Inequality for All movie review


Youth leader Kavya and I both felt that Robert Reich’s “Inequality for All” movie was a big eye opener. It really awoke us to just how bad decades of problematic economic policies have widened the gap between rich and poor in the US. The movie did not just tell us facts, but showed us numerous graphs that displayed the shocking findings about the income stratification in the United States. One in particular was the graph showing how income inequality was in the seventies vs. today. In the late 70s, the richest people in the US made, on average, 400,000 dollars, while the average worker earned an income in the mid-30,000 range. Today, however, the 1 percent makes 13,000 times that of the worker occupying the lowest position. That means that the middle class is being completely wiped out today.

The movie outlines several explanations for this current state of affairs. Each of them could be the topic of several blog posts (even books), but a couple stood out as particularly jaw-dropping and outrageous. For instance, the progressive decline in labor unions paralleled the decline in wages. Another is the drastic decline of the rich’s taxation during the Reagan administration. Previously, the tax rate hovered around 70 percent, but the policies referred to as “Reaganomics” decreased that rate to around 50. Currently, that tax rate sits closer to 35 percent with most corporations paying closer to 15 percent after tax breaks and credits. When Obama stated that he would like the rich to pay the same rate of taxes as everyday Americans, Fox News began accusing this president of being a socialist. This situation made it obvious how fox news is controlled by corporations simply because they interpreted a call to just payment as a direct attack on corporation.

This influence led by corporations undermines the rule of democracy by favoring the voice of the rich through a series of plutocratic Supreme Court decisions over the last forty years. The biggest one in recent memory was the overturning the Citizens United. Said ruling granted corporations unlimited power to fund political candidates for elected office positions. Robert Right lambasted this decision as a complete betrayal of democracy to the big corporations.

People (not corporations) were not happy about this decision. Many went to DC, protesting the Supreme Court decisions. It was really refreshing to see people awakened to the emerging culture of oligarchy that these decisions have created and witness how passionate they were about getting their rights back. The movie described the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements as liberal and conservative populist uprisings in response to this changing climate. One wanted a reduction of corporate power and increased access to social benefits; the other wanted to keep government as small as possible. Regardless of these seemingly contrasting goals, this social division led to corporations continuing to be the real rulers of the American empire instead of the Federal government.

This is a really important movie that exposes how much we do not live in a democracy. It can lead to an awakening that can, in turn, shape a movement for economic reform in this country. I think we have allowed this country to be stolen from us and we must try and get it back.

This Little Light of Mine: the Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer


Last Thursday, March 26th, Sub/urban Justice youth leader Mary and I went to see a documentary showing at the Harvard Law School. The movie, called this Little Light of Mine, illustrated the life and significance of Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the many unsung female heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Although there were numerous Harvard students, alumni, and faculty in attendance, most of the people in attendance were locals from the greater Boston area, many of whom were involved in the Civil Rights activism in the city. The filmmaker, Robin Hamilton, was present as well and was featured on a panel of Harvard professors after we watched the movie.

The general audience consensus was that This Little Light of Mine was an excellent film. But its greatness is not in the biological elements of her life that she captures: Hamer’s leadership of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, her experience with police brutality, or her being one of 20 children in rural Mississippi. It is in the fact that Fannie Lou Hamer’s spirit really shines throughout the film’s 30-minute long duration. Her passion for justice, her humility, and her zeal are captured so spectacularly in this documentary that when the credits started rolling, we all felt like Fannie Lou Hamer was in the room with us. We got to be very intimate with Hamer, bearing witness to her ability to command the attention of the media and president Lyndon B. Johnson in the segments where she faced off with him. Her confronting LBJ during the 1964 Democratic Convention and her sharply stating “we ain’t come all this way for just 2 seats” was the heart of the movie and incredibly haunting. Her powerful speaking was so undeniable that LBJ was a complete nervous wreck in her presence.

Another of the movie’s strength is that it is honest about the pushback she received. It displays ample courage, not shying away from showing her scars from the brutal beatings she received at the hands of the police. That moment further illustrates how much she was able to make the personal political and vice versa. She really lived the struggle and witnessing that was truly inspiring for me, as someone who is engaging in anti-racism work in my day-to-day.

The post-movie discussion was filled with universal praise for the movie. It really reenergized people to engage with the struggle to preserve our voting rights. We must register to vote, but also have something to vote for.

Show me what courageous love looks like – this is what courageous love looks like!


Mari (left) receives the Courageous Love Award 2015 from Rev. Fred Small


At Boston Mobilization, we believe in recognizing and affirming the gifts of heart, leadership, community building and justice-making that we see in each other. So we are so thrilled that this past Sunday, Sub/Urban Justice Youth Leader Mari was honored with the Courageous Love Award by First Parish Cambridge, UU. Congratulations, Mari!

Mari is not the only member of our community whose work over the past months and years has helped to transform our world. Hers is not the only voice that has called for more justice; she is not alone in acting out of courageous love. Part of what makes her leadership so powerful is that she empowers others in their own leadership. We honor Mari’s work and also the work of so many others in our community.


Here are some of her remarks upon receiving the award:

I was volunteering at our school’s open house for incoming 9th graders when the dean of students pulled me aside and told me I had to go to her office the next day. When the dean of students tells you that you have to go to her office, most of the time, it’s not a good thing. But she reassured me and said that it was nothing bad. When the dean of students tells you that you aren’t going to her office for anything bad, especially after you led a walkout of about 400 people, you kind of end up having to figure out what “nothing bad” actually meant.


Mari, at a protest in Boston after the non-indictment of the police who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

Turned out, she put me through all that nerve racking stress to tell me that I would be receiving an award called “Courageous Love.” I want to be real with you all, I honestly believed she had the wrong person in the room. Never in a million years would I have thought that courageous love could describe me or any actions I’ve helped organize.

Nevertheless, I am quite grateful for receiving such an award, I accept it on behalf of all the people who are fighting in the struggle everyday. I accept this award, I do it on behalf of the communities that have been so alive and willing to support the message “Black Lives Matter.” I do it on behalf of black people everywhere who struggle everyday against this racist system, who do it with such courage and love. I accept this on behalf of all my brothers and sisters and siblings, who take to the streets peacefully and nonviolently, who take to the offices with passion, and who take to their communities with love….

We are a community of seven billion + people in this world. We are all mirrors of each other and we must love each other if we want to progress and really see the dismantling of systems.

Check out her full speech  from March 15th!

Would Racism Exist After an Apocalypse?


Last Sunday, a small group from Sub/Urban Justice was having a conversation about current events surrounding race when the question, “would racism exist after an apocalypse?” was posed.  After some consideration, the group concluded that in order to best prevent the formation of racial divisions within this post-apocalyptic society, some ground rules must be met. First, the society would have to consist of a very small group of people who were of all different races—no two people could be of the same race. This would prevent the formation of a power structure behind any particular race and would force all of the individuals to coexist interracially. Second, all prior memories of a world with racial prejudice must be wiped from existence. In other words, this would be a fresh start for humanity and a new beginning to history.  After some time discussing, the group posed many theoretical outcomes of this new world. One being that all racial differences would be eliminated, after a few generations of interracial relationships, and therefore racism would no longer exist.  Another theory was that people would find other physical characteristics to use as a form of prejudice, and a hierarchy of oppressive power would quickly develop within the society.  After some time discussing this theoretical situation, the group came to the realization that the questions they were posing were not actually so hypothetical, but rather questions about the root of human nature. Will racism and other forms of prejudice and oppression always exist in society?  Is human nature driven towards divisions based upon physical identities, or is it possible to overcome racial prejudice?

–Megan, College Support Staff

Organizing and Educating around recent events

black lives matter

Education truly is the most powerful tool today’s youth have. As a college senior, working at Boston Mobilization has tied me to several decades of work against oppression, particularly the Civil Rights Movement and racial justice work. In light of this past year’s recent events – Ferguson, Staten Island, Madison, and even lesser known stories of discrimination and injustice – we’ve taken a look into the past to see how youth in our Sub/Urban Justice program can react. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned.

With the release of the movie Selma, I’ve learned of the immense struggle several black leaders faced just to vote. Though I go to a top university, watching this film was the first time I heard of this momentous event in 1965, or names like Diane Nash and John Lewis. What I also witnessed was the direct correlation between police brutality on “Bloody Sunday” and the attack on black people today. During February break, teenagers from Sub/Urban Justice watched the film together, and learned of these same connections. It’s through this knowledge that we can see how far civil rights have advanced for black citizens, but the tremendous work that needs to be done.

After watching Selma. Thank you to those that donated to help pay for tix!

After watching Selma. Thank you to those that donated to help pay for tix!

Perhaps most influential in my experience with Boston Mobilization is the ability I’ve acquired to recognize oppression. One workshop I’ve participated in frequently with our organization is “Race and Class”. Key to this workshop is the concept of the Four I’s of Oppression (Interpersonal, Institutional, Ideological, and Internalized) has demonstrated how racism manifests in different ways. For example, as a Mexican-American, I can recognize that preconceptions of my Mexican culture (food always seems to be a hot topic) hold internalized notions that verge on racism. When these combine with prejudices that result in action, say a themed party at my school with “sombrero attire”, a direct infringement on my identity occurs. I’ve always felt uncomfortable around events like these, but now I am able to recognize these actions as oppressive. It’s through this education that me, and many of our Sub/Urban Justice program, are able to work against racism, sexism, ageism, etc.

Workshop development going on

Workshop development going on

"Destroy all prisons" BIG IDEAS GOING ON

“Destroy all prisons” BIG IDEAS GOING ON

There’s a barrage of events that have gained national attention, thanks in large to social media. Since the commence of Black Lives Matter movements in Boston, our program has been involved in organizing. In November, we marched from Dudley Square to South Bay Correctional Institute in direct opposition to Police Brutality and the lack of justice for Mike Brown. One of our student interns organized a school-wide walk out at Cambridge Rindge and Latin after a lack of advocacy from administration in that school. Other interns have participated in local marches throughout Boston. With the winter, however, we’ve shifted gears to educate and gain strength within our office to further the work of organization. It is with these tools that I have been able to deconstruct oppression and racism. The same proves true for the high school interns of Sub/Urban Justice.

— Roberto, College Support Staff



Sub/Urban Justice Interns ready to demonstrate!

Sub/Urban Justice Interns ready to demonstrate!

Demonstration on Boston Common following the lack of indictment of police officer who choked Eric Gardner.

Demonstration on Boston Common following the lack of indictment of police officer who choked Eric Gardner.

Youth Voices! Intergenerational Dialogue on Racial Justice with Community Change, Inc.

On Wednesday, November 29th, more than 50 youth, young adults, adults and elders gathered to share and hear perspectives on racial justice. The intergenerational panel included Sub/Urban Justice youth leaders Emilia and Juliari, Community Change, Inc. executive director Shay, and Sub/Urban Justice college intern Damanpreet, facilitated by Mary and Mariko. They responded to questions about the role of different generations in racial justice work; about how gender and media impact experiences of racism; and shared personal stories about the state of racism in their schools and communities. 

Boston Mobilization graduate intern Mouhamadou reflects on his experience:

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Voting guide in preparation for Tuesday’s election

Our democratic system is not perfect and disenfranchises many (i.e, youth, felons, undocumented people). However, if you are able to vote, we encourage you to do so.

When you go to vote, if you can, you should be asked to show a state ID, utility bill, bank statement, or any other form of identification. According to state law, you are required to show identification only if you are a first-time voter in a Federal election and you have not sent a copy of identification with your voter registration form. See more here.

You can find your polling location and other information, here.

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Sub/Urban Justice Youth leaders share their experiences at the Governor’s Forum

Blog post by Mary, ’17 Cambridge

Yesterday, I spent two hours of my life listening to the gubernatorial candidates not answer questions we worked so hard to hear them answer. We sat there listening to them go on and on about how great it was for us to be involved and asking for more jobs, for more youth programs, for trying to hold them accountable. But what we really didn’t hear was how they were really going to do this, why it mattered to them, and why we could trust them. When it was our turn to hear our question answered, the only candidate who actually did it was Baker. He was the same candidate who didn’t commit until the last minute and left an hour early. Nevertheless, he answered the question by promising to not raise taxes and reallocate money for what we wanted. One check mark for Baker for answering, but we might as well take away that check mark away because the flat tax is still not fair, whereas the progressive tax is. And we can take another check mark away for leaving early. Baker: -1✔

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YOUTH VOTE Governor’s Forum

Noli leads the candidates in an icebreaker!

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Meet the Adult Support Staff!

Alongside the Year-round Staff of Boston Mobilization, Elizabeth and Chris, these staff members assist in facilitating the programming of the organization. This additional staff contributes academic, social, and developmental support to our high school interns. Any visitor to the Boston Mobilization office will see them running from SAT prep, to workshop development, and also just chatting with the interns.

These amazing people partnered with our organization through connections with local universities, volunteer services, and personal connections to Boston Mobilization.

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