You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Showing Up For Racial Justice.
As has been discussed on this show fairly regularly, members of marginalized groups are called on continually to do the “101-level” explanations of their issues and teach people how to be allies. This work is thankless, exhausting and often takes valuable time away from real movement and liberation work.
But to achieve equality in any real way, majority groups must participate in the efforts to recognize and solidify immigrant rights, women’s rights, trans rights, gay rights, and rights for people of color — just to name a few of the current fights for justice. So, how do movements engage the majority without ceding the mic or spending resources they don’t have teaching allyship?
Enter Showing Up For Racial Justice — or SURJ. This national network of groups and individuals does the work of organizing white people for justice. On their “About” page they explain their role through a quote from Alicia Garza, a community organizer and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement: "We need you defecting from White supremacy and changing the narrative of White supremacy by breaking White silence.”
SURJ helps train white people to play supportive roles in the campaigns driven by people of color and how to take a racial justice focus back to their other organizing efforts — in climate, economic, political, LGBTQ, voting rights, feminist campaigns and movements. One of the most important things white people can do to challenge white supremacy is to speak up in typically white, privileged spaces.
ShowingUpForRacialJustice.org has a great “Action” tab with local events across the country. There are affiliated chapters in almost every state; you can also sign up to start one in your area. They need volunteers to help with social media, fundraise, write for the blog, do graphic design and web layout, plan actions, and facilitate training. Basically, whatever skills you have are needed and useful.
Katie participated in the “White People Take Action For Charleston” conference call/webinar last week. 500 people were on the call and the suggestions — like pushing back on right-wing media and engaging anyone carrying an “All Lives Matter” sign at an event so black organizers don’t have to — were fantastic and designed to keep white allies in the background while being visible support.
SURJ also provides a handy redirect for people of color tired of going through the 101 racism and White Supremacy explanations. It can be hard — if not impossible — to tell if people approaching you online or in your daily lives are asking questions in good faith and with real interest; the beauty of referring them to a resource like SURJ is that those truly looking for a way to understand and get involved will be appreciative and those who aren’t are quickly dismissed.
Volunteer and/or participate in actions around the country with Showing Up For Racial Justice
"Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide” via The New York Times
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich