FORJ is a coalition of families in and around Newton, MA who believe change starts at home and in our own communities.
How we challenge ourselves to improve our society
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 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.
FORJ started in 2016 as three Newton moms from three different religions came together at a Black Lives Matter meeting and committed to finding a way to engage our kids in racial justice issues in an age- appropriate way. We wanted to create a space for children and parents/guardians to have conversations about racism as well as race, culture and identity.
In 2017, the Newton Public Schools accepted our proposal to offer monthly meetings for parents across the district, including parents from all 21 schools. Amy Behrens, M.Ed. and PCI trained Parent Coach, coordinates this effort along with a racially and religiously diverse planning team of 5 other Newton parents. The FORJ network now includes over 300 people, including residents of neighboring communities. On average, 50-80 people from Newton, Boston and beyond attend each meeting; newcomers are welcome and FORJ continues to expand with each meeting.
What We Do
We offer both content and process-oriented gatherings in order to meet parents’ needs to learn, connect, and plan with each other. We also host several kid-friendly meetings each year. We invite families to aligned community events, and share resources and reading lists as well as notes from each meeting to be as inclusive as possible. Most schools now have their own active FORJ-connected groups that meet and plan events for their school community.
Who We Are
FORJ is an intentionally diverse group across race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity and family structure.
We hope that FORJ will help build the next generation of up-standers and leaders. We will use our collective voices to make our city a more safe and just place, create stronger connections, and raise young people who are comfortable stepping outside of their comfort zones to stand up for justice.