Notes from the Field: Get Involved

Notes from the field artwork
If Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education inspired you to learn more about and/or get involved in addressing issues raised by the play—in Act I, Act II, and/or the Coda—please check this growing list of local resources and organizations. And please be part of expanding this locally crowd-sourced list by sending in your suggestions for Boston-area groups working in the areas of Education, Youth, Criminal Justice, or Racial and Economic Justice.
 
Keep the conversation going online at @americanrep with #NotesFromTheField, and share your thoughts with Anna at @adspipeline.
 

SCHOOLS

“ARRESTED FUTURES: The Criminalization of School Discipline in Massachusetts’ Three Largest Districts,” a report by the ACLU, ACLU-Massachusetts, and Citizens for Juvenile Justice.  

BOSTON EDUCATION JUSTICE ALLIANCE: The founding local chapter of the Mass Education Justice Alliance, BEJA is a coalition of students, educators, parents, school staff, and concerned community members committed to building a stronger and better public school system that is driven by community voices.  

BOSTON STUDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL: BSAC advocates for and protects the voices of students in BPS by empowering the student body to express their opinions regarding education reform and ensuring that students are included in decision and policy making that impacts their lives and educational experiences. 

BOSTON TEACHER ACTION GROUP: TAG is a coalition of educators from greater Boston who believe education is essential to human liberation. They are committed to working alongside youth and other members of the community to dismantle oppressive practices in schools and society. 

CITIZENS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS promote, preserve and protect public schools and public education. 

PAPER CITY is a documentary and education program provided for free to help youth, educators, and advocates counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by combining City Year's graduation pipeline model with the Help Increase the Peace Project model for peace education.

POSSE FOUNDATION: Rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students—a Posse—carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development in our increasingly multicultural society. 

SAVE OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS MA is a grassroots organization of families, parents, educators, and students opposing Ballot Question 2, which proposes to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts.

The SOMERVILLE PROMISE ALLIANCE (SomerPromise) is a citywide campaign to ensure that every child living in Somerville achieves his or her greatest potential, graduates from high school and is prepared for college or the work force. 
 

LEGISLATIVE BILLS

Last year, a number of state legislators introduced bills (S842 and H1623) to revise the longstanding “Disturbance of Assemblies” law, which has been used to arrest school children for misbehavior that would not be deemed criminal beyond school laws. The bills, which would explicitly apply the law to interlopers at schools and remove it as a tool for punishing students for nonviolent and verbal misconduct, have stalled. Contact your representative to let them know your opinion: visit https://malegislature.gov/People/Search and see: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H1623

 

YOUTH

ACTORS' SHAKESPEARE PROJECT YOUTH PROGRAMS: Each year, ASP teaching artists work in residential programs for court­-involved youth aged 12 – 21 under the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). Over a period of 8 – 12 weeks, teaching artists and youth create an ensemble who explore Shakespeare’s plays and write, sing, dance, rehearse, and perform. ASP also works with youth in transition out of DYS facilities through our after­-school and summer programming, and our programs are featured at the annual statewide DYS Youth Arts Showcase.

BOSTON MAYOR’S YOUTH COUNCIL: The Mayor's Youth Council provides Boston's young people with an active role in addressing youth issues. High school juniors and seniors are selected to serve as volunteer representatives of every neighborhood in the city. The young advocates reach out to Boston teens, inform them of existing opportunities, and listen to suggestions on what the city can do to improve its youth oriented efforts. 

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF BOSTON works to ensure all young people in our community have the opportunity to realize their full potential. Members develop critical thinking, physical, social, technological, artistic, and life skills by participating in interactive activities intentionally designed to support their development and overall well-being. Volunteers may support youth with homework, assist in program areas with the daily activity, coach, or help with administrative tasks, to list just a few areas where volunteers can get involved.

BUILD uses entrepreneurship and experiential learning to ignite the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equip them for high school, college and career success.

THE CENTER FOR TEEN EMPOWERMENT is a youth organizing and social change program that has sites in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Somerville, MA, and in Rochester, NY. At each site, Teen Empowerment hires a group of youth, ages 14-21, and trains them as community organizers, providing them with the support, resources, and ongoing training they need to organize initiatives that involve both youth and adults in addressing community issues.

The CLEMENTE COURSE, offered by Mass Humanities, provides students from disadvantaged background with opportunities to learn about literature, art history, moral philosophy, American history, and writing. Clemente participants earn college credit through tuition-free, college level instruction and develop the skills and confidence needed to express themselves. The students are provided free books, transportation, and childcare to remove barriers to completing the Course’s 110 hours of instruction. Classes meet twice a week for eight months at a community site.

CITIZENS FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE is the only independent, non-profit, statewide organization working exclusively to improve the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. CfJJ advocates, convenes, conducts research, and educates the public on important juvenile justice issues. 

DIAMOND EDUCATORS MENTORING INC. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving student performance of those youth in low-income neighborhoods and families. DEMI believes that all youth/students must be given opportunities and encouragement to succeed in life. 

ENROOT empowers immigrant youth in Cambridge to achieve academic, career, and personal success through inspiring out-of-school experiences.

FATHERS' UPLIFT programs and therapeutic interventions support fathers in overcoming barriers so they can be positively and sustainably engaged in their children’s lives.

HYDE SQUARE TASK FORCE: Based in Jamaica Plain, HSTF develops the skills of youth and their families so they are empowered to enhance their own lives and build a strong and vibrant urban community. Uses theater and the arts for community engagement and hosts a “Paths to College and Careers Program.” 

MASSACHUSETTS ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN is dedicated to being an independent and effective voice for children who face significant barriers to equal educational and life opportunities. MAC works to overcome these barriers by changing conditions for many children, while also helping one child at a time.  

MASS MENTORING PARTNERSHIP: Based in Boston, MMP is fueling the movement to expand empowering youth-adult relationships across Massachusetts. MMP serves more than 250 mentoring and youth development programs statewide supporting more than 33,000 youth in mentoring relationships. 

NOTRE DAME EDUCATION CENTER: in South Boston, founded in 1992 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, is a comprehensive adult education center, providing a diverse, caring community in which students are empowered to develop their full potential as scholars, workers and citizens.

ROCA: Founded in 1988, Roca is an outcomes-driven organization dedicated to transforming the lives of the most high-risk young people ages 17-24 (street, court, and gang-involved; drop-outs; young parents). Roca combines relentless outreach with data-driven evaluation to produce consistent, positive outcomes for young people in the Greater Boston area, including the communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Boston, and East Boston, as well as Springfield. 

SOCIEDAD LATINA is a citywide organization that focuses on supporting the unmet needs of youth and families from Boston’s Latino and Mission Hill/Roxbury communities. 

Founded in 1999 and based in Lowell, UTEC was the result of an organizing movement driven by young people to develop their own teen center in response to gang violence. Today, nationally recognized as a model agency, UTEC's mission and promise is to ignite and nurture the ambition of proven-risk youth to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. UTEC serves young people from both Lowell and Lawrence, MA.

The YMCA provides pre-school & after-school opportunities for children of all means, as well as teen leadership programs and a place that cares for all. There are local Ys throughout the Boston area, the nation, and the world.

STRATEGIES FOR YOUTH is a policy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions through community engagement, police training, outreach programs for youth, and proactive use of multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solve and build relationships between police and youth.

The TRINITY BOSTON FOUNDATION develops safe and supportive communities in which youth of color can thrive. It does this in its own direct service programs and by embedding clinical supports in schools and partner organizations with a focus on trauma, racial equity and restorative justice and circle practices, three key competencies that help interrupt the school to prison pipeline.

URBAN IMPROV: A Rehearsal for Life: Founded over 20 years ago in order to address violence among Boston youth, Urban Improv has evolved to empower youth to identify and to make positive choices that can influence their futures, peer groups, schools and communities.  Urban Improv uses a proven method of structured theater improvisation in a safe environment to teach conflict resolution, healthy decision-making, impulse control and empathy: the ability to stand in someone else's shoes and understand how they feel. Topics for engagement include racism/prejudice, violence, trauma, peer pressure, bullying, LGBT issues and sexual harassment. Custom-designed workshops and assemblies can jumpstart a healthy and insightful dialogue on challenging topics for any school, community, religious group or other institution. The goal for all our programs is to ensure that participants are empowered to make choices that increase their opportunities for a safer, more stable and productive future.  

The YOUNG PEOPLE’S PROJECT uses Math Literacy Work to develop the abilities of elementary through high school students to succeed in school and in life. 

The YOUTH ADVOCACY FOUNDATION works to vigorously defend the rights and promote the well-being of court-involved children to help them grow into healthy and productive members of our society. 

The mission of YOUTHBUILD BOSTON is to empower and assist underserved young people from the Boston area with the essential social, vocational, academic, and life skills necessary to navigate a positive pathway to self-sufficiency and neighborhood responsibility. 

YOUTH ON BOARD: Since 1994, Youth on Board (YOB) has been a leader in the field of youth organizing in the Boston area and beyond. YOB is a youth-led, adult supported organization where young people of color have the space and tools to recognize and utilize the power they hold to dismantle political and economic structures that reinforce inequity. We believe in the power of students to transform their communities by  recognizing that when young people are fully engaged—when their voices are heard, their opinions matter, and their unique perspective is respected—they commit themselves to making their schools, their communities, and their own lives better.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

The CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON INSTITUTE FOR RACE AND JUSTICE at Harvard Law School (CHHIRJ) pursues the long-term goal of ensuring that every member of our society enjoys equal access to the opportunities, responsibilities and privileges of membership in the United States. The Institute serves as a critical bridge between scholarship, law, policy and practice and is well-positioned to bring together critical players from many spheres to devise and implement research-based solutions and remedies.

CONCORD PRISON OUTREACH is a non-profit organization committed to helping people in prison through educational programming. We work cooperatively with the Massachusetts Department of Correction to implement effective programs that teach valuable skills. We recruit, train, and support volunteers and are specifically seeking tutors to help people in prison obtain their high school equivalency diploma.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY COALITION is a member-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. UPCOMING CJPC CONFERENCE, Sept 10-11: an opportunity for grassroots, community-based organizations working to promote criminal and juvenile justice reform in Massachusetts to gather and share their visions for comprehensive reform, reflect on their efforts, learn from one another and skilled organizers from across the country and recommit to justice. 

The EDLAW PROJECT is dedicated to ensuring that Massachusetts’ highest risk children receive a quality education and avoid the school-to-prison pipeline.

FAMILIES AGAINST MANDATORY MINIMUMS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization fighting for smart sentencing laws that protect public safety. It seeks a country where criminal sentencing is individualized, humane, and sufficient to impose fair punishment and protect public safety. 

The LIONHEART FOUNDATION is dedicated to providing social emotional learning programs to incarcerated adults, highly at-risk youth and teen parents in order to significantly alter their life course.

The LOUIS D. BROWN PEACE INSTITUTE serves as a center of healing, teaching and learning for families and communities dealing with murder, trauma, grief and loss. Committed to restorative justice theories, the Peace Institute provides programs, services & trainings that are thorough and relevant with a multi-cultural lens.

The MASSACHUSETTS BAIL FUND: This all volunteer project founded operates a revolving bail fund which posts money for those being held on bail under $500. On conclusion of the legal case, this money is returned to the fund for other cases. Located in Cambridge, we currently cover those being held in detention who are  too poor to post their own bail, in Essex, Middlesex, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.Volunteers are welcome throughout Mass. to post bail at the local jail, collect the return bail money from the courts, help with fundraising and work on legislation to reform the current bail system which inherently discriminates against those who are poor. All donations are tax-deductible. 

The mission of MOTHERS FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY is to end neighborhood violence. By empowering our members to be effective change-makers, we reclaim the identity of our communities and restore a sense of hope and purpose for our children.

The non-profit, non-partisan PRISON POLICY INITIATIVE produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society. 

 

RACIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE

BLACK LIVES MATTER – CAMBRIDGE is part of the movement to end structural racism both locally, nationally and internationally.

BLACK LIVES MATTER – BOSTON remains committed to being active in the movement against racist policing and police violence both locally and nationally. 

CITY LIFE / VIDA URBANA is a 40-year-old bilingual, community organization whose mission is to fight for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy. Currently working against evictions, CL/VU views the current displacement crisis as an issue of racial equity, as well as economic and housing justice. 

COMMUNITY CHANGE, INC. has been educating and organizing for racial equity since 1968. Community Change Inc. offers public discussions, events and workshops on antiracism related topics. 

HALEY HOUSE uses food and the power of community to break down barriers between people, transfer new skills, and revitalize neighborhoods. It believes in radical solutions: solving problems at their root by challenging attitudes that perpetuate suffering and by building alternative models. 

MASSACHUSETTS IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE ADVOCACY COALITION is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. MIRA serves the Commonwealth's one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, strategic communications, citizenship assistance. 

SURJ BOSTON is a local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. 

 

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UPCOMING Criminal Justice Policy Coalition Conference, Sep. 10-11: an opportunity for grassroots, community-based organizations working to promote criminal and juvenile justice reform in Massachusetts to gather and share their visions for comprehensive reform, reflect on their efforts, learn from one another and skilled organizers from across the country and recommit to justice.