People are getting live-killed on Facebook, y’all. If we aren’t showing up now, then when? It’s time to get out there.
SURJ Organizer, 7/10/2016
Over 70 folks came out for the SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) meeting. They had to bring in more chairs. After last week in America, despair and outrage have combusted into something that refuses to stay contained.
The meeting was two hours of focused, efficient movement. We engaged in small group discussions about concrete things we’ve seen white allies do to disrupt racism and cultivate justice in our communities. We heard from the organizers about activities that have gained traction in the first year of this young organization’s life: immigration reform, police accountability, renaming buildings that celebrate the Confederacy, and coordinating a region-wide canvas in majority white neighborhoods in the run-up to the presidential election. We then split into breakout sessions for a deep dive into each of these areas. Finally, we learned about the next public action planned for this coming week.
Around the country, ally organizations are stepping up to make a stand for Black Lives. The focus is on police departments, sheriff’s offices, and Fraternal Orders of Police. Affiliated organizations led by People of Color have put out the call to SURJ and other white allies to take bolder action on issues of police brutality. Facing our white privilege means more than talking about it on social media.
It means showing up.
It’s time to take our horror at what happened to Philando Castile and turn it into a movement.
And what happened to Alton Sterling.
And Natasha McKenna.
And Freddie Gray. And Trayvon Martin. And Michael Brown. And Eric Garner. And Tanisha Anderson. And Tamir Rice. And Zamiel Crawford. And Dominick Wise. And Frank Shephard. And Vincent Valenzuela III. And the 5 Dallas police officers, some of whom had stood with the protestors before the shooting began.
And so many more, each a story. Each a neighbor. Each a life blown short by a force whose call to protect has gone haywire.
The organizers asked who would be there for the coming action.
At a public protest, my skin and income lower the risk of abuse to negligible. This fact does not make me proud.
It makes me raise my hand.
It’s time to show up.