“The idea that we must wait until all of our feelings are neat and orderly before we act is a fantasy.”
– Morgan Bassichis, with adrienne maree brown Monday night
As we have so many times before, today we’re writing to acknowledge this intense moment of violence– and invite you into action with us.
As the siege in Gaza escalates and hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, we know that people across our community are experiencing a wide range of reactions. Some of us have already been moved to act. Some are completely consumed by grief, others by grief and rage. Some of us have been struggling to find where we stand amidst all the suffering. And for many of us in the US, the dynamics between Palestine and Israel are not easy to understand and navigate.
As people committed to antiracism, these reactions may feel familiar. Most of us joined the fight for racial justice as white people who witnessed horrible instances of racist violence, knew something was deeply wrong, and showed up for what was right in the moment, amidst a range of reactions and feelings that were not neat or orderly.
I know there are so many of us in this moment who want to be part of the solution and to stand on the right side of history. This will require leaning on the values SURJ was founded in: moving into action before we have the perfect answer or know everything, taking risks, and deeply holding to the belief that we have a deep shared interest in peace with justice.
Grounded in these values, we are clear that there is no contradiction between our commitment to Palestinian freedom and our work combating anti-semitism.
This work is a part of the fight for racial justice. Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Braden taught us that racism and militarism are deeply interconnected. From Vietnam to the Middle East, US foreign policy has always relied on racism to convince us that some lives matter less. The militarism employed by Israel, and supported by the US, is undergirded by racism. The same dehumanization that happens against people of color in the US is at play in this global conflict.
Right now, the scale of human catastrophe now facing the over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza is growing by the hour. The US government bears responsibility for funding what is happening right now in Gaza, and thus we as American citizens bear a responsibility to take action. The most important work white Americans can be doing right now is calling on President Biden and Congress to demand an immediate ceasefire to save lives.
Here are ways you can take action with us virtually or in person this week:
- Call your members of Congress to call for ceasefire and de-escalation in order to save as many lives as possible.
- Wednesday, Oct 18 at 12 ET in Washington, DC: join SURJ as we show up alongside Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) to take action to demand the US government call a ceasefire in Gaza.
- Thursday, Oct 19 at 3 ET online: join SURJ’s action hour where we’ll call our Congressional representatives together.
- Friday, Oct 20 in Washington DC: show up with SURJ and our partners in DC for a mass mobilization in support of ceasefire.
The days ahead are a critical moment to take action together to save as many lives as possible.