In 2016, we decided to make some changes to programming to better reflect the needs of the local anti-racism community. Over the past year, we have been a bit more quiet than usual as we adjusted to being the home for SURJ-Boston, Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group and WPCR. The process has not been without challenges as we have worked to create administrative and back-end processes that better allow these groups to focus on their core work, but in the end these three groups which do operate with varying degrees of oversight from CCI are central to our work and mission.
WPCR is vital to providing a general foundation to white people who are new to the work with their five-week course, which now operates at seven different locations. The Knapsack group is where people can take the core learning acquired at WPCR and expand on it while at the same time being in community with others who are on this journey; it is where relationships are deepened, authentic connections are formed and accountability as an anti-racist takes hold. SURJ-Boston is where the learning and development are put into action a range of ways to be directly involved: front line action, giving of resources and more.
CCI has always been a small, scrappy organization and we have always taken immense pride in our ability to create great ripples despite our modest size. However, in a 24/7 interconnected world capacity matters. You cannot do the work without sufficient staff or other resources. Having three different groups under our umbrella has given us more reach. At the same time, CCI gives them a centralized point for office support, administrative help and more. All of that is vital for being active in the local organizing scene but, admittedly, capacity building is not work that is readily visible. Far from being quiet or quiescent, though, we have been quite busy.
However, as we settle into the new programming framework, CCI will be taking on a more visible organizing role in the community with the recent hire of longtime CCI friend and anti-racist activist Fran Smith. Fran will be joining us on an interim part-time basis as an organizer, Her role will build deeper connections between CCI and the larger racial justice community and to look for additional collaborations. We are excited to have Fran's expertise and passion onboard as we deepen our work. Welcome Fran!
Horace Seldon Day
CCI's founder, Horace Seldon, has worked tirelessly for over 60 years to fight racism. As many know, CCI was formed by Horace in the wake of the 1968 Kerner Commission report that identified racism as a "white problem." In hearing that racism was a white problem, Horace felt called to dedicate his life to engaging white people to challenge systemic racism and to listen to, support and follow the lead of people and organizations of color spearheading racial justice. Even after retiring from CCI, Horace went on to spend 18 years with the National Park Service as a guide for the Black Heritage Trail and to create the Beacon Hill Scholars, a group that has shined a light on the history of the vibrant Black community in the Beacon Hill area in 19th century Boston.
Boston issued a proclamation declaring that June 18 is Horace Seldon Day in the city. Horace's work and vision were truly trailblazing and we are blessed to stand as individuals and an organization on Horace's shoulders. Thank you Horace!
Drylongso 2017: Save the Date
This year will mark CCI's 49th anniversary and, in honor of Horace Seldon's work and the work of our many racial justice elders, the theme of this year's Drylongso Awards is "Standing on the Shoulders: A Celebration of Horace and our Elders." This year's awards will be held on Friday, Oct 27. Mark your calendars as you will not want to miss this year's event.