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About Racial Justice Rising

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mission Statement


Core Group & Advisors

Racial Justice Rising's core group includes Jade Barker, Ruth Bowman, Gloria Matlock, Strong Oak, Scott Reed, Cate Woolner.

We deeply appreciate the contributions of former members Sharin Alpert,Tim Bullock, Natan Cohen, George Esworthy, Teegrey Iannuzzi, Annie Keough, Meg Maccini, and Keely Malone.

We have been helped along the way by many advisors and mentors. Our great thanks to those who have inspired, taught, and guided us in this project, including Ingrid Askew, Dwayne Brewington, Tim Bullock, Sister Clare Carter, Howard Clark, La Wanza Lett-Brewington, Enoch Page, Mustafa, Brother NorthStar Polaris, Kato Shonin, and Tall Oak.


Many thanks to our fiscal sponsor, the Peace Development Fund.



Racial Justice Rising grew from many roots.

~ People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: Several of our original members were part of a white antiracism group that formed after an Undoing Racism Workshop.

~ The Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, 1998-1999: One of our original members & several of our advisors participated in this journey retracing the path of the slave trade.

~ The New England Peace Pagoda: Based in Leverett MA, the Peace Pagoda organized the Pilgrimage.

Facing Our Unhealed Past: In 2004, three members of a white antiracism group decided to write an apology for slavery. Working closely with UMass anthropology professor Dr. Enoch Page, we researched and wrote Facing Our Unhealed Past, completing it at the end of 2008.

We chose the name “Mass Slavery Apology” for its double meaning: acknowledging our location in Massachusetts and also hoping to inspire a mass movement to redress the legacy of slavery. In early 2009 we printed copies of the statement and put up a website. We began to define ourselves as reaching out primarily to others of European descent in order to broaden white communities’ understanding of racism, white privilege, and racial justice. An important part of our outreach was engaging other whites to sign the apology statement. White group members worked closely with advisors of color.

Our activities over the next few years included our email newsletter, presentations to classes and other groups, speaking about our work on local radio shows and at other groups’ events, and a series of four workshops based on films. In January 2014 we began a series of free monthly programs as a way of reaching out to our local community.

Racial Justice Rising: As the group evolved, we realized we needed a name that communicated our commitment to racial justice for all groups. In 2015 we changed our name to Racial Justice Rising, while keeping the name Mass Slavery Apology for our original project.

Both people of color and people of European descent are active members and participants in our work. Our monthly program series has become a local fixture, and we have expanded our mission to include projects that address injustice in our own communities. 

As of October 2015, Racial Justice Rising is a participant in the Peace Development Fund's fiscal sponsorship program. We are looking forward to expanding and growing our work with their mentorship and support.

In January 2016, our core group decided to discontinue our activities temporarily and, in order to become both more accountable to our community and more sustainable, devote ourselves to clarifying our mission and policies and restructuring our all-volunteer staffing. Since then, we have revised our mission statement and internal policies and have added a new "working group" of community participants who actively involved in organizing and implementing our projects. 

In March 2016, in response to racist acts in our community, we initiated a weekly vigil for racial justice in Greenfield’s town center. We resumed our monthly series of free educational and cultural programs in September 2016.

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