We all saw the map at the end of the election. Despite the brilliant victories in Georgia, and finally ousting Trump from the White House, we know that millions of white people are living in communities dominated by right-wing politicians and culture. SURJ’s 175 chapters across the country offer hundreds of thousands of white people a way to take action as part of multi-racial coalitions and learn to bring more people from their communities into this work for the long haul.
Thanks to thousands of supporting and volunteer members, we have the capacity to help move the millions of white people who were mobilized into action last year to support long term Black-led movements for racial and economic justice. Can you make a gift today to grow this work?
Not only did SURJ add new chapters, our longtime chapters added tens of thousands of new members and expanded their training, education and organizing to reduce police budgets and shut down incarceration and detention centers. This is important, because white voters can too often block progressive legislation and candidates, and white communities all too often have disproportionate political power. Here are stories from a few of our established chapters about their growth and work over this past year.
In Kansas City, SURJ members have welcomed over 200 new members, organized thousands to successfully expand Medicaid in Missouri, created racial justice equity cohorts in 12 school districts, and more.
“Over the past year we have grown in our political engagement. We supported initiatives, which later passed, like Medicaid in Missouri. We also created voter guides for both Kansas and Missouri. We’ve deepened connections with BIPOC accountability partners through soliciting over 80 stimulus pledge donations to our BIPOC power team partners, extended our reach to support Black-led groups in the suburbs, marshaled a number of protests, and joined new Black-led coalitions. This year we have seen white supremacy lash out with more ferocity in Kansas City but, through our relationships with BIPOC-led organizations, have worked hard to rise to the moment and live into a future in which all Black lives matter.” — Michael, SURJ – Kansas City
In Buffalo, New York:
“We know it’s a long haul to end white supremacy, and that it requires lots of different strategies. Since our chapter started in 2015, we’ve spent thousands of hours on the doors and phones with our neighbors, holding meetings, doing direct action, and changing the local narrative about racism and white supremacy through work with the press. Each fight, and each new strategy, and each new SURJ member builds on the last, and the next. In 2020, that growth happened in leaps and bounds, with hundreds of new white people contacting our chapter and looking for a way to show up. In response, we mobilized members to the streets, provided round-the-clock support for a Black led occupation of a public space, and launched a 1-1 program to have intentional conversations about the movement for racial justice, our stake as white people, and how we can build power together. In 2021, we’ll continue to move our growing base into action for abolition and dismantling white supremacy in our community. — Linnea and Josie, SURJ Buffalo
In Louisville, Kentucky, SURJ members trained over 100 people in non-violent direct action, held down three months of “Freedom Friday” actions to call for the end of cash bail and the release of all people in prison during Covid-19, called over 1,000 people across KY who had their voting rights restored in 2020, supported a campaign to end no-knock warrants in Metro Council and in the state legislature, and more!
“I had never gone canvassing before I did it with SURJ, and I got very good training. We train every time we canvass, and we invite people to join every time. I stepped into a leadership role very quickly, I’m super introverted but once I’d done the training a few times, I could train others. It’s about demystifying the process and providing the training for how to move through the challenging spots. What do you do when you’re white and you have a sense of your privilege and family history that’s not great — what do you do with your inheritance? Being part of Louisville SURJ has given me something positive to do with my inheritance. I have choices to make — I can’t control what I got but I can control what I do with it and what I leave behind.” — Jess, Louisville SURJ
SURJ National provides chapters with political education resources, connections to others across the country, action opportunities, organizing skills training and coaching, and communications infrastructure. Oren, we do this with just a small and lean organizing team. Can you make a gift today to help us grow this support and connection for chapters?
SURJ National DirectorSURJ is a 501c4 organization, doing political, advocacy and lobbying work, therefore your gifts are not tax deductible. If you prefer to give to a 501c3 nonprofit organization, please visit our sister organization, SURJ Education Fund.