In January, UFE supported a series of popular education facilitations to build a more equitable city of Everett with Everett's first Justice Summit, led by Allie Rojas, a former UFE training participant and recent collaborator. Guided by the idea “you can’t break a stick in a bundle,” organizers and community members from across backgrounds joined together to discuss shared values and build a framework for “not only coming together, but working together” to build a more just and equitable community and city.
The Summit took place over two sessions in January. The first session focused on building trust and partnership. Participants discussed shared values and the justice work that is already in progress in the city of Everett. This first meeting was a huge success, bringing in a diverse audience and providing a framework for not only coming together, but working together going forward.
Organizers of the summit explained that, "traditionally, power in Everett has been concentrated in the hands of the few with decisions being made to represent the self-interest of a small number of residents. In coming together, we can ensure that the interests, rights, and benefits of a just, diverse, and equitable community are represented in all levels of our city."
The summit continued with a second session the following week on January 22nd, where community members continued to work together to create a shared mission, vision and strategies to change policies and systems to ensure that the interests, rights, and benefits of a just, diverse and equitable community are represented in all levels of the city. Organizations currently involved include the Everett Safe and Welcoming Coalition and One Everett (which includes La Comunidad, Inc., Everett Community Growers, ACLU of MA, and MIRA).
Allie shared this reflection with UFE after the event: “I’m a queer DACA recipient and an organizer at La Comunidad in Everett, Massachusetts, supporting the Latinx community there. Training with UFE, I learned that we as facilitators have a lot of power to create spaces for dialogue in our community. UFE showed me that we all have so much to learn from each other when we come together with intention. It has made me a much stronger facilitator."
"I organized the One Everett Summit in January 2021, a virtual event modeled on UFE’s training. Twenty-seven people working for economic justice came to share their frustrations about Black, Latinx, immigrant, Indigenous, and other people being left out of decision-making conversations in the city. We built connections and came away with plans — for voter engagement, and to have a group of us attend meetings so people know what's being passed in the local government."