Anti-Racism Organizing in the Suburbs (AROS)
Anti-Racism Organizing in the Suburbs (AROS) is a project of Community Change Inc (CCI). This project is rooted in the critical mass of suburban people who want to take collective action to dismantle white supremacy. The project’s goal is to work predominantly with white people in suburban locations to take action to dismantle white supremacy and participate in the larger struggle for collective liberation.
The initial AROS project was a joint collaboration with Winchester Multicultural Network. The objective was to co-host a convening to create a “network” to coordinate actions, activities and develop an infrastructure that supports racial justice work in that region.
The initial AROS event took place on April 28th, 2018, over a hundred people from predominantly white suburban communities North of Boston participated in the first convening of groups doing anti-racism organizing work in the suburbs (AROS) at Melrose First United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 28th. The goals of the gathering were to create greater capacity for movement building, improve alignment for joint campaigns, and strengthen shared resources for effecting systemic change in suburban communities. Organized by local residents committed to doing antiracist work and staff by Community Change, Inc. and the Winchester Multicultural Network (WMCN), the day’s events included a keynote by the well-known organizer and author George Lakey and workshops on a variety of topics highlighting systemic racism and inequity.
Since the intial AROS symposium in 2018, the program has expanded far beyond our initial vision. After offering another symposium in both the spring and fall of 2019, we realized that more than offering communities a chance to gather to meet, learn and collect resources. What was needed was to have staff members actively working and living in the communities they were engaging in, to ensure that communities had access to critical support needed to engage beyond a one day symposium. To create and deepen relationships in communities recognizing that this work is highly relational. Since 2021 the original AROS project has splintered into two distinct projects, AROS which serves the state of Massachusetts and AROM (Anti-Racist Organizing in Maine)