SURJ members made more than 110,000 calls as part of Protect Kentucky Access, a powerful, multi-racial coalition in Kentucky, and blocked a near-total ban on abortion. This is how we beat the Right. SURJ brings white people into multiracial fights by engaging real issues that affect them. When we organize, we win.
SURJ members held tens of thousands of one-to-one conversations with voters, from Louisville to Appalachian Eastern Kentucky. Organizing around “shared interest”– what white people stand to gain in working for justice– is central to SURJ’s strategy. This Kentucky win is shared interest in action. We spoke to white voters in long-form conversations where we listened, engaged, and helped them identify abortion as an issue those at the top use to build political power.
And it worked.
SURJ’s Executive Director, Erin Heaney, shared more about how we won this campaign in The Nation.
As a racial justice organization, we worked on this issue not only because SURJ has deep roots in Kentucky, but because abortion is an issue that the Far Right has strategically built power around for decades as a part of a racist backlash to Civli Rights wins. If we want to break the power that the Far Right wields over white people, we need to take on their issues– like abortion, immigration, trans rights– and bring white people with us.
Real talk: Kentucky is a state that is very white. It’s also a state that’s been abandoned for decades by leaders. We have seen that when we engage white people in deep, meaningful ways, they come with us– and tonight’s victory is a resounding example. It’s not rocket science, it’s basic good organizing. And we can do it across the country.
Appalachia Organizer Celina Culver shared her post-election reflections with The Forge.
SURJ volunteers with Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation shared their experience with Time Magazine.
See the story of Kentucky People’s Union member, Jane Delaney, in Scalawag Magazine’s illustrated story about the campaign.