2021 Equity & Justice Roadmap


In the wake of the 2020 Uprisings for Black Life, the Massachusetts Sierra Club staff, like many others across the country, hit pause on “business as usual” to look at the state of this country, of Massachusetts, and of our own organization. We found that, while we as a staff were aligned in our commitment to anti-racism, we had no plan nor process for accountability. As a result, we began by brainstorming a list of goals that we wanted to achieve, which were a mix of high-level goals and specific ideas. Over the course of June through December 2020, our staff defined and refined five overarching goals, soliciting a round of feedback from the Chapter Executive Committee and volunteers in September. 


It bears repeating that the Massachusetts Sierra Club is committed to being an actively anti-genocide and anti-racist organization. We recognize that our actions have not always reflected this commitment; as a predominantly white organization, we have not always advocated for Black and Indigenous rights in our work. While we have made strides in recent months and years, we must continue to center anti-genocide, anti-racism, and anti-oppression in all forms in our work.

As we further explore our place in the climate justice movement, we see that upholding any system of oppression or bias serves to exclude marginalized voices - indeed the voices of those most impacted by pollution and environmental degradation - from our fight. We understand that to solve the problems of climate and environmental pollution, we need to address multiple issues at the intersection of environmental justice and other forms of oppression including but not limited to race, class, gender identity, and religion. Intentionally uplifting marginalized voices (low income, communities of color, indigenous communities, immigrant communities, youth, LGBTQ+, and women) as leaders within the environmental movement involves a transformation. Only when our Chapter embodies this transformation can it become a true resource for frontline leaders fighting for environmental and climate justice and an inclusive and just community working to address and repair harm. To further this transformation, we intend to incorporate the dismantling of all systems of bias and oppression into our equity goals.

As a means of accountability, we have created an action plan, a “roadmap,” that will help guide us in this work. It is by no means exhaustive, and we intend that it will be a “living document” — able to be changed and updated over time to reflect our continued growth as we continue to expand in this scope of work. The actions below will be incorporated into work plans, campaigns, and individual goal-setting, all of which will be revisited annually and assessed for achievement and future growth. We will center Black, Indigenous, and POC voices and experiences as we move through this process. At this point in time, this draft does not include many of those voices as our staff is predominantly white. Historically, BIPOC voices in predominantly white spaces have been tokenized and later often cast-aside. In order to genuinely center these voices, we must first demonstrate our commitment to listening, change, and ongoing transformation.

The actions here can be broken into two categories: short-term and long-term. These lengths refer to the time it will take to implement each strategy; all actions are meant to continue indefinitely. Anti-racism is a practice, not a destination.

Updated December 13, 2022

Iterative Feedback & Accountability Process 
Short Term Goals 

Long-Term Goals 


Iterative Feedback & Accountability Process

We will solicit input twice annually from at least 10 people (including volunteers, members, supporters, and allies across age, race, class, gender identity, geography, and length of involvement in Sierra Club) to track progress, understand barriers and opportunities to achieve and integrate justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in our work and workplace. We will set up a diverse volunteer-led team to support the implementation of the equity and justice roadmap.

  • Develop and release a short survey questionnaire to solicit feedback twice annually from members, volunteers, Executive Committee (ExCom) and allies
  • Prioritize implementation of high impact ideas based on survey responses and develop a plan to integrate the same into our work and workplace
  • Track progress against plan before launch of next survey
  • ExCom will approve all significant updates and future iterations of this plan.

Short Term Goals

Implemented within 6 months from when this plan is adopted

Goal 1: Solidarity Campaigns

We will deepen our actions for equity by advocating for at least three solidarity policy priorities annually. Priorities could include labor rights, housing justice, racial justice, environmental justice (EJ), indigenous rights, and social justice. We will follow the lead of groups and frontline communities most impacted. Solidarity efforts will not be restricted to these campaigns, rather the intention here is to place consistent, intentional, and deliberate effort behind at least three solidarity priorities.

Note the term “solidarity campaigns” is used here as a shorthand to refer to campaigns outside the typical environmental lens. Outdated concepts of classical environmentalism view humans as separate from and a threat to the natural environment. This plan is an effort, in part, to dismantle that viewpoint and adopt more holistic intersectional thinking in our campaign planning and advocacy.

Campaign Selection Process
Solidarity campaigns should be reviewed on an annual basis based on input from staff, volunteer leaders, and allies during our Chapter regular planning process (roughly November-January). Campaigns may be added ad-hoc throughout the year depending on interest, capacity, and urgency. All new campaigns must be approved by both the Chapter Director and Chapter Executive Committee.

Commitment to Carrying Out the Work
While each campaign is different, we will identify a set of common benchmarks to consider for solidarity campaigns. These benchmarks, while not binding, are designed to separate these campaigns from the intermittent support we sometimes give other efforts that match our equity and justice principles. Critically, solidarity campaigns will receive support and attention on a regular basis (at least monthly), as opposed to an irregular or intermittent basis.

Goal 1 Progress Update as of Nov 8, 2022

  • Support the Fair Share Amendment: The Chapter officially endorsed the Fair Share Amendment
  • Support No Prop 2022: The Chapter officially endorsed the No Prop 22 Ballot Measure

Goal 1 Progress Update as of Feb 15, 2022

Staff revisited desired solidarity campaigns and agreed to maintain the number at three campaigns. Potential additional campaigns were discussed and either tabled for future reconsideration or committed to supporting as there is capacity.

  • Support the Fair Share Amendment: Would create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above $1 million and invest revenue in quality public education and public transit.
    • Staff have been attending campaign planning meetings and strategizing with the campaign about Sierra Club’s involvement. We intend to educate our members/supporters, put up a blog post and action alerts at critical times during the campaign, and provide direct support through phone banking when possible.
  • Support NoProp22MA: A proposed ballot question filed by tech giants would classify all app-based workers in Massachusetts as 'independent contractors' instead of 'employees'. This would allow these tech giants to pay workers less than minimum wage, deny healthcare and other benefits, and remove legal protections against workplace injuries and discrimination.
    • In November 2021, we invited the NoProp22MA campaign representative to speak with members and supporters at advocacy hour. We wrote an educational blog post to raise awareness. We also submitted written testimony against HB.1234 that would remove worker protections and asked our volunteers to contact their legislators to oppose the bill.
  • Support Fare-Free Buses: Based on internal review and current level of staff engagement, this campaign will be part of ongoing transportation work done by the Chapter. It is no longer being assigned as a solidarity campaign.
  • Oppose the East Boston Eversource Substation: Stop the Eversource high-voltage electrical substation from being constructed in East Boston.
    • We are in communications with our frontline organizations, like GreenRoots, about strategy. We have been updating our members on the campaign in the Chapter newsletter and have publicized and attended demonstrations. Much of the fight is now taking place in the legal arena, where opposed groups are appealing a ruling in favor of the substation.

Goal 1 Progress Update as of June 24, 2021

Staff selected 3 initial solidarity campaigns:

  • Support the Fair Share Amendment: Would create an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above $1 million and invest revenue in quality public education and public transit.
    • In June 2021, we asked volunteers to contact their legislators to pass the amendment at the upcoming constitutional convention.
  • Oppose the East Boston Eversource Substation: Stop the Eversource high-voltage electrical substation from being constructed in East Boston.
    • We have shown up at Energy Facilities Siting Board hearings to voice our opposition to the project and amplify the demands of the community. We’ve helped organize and turned out for rallies and marches in protest, and held a webinar for allies on how to take action to oppose the project.
  • Support Fare-Free Buses: Eliminate fares on transit buses across the state to encourage their use, promote equity and environmental sustainability.
    • We are an active member of the fare-free bus coalition and have submitted public testimony at MBTA board meetings in support of a means tested fare program and fare-free buses.

Goal 2: Internal Communications

We will dedicate space for anti-racism and equity resources, educational materials about the legacy and impacts of white supremacy, and centering content by BIPOC writers in each of our internal communication platforms. These platforms include monthly (newsletters), weekly communications (advocacy hour, social media), and irregular communications (blog posts, website updates) that provide people with clear information about how they can grow their own education, take action, and offer support for this work. As this work develops, we will create polished materials to guide our communications with talking points and framing suggestions.

Goal 2 Progress Update as of Nov 8, 2022

  • The Chapter received an equity grant from the national organization
  • We have hired a Chapter Coordinator who will help build out our equitable communications plan
  • We continue to share anti-racism resources and news articles on our website, social media, and in internal communications to volunteers.

Goal 2 Progress Update as of Feb 15, 2022

  • We continue to update our anti-racism resources on our website regularly.
  • Chapter staff has begun working with a volunteer to create and execute a social media plan for sharing resources. This plan will soon be incorporated into the Advocacy Hour document and monthly statewide emails.
  • Relevant news articles and resources are regularly shared in our internal weekly update for active volunteers.
  • The Chapter is also in the process of hiring a communications intern and another communications staffer, who will work with our volunteer(s) to further build out our equitable communications plan.

Goal 2 Progress Update as of June 24, 2021

  • In June 2020, we added an anti-racism resources page to our website, which has been updated continually over the last year. In June 2021, we also added an equity and justice page and roadmap overview to the Chapter website.
  • We have been (irregularly) uplifting BIPOC and frontline voices on social media, though not yet at the level of consistency outlined in this plan.
  • Our Chapter’s monthly transportation bulletin has included content and resources that highlight the importance and need for transportation equity.

Goal 3: External Communications

Our media communications will center equity, champion our EJ and frontline partners and their particular expertise for all media interactions—published pieces, press statements, quotes—to increase the chances for coverage of key environmental, racial, and economic justice issues.

Data Tracking
We will track media interactions, so that every 6-12 months we are able to assess how effective we have been at meeting the intention of this goal.

Lifting up Frontline Voices
When we are working on an issue in partnership with or in community with a frontline partner, we will intentionally include quotes from these partners in any joint press releases and media communications. If we are not one of the lead organizations working on a specific issue, we will consider redirecting coverage to leading community and frontline partners.

Goal 3 Progress Update as of November 8, 2022

  • In July 2022, the Chapter worked hard to invite and connect frontline communities that had shut down the Brayton Point plan to the Biden Administration’s event there.
  • In August 2022, the Chapter issued a joint press release with frontline partners and partners from Mass Power Forward about the newly passed Act Driving Offshore Wind and Clean Energy
  • The Chapter continues to direct relevant media requests to environmental justice (EJ) partners

Goal 3 Progress Update as of Feb 15, 2022

  • In October 2021, the Chapter advocated for affordable and equitable transit options in partnership with environmental justice (EJ) allies at a press conference with then mayoral candidate Michelle Wu.
  • In January 2022, we published an op-ed on the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rule in collaboration with a frontline group in East Boston, highlighting the impact of vehicular air pollution on the community.

Goal 3 Progress Update as of June 24, 2021

  • In our January 2021 press release, to coincide with Baker’s veto of the Next Generation Climate Roadmap, we included quotes from partner environmental justice organizations. Release also highlighted disproportionate impacts facing communities of color and low-income residents.
  • Our longtime northeast regional Beyond Coal Press Secretary, Emily Pomilio recently left Sierra Club. Emily’s replacement will be brought up to speed on this work and we hope to have his support to fulfill Goal 3.


Long-Term Goals

Implemented within 6-24 months from when this plan is adopted

Goal 4: Budgeting

The principles of this plan will be woven into Chapter work at all levels making it difficult to quantify paid staff time spent on anti-racism, anti-bias, and equity work. However, there is a need to allocate resources to support specific parts of this process. Therefore, annually, at least 5% of the Chapter’s budget will be allocated to the following activities, which are essential to dismantling systemic genocide, racism and bias within the Chapter and creating a culture of inclusivity:

  1. Internal investments, including (a) annual anti-bias/anti-racist training for staff and volunteer leaders and (b) annual investment in staff knowledge of the issues of power, privilege, and oppression, and dedicated staff time for developing, implementing, and continuing the vital work of this plan
  2. Funds to support staff time to work on solidarity campaigns.[1]

Goal 4 Progress Update as of Nov 8, 2022

  • Looking at the past year to date, we are on track to again spending at least 5% of our budget towards
    1. staff and volunteer anti-racism and anti-bias training led by external consultants;
    2. regranting and facilitating the regranting of funds to frontline advocates to support local battles as well as participating in advocacy tables;
    3. staff time to support volunteer leaders in the leadership of and facilitating inclusive meetings and to learn about the Equal Opportunity Policy;
    4. staff time to discuss current team meetings and remedies to make our teams more inclusive and safe spaces;
    5. staff time towards ensuring that all external training materials and member and public facing communications explicitly place equity and justice as central to climate work;
    6. staff time attending internal anti-bias, equity trainings and anti-racist organizational process trainings;
    7. staff time towards supporting solidarity campaigns; and staff time dedicated to furthering equity and awareness of systems of oppression internally across departments at Sierra Club

Goal 4 Progress Update as of Feb 15, 2022

Looking at the last 12 months, we have clearly spent over 5% of our budget towards:

  1. staff and volunteer anti-racism and anti-bias trainings led by external consultants;
  2. regranting and facilitating the regranting of funds to frontline advocates for participation in advocacy tables;
  3. staff time towards ensuring that the Chapter is doing the work to meet the goals of, collect iterative feedback about, and update the Equity and Justice Roadmap;
  4. staff time towards ensuring that all external training materials and member and public facing communications explicitly place equity and justice as central to climate work;
  5. staff time attending internal anti-bias, equity trainings and anti-racist organizational process trainings;
  6. staff time towards supporting solidarity campaigns; and staff time dedicated to furthering equity and awareness of systems of oppression internally across departments at Sierra Club.

Goal 4 Progress Update as of June 24, 2021

  • We are on track to meet our goal of spending a baseline of 5% of our annual budget on development and implementation of this plan.
  • We have identified a vendor for leading the anti-bias and anti-racism training, which we are planning to hold in the fall due to summer schedules. This training will be made specific to the Massachusetts Sierra Club and will be for staff, current ExCom and volunteer leaders.
  • To continue the design and implementation process of this roadmap, Chapter staff have been meeting regularly (1 -2 times per month).
  • Staff have also attended additional trainings on power, privilege, and bias, some around managing and hiring for bias, and some around equity in meeting facilitation.
  • Staff have also been devoting time to supporting solidarity campaigns, and raising money for frontline partners’ participation in shared advocacy.

Goal 5: Membership & Leadership

We will work to diversify our staff, volunteer leadership and broader membership by: (1) and hosting bi-monthly new member/volunteer social events, and (2) by implementing equitable hiring guidelines and volunteer absorption processes for 2021 and beyond, (3) doing intentional and deliberate outreach to diversify membership in 3-5 new avenues annually such as universities, faith organizations, community centers in majority low-income and POC communities.

Goal 5 Update as of Nov 8, 2022

  • The Chapter has adopted the National Equitable Hiring Process, which has allowed the chapter to recruit from a much more diverse hiring pool.
  • We are looking to build some of those strategies into volunteer recruitment and development, and we've recently hired a new staffer who will be focusing on this.

Goal 5 Progress Update as of Feb 15, 2022

  • To support effective volunteer absorption, the Chapter continues to hold regular online volunteer orientation sessions that give new volunteers an overview of the Chapters work, teams and committees. Participants receive a follow up email after the session with resources and ways they can plug into ongoing campaigns.
  • The Political Committee has adopted a new recruitment process with an eye toward creating a body that is representative of the full state.
  • We are continuing to use our redesigned hiring processes in the hiring of our Spring 2022 interns and new staff positions.
  • The Chapter has continued to require all new staff and volunteers sign our community agreements in order to gain access to internal Sierra Club communication channels. In December 2021, we also updated the agreements to reflect Sierra Club’s newly adopted (as of fall 2021) core values: Anti-Racism, Balance, Collaboration, Justice, and Transformation.
  • In the winter of 2021-2022, Sierra Club Massachusetts Chapter members elected a new Executive Committee (ExCom). Re-elected to ExCom are Reverend Vernon K. Walker and Clint Richmond. New ExCom members are Mallorie Barber and Laura MacLeod. In 2021, Yanisa Techagumthorn stepped down from ExCom, and Vick Mohanka was appointed to finish out Yanisa’s term.
  • The Chapter has implemented a process for gifting Sierra Club Membership to recent donors who are not active members. Additionally, the Chapter has established a process for gifting Membership to active volunteers for whom the cost of membership represents a financial burden.

Goal 5 Progress Update as of June 24, 2021

  • We redesigned hiring practices based on guidance from Sierra Club HR, The Management Center, and the MA Attorney General’s Office. The AG’s office provided especially insightful comments. We piloted a hiring process to bring on two interns in spring 2021 and plan on honing the process and rolling it out for other planned positions in summer 2021.
  • We developed community agreements for staff and volunteers. All new volunteers are required to sign the community agreements to get access to internal Sierra Club communications channels. We are still working to contact longtime volunteers to ask them to sign the agreements.
  • Starting in February 2021, we have begun holding monthly volunteer orientations to help new volunteers orient to the chapter’s work and plug in to our various teams/committees.
  • In February 2021, we piloted a successful Executive Committee orientation training to bring new and current ExCom members up to speed. All members were in attendance.
  • In June 2021, a subgroup of staff and ExCom members met and drafted a new proposed process for recruiting and onboarding Political Committee members. A successful process could be used as a template for broadening our volunteer base in the future.
  • Staff have begun planning a process for gifting membership to current volunteers where the cost of a membership might present a barrier, but the process has not yet been implemented.


Additional Links

Chapter Community Agreements
Massachusetts Chapter Anti-Racism Resources

[1] “Solidarity campaigns” here refers to Goal 1: Solidarity Campaigns