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Community Change, Inc.

Nature and Purpose

Since its founding in 1968, Community Change has worked to promote racial justice and equity by challenging systemic racism and acting as a catalyst for antiracist learning and action.  Historically, in the United States white men have had the power to create and control the institutions that govern the lives of all who live here.  This has produced a system of advantage for white people who benefit from unearned privilege at the expense of people of color.  This institutional, systemic racism is largely invisible to the white community.  CCI names and makes visible this history and its impact, revealing white power and privilege as the driving forces of racism.  Awareness of this "white problem" is not sufficient to accomplish social change, however, and at CCI we integrate learning with antiracist action and organizing.  Through our programs we work with a multiracial constituency to equip people with the knowledge and skills to take effective action, to educate and organize white people to confront racism in white institutions, to support communities of color organizing around issues in communities of color, to support movement building tied to an action agenda, and to educate policy makers regarding institutional racism and its public policy implications.

The need for the work of Community Change is still urgent.  On June 28, 2007, the United States Supreme Court rejected integration plans in two major public school districts.  This decision will have a significant impact on thousands of students in Massachusetts and could hasten the re-segregation of public schools in districts that support integrated learning environments in their schools.  Clearly, structural racism is an ever-present factor in the institutions that shape all our lives, ranging from our judicial system to our systems of education, housing, health care, employment, criminal justice, and the media.  For nearly 40 years, Community Change, Inc. has worked to re-vision these systems by educating white people about how structural racism works and engaging and supporting a multi-racial constituency in challenging racially unjust policies, practices, and procedures of our institutions.

Tasks

The purpose of CCI's Student Volunteer program is to enhance the disposition, knowledge, and skills of young activists and scholars who will be future leaders in the struggle against racism and to provide CCI staff with support and the perspectives and energy of current students.

  • EDUCATION: The student volunteer experience educates participants about the causes and effects of systemic racism, provides volunteers with practical experience challenging structural racism through community organizing, strengthens their life commitment to racial justice, and motivates them to continue their education in preparation for careers in civil rights.
  • PROGRAMMING: Because student volunteers participate in planning meetings and help implement CCI's goals, they practice the collaborative integration of theory and action.
  • ORGANIZING: Alongside CCI staff, volunteers become involved in learning-through-action by visiting and lending assistance to allied organizations and community activists.  They build an understanding of the necessity for cooperation among social justice organizations and develop organizing and facilitation skills as they observe and practice collaboration.  Current organizing work includes CORI reform (in collaboration with the Union of Minority Neighborhoods and the Massachusetts Alliance to Reform CORI) and working to close the learning opportunities gap in the Boston Public Schools (in collaboration with Work 4 Quality/Fight 4 Equity Schools).
  • OPERATIONS: Student volunteers gain essential knowledge and skills in the "nuts and bolts" of running a small non-profit organization by preparing mailings, answering telephones, responding to inquiries and requests, and general office support.  During the fall of 2009, CCI staff will need assistance in maintaining and upgrading our Resource Center and the Library on Racism, with particular attention to print and visual materials and website maintenance.