If this is your first time visiting the Rural Justice Network, welcome.
If you've been following us for some time now, so glad that you are staying involved.
This is our brand new editorial blog that we will use to highlight, explore, and discuss local perspectives, organizations and actions!
Today we are going to be discussing what RJN is, how it came to be, and what we are currently working on.
It all started on June 3, 2020 when the first local Black Lives Matter March was held in North Brookfield, MA. This rally was an incredible success with over 250 people attending. This rally had been last minute put together by a number of contributing folks, the torch being passed a couple of times throughout the short process. By the time the actual Rally rolled around Fitzgerald Pucci was taking the lead, while Samantha Laney followed behind with her trusty clipboard, educational materials, masks, and hand sanitizer.
The rally went off without a hitch with a number of moving speeches about the black experience in Rural America. If you want to read more about the inciting rally click here!
At the end of this rally, Fitzgerald and Samantha were ready to go home proud of what they accomplished and to close the book on a successful rally. What they never expected was the incredible crowd demand for "What's Next?"
We quickly realized that despite often feeling alone in our ideals and ethics, there is a huge want for activism and social education in Rural America. There is power in those numbers and we hope to grow them even more.
After 48 hours of planning, organizing, and researching, the Rural Justice Network was born. Samantha, Fitzgerald, and one of the speakers from the original North Brookfield march, Amy Gebo had created the preliminary scaffolds of what would become an incredible social network of rural educators, activists, and visionaries.
Rural Justice Network is now an organization made up of a 5 member CORE Team, as well as hundreds of followers, organization partnerships, and contributing artists/providers. All of which focus on the education and mobilization of Rural communities.
Rural America has been silent in the fight for equity for too long. So we decided to do something about it.
Since it's inception, Rural Justice Network has held a follow up rally in West Brookfield, MA as well as help build/partner with a number of other organizations and activists including: Grassroots Central MA, Brookfield Fights Fear, and local individuals looking to get involved. We've helped stage and promote a number of other rallies and events including voter registration drives, educational movie showings, and independent demonstrations throughout central MA. All of this has been made possible through our "Organizers Organizing Organizers" program (OOO). Check out OOO here!
The first and most pressing is our voter registration campaign! Not only do we want you registered for Nov 3, but we also want you to know what's on your ballot and where to go to vote for every local and State election. Check out our resources here!
Looking for ways to stay up to date and educated? Want to get involved, but feel overwhelmed to even start? Join us at our Justice Seminars on zoom. They happen weekly on Mondays at 6pm.
Justice Seminars doesn't fit in your schedule? No problem. Rural Justice Network has also compiled and expansive educational resource collection on our website. So you can continue to learn at your own pace. Check it out here!
So as you can see Rural Justice Network has been busy in the 3 months since it's inceptions, and we are just getting started! Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for updates on new projects. If you have an idea for a project that you want Rural Justice Network to take on, submit it here!
You can also contribute by submitting your own blog posts that you want the community to read. Opinions on current events, highlighting a local social issue, giving air time to a worthwhile organization, and anything else you can think of. We can't promise we will be able to publish every submission, but we will do our best to make sure that all voices are heard! Submit your ideas here!
We've been working hard in our fight and we hope that you will stand in solidarity with us by staying active! Read, donate, petition, protest, vote!
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-The Rural Justice Network CORE Team