The Berkshires are known for their unique combination of natural beauty and cultural offerings. Even Massachusetts residents, thinking of Berkshire County, envision Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and 100-room cottages built here during the Gilded Age - but this is an incomplete picture.
This region has historically served not only as a vacation retreat for the wealthy, but also as a center of industry, education, and innovation. But dramatic losses of manufacturing jobs since the 80s and their cascading effects have increasingly separated our community into haves and have-nots.
Economic and social changes over time have deepened this divide; today Berkshire County is the most inequitable county in Western Massachusetts. Many residents struggle to get by while the wealthy and second home owners enjoy an ever-increasing standard of living.
BIO was founded in 2015 to resist this trend and prevent the dawning of a new Gilded Age. The people struggling here are increasingly invisible to Washington and Boston and even to many of us who live here, and BIO fights for justice and opportunity for our invisible neighbors.
We fight not for, but with, the historical residents of our county - as well as new immigrants - to ensure that their voices are heard, their needs met, and their future here not only preserved, but strengthened.
At a time of increasing segregation in our country, BIO works to bring people together across lines of class, race, and religion to create a strong and united community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. For that would be a truly Golden Age.
Institutional and Leadership Goals
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
Unitarian Universalist Meeting of Southern Berkshires, Housatonic
BIO Community Leaders