion, we commit to addressing racial justice and healing in our classrooms, in our religious communities, and throughout society. We will do so through strategies that connect the head and the heart and are rooted in the ethic of love.
Harvard College: With humbled but determined spirits, Harvard College undergraduates stand on the shoulders of greats insisting that we receive justice today, demanding that this country dismantle the stronghold of white supremacy, and proclaiming that black lives matter. We are unwilling to compromise on any of these points. We promise to remain steadfast and not to waiver in our diligence to this cause.
Harvard Graduate School of Education: As an educator, we swear that we will hold every child and adult life to be of infinite value and potential, that we will recognize and address any biases and prejudice that we hold in our practice, and to work every day to promote justice and equality in outcomes for the children and adults that we serve.
*– Don’t count out local high school students either. In addition to recently making ground in the fight for better transportation access, the young people of Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge have marched alongside #BlackLivesMatters protesters from Roxbury to Davis Square, and for other causes near and dear to them as well …
Image via Intelligent Mischief
THE ACTIVIST ARTS FRONT
Straddling direct and artistic actions, organizers with Intelligent Mischief and Deep Abiding Love have hosted activist trainings and have also facilitated Ferguson-inspired street art as the growing protest storm fuels radical expression and vice versa. From a post by IM organizer Terry Marshall about their recent developments:
These last few days Intelligent Mischief along with Deep Abiding Love and Design Studio 4 Social Intervention have had the pleasure of hosting St. Louis artist Damon Davis and his “All Hands on Deck” project in Boston. Thanks to many local Boston artist we were able to blast the town with street art that showed solidarity with people in Ferguson and make the connection to struggles in Boston. Last night we projected Damon’s hands up images and his I Can’t breath video on the side of the Harvard Law School building as apart of the National Day Of Resistance. Be on the look out for more street art and action design from Intelligent Mischief in the future.
THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT
In the middle of all the marching and arrests, there are certain specific forces—in addition longtime crusaders like the ACLU—looking for solutions through traditional municipal means. The Boston Police Camera Action Team is pushing for one kind of reform, while another group is pursuing a civilian review board that would investigate police misconduct for the purpose of “restoring good faith of community” and “repairing disconnect and increasing public trust.” Check for updates on Blackstonian.com.