Our Work at Community Change Inc.

The Work

Since 1968, Community Change Inc. has served as a community for white people and their multiracial allies to come together to learn about systemic racism and to fight against it. To dismantle the oppressive ties of whiteness that threatens all of us. While our programming has always had a learning component, we recognize that the urgency of the current environment being driven by increasing anti-Black, anti-semitic, and anti-LGBT hate crimes in addition to the hundreds of legislative efforts to roll back civil rights protections across the country, including New England, requires that we create programming that moves white people from learning to action.

While our programming has always had a learning component, we recognize that the urgency of the current environment being driven by increasing anti-Black, anti-semitic, and anti-LGBT hate crimes in addition to the hundreds of legislative efforts to roll back civil rights protections across the country, including New England, requires that we create programming that moves white people from learning to action.

Recognizing that new technologies allow for anti-racist learning to occur in far more locations than our traditional programming has been able to reach, CCI has moved into the role of a legacy organization supporting the work of emerging white anti-racist activists and groups organizing within the greater Boston area. These groups are official programs and affiliates of CCI that are working hands-on with people to dismantle institutionalized racism. We now call our core programming “The Work” as this is the work that is needed to create the changes that CCI founder Horace Seldon envisioned in 1968. All programs work under the guidance of CCI leadership and are accountable to CCI values and mission as well as making sure that whenever possible they are ​celebrating and following the leadership of Black and Non-Black People of Color and working together when feasible. While some of the emerging programs are run solely by CCI staff, others are run with CCI oversight but function autonomously in their day-to-day operations. Our current programming as of 2023 includes:

The Work

Watering Hole Community Gathering

Watering Hole Community Gathering

Showing up for Racial Justice-SURJ Boston Chapter

SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. SURJ has emerged as a national leader in mobilizing white people to action and, in the summer of 2015, CCI made the decision to become the Boston affiliate chapter of SURJ. This relationship allows CCI to have a direct pathway for white people to activate beyond the learning process to taking action in their communities as well as responding to the needs in Boston.

SURJ-Boston is housed within CCI and operates with an internal team “steering committee” comprised of 6 people who rotate positions, and the group operates under the direct guidance of CCI staff. The group currently meets monthly; for more information, please contact CCI directly and don’t forget to look at the calendar for meeting dates and times. For more information please contact us at: SURJ@communitychangeinc.org

Visit the SURJ-Boston website for more information. For meeting information please visit our Event Calendar or our Facebook page.

Greater Portland Chapter

Our organizer living in Maine is a leader (heartwood) in the Greater Portland SURJ chapter, which has been revived over the past year or so. We are working on deepening CCI’s relationship with the Maine SURJ network, which is building greater capacity.

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 help white people in the suburbs take action to dismantle white supremacy and participate in the larger struggle for collective liberation. 


AROS Spring 2018


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.

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.


Spring 2018 Convening


George Lakey challenged the crowd to think critically about how to leverage the current political polarization in our country as a positive force for change, reminding everyone that “to bend iron, the blacksmith must first make it volatile.” He emphasized the need for sustained campaigns that include both economic and racial justice to create long-lasting generational change. Local organizers included Claudia Fox Tree leading a workshop on eliminating harmful Native American stereotypes, Atara Rich-Shea, Director of Operations with the Mass Bail Fund, and organizer Martin Henson from Black Lives Matter Boston sharing how to support the current Deeper Than Water campaign demanding the immediate provision of clean, safe, free, healthy water to prisoners affected by contaminated water.  Other topics covered included: affordable housing, white people’s role in challenging white supremacy, street outreach in white communities, and building successful local campaigns.

CCI Antiracism Leadership Awards

The Community Change Antiracism Leadership Awards Celebration is an event held annually in November. The event grows out of an expansion of the Drylongso Awards Celebration which CCI has hosted since 1989. The first CCI Leadership Awards Celebration was held on November 10, 2009.

Leadership Awards honor the work of individuals within three categories, each appropriately recognized with its own award:

Drylongso Award

"Ordinary people doing extraordinary work against racism"

Established in 1989, the Drylongso Awards honor ordinary people doing extraordinary anti-racism work in Greater Boston. The Drylongso Awards are inspired by the book Drylongso: A Self-Portrait of Black America. In that book, anthropologist John Langston Gwaltney details the daily struggles of Drylongso, or ordinary African Americans fighting racism.

2012 Recipients

  • Nadine Cohen: Legal Services and Civil Rights Attorney, Longtime Activist for Racial Justice
  • Haymarket People's Fund
  • Thomas Kieffer: Executive Director, South Jamaica Plain Health Center
  • Aaron Tanaka: Trainer, Co-op Developer, Founding Executive Director of the Boston Workers Alliance
  • Michelle Waters-Ekanem: Director of Civil Rights & Diversity, MA Dept. of Environmental Protection

2011 Recipients

  • Arnie King, Through Barbed Wire
  • The Most Rev. Filipe Teixeira, OFSJC, Ordinary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Francis of Assisi, CCA- Liberation Theologian
  • Sandy Thompson, Winchester Multicultural Network
  • Magalis Troncosso Lama, Founder of the Dominican Development Center & Director of Organizing for Boston Tenant Coalition
  • John Willshire Carrera, Lead Attorney, Immigration Unit of Boston Legal Services and Co-Managing Attorney and Clinical Instructor for the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic


Community Change Inc. is creating a template for how communities, specifically majority white suburban and rural communities can build relationships and infrastructure to fight back against the growing threat of white supremacy, white Christian nationalism, and fascism. For decades we have focused on building communities of white people committed to working on being anti-racist. COVID has forced us to move much of our organizing and community building online but the past few years have demonstrated that this work continues to be critical.