© 2019 by the Berkshire Trust Policy Partnership

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The Great Barrington Trust Policy helps make our town safer and stronger.
Thank you for your support.

The Trust Policy is a citizen-initiated policy that helps to ensure that all residents living and working in our community are fully protected and supported by our police and town government.

Great Barrington voted to adopt
the Trust Policy on May 1, 2017 at town meeting.

THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!

Image credit: Anc516 (Own work). via Wikimedia Commons

 

  About the Trust Policy  

"The town of Great Barrington is committed to providing quality services to the entire community through good planning and cost effective measures."

- Great Barrington Town Mission Statement

 ​

In 2017, Multicultural BRIDGE spearheaded the Great Barrington Trust Policy campaign, a citizen-initiated effort that helps to ensure that all residents living and working in the Great Barrington community are fully protected and supported by the local police and town government. Working in collaboration with the Great Barrington town manager, police department, citizen volunteers and partner organizations, BRIDGE finalize a version of the policy that was acceptable to all parties, helping to cultivate Great Barrington as a safe and inclusive community.

The town voted to adopt the Trust Policy in May of 2017. The policy language has also been adapted by other local communities to advance safety and equity for residents.

This work now lives on through the Berkshire Trust Policy Partnership, a collection of local organizations and volunteers working to pass similar local policies and resolutions that support safety and justice for all communities in the county. Visit the Multicultural BRIDGE website to get involved.

About the Great Barrington Trust Policy:

In keeping with the promise of the town mission, the Trust Policy lays out a clear set of policies and procedures that will help to create a safer place for all residents and community members.

The policy stands for decriminalizing race, immigration status, poverty, inequity, mental health and other underrepresented barriers. Great Barrington has a long history of engagement, leadership and commitment to social and racial justice. Diversity and inclusion is central to the mission of our town.

The Trust Policy proposes to:  

  • Ensure Fairness: All residents of Great Barrington will be treated fairly, and not discriminated against because of their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, immigration status, religious or political opinion or activity, or homed or homeless status.

  • Protect Civil Liberties: The town and police will not use protected identities as the basis to survey, profile, check point, contact, detain, or arrest residents. This includes information about a person's immigration status, politics, religion, social affiliations and professed beliefs.
     

  • Build Transparency: Under the Trust Policy, the town will establish and communicate its policy for how the police will work with ICE and report to the town on its activities. 

The Trust Policy was initially drafted and filed by Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and founding director of Multicultural BRIDGE, with partners Berkshire Showing Up for Racial Justice, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, and Lia Spiliotes, executive director at Community Health Programs (CHP).

 

    Learn More    

How do trust policies benefit people and communities?

Threats of deportation create a climate of fear and mistrust​ that affects undocumented as well as documented immigrants, their families, and entire communities. 

Trust policies help to counter that fear by protecting vulnerable residents and workers and fostering positive relationships with immigrant communities.


This helps to promote overall public safety, better health outcomes, and a stronger economy.

A Safer Community

 

People who witness or are victims of crime are less likely to report them to police if they fear potential deportation or questions about immigration status. This makes is harder for local police to do their jobs.  

Trust policies make it easier for police to keep everyone safe, because they provide clarity and reassurance to immigrants that they will be treated fairly if they need to report a crime.

 

In addition, it means we can avoid spending valuable local resources on federal immigration efforts that do not promote our town’s public safety, mission, and principles.

The proposed Trust Policy aligns and builds on existing statements from the Great Barrington Police Department.

Healthier People

 

Trust policies help make our communities a place where everyone can feel welcome, and use the services they need to be healthy. Health disparities take a toll on entire communities—not just on the marginalized groups.

When immigrants and other marginalized groups live in fear of deportation and threats to their safety,

then the following issues can arise:

  • Fear increases incidents of mental illness and instability in families, schools and communities.

  • Racial discrimination leads to self-medication with substance use, depression, stress disorders, suicide and other forms of violence.

  • Climate of fear and paralysis in communities: If immigrants fear deportation or being detained by police, they are less likely to attend regular health appointments, use public parks to be physically active, or drive to buy healthy food.

  • Children are especially impacted by deportation and fear of deportation for themselves or their family: studies show they experience poorer health, behavioral and education outcomes than their peers.

A Stronger Economy

 

Our economies are stronger when our communities stand together. Here in the Berkshires and across the country, immigrants are an important and crucial part of a thriving economy. 

 

Often, immigrants contribute more through income, payroll, and other taxes to support Medicare and Social Security and other public programs than they receive in ​government benefits​.

 

A 2013 study in Health Affairs calculated that immigrants contributed $115 billion more than they received from Medicare between 2002 and 2009.

In Great Barrington, immigrants contribute to our local economy, too—running and working in our educational and health institutions, restaurants, shops, resorts, farms, care-giving industry and more.

 

  Act now  

Thank you for helping to pass Great Barrington's Trust Policy!

This work now lives on through the Berkshire Trust Policy Partnership,

a collection of local organizations and volunteers

working to pass similar local policies and resolutions

that support safety and justice for all communities in the county.

Interested in getting involved?

Learn more at multiculturalbridge.org!

 

 More Resources 

Know your rights: 
Learn how to protect yourself and your family against immigration raids 
(available in multiple languages).

Know your rights: 
Learn how to protect yourself and your family against immigration raids 
(available in multiple languages).

Get started with a roadmap for setting up Community Defense Zone campaigns in local communities.

Learn key provisions that cities and counties can enact in order to protect immigrants from discrimination and deportation.

Read the Executive Orders, annotated by the National Immigrant Justice Center, with their analysis, relevant facts, and links to useful resources.

Dispel 6 myths about immigrants and immigration with the truth, from Berkshire Immigrant Center. 

Your migration story is important. Communities are stronger when people of all cultures know each other better. See stories from local community members. 

There are those who are fond of telling foreigners to “get in line” before coming to work in America. But what does that line actually look like, and how many years (or decades) does it take to get through? Try it yourself.

 Sponsor Organizations 

 Supporting Agencies 

Great Barrington Macedonia Baptist Church