Author: Admin

Safe Communities Act (H.3269, S.1305) Public Hearing

Date: Friday, June 9, 2017

Time: 10am-3pm

Location: State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

We seek compelling testimony and support to educate the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security about the impact that Trump’s aggressive enforcement and rhetoric are having on the ground, driving immigrants away from seeking public services and assistance, including public school, healthcare, and police assistance. Written testimony is also needed.

All members of the committee are listed HERE.  The Chairman and Vice Chairs can be reached at:

Here is a Fact Sheet on the Safe Communities Act via MIRA Coalition to help you craft your argument in support.

Arrive by 9:15 a.m. to sign up as an individual or a panel (3 or 4 people testifying together – sign all your names together). Expect to wait on line – it’s first come, first serve. Three minute maximum per person.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE OR DON’T WANT TO TESTIFY it’s critical that you come to show your support. Plan to stay all day if you can. If the hearing room is full, use that time to visit your legislators. Find them below. (Ask to speak with staff.) You can also organize a vigil in front of the State House. No signs allowed in the building, but we will have stickers to wear inside.


Find more information on the Safe Communities Act and what it is HERE.

Confronting Systemic Racism – 5-Week Course

Date: Classes begin Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Location: Lawrence CommunityWorks – 168 Newbury St., Lawrence, MA

Hosted By: SURJ Merrimack Valley and Anti-Racism Collaborative

Cost: Tuition for the course is $70 per person. Sliding scale need-based scholarships are available. Purchase tickets HERE. (After purchasing, please register yourself HERE.)

This course will focus on how to bridge a deep understanding of personal and structural racism into commitments and a solid plan to move forward! If you are looking to understand your role in the dynamics of systemic racism better and are interested in finding the next step in your journey of taking a stance for racial justice beyond talking about racism and social oppression – this course is a great way to build community and take action.

Please join us for a powerful 5-week course. All are welcome but please note the course takes an explicit view that transforming both ourselves and our society into a racially just place implicates a responsibility in white and privileged folks to engage in this work more robustly.

The course sessions take place at Lawrence CommunityWorks from 6:30 – 8:30 pm on the following Tuesdays, June 13th, 20th, 27th, July 11, and 18th.

Tuition is $70 per person. Sliding-scale need-based scholarships are available upon request.

To register and attend you must receive a ticket/ complete the following 2-steps:

1) Receive your ticket from eventbrite
2) Register yourself on


Facebook event page CLICK HERE

Anti Racism Collaboration (Cambridge, MA) –  Official Website, FacebookInstagram



Planning to Meet With Our Local Police – Part Two

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Andover – 6 Locke Street, Andover, MA

What are the official and unofficial policies and practices of our local police departments regarding the stopping, detaining, and treatment of targeted groups and individuals, immigrants and non-white people?

The Merrimack Valley Project’s Andovers group, the ACLU People Power Freedom Cities Project, the interfaith community and SURJ Merrimack Valley convened a community meeting last month to talk about establishing a positive, open dialogue with local police. Join us to get updates on where we are with this campaign and to get involved!

Immigrants Day at the MA State House

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Immigrants Day at the State House – Meet with your legislator!

Time: 9 am – 2 pm

Hosted by: MIRA

Location: Massachusetts State House (Hall of Flags) – 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133

Now is the time to make your voice heard! Come join us at the State House to talk to our legislators and let them know that immigrants are a valuable part of our commonwealth and deserve to have the same rights as everyone else. Before you come register here and make an appointment with your legislator!



Upcoming SURJ Merrimack Valley Meetings

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Planning and Training to Meet with Our Local Police

Time: 6 pm

Hosted by: SURJ Merrimack Valley

Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation – 6 Locke St, Andover, Massachusetts 01810

Let’s work to make our towns safe communities for our immigrant and refugee neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members!

This is an urgent call to action for residents of Andover, North Andover and nearby towns who want to ensure that our communities don’t become cogs in the Administration’s inhumane and unconstitutional Deportation Machine.

Even as another court has temporarily haulted the evil of Muslim Ban 2.0, ICE agents around the country are tearing families apart and spreading fear and inciting other acts of hatred.

WE can make a difference beginning here in our own towns. A coaltion of individuals and groups led by the expertise and experience of the The Merrimack Valley Project’s dedicated staff is launching a campaign to see that our towns don’t become aggressive, or even simply complicit, partners in this hatred.

JOIN US at this meeting to learn about the larger campaign and to be oriented and trained to support our attempts to meet with our local police departments. Establishing a positive, open dialogue with local police is the first step in our campaign to pass local Trust Acts and the proposed statewide Safe Communities Act in Massachusetts.

This meeting and campaign is a collaboration of The Merrimack Valley Project’s Andovers group, the ACLU People Power Freedom Cities Project, the interfaith community and SURJ Merrimack Valley.

All interested individuals from Andover and North Andover are welcome to attend, as well as people from other communities who are interested in replicating the process in their communities.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monthly Leadership Team Meeting

Hosted by: SURJ Merrimack Valley

Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Location: El Taller – 275 Essex Street, Lawrence, MA 01840

The Leadership Team works on the nuts and bolts of organizing, sets priorities, and plans actions and meetings.

Interested in participating on a leadership level? Please contact Corrie by email at

Leadership Team meetings are held in advance of monthly public meetings.

April Meeting Goals:
*Debrief last month’s open meeting and new member orientation
*Update on collaborating with the Merrimack Valley Project to organize Trust Act and Safe Communities campaign
*Plan next open meeting



Black Lives Matter Boston Teach-In

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Black Lives Matter Boston Teach-In

Time: 1pm – 2:30 pm

Presentation by: Black Lives Matter – Boston

Location: UU Church of Haverhill – 15 Kenoza Ave, Haverhill, Massachusetts 01830

Leaders from Boston’s BLM Movement will be here to help us understand this day in age through the lens of Black Lives Matter. There will be updates on their racial justice work and how we can be part of the movement.



SHOW UP: Day Without Immigrants March

Monday May 1, 2017

Un Día Sin Inmigrantes Marcha /Day Without Immigrants March

Organized by: Cosecha Lawrence

Location: Campagnone Common – 200 Common Street, Lawrence, MA 01840

Time: 10 am – 4 pm

(From the event page):

Lawrence has always been a city of immigrants. In 1912 Lawrence immigrants who demanded better wages and better work conditions made history leading the successful strike “Bread and Roses” that lasted 9 weeks.

This May 1st if you are an immigrant and/or believe in immigrants’ rights join the national boycott do not go to work, school or buy anything on this day join Cosecha Lawrence and several other local organizations at our Day Without Immigrants march in Lawrence. Lets show the public how much the economy of this country depends on immigrants, but most importantly that Lawrence is ready to stand up again for human and labor rights of all immigrants!


Screening & Discussion: PBS Series “The House We Live In”

February 15, 2017 

Film screening and discussion of “The House We Live In” 

Location: Memorial Hall Library – 2 North Main Street, Andover MA

Time: 7pm

Registration: Free, register online or by calling 978-623-8400.

This event is sponsored by Memorial Hall Library in collaboration with SURJ Merrimack Valley and Courageous Conversations, a program of  Andover ABC.


Join us for our first public event!

We are co-hosting the screening of The House We Live In, the third episode of the 2003 PBS series, Race – The Power of an Illusion. A facilitated discussion led by Dr. Damany Fisher, History teacher at Phillips Academy, and Rev. Lee Bluemel of North Parish UU, will follow. This event is sponsored by Memorial Hall Library in collaboration with a local group, Courageous Conversations

In this third and final installment of the series, we focus not on individual attitudes and behavior but on the ways our institutions and policies advantage some groups at the expense of others. Its subject is the “unmarked” race: white people. We see how benefits quietly and often invisibly accrue to white people, not necessarily because of merit or hard work, but because of the racialized nature of our laws, courts, customs, and perhaps most pertinently, housing.

More about the 2003 series, Race – The Power of an Illusion from Larry Adelman, Executive Producer

Race is one topic where we all think we’re experts. Yet ask 10 people to define race or name “the races,” and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. Few issues are characterized by more contradictory assumptions and myths, each voiced with absolute certainty. In producing this series, we felt it was important to go back to first principles and ask, What is this thing called “race?” – a question so basic it is rarely raised. What we discovered is that most of our common assumptions about race – for instance, that the world’s people can be divided biologically along racial lines – are wrong. Yet the consequences of racism are very real. How do we make sense of these two seeming contradictions? This series helps us navigate through our myths and misconceptions, and scrutinize some of the assumptions we take for granted.

RACE -THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION was produced by California Newsreel, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Major funding was provided by the Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Diversity Fund. Additional funding was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lida and Alejandro Zaffaroni, Akonadi Foundation, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and Nu Lambda Trust.

Please register in advance for the event online at or by calling 978-623-8400.

Links to additional readings:

Race: The Power of An Illusion discussion guide (pdf)

Race: The Power of An Illusion – Did You Know? (pdf)

On how our beliefs about race provide economic benefits and real social and political advantages to white people:

On the history of slavery, the concept of race and development of racism:

Sanctuary Trainings



As you know, “sanctuary” is an ancient religious tradition by which temples, churches, mosques, or even entire cities shelter and protect those who are in danger.  There’s renewed interest in applying this tradition to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the Valley and across the nation. 

At the request of numerous Merrimack Valley religious leaders, MVP is taking a lead role in organizing trainings on sanctuary.

MVP and other community groups are holding a January 19 Sanctuary training in Lowell at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, 282 Suffolk St., from 7:15 – 9:15 pm. (Note: new time.)

In Lawrence, MVP & Communities Together, Inc. are planning a Sanctuary training for Spanish-speaking clergy and leaders, tentatively scheduled for February 1.  Details to follow.

Call MVP now (978-686-0650) to reserve space at any of these trainings. If you’re interested in a Sanctuary training in your city or town, call Leena Mathew at 413-977-8518, or Luke Hill at 401-556-6327, or email

Happy Tails: Cali

Cali was born outside and was trapped with her mom, sister and brother. She was very afraid of people when she first arrived at her foster home, but lots of love and attention softened her up and the hissing slowly stopped. Cali was adopted by a loving family and has really come out of her shell! She loves her human siblings.