What is GBIO?
University Lutheran Church is an active member of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). Founded in 1998, GBIO is an organization of about 50 religious congregations and other local institutions that joined together to more powerfully pursue social justice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. GBIO is built on one-to-one relationships, formed when two people sit down to share their histories, concerns, hopes, and desires. Among other major victories, GBIO has:
- Played a critical role in securing Massachusetts health care reform and ongoing cost containment efforts
- Helped to obtain more than $300 million for the construction of affordable housing
- Supported local leadership in efforts to attain worker protections, school renovations and new school construction, and adequate access to school textbooks
- Lobbied for improved state and national gun legislation
Many opportunities are available to engage in GBIO’s work:
- Attending actions. During the pandemic, attendance at virtual Mayoral forums led to Boston Mayor Wu’s announcement that she would fulfill her promise to allocate 50 million dollars for repairs and long-deferred maintenance at the Mildred C. Hailey apartment complex in Jamaica Plain. In-person actions are returning, but there are also virtual opportunities to participate.
- Contacting elected and appointed officials and other community leaders. One of GBIO’s strengths is the ability to immediately mobilize large numbers of people around a common issue. With a 2-minute commitment you can let your voice be known alongside thousands of others. In 2022, more than 400 calls, emails, and tweets to Massachusetts Senate and Massachusetts House of Representatives leaders ensured passage of critical mental health legislation.
- Sharing your concerns. UniLu occasionally holds one-to-one campaigns or “house meetings” of roughly ten people to identify issues of importance to the congregation. In early 2023, more than a dozen UniLu members attended a teach-in on GBIO’s Housing Justice Campaign to better understand both statewide and local aspects to the organizing work.
- Leadership. Sometimes, GBIO-wide issue teams (such as health care, housing, education, or gun violence) form to strategize and organize around specific issues. GBIO’s parent organization, the Industrial Areas Foundation, also offers three-day or ten-day trainings for people interested in developing their leadership and community organizing skills.
For more information on GBIO and how you can become involved, contact Raija Vaisanen at email@example.com.