Mass Slavery Apology
About Racial Justice Rising
We welcome your comments and feedback.
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
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
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
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
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.