Acting for Racial and Economic Justice

Acting for Racial and Economic Justice (AFREJ) works for racial and economic justice in the BWC community, the Jewish community, and Boston community at large. 

AFREJ is currently working on a campaign for racial justice in the Town of Brookline; is organizing members to support Cosecha, an immigrant rights movement; and is coordinating BWC's involvement in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), focusing on criminal justice reform, healthcare, and gun control.

AFREJ meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm at Boston Workmen's Circle.

Take a look at this list of resources about racial justice compiled by AFREJ members. Let Tolle and Chris know if there is a resource you would like added to the list.

GBIO Action Update (February, 2017)

On February 2nd, 900 people gathered at the Bethel AME church, representing a broad cross section of Greater Boston. The crowd was racially and ethnically diverse, including Christians, Muslims and Jews from Boston and surrounding cities and towns. 

Criminal Justice Reform-  Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, with Senators Chang Diaz, and  William Brownsberger supported GBIO’s Criminal Justice Reform platform – eliminating excessive  Solitary Confinement, eliminating Mandatory Minimums for drug offenses, reforming the Pre-Trial and Bail process, and eliminating excessive fees and fines for people who have dealings with Probation and Parole.  There will be a call for people to lobby their representative in the next 1-2 months.  Anyone interested please email Steve Vogel  Or call 617-820-2802.

Affordable Housing- City Counselors Tito Jackson, and Ayanna Pressley supported GBIO’s affordable housing agenda. The Community Preservation Committee to be formed after the passage of the Community Preservation Act will make recommendations for how the funds should be spent.  GBIO demands that the 4 community representatives on the board should be Boston citizens should not be appointed by the Mayor. They should have a history of involvement in their communities, there should be particular attention to adequate representation to communities of color, and that the Yes for a Better Boston Coalition ( GBIO is a member) should nominate 12 candidates for the Council to choose from.  There will be a hearing at Boston City Hall on Monday Feb. 13th at 11:30 AM  we need as many people as possible to go. 

Health Care- GBIO is starting a campaign to save the Affordable Care Act -ACA.  We are asking people to call anyone they know in one of seven states to call their Senator to vote no on repealing the ACA .  In  Alaska- Lisa Murkowski, and Dan Sullivan, Arizona- Jeff Flake and John McCain, Iowa- Chuck Grassley, Maine- Susan Collins, Nevada- Dean Heller, Ohio- Rob Portman, Pennsylvania- Pat Toomey, Tennessee- Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and West Virginia- Shelly Moore Capito.  Direct them to which has talking points and a system to directly connect them to their Senator’s office.

There is an amazing groundswell of activism after the election.  Great things can happen if we keep organizing and use the political pressure we have.  We have the power to make a big difference.

Boston Community Preservation Act (CPA) Campaign/ Affordable Housing 2016

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), which BWC is a member of, has joined The Yes For A Better Boston Campaign to pass the CPA in Boston this fall.  If passed, real estate taxes would go up by 1% with exclusions for the first 100,000 in property assessment for all, and greater exclusions for low income home homeowners, and low to moderate elderly homeowners.  It would raise $20 million dollars yearly to go to affordable housing, development and improvement of parks, playgrounds, and the protection of water resources.  Based on communication with the Walsh administration the emphasis would be on affordable housing.  The CPA would cost the average homeowner only $24 dollars per year.

We are looking for Workmen Circle members who live in Boston and are interested in being part of the campaign.  Our goal is to identify voters who would support the campaign, educate the public, and to register new voters to support the campaign and to build greater voter/electoral power in Boston.

If you are interested in volunteering (we are looking for people who can give even small amounts of time calling and speaking with friends, neighbors and co-workers), or learning more, please contact Steve Vogel at, or call 617-820-2802.

Domestic Workers' Rights 2014

AFEJ has supported the campaign to win important rights for Domestic Workers this past year with the passage of a State Bill this past summer. We are excited to continue that work with an upcoming event and action. 

In October 2014, the Brazilian Immigrant Center and the Boston Workmen's Circle Acting for Economic Justice Commitee are pleased to host the photo exhibition:

"Domestic Workers: The Invisible Wheels That Empower Our Economy"

A Photo Exhibition by Mario Quiroz

Click here for more information!

AFEJ has also submitted a Town of Brookline Resolution to encourage greater community awareness and education about Domestic Workers rights which will go before Town Meeting in mid-November. For more information contact Tolle Graham at

We invite you to get involved! Email co-chairs Tolle Graham at or Chris Messinger at

The Acting for Racial and Economic Justice Committee (AFREJ) organizes our membership to support local racial justice, labor and immigrant struggles and coordinates our participation in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). Our labor and immigrant solidarity work honors the history of the Workmen’s Circle, once known as the “Red Cross of Labor.” The committee gained momentum in response to the 2008 economic crisis, and continues to respond to today’s unstable and unjust economic challenges.

Building on BWC's commitment to racial justice, the Acting for Economic Justice (AFEJ) committee expanded its mission beginning in 2015 and became Acting for Racial and Economic Justice (AFREJ). We held a community wide kickoff meeting exploring the question - How can we as white Jews, Jews of Color and our allies work for racial and economic justice in the BWC community and the Boston community at-large?

AFREJ meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm at Boston Workmen's Circle.

Take a look at this list of resources about racial justice compiled by AFREJ members. Let Tolle and Chris know if there is a resource you would like added to the list.