2023 Massachusetts Chapter 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.

As a followup to the 2021 Massachusetts Chapter Equity & Justice Roadmap, and as part of our commitment to embodying equity in every facet of our work and our continuous equity learning journey, we have created a new version of the Roadmap for 2023-2024. Over the past two years, we have learned the value of taking necessary time to approach problems intentionally and not to hold our equity work with an artificial sense of urgency that perpetuates oppressive dynamics. Putting our value of transparency into practice, we have inserted progress update sections into the document as well as links to the last iteration of this document so that we are held accountable for the actions we have taken and still need to prioritize moving forward.


As Sierra Club nationally strives to enact its five core values: anti-racism, balance, collaboration, justice and transformation, and works to be in solidarity with the climate justice movement, the Massachusetts Chapter reaffirms its commitment to being an actively anti-genocide and anti-racist organization. We recognize that our actions have not always reflected this commitment. Sierra Club’s history as a predominantly white organization has led to the exclusion of Black and brown communities and voices in our advocacy. We strive to center anti-genocide, anti-racism, and anti-oppression in all forms in our work and be in relationship with those on the frontlines of the climate crisis and fencelines of polluting infrastructure.  

In order to combat environmental and climate injustices, we have to address issues at the intersection created by systems of oppression that affect people and communities on the basis of race, class, ability, gender identity, and religion, to name a few. We intend to incorporate dismantling of all systems of bias and oppression into our equity goals and be a resource for frontline leaders fighting for environmental and climate justice. A core component of this initiative is to intentionally lift up marginalized voices, including those from low-income, indigenous, LGBTQ+, youth, and communities of color.


This document serves as a “roadmap” or action plan to guide us on the specifics of how to carry out our transformative goals. This represents the second iteration of our roadmap, reflecting the learnings and adjustments that have been identified by trying to implement our goals over the last two years. The intention is for this to be a “living document”, expanding with our scope of work as well as our increased implementation of its guidance. It also represents our commitment to listening, change, and ongoing transformation to include and center BIPOC voices that have not been present in the development of this document. As a predominantly white organization in membership and staff, this is an important step to making equity pervasive throughout our work plans, campaigns, and goal-setting. 

Anti-racism is a practice, not a destination, and as such, the actions listed here are meant to carry on indefinitely. They are broken up into short-term and long-term goals to help guide not just the work we are doing right now, but to also position us to be better and more equitable in the future.

Iterative Feedback & Accountability Process 
Short Term Goals

Long-Term Goals


Iterative Feedback & Accountability Process

We will solicit input 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 integrate new volunteers to help meet our goals and volunteer advisors to co-create this process. We will identify areas for volunteers to support work that advances these goals, building their leadership and capability to participate in and advise in high-level conversations around equity and justice in the chapter. We will simultaneously bring in volunteers to advise at a high level while being mindful of capacity constraints. 

  • Develop and release a short survey questionnaire to solicit feedback from members, volunteers, Executive Committee (ExCom), EJ partners and allies. This anonymous survey will be made available on our website. We will also conduct one-to-one check-ins with our lead volunteers
  • This anonymous questionnaire will be sent to all members, ExCom, volunteers, staff, and allies every January 
    • After questionnaires are returned, staff and key volunteer leaders convene to review suggestions and ideas and see if and how they can be implemented
    • The goal is to review and analyze member feedback to potentially change our programming and processes as needed
  • 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
    • Staff and key volunteer members will meet quarterly to discuss progress updates and any updates to the plan
    • Staff will also be mindful of opportunities to share and gain insight from parallel equity planning efforts of other chapters
  • ExCom will approve all significant updates and future iterations of this plan

Short Term Goals

Goal 1: Solidarity Campaigns

Environmental justice work is integral to all our campaigns. We will deepen our actions for equity by advocating for up to three solidarity policy priorities annually. Priorities could include labor rights, immigrant rights, housing justice, racial justice, economic justice, disability justice, indigenous rights, gender justice, 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 up to  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.
    • All solidarity campaigns must align with national policies and terminology (e.g. defund the police vs. police abolition)
  • The following guiding questions may be used as criteria for selecting campaigns:
    • How does this campaign address equity and justice issues?
    • Will this campaign center communities of color and underrepresented voices?
    • What organization(s) are leading this campaign and are those organizations ones we want to forge relationships with?
    • How will we communicate to our members/supporters how this campaign intersects with our environmental work?
    • What’s the timeline for this campaign and what resources will it require of Sierra Club staff and volunteers?

Commitment to Carrying Out the Work

  • Campaign responsibility should be distributed among several staff and volunteers.
  • While each campaign is different, below are some 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.
    • Recruit 1-5 volunteers to support/lead each campaign
    • At least three educational or action-oriented events for members/supporters annually
    • At least one blog post and one Sierran article annually
    • At least one original social media post per month
    • Regularly retweet and share related posts from social media accounts of allies’ leading campaigns
    • Regularly included in the Advocacy Hour Campaign Updates doc

Goal 1 Progress Update as of Oct 18, 2023

  • Selected Homes for All and the Indigenous Legislative Agenda as Solidarity Campaigns
    • Homes for All advocates for increased tenant and homeowner protections. Homes for All priority legislation includes enabling municipalities to choose whether to enact rent control and requiring loan servicers to participate in pre-foreclosure mediation with homeowners to explore foreclosure alternatives. 
      • The Chapter communicated information to volunteers and advocates about the campaign’s S.1299/H.2103 An act enabling cities and towns to stabilize rents and protect tenants and provided information on how to submit testimony
      • The Chapter incorporated housing affordability into the Climate Research Team’s planning on energy/electrification
    • The Indigenous Legislative Agenda is a set of bills currently before the Massachusetts State Legislature that will benefit Indigenous Peoples. This includes bills about Indigenous People’s Day, Educating Native Youth, Celebrating & teaching Native American culture & history, protecting Native American heritage, Native Mascots, and the State Flag and Seal. 
      • The Chapter has submitted testimony on behalf of every bill on the agenda that has had a hearing in the legislature. Chapter staff also participated in the Indigenous People’s Day March and Rally in October 2023 organized by members of the Indigenous Legislative Agenda coalition. To increase awareness of the intersectionality between indigenous rights and climate justice, the Chapter publicized and chapter staff attended a recent webinar series on Indigenous Climate Justice.
  • Support the Fair Share Amendment
    • After the passage of the Fair Share Amendment (FSA) in November, the Chapter continued to advocate for a tax plan that protects FSA revenue and closes corporate loopholes.   From March through June, we shared campaign updates, educational material, and ways our members and supporters could engage, including phone banks, action alerts, and outreach to legislators. In August, the FY24 budget included $476.5 million in FSA funds towards transit improvements, including $20 million for low-income and fare-free pilot programs, and bridge and road repairs. The remaining $523.5 million invests in public education infrastructure, including improvements to school buildings, increasing access to early education, and free school meals for all students.
Goal 1 Progress Update as of Nov 8, 2022
  • Support the Fair Share Amendment
    • The Chapter ExCom officially endorsed the Fair Share Amendment (FSA). All through the campaign we provided our members and supporters with regular campaign updates and ways to take action including directing them to weekly phone banks and canvas events. Several staff members volunteered for GOTV events. We wrote this educational blog post to raise awareness about FSA and regularly amplified campaign asks on social media. In October, Sierra Club in collaboration with the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) organized an educational webinar for our members and the general public. 
  • Support Yes on 4
    • An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility was a last minute addition to the November ballot as Question 4. A Yes vote would allow qualified residents, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a driver's license if they provide proof of identity and residence. As driving remains the only option to get around for many, passage of this law will advance transportation justice, improve mobility, and make our communities safer by ensuring that more drivers on our roads are tested and insured. The Chapter ExCom officially endorsed our advocacy around this campaign. We included information about this campaign in our newsletters and Chapter communication, wrote this blog post, and amplified campaign messaging on social media,  
  • Support No Prop 2022
    • The Chapter officially endorsed the No Prop 22 Ballot Measure

Goal 2: Communicating with our Base

We will educate our base about anti-racism and equity in all facets of life, including and beyond the movement. We will normalize anti-racism and equity language into how we conduct and communicate about our campaigns, utilizing our monthly, weekly, and irregular communications to provide our base with clear information about how they can grow their own education, take action, and offer support for anti-racism and equity work. 

Goal 2 Progress Update as of Oct 18, 2023

  • Created a communications team to add volunteer capacity to share anti-racism and equity resources and content across our social media accounts
  • We continue to share updated anti-racism resources and news articles on our website, social media, and in internal communications to volunteers. 

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 3: Earned Media

Just as equity is centered in our work, we will center equity in our media communications. This means championing our EJ partners and including their perspectives in all media interactions —published pieces, press statements, quotes—to increase the chances for coverage of key environmental, racial, and economic justice issues.

Ensuring Equity Is Centered

  • For every major campaign, the chapter, with our partners and coalitions, will develop a set of talking points specific to equity concerns that can be referenced during media interactions (press releases, etc.)
  • The chapter will use a list of guiding questions that everyone - volunteers, chapter staff, and national staff - writing on behalf of the chapter should consider. In coordination with an annual data review, the chapter will assess the effectiveness of these questions and revise the questions or the process as needed

Data Tracking

We will track media interactions, so that every 12 months we are able to assess how effective we have been at meeting the intention of this goal. (Check, consistently, how strong are our statements relevant to accurate social justice support?)

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 Oct 18, 2023

  • The Chapter has centered the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition’s voice in any statement made about the Springfield-Longmeadow Pipeline
  • In June, in response to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting about “winter grid reliability,” the Sierra Club supported the organizing of a rally in Everett by community members affected by one of the plants under discussion.  On behalf of community members, chapter staff drafted a media advisory and press release for the rally.

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

Long-Term Goals

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, as indeed, the goal of this roadmap is to include equity and justice as central to our organization, structurally as well as programmatically. For our 2023 update, we are more granular with exactly what our dedicated equity funds will support at the chapter, and we’d suggest the following four areas: 1) hiring trainers and facilitators to continue anti-bias (including anti-racist, and anti-classist, anti-genocide) trainings for chapter staff and volunteers; 2) funding for frontline partners to support their campaigns; 3) funding for translation services for Chapter materials; 4) funding to support staff work on solidarity campaigns; and 5) funding for staff time to do the work to assess Equity and Justice Roadmap work, goals, and planning.

(1) Internal Chapter Efforts for Anti-Racism/Anti-Bias Knowledge, Understanding, and Agency

  • Funds will be allocated to support annual educational and transformative anti-bias/anti-racist training for staff, current ExCom members, and key volunteers. 
    • Future trainings in 2023 and beyond
      • Required to attend: All staff, ExCom members, and key volunteers
      • If capacity permits, look into possible trainings for specific volunteer leaders doing solidarity work
      • The intention in the long term is to have some form of training and/or curriculum available to ALL volunteers, not just leaders.
  • 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) External Support for Solidarity Campaigns and Frontline Partners; this would include both funding for staff time and donation of funds to community EJ and frontline partners.

Goal 4 Progress Update as of Oct 18, 2023

  • This year represented a large change to the chapter budget, adding 3 new staff in the Spring, and one staff at the end of 2022.  We have integrated environmental equity into all campaigns.  We have also implemented space for lunch discussions on topics including our equity work.  
  • We have made commitments to donate to local environmental justice organizations and have been in discussions with funders for subgrants that include funding for environmental justice communities.  

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; 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 5: Membership & Leadership

We will work to diversify our staff, volunteer leadership and broader membership by: (1) hosting bi-monthly new member/volunteer social events, (2) by implementing equitable hiring guidelines and volunteer absorption processes for 2021 and beyond, (3) showing up at events in frontline communities - meeting people where they are at and asking what their priorities are, building relationships at the speed of trust and collaborating on campaigns that advance shared environmental justice and equity goals, (4) leveraging national moments of action/mobilization to orient new volunteers to the chapter who have taken action e.g. Build Back Better, Elections season, (5) creating volunteer stipend programs where possible for underrepresented communities, and (6) beginning team meetings with campaign-related equity updates.

Hosting New Member/Volunteer Events

  • Host virtual new volunteer orientations quarterly where equity principles are a central focus
  • Host 4 chapter community-buildings events throughout the year, either virtually or in person
  • As referenced in Goal 4: Budgeting, develop an “organizer school” training available for current Sierra Club Massachusetts members and supporters to equip them with an understanding of anti-oppression organizing practices and knowledge and agency to advocate for anti-racist and equitable policies

Equitable Hiring Guidelines & Volunteer Absorption Process

  • Starting in 2021, adopt national guidance on equitable hiring and develop/implement Chapter specific structure for an internal hiring process
  • Create & require community agreements for staff and volunteers to establish a baseline expectation for conduct, confidentiality, and alignment of values

Goal 5 Progress Update as of Oct 18, 2023

  • Hosted a quarterly New Volunteer Orientation call, incorporating Jemez principles, chapter equity goals, and justice into the discussion and framing of our work. 

Goal 5 Progress Update as of March 2023 

  • Chapter staff piloted a new volunteer orientation in November/December 2023. Chapter staff are creating a new volunteer orientation process in 2023, with the aim to build community and support among new and existing volunteers. This would include both videos and orientation calls to highlight Sierra Club structure, history, tools for action, and current volunteers.

Goal 5 Progress Update as of Dec 13, 2022 

  • The Chapter has adopted the National equitable hiring guidelines 
  • The Chapter has hired a Chapter Coordinator who will take on redeveloping our membership recruitment and retention strategies



Chapter Community Agreements

Click here to view our community agreements

Additional Links

North Star Chapter racial justice webpage
Sierra Club Equity Values
Anti-Racism Resources
Glossary of Terms