Boston Mobilization was founded in 1977 as part of a national movement for workers rights and smart green energy. Since then we have taken leadership and support roles in a wide variety of social justice campaigns. Their work continues to be developing the next generation of social justice leaders, through our powerful trainings, our community organizing campaign work, our mentorship of young leaders and our transformational youth program –Sub/Urban Justice. This blog post is written by two teens in the program, Owen Weitzman and Christopher DesAnges, after their summer. Thank you!
This summer, Sub/Urban Justice has been working on empowering youth with regards to progressive revenue. The Sub/Urban Justice Fellowship has followed in Boston Mobilization’s tradition of grassroots organizing by facilitating trainings for teen groups on the state budget, progressive revenue, and how to meet with legislators to hold them accountable to the funding needs of youth and all Massachusetts residents. Over the summer we led 22 trainings, educating more than 400 teens from Boston and Cambridge, as well as a handful from around the country.
On Thursdays, the Sub/Urban Justice Internship discussed and learned about organizing and campaign work by doing their own campaign around progressive revenue. They first learned about the different steps of organizing from Relationship Building to Action Planning. They learned how to research by breaking down the different aspects of progressive revenue and breaking into groups to find information on each aspect. They learned to find influential allies in their work by power mapping (using a grid to determine the likelihood of them wanting to fight for progressive revenue, as well as the amount of power an ally has, in order to see their importance). This culminated in a day of legislative meetings in which the interns met with ten or their local representatives to test the waters around progressive revenue and to explain why progressive revenue is an important issue to them.
We found that while few legislatures were opposed to progressive revenue, many legislators were on board with the idea and were willing to support our goal. We found that our partnership with YMORE (Youth of Massachusetts Organizing for a Reformed Economy - a larger youth-led coalition) was extremely helpful in reaching politicians; the relationships that YMORE has been building over the past 5 years with politicians such as Senator Chang-Diaz and Representative Jay Kaufman who is chairman of the Joint Committee on revenue in the State House helped us get appointments right away.
We look forward to the next steps in this exciting work - and hope to partner more with Progressive Mass along the way! Here’s a bit more about Sub/Urban Justice and our parent org Boston Mobilization...
~Owen Weitzman, 18, Newton; and Christopher DesAnges, 16, Dorchester