–By JLove Calderon
The SURJ Action Team launched this last October with a month of action leading up the 2012 elections called NO ROOM 4 RACISM. Our hope was threefold: to inspire and engage more white folks to think, move, and act with a racial justice lens; to raise the level of white visibility in challenging racial inequities; and to expand public attention to systemic racism—particularly the racial impacts of public policies and policymakers’ actions.
With little lead time but lots of heart, over 40 organizations and individuals responded from around the country signing on to take action in small and big ways by using our weekly Toolkits for Racial Justice. Designed as a “get it in where it fits in” model, each week the user-friendly toolkit announced the focus issue and gave some background, and then offered actions individuals and organizations in which they could partake. From a five minute Facebook post, to a thirty min ed-op piece, all the up to street skits and live demonstrations. And folks got hooked! Facebook blew up with images, quotes, amazing art work, and passionate pleas for critical issues impacting us all.
Focusing on issues such as the Criminal (In)Justice System and the prison industrial complex, Education, Immigration, and Voter Suppression, from Arizona, to Baltimore, to Wisconsin, New York and California both activists and everyday people joined together in solidarity to tweet, facebook, write, show-up, stand-up, and give voice to the ever-growing movement of white people demanding racial justice.
It was especially refreshing when organizations riffed off of the toolkit and made it their own based on their local context. Imagination and passion weaved together and created a vibrant racial justice mosaic showing the world our movement is growing! Thanks to the whole SURJ Action Team: Dara, Jimmy, Dottie, Cynthia and Z!, and all of our fantabulous co-conspirators… Stay tuned to for our next big adventure!