Groups Currently Working on Racial Justice Issues in the Amherst, MA Area
(Please let us know if other local groups should be listed here or if revisions should be made to the entries below. We have not attempted to include the many groups on the local university and college campuses. Groups are listed in a random order.)
Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Working for Justice, Building Connections
This is a local project “seeking to bring people together to gain a deeper understanding of how race affects the Amherst 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.” The project includes a film and speaker series, an informative website, and additional opportunities. It is guided by a multi-racial steering committee
School Equity Task Force
Created by the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee in late Spring 2014 to develop recommendations to the Committee and school district with regard to equity issues in the high school and middle school in Amherst. Meetings are open to the public and posted on the Town of Amherst website.
Chair: Amilcar Shabazz;
Vice Chair: Kathleen Traphagen email@example.com
Amherst chapter of the long-time national organization. “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” Focus areas: economic sustainability, education, health, pubic safety and criminal justice, and voting rights and political representation.
President: Kathleen Anderson
On the Web: http://www.amherstnaacp.blogspot.com/
This group came together in response to the racist incidents that occurred at the high school in the winter and spring of 2014. Stair2Stair seeks to “serve as a resource for organizations involved in social justice work in the pioneer valley”. They run a website with information about events and groups related to local justice work. They have also on occasion brought people together to demonstrate or speak out. The name stands for: Stand Together Against Institutional Racism; Standing Together to Actualize Intergenerational Revolution
Communications contact: Michael Mongeau
Amherst Racial Equity Organizers Meetings
This is a monthly no-cost, open to people with all levels of racism awareness, leadership training and planning sessions for those who seek to do organizing work for racial equity in the Amherst area. They are led by UROC (Undoing Racism Organizing Collective), a Western Mass. group that has brought undoing racism trainings to the Valley for many years.
Website for UROC: http://www.urocofwesternmass.org/
Contact for Amherst meetings: Ruthie Killough-Hill; firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens for Racial Amity Now (CRAN)
This is a local group connected to the National Center for Race Amity, which is based at Wheelock College. “Mission: Based on the spiritual principle of the oneness of humankind, we seek to stimulate forums and initiatives to promote racial and cross-cultural amity, and to establish a National Race Amity Day. Our overall mission is the cultivation of racial amity as both a means and goal.” They hold local open meetings and are seeking to organize neighborhood dialogue groups.
Contacts: Ray Elliott at: email@example.com and Ash Hartwell
This initiative was created by the Supt. of Schools and the Amherst Town Manager, who hired Carol Ross in the summer of 2014 to lead it. AT seeks to serve “as a foundation for sustainable progress in everyday social practices by infusing fresh perspectives with broader contexts through a widening circle of voices.”
Contact: Carol Ross
Amherst Human Rights Commission
This is a long-time official board of the Town of Amherst whose members are appointed. Their focus is a wide range of human rights issues. They sponsor occasional events open to the public.
Chair: Greg Bascomb
Mass Slavery Apology
A small grass-roots white racial justice group based in Franklin County, MA. Its work includes providing resources for racial justice efforts, welcoming others into the antiracism/racial justice movement, and building public acknowledgement of the legacy of slavery and public support for reparations. The group’s projects include a monthly program series and a monthly dialogue group, both in Greenfield MA, and an e-mail newsletter listing events and resources. Mass Slavery Apology invites others of European descent to add their signatures to their apology for slavery, “Facing Our Unhealed Past”. The group’s core members work closely with advisers of color.