Hands Around the Pond

"Boston Belmont Friends Group" has successful 'Bowling Blast' in Dorchester in March. This event was funded by Belmont Against Racism. Thank you to all of our members who contribute to BAR. Please consider a donation to support events like this, the recent "Bystander Workshop" at the Beech Street Center, programs in the schools, and more by writing a check made out to BAR and send to BAR PO Box 649 Belmont MA 02478

Letter in response to recent events
"What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander."
- Elie Wiesel
Freedom to worship was established by the US Constitution's First Amendment, and we must vigorously condemn any effort to erode this basic right. We write today to state our support of the Jewish and Muslim communities, and to stand with them in solidarity against recent incidents of hate.

We are disheartened by the recent threats to Jewish Community Centers, locally and across the nation, along with other hateful incidents of anti-Semitism. Prejudice against Jewish communities has a long and dark history, and we are here to take a stand that there is no place for anti-Semitism in our community, state, or country.

This past week, two Massachusetts Jewish day schools and the Boston Anti-Defamation League Office were targeted with bomb threats. In addition to the bomb threats, two Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in recent weeks. It is unconscionable that kindergartners to third graders at a Jewish day school in Newton had to be evacuated due to a bomb threat. Thankfully, no bombs were found, but the intimidation is real.

Also of alarm are the four mosques that were burned in the first three months of the year, and the ongoing reports of threatening letters to Muslim places of worship. These series of burnings follow a year of extreme vandalism and crime toward Muslim businesses and mosques. Again, while we have not witnessed these threats in Belmont, we remain concerned about the impact on our Muslim neighbors and the fear that it engenders for our community.

We commend all 100 Senators in Congress who signed a letter sent to the Trump Administration urging support and assistance to the Jewish communities. The letter shared by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), states in part: "We write to underscore the need for swift action with regard to the deeply troubling series of anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish day schools, synagogues and other buildings affiliated with Jewish organizations or institutions across the country."

It is our strong recommendation that the same level of support from the highest offices in our nation is extended to the Muslim community as well.

We commend the Muslim and other faith communities who have reached out to support the Jewish community, including assistance with the repair of cemeteries that were vandalized in two states. We also commend the support of Jews and Christians who have supported the Muslim community, including those in Victoria, Texas, who came together after a mosque burning to give their Muslim neighbors a place to pray.

In December, a group of more than 600 Belmont residents came together to participate in the "Hands Around the Pond for Safety and Civility." At this event, a proclamation from the Belmont Board of Selectman ended with the statement " that Belmont Is a safe and welcoming community, and that its citizens stand in solidarity against injustice and hate ." Belmont Against Racism stands with our Jewish and Muslim neighbors against the religious and ethnic hate crimes that we are currently witnessing across the US and worldwide. We need to continue to affirm these values, perhaps repeatedly, to reassure everyone who lives here that this is a safe and accepting town.

What you can do:

  • Reach out to your neighbors and centers and houses of worship to offer your support.

  • Thank Sens. Markey and Warren for signing the letter to the Trump Administration and tell them that you support all communities regardless of their religion, ethnicity, race, or country of origin.

  • Write to the President and tell him to continue to speak out as he did at his address to Congress, against anti-Semitism and acts of hate. Tell the Administration that hate directed against any group diminishes us all.

  • Participate in a bystander intervention workshop.

  • Join a local group that defends the values you believe in.

Kathryn Bonfiglio, President, Belmont Against Racism and Donna Ruvolo, Co-founder, The Stand-Up Campaign

Support to the immigrant community


"Welcoming Community" Petition

The BAR Board has voted to support the "Welcoming Community " petition to Town Meeting to be presented by Anne Mahon. We encourage our Belmont members to contact their Town Meeting members to voice their support.

Would you like to display a welcoming lawn sign?
Belmont Against Racism Lawn Sign

BAR has them in 5 languages: Arabic, Armenian, English, Mandarin, and Spanish. It is a two sided sign. We are requesting a $10 donation to cover the cost. If you are interested please contact Kathryn at kmbonfiglio@gmail.com.

BAR Events


Homelessness and LGBT Youth in Greater Boston
  • Tuesday, May 30th, 7 pm
  • Belmont Public Library, 336 Concord Avenue, Belmont

Speakers:

  • Mike Desocio, Journalist, Author of recent article: The Outsiders: For Homeless LGBTQ Youth in Greater Boston, There Are No Safe Spaces
  • Liniste, a young, gay woman experiencing homelessness
  • Joe Finn, Executive Director, Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Commission

Yes, I want to support the METCO Support Fund.

Please make your check out to Belmont Against Racism (BAR), write "METCO Fund" on the byline, and send your donation to:

  • BAR
  • P.O. Box 649
  • Belmont, MA 02478

How We Work

BAR works with various segments of our community - government, schools, churches and businesses to:

  • Raise awareness about prejudice in our community through education, distribution of information and resource materials, contribution to local media, and participation in public dialogue
  • Fund diversity training in the schools and community
  • Respond to racial incidents which have occurred in Belmont
  • Establish formal connections with the institutions of Belmont government and public schools to develop programs or plans for addressing the problem of racism and other forms of discrimination
  • Sponsor events with special presentations and speakers focused on topics addressing discrimination
  • Sponsor social events to bring diverse people together in celebration of the arts or as informal gatherings

Our History

Founded in May 1992 after rioting scarred Los Angeles, Belmont Against Racism (BAR) is a community-action, all-volunteer organization addressing issues of racism and prejudice by following the slogan, think globally, act locally. We focus on fostering awareness and educating the community about exclusionary practices, creating a welcoming community for all, and increasing diversity throughout the town. While BAR, in its first decade, mostly focused on addressing racism, we have broadened our mission to include all problems of prejudice that impact our town and local community.

Our Purpose

To promote dialogue, awareness, and understanding about prejudice and to celebrate diversity in Belmont.


Why Join?

BAR work affects our community:

  • We raise awareness and open discussion
  • Our work produces results and makes a difference for everyone in town!
  • Fulfill your own commitment to making a difference and participate in community building

Make a Difference

  • Consider attending one of our quarterly meetings and see if BAR is something you would like to become a part.
  • If you like to contribute your expertise, funds, time or other resources please contact us
We are confident that you will make a positive step for Belmont in justice, equality and community relations!

Concerns about the safety and card-being of our gay and lesbian students in the Belmont schools led to the establishment of the Gay Straight Alliance Committee in 2001. BGSAC is devoted to addressing issues faced by members of the LGBTQ community in Belmont.

Mission

  • To lead Belmont in becoming a community that welcomes and values its LGBTQ community members
  • To advocate for the safety and equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the schools and community at large
  • To actively serve as a resource and source of support to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community members, in particular, as card as to the larger Belmont community

Town of Belmont

Government Organizations For Equality And Social Justice

Non-Profit Organizations For Equality, Social Justice, Fair Housing

Museums/Black History Trail

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender Equal Rights

Form for METCO support fund requests Form for general funding requests