Berkshire Interfaith Organizing is a grassroots, member-led organization that confronts issues of racial, immigrant, and transportation justice in Berkshire County, Mass. Through community organizing, we make social justice real in the Berkshires by helping those without voice gain a seat at the table.
Since our founding in 2015, we have trained leaders from 18 member congregations and individuals from throughout the county in community organizing. Deep conversations combined with strongly held values and a hunger for action resulted in huge wins in the areas of food access, transportation, immigrant justice, and housing.
In recent times, as both our nation and our county have been wracked by COVID-19, mass deportations, and state violence against Black and brown people, we must urgently shift our sense of community to focus on emergent and collaborative shared leadership both in person and online. The work is too important to wait until someone else figures out the new normal. Here is what we see;
A diversifying county, deepening poverty, racist violence, and the fundamental ethic of organizing all call upon BIO to center the most vulnerable and build pathways for their leadership, skill development, and power.
The people most affected by the issues must help craft the solutions. In the Berkshires, this means people of color, immigrants, and the working class who are directly and disproportionately impacted by multiple systems of oppression.
At the same time, knowing that our common humanity is threatened by injustice to any group, we continue to organize people and congregations of faith and values across the spectrum of race and class. Our work depends on building strong relationships across these lines of difference by practicing deep listening and cultural humility.
Institutional and Leadership Goals
ARK Community Church, Dalton
Cathedral of the Beloved, Pittsfield
Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield
Congregation Beth Israel, North Adams
Congregation Knesset Israel, Pittsfield
First Church of Christ on Park Square, Pittsfield
First Congregational Church, Dalton
First Congregational Church, Williamstown
Lee Congregational Church, Lee
Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative, North Adams
Price Memorial AME Zion Church, Pittsfield
Second Congregational Church, Pittsfield
Sisters of St. Joseph
South Congregational Church, Pittsfield
St. Mark Catholic Parish, Pittsfield
St. John's Episcopal Church, Williamstown
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Pittsfield
Unitarian Universalist Church, Pittsfield
Zion Lutheran Church of Pittsfield, Pittsfield
BIO Community Leaders