Monthly Archives: February 2016

White Ribbon Day Campaign

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In 1991, a group of Canadian men held the first White Ribbon Day Campaign to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the deaths of fourteen women murdered by one man in Montreal. The purpose of the campaign was to encourage men to use their voices not only to advocate for the rights and well-being of women, but also to speak out against gender-based violence and the toxic hyper-masculinity that often produces this violence. The White Ribbon Campaign is currently recognized in 60 countries and has collected over 5 million individual signatures pledging to address gender-based violence, acknowledging the active role men must play to bring it to an end. Community Works member organization, Jane Doe Inc. is spearheading the Massachusetts White Ribbon Campaign, and has been working hard to expand the initiative of re-imagining manhood in such a way that men are held accountable for abusive and violent behaviors and ways of thinking, rather than placing the blame on survivors’ actions or morality as is usually the case.

Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) has broadened the framework of the campaign to be more inclusive of individuals whose identities are positioned at the intersections of race, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic status and gender. The campaign pledge has been edited to refer to “gender-based violence” in addition to the original “violence against women.” This change expresses JDI’s commitment to creating a meaningful platform for the campaign to interrogate conventional  and often harmful heteronormative standards which reinforce rigid gender binaries and inequities. The effort to craft a more inclusive campaign against gender-based violence will continue to focus on the gravity of men’s violence toward’s women, while recognizing men’s interpersonal relationships with other men and the ways in which men’s violence against each other reinforces dangerous gender stereotypes and patriarchal systems of power. The campaign’s broadened vision also promotes the connection between JDI’s efforts and the global movement for human rights.

This year, the Massachusetts White Ribbon Day  event will be held at Boston’s State House on Thursday, March 3rd from 1:00 to 2:30pm. Among the exciting lineup of speakers are, Governor Charlie Baker, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and New England Patriots Community Affairs Executive Director, Andre Tippett. For more information, visit the White Ribbon Day website. While RSVPs aren’t required, you can check in here to ensure faster registration on the day of the actual event.


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Community Works Events: 2/15-2/21

Community Works member organizations are continuously working for equity and social justice in Boston and surrounding areas. Check out their programming for the week starting Monday, February 15th 2016.



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1. Asian American Resource Workshop: AARW February Member Meeting

Date: Sunday, February 21st 2016.

Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm

Location: Chinese Progressive Association, 28 Ash Street, Boston, MA 02111

Join AARW for the February Member Meeting. There will  be further discussion about AARW’s work/vision and membership structure, with emphasis on membership decision-making and member-led programs. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet and interact with other members while enjoying some wonderful food!

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

emerge logo   2.  Emerge (Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence): Registration for      Counseling Abusers Training

Description: This course is intended for anyone working with families affected by domestic violence. The course meets BIP group leader training requirements in Massachusetts and in many other states. Over the past 6 years, over 1000 people from 45 states and 15 nations have taken this course.  

Dates: Wednesday, February 24th-Friday, February 26th 2016

Location: First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
630 Massachusetts Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476

Tuition: $250 for the first person and $175 for each additional person from an agency.

For more information and to register, visit the website.

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3. Haley House: The 8th Annual Haley House Souper Bowl

Date: Sunday, February 21st 2016.

Time: 2:00pm-6:00pm

Location: Haley House Bakery Café, 12 Dade Street, Roxbury 02119

At Haley House Bakery Café in Roxbury’s Dudley Square, more than a dozen chefs will serve soups made from locally sourced ingredients as a fundraiser for Haley House’s Soup Kitchen in the South End. This event is the first in a series of events marking Haley House’s 50th Anniversary. There are four entry times: 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm.

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


4. Our Bodies Ourselves: Now hiring Communications Associate

Application deadline: Sunday, January 24th 2016.

Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS), a highly respected feminist nonprofit organization, seeks an Executive Director who is passionate about women’s health and social justice to lead its essential work. The Executive Director will be responsible for overall management, including infrastructure development, fundraising, and program oversight. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and skilled communicator who can serve as the organization’s primary public spokesperson and fundraising leader. The position requires the ability to balance visioning and strategic planning with day-to-day supervision of staff as well as coordination with the Board and OBOS founders.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume by March 1, 2016 to Joan Rachlin, Search Committee Chair, at

For more information, read the full listing here.


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In December 2015, a Texas grand jury announced that none of the law enforcement officers involved in the death of 28-year old Sandra Bland would be indicted. In the midst of the grief of close family and friends, nationwide mourning, and public debate attempting to make sense of the mysterious details of a death ruled as a suicide, one issue comes to the forefront: the failure to center black women in the continued fight against police brutality towards African Americans in the United States.

The Black Lives Matter movement has gathered enormous momentum with the creation of the hashtag and numerous online forums, mobilizing activists to hold protests across the country in order to shine a light on the use of excessive and often fatal force in the policing of black and brown bodies, and to reinforce the message that African American lives should be valued and not treated as disposable. The heightened media attention for male victims of police brutality like Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice may not necessarily indicate that general members of the public and national authorities are actually invested in the effort to disrupt and transform a system which still hinges on a violent history of slave labor and racial segregation. It however highlights the troubling rhetoric which frames police brutality as a form of violence faced almost exclusively by black men.

It is even more frustrating to note that despite the fact that Black Lives Matter was founded by three women, Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, there is a tendency to cling to male activists that have risen from within the movement. This phenomenon isn’t exactly unique to our times. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s showed a similar elevation of male leaders as the representatives of the struggle, while the women who played pivotal roles in the progress of the movement were diminished to the background. This erasure of women from the struggle against racial and socioeconomic inequity suggests a dangerous perpetuation of the notion of black women as the sacrificial, auxiliary figures whose cause must always be submerged for the benefit of black men and of society in general.

An adjustment of the movement to reflect the multiple, intersecting systems of oppression operating over the lives of black women may also fall into dangerous territory by going to another extreme and relying on the trope of black female victimhood which also provides an incomplete portrait of black women’s position. It is nevertheless incredibly important to recognize and name not only the women who continue to advocate for justice but also those who have suffered the same brutality that has previously been understood as a “war on black men”. Black women also face sexual violence as their bodies have been and continue to be over-sexualized and dehumanized in such a way that manages to pin this violence onto their own sexual or moral deviance rather than on the offender. The lack of media coverage concerning the case of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw represents only one of many such instances. He received a 263-year prison sentence for the sexual assault of 13 black women.

16-year old Gynnya McMillen is the latest black girl to die in police custody. We can also not forget the extreme force used against black girls in a classroom in South Carolina and at a neighborhood pool party in Texas. Natasha McKenna. Tanisha Anderson. Kayla Moore. Rekia Boyd. How many of these names do you know? Black female activists have been mobilizing under the #SayHerName campaign to give a more complete representation of those affected by police brutality. To read about the work being done to ensure that this narrative is brought to the public consciousness, visit the African American Policy Forum website here.


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