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Why Voting is So Important
JRI is Rocking the Vote, join us in building the political power of young people.
Not sure if you're registered to vote? Use the voter registration look-up tool.
Massachusetts Elections Division
Learn more about where to vote, voting by mail, early voting and more.
Voting resources that might be particularly useful for LGBTQ+ folks:
Learn more about voter ID in your state
Voter ID laws can create barriers for trans and nonbinary folks, who may not have a photo ID that matches their gender identity.
Learn how to vote without a home address
Many LGBTQ+ people experience housing instability or homelessness, which can make it difficult to register to vote.
Check your voter registration status
Have you moved recently or changed your legal name? Check here to make sure your registration is accurate.
Update your name with Rock the Vote
We’re committed to making sure our emails and text messages accurately reflect your name and gender identity. Let us know any time if you need to update it!
What else can you do?
Pledge to vote in every election – then help 3 friends do the same. A reminder to vote can make all the difference, especially when it comes from a friend. Pledge to vote on the Rock the Vote website, then let them know the three friends you'll remind to vote before Election Day.
Get election reminders. We’ll remind you of upcoming election dates and deadlines in your area, so that you never miss an election.
Upcoming Protests and Events
Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests
- Walpole Peace and Justice Standout- twice a week: Saturdays 10am-11:00am and Tuesdays 5pm-6pm. Here is a link to their Facebook page.
- Framingham Group Plans Weekly Black Lives Matter Demonstrations. The demonstrators plan to stand at a busy downtown Framingham intersection on a weekly basis. Learn more.
- 7th at 10am-11:30am
- 8th at 1pm-4pm
- Join the MetroWest Health Foundation and the MetroWest Racial & Ethnic Disparities Workgroup for an in-depth look at health equity in MetroWest with a focus on the actions your agency and the community can take to address inequities. This training is free and led by Mo Barbosa. Register here.
- 14th at 7pm-8pm
- Join New York Times best selling author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi for a symposium on How to Be an Antiracist. See details of the event being funded by the Reno Family Foundation.
- 16th and 18th
- MIT Hacking Racism in Healthcare, Info & Applications: https://hackingracism.mit.edu/ Applications are due by 10/5 at 11:59PM ET. Let's stand together to Hack Structural Racism in Healthcare! The MIT virtual hackathon is on October 16-18, but the pre-event workshop is 9/26-9/27. For more information, please email Dorrie Bartels, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislation Supported by JRI
You can find contact info for your state legislator here: https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator And then call or email to ask that they support:
- An Act to Save Black Lives (HD5128, filed by Rep. Liz Miranda & SD2968, filed by Sen. Cynthia Creem) This bill would re-write the rules on use of force and establish serious, enforceable consequences for violations. It would reduce the role of police in situations where social interventions are safer and more effective; require police to use de-escalation techniques and tactics; limit force to the minimum amount necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose; require that any use of force be proportional; require other officers to intervene if they witness an excessive use of force; and ban police use of choke holds, rubber bullets, tear gas, attack dogs, and no-knock warrants. It would also mandate data collection on injuries and deaths caused by police and other law enforcement officers, make records of police misconduct public, and explicitly recognize that police violence is a danger to public health. Detailed summary of the bill.
- An Act to Secure Civil Rights (H.3277, filed by Rep. Michael Day) This bill would fix the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act to enable people whose rights have been violated to secure redress in court. Laws and policies that are supposed to hold police accountable are meaningless without a strong enforcement mechanism. The MCRA is supposed to be that mechanism, but unfortunately the current law is broken. This bill would fix language in the statute requiring a plaintiff to show that a violation of rights was accompanied by “threats, intimidation or coercion,” which courts have interpreted to let officers off the hook for many direct violations of rights, even ones involving terrible physical abuse. It would also eliminate in Massachusetts the judicial doctrine known as “qualified immunity,” which shields police from liability if the right that was violated was not “clearly established.” Today, it is not uncommon for courts to acknowledge that the police violated a constitutional right, but still fail to hold the officer liable because of qualified immunity. MCRA Examples
- An Act Relative to Accountability For Vulnerable Children and Families (H.4852) This bill would require DCF to include data on sexual orientation and gender identity in their demographics to provide better support for LGBTQ+ youth. Learn more information here, provided by Citizens for Juvenile Justice and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
- Ten point plan to combat systemic racism Elected officials of color developed a 10 point plan to combat systemic racism in policing and police brutality.
- Reform, Shift + Build Act, released by the Senate. This race equity and policing bill expands the eligibility for expungement. Here's more information on the expungement law.
- The House Ways and Means Committee released its FY 20 Supplemental Budget proposal. Please click here to ask your Representative to co-sponsor Rep. Decker's amendment (#7) to provide short-term relief for families and individuals in deep poverty. A fact sheet is available here. This amendment would provide a one-time immediate payment to Massachusetts’ 33,000 families with children who receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits and 21,000 elders and persons with disabilities who receive Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefits. Payments would equal the maximum grant for the household size (e.g., $593 for a family of 3 or $303 for an elder or disabled individual).
An Act Putting Patients First, proposes a number of healthcare reforms, including key provisions related to rendering services via telehealth.
Designation Act of 2020 (H.R. 4191/S. 2661) would designate 9-8-8 as the new three-digit mental health and National Suicide Prevention Hotline number.
- The Need to Claim a Student-Centered School Safety Narrative. Please call and email your State Representative and State Senator today to claim a student-centered "school safety" narrative by telling them:
All available evidence does not support the argument that police in schools make them safer;
Their presence is instead tied to increased arrest, disproportionately targeting students of color, for low-level offenses;
The presence of and interactions with police in schools have a negative impact on students' academic achievement and mental health, and creates an environment of fear and distrust;
School police are NOT counselors: students do not have any confidentiality protections in dealings with school police as they do with counselors and mental health professionals.
Check out the new media kit around School Resource Officers (SRO's) and the research that shows their ineffectiveness in school settings. The report was created by Citizens for Juvenile Justice and Strategies for Youth to highlight the disparities when it comes to treatment of white students and students of color as well as other downfalls of policing in schools.
- Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty, H.102 (Decker) and S.36 (DiDomenico). These bills will raise cash assistance grants in Massachusetts by 10% per year until they reach 50% of the federal poverty level. Current grant levels are woefully inadequate - for example, the maximum for a family of 3 is only $593 per month. This leaves families struggling to meet their children's most basic needs, like housing, food and diapers.
Take Action 4 Real Police Reform in Mass - Sign the petition, Email the Conference Committee, Call your Legislators, Post to Social Media, Reach out to 10 friends. More details can be found in this google doc.
Waltham Residents Urge City to Remove Columbus Memorial. JRI supports Indigenous People's Day! Check out this article in The Patch.
Racial Justice Resources
- Jailed in America, Why Slavery? How do prisons make a profit from crime? In the last 30 years, America’s prison population has surged from 330,000 to 2.3 million inmates. In this deeply personal and provocative film, Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams sets out on a mission to investigate the prison system that has helped drive this explosive web of political, social, and economic forces that have consumed so many of Roger’s friends and family. Watch the film.
- New York Times Podcast: 1619 “1619” is a New York Times audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, that examines the long shadow of American slavery. Listen here
- Not Just Tulsa: Five Other Race Massacres That Devastated Black America There is a long history of white terrorism destroying Black Communities. Read the article.
- Uneducated & Unwelcome: The GI Bill in the Segregated South America's unequal implementation of the GI bill is a major reason why there is a huge wealth gap between white families and families of color today. Blacks were disproportionately denied employment benefits, job training, education and home ownership. Whites had access to those things and were able to build generational wealth. Learn more.
- Rhode Island To Remove "Providence Plantations" from State's Name Providence Plantation Evokes a Legacy of Slavery
- What is Owed? This article from the NYT magazine by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of the 1619 Project discusses what is owed to black Americans in order for justice and equality to be achieved. Read here.
- NPR: 'Interrupt The Systems': Robin DiAngelo On 'White Fragility' And Anti-Racism, 20 minute podcast
- Pop Sugar: 10 Things Parents Should Know About Talking to Kids About Systemic Oppression
- Provider's Council: Call to Action on Racial Equity.
- Center for American Progress: Systemic Inequality: Displacement, Exclusion, and Segregation. How America's Housing System Undermines Wealth Building in Communities of Color
- Center for American Progress: Mass Incarceration, Stress, and Black Infant Mortality. A Case Study in Structural Racism
- The New Yorker: My Mother’s Dreams for Her Son, and All Black Children. She longed for black people in America not to be forever refugees—confined by borders that they did not create and by a penal system that killed them before they died. 34 minute podcast
- Washington Post: Perspective: My daughter reminded me that black joy is a form of resistance
- Washington Post: What five black fathers are saying to their children about this historic moment
- Watch Good Trouble, the new documentary about Congressman John Lewis' lifelong fight for voting access and civil rights.
Letters for Black Lives: an open letter project on anti-blackness (a set of crowdsourced, multilingual, and culturally-aware resources aimed at creating a space for open and honest conversations about racial justice, police violence, and anti-Blackness in our families and communities)
Harvard Business Review: Woke-Washing Your Company Won't Cut It
Huffington Post: Disconnect Between How White People and People of Color View Allyship in the Workplace
The Atlantic: Anti-Racism Books Are a Means Not an End
MetroWest Health Foundation releases report, "Racism and Public Health: A Connection Rooted in Structural Inequities". Clear data and straightforward conclusions from a community organization working with Metro West communities to address racial disparities in healthcare.
This op-ed was written by Dr. Jeannette Callahan from JRI’s DYS division. She uses her perspective as a pediatrician to advocate for changing the laws around qualified immunity for the police. Check it out here!
Information About the New "Public Charge" Rule
The new “public charge” rule is now in effect in all states except New York, Vermont and Connecticut. For more information about the public charge rule please visit the Protecting Immigrant Families website. Links to additional resources are provided below.
Here are some important things to know:
1. Many immigrant groups are not subject to the “public charge” test including: Lawful Permanent Residents, asylum seekers, refugees, TPS, DACA renewals, U or T Visas, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
2. Some benefits are not considered in determining whether someone is likely to become a “public charge” including: Medicaid for children under 21 years old, pregnant women, and new mothers.
For specific information about how the new “public charge” rule may affect you, consult an immigration attorney.
Know Your Rights: What to do if you’re stopped by police, immigration agents, or the FBI Know your rights (English)
Conozca sus derechos: parado/a por la policia, agentes de inmigracios o el FBI Know your rights (Spanish)
Immigrant Raid Resources:
CLASP Immigration Raid Resources
National Immigration Law Center How to Be Prepared for an Immigration Raid
National Immigrant Justice Center Community Resources
United We Dream Know Your Power, Know Your Rights
Cosecha: Advocacy group requesting fund to continue the fight for DACA students. Support the Fight Financially.
United We Dream Network
DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving
Student Immigrant Movement - local Boston organization for undocumented students
Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
LGBTQ+ Information and Resources
Mental Health Information, Resources for Persons with Disabilities, and other Social Justice Issues
The New York Times: People with Disabilities Make Up 20 Percent of the Population Yet They're Still Invisible
Equity Matters: Mental Health - Switching the Focus from Access to Re-thinking the Delivery System - a blog post from MetroWest Health Foundation
The Lily: Mom Bias is Real and No Industry is Immune to It
JRI and William James College
JRI and William James College have partnered to expand and develop the ‘pipeline’ of candidates that reflect the diversity and lived experience of the communities we serve. With William James, and with other colleges and universities, we have found partners that share our social justice mission, our commitment to racial equity, and our dedication to culturally competent services. A very important part of this effort is to substantially reduce the cost of education. By helping student/employees to avoid crippling college debt, many of these new partnerships alongside JRI are making careers in nonprofit work more attractive to a broader and more diverse base of individuals.” - Andy Pond, CEO of JRI
Photos from Protests and Events