Category: Past Events

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!

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



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: