FORJ Solidarity and Support

We are sharing the following resources and upcoming community events on behalf of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) in light of this week’s tragic events in Georgia. As Dr. Talukdar wrote in this month’s Newsletter, the Underwood community must do all that we can to support our community members of Asian descent, and continue to strive to achieve an Underwood community that is anti-racist.

Underwood PTO

Dear Asian American Pacific Islanders Communities, 
We stand in solidarity with you. We create spaces for the AAPI community to voice fears, grievances and hopes.  We reflect deeply on how we can do our best to dismantle racism, sexism and colonialism. We advocate to see that AAPI history and contributions are always taught in our schools. 

We deconstruct our own bias so that we don’t perceive others through stereotypes. We do not tolerate hate and continually look for ways to impede its progress. We work to fully understand and feel the harm that has been inflicted on the AAPI community. We look for what we need to give up, so we can gain tenfold. We use the lens of love to connect with the passions, history and uniqueness of each other.  We envision a collective healing, with liberation for all.   For all who are sitting with the pain caused by this week’s tragedy in Georgia, we offer opportunities to connect, art, resources and other ways to deepen our understanding and healing. We are thankful to all who have already created statements, organized meetings and reached out. We must always work to bring all voices into the room and amplify those that are most silenced. Much gratitude to this community and what we continue to build. HAPPENINGS 

Listening Circle 
FORJ Pierce
Sunday March 21st at 8pm 

As members of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (“FORJ”) at Peirce, we are saddened by the recent shooting in Atlanta where several Asian Americans were killed. Although there isn’t clarity about the motive yet, we know that there has been a rise in attacks against people of Asian descent and are concerned that this is the latest in such attacks.  Nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian-Americans have been reported in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., since last March. We wanted to reach out to our families and offer support in whatever way we can to come together and acknowledge that targeting any group is wrong and reprehensible and a hate crime against all. For those who want to process in community, we are also offering a listening circle. A listening circle is a means of creating and maintaining authentic connection through a safe space to share our truths, and to deeply listen to others.  

FORJ NSHS Asian American Pacific Islander Solidarity Night 
Wednesday April 14th at 7pm
Our upcoming FORJ NSHS Asian American Pacific Islander Solidarity Night on Wednesday, April 14th @ 7pm will be a night to learn specifically how to support our AAPI students as well as to offer affinity spaces for parents and guardians, students, faculty and community members. We realize this is one of the first nights of Ramadan, and hope that our Muslim friends can join us for at least part of the evening.  Please register for the event HERE.We plan to offer an opportunity to learn about:the historical and systemic roots of violence and discrimination against AAPI communitieshow AAPI communities are impacted in terms of mental health and how to helphow best to support our young people, family members and friends during this difficult timeThrough breakout rooms, we will offer affinity spaces by age and racial identities in addition to random groups to allow people to learn from each other and offer each other support. 
FORJ AAPI Affinity Space

FORJ is looking to start a FORJ AAPI Affinity Group for adults. If you are interested in finding out more about the group, please fill out this form. This will be a monthly or bi-monthly meeting for folks who identify as AAPI.  Affinity group spaces are healing and affirming of individuals’ identities by connecting people so they can witnesses each other’s stories. Sharing experiences that resonate with others, releases fears fed by isolation while moving participants into a space of self-compassion and awareness that is grounding for all involved. “We can’t afford to have media who want to know more about the killer’s life than they do the victims who are no longer here. We cannot keep paying police to safely arrest a man after a killing tour of Asian spas and dismiss it as a young man with a sex addiction while George Floyd’s character is on trial as a victim of a police lynching.”  –Jenee OsterheldtTOOLS and RESOURCES

Below are resources to support families and provide information about anti-Asian racism (provided by Pierce FORJ and Newton Public Schools.)Community Care During COVID-19: A Message To and From AAPIsHow to Talk to Kids About Anti-Asian Racism – ParentsTogetherStop AAPI HATE – can also report incidents here, make a financial donation and/or learn more about how to respond if you are targeted or witness someone being targeted: TOGETHER WE CAN STOP ITAsian American Resource Workshop: AARW – Boston-basedDon’t Yuck My Yum: Delicious Kids Books That Dismantle Anti-Asian Racism

Embrace Race Webinar with Transcript: Asian Americans, Racism, and Antiracism in the COVID Era

Ways to Support Asian American Students During the Pandemic  (Compiled by Newton Public Schools) 

Host a Listening Circle at Your School Safety Tips for Those Experiencing or Witnessing Hate5 Things to Consider When Experiencing Hate1. Safety First: Trust your instincts and assess your surroundings. If you feel unsafe and you are able to, leave the area.2. Stay Calm: Take a deep breath, limit eye-contact, and maintain neutral body language.3. Speak Out (If you can do so safely): In a calm and firm voice establish physical boundaries, and denounce their behavior and comments.4. Seek Immediate Support: Ask bystanders for support or intervention.5. Seek Emotional Support: Once you feel safe, take time to recover and reach out to someone to talk about what happened. Remember this is not your fault, and you are not alone. 5 Ways to Help If You Witness Hate1. Take Action: Approach the targeted person, introduce yourself, and offer support.2. Actively Listen: Ask before taking any actions and respect the targeted person’s wishes. Monitor the situation if needed.3. Ignore Attacker: Using your discretion, attempt to calm the situation by using your voice, body language, or distractions.4. Accompany: If the situation escalates, invite the targeted person to join you in leaving.5. Offer Emotional Support: Help the targeted person by asking how they’re feeling. Assist them in figuring out what they want to do next.

From Stop APPI Hate Crimes Go here to learn more about “I Still Believe in Our City: A Public Art Series Takes on Racism.”   
 Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) is a group of diverse Newton families helping our children learn about issues of power and inequality and how to stand up for racial justice. We seek to generate understanding and curiosity about the differences in our society, and to work together towards racial equity.We strive to achieve safe and welcoming environments that enhance the well-being of all people. We promote healing and connection between individuals and communities. We speak out against injustice, support our kids to be upstanders, and take action to address bias and inequity. We offer lectures on race and diversity, discussion groups, community events, Dynamic Diversity trainings and more. We follow the lead from our communities and help families foster inclusion in our city and schools.