Zine: Families Taking Action For Racial Justice

Screen_Shot_2017-01-10_at_11.21.26_AM.pngThe SURJ Families Zine: Families Taking Action for Racial Justice is by and for actual families and caregivers who are working for racial justice -- coming as we are. It's a mix of practical tips and creative works that we hope inspire and support you and your family in taking collective action for racial justice. Pieces include: 

  • Tips on making it through a racial justice meeting with a toddler
  • A letter to use with your children's teacher to discuss racial justice themes around Thanksgiving
  • Tools people without families can use to make racial justice meetings more accessible to families
  • Legal advice about risking arrest at a protest as a parent (will it impact my custody battle?) and,
  • Many inspiring pieces of creative art and writing, capturing the challenges and beauty of working for racial justice as a parent.
Image description: Text on a black background "SURJ Families Presents Families Take Action for Racial Justice, tips and tricks for taking bold action in high stakes times" A white appearing child in winter clothes holds a poster saying "My friends deserve to be as safe as me."
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Talk About It - SURJ Families Winter Holiday Guide

Winter Holiday GuideSURJ Families believes we can have a powerful impact for racial justice by using SURJ's values as a guide and in calling in our friends and family. We hope this Winter Holiday Guide will help make more conversations in your communities more effective. 

If you get stuck or aren't sure how to start a conversation with family about racism, Trump, Black Lives Matter, #NoDAPL, and more, SURJ will be offering a holiday hotline. Just text SOS 82623 and our hotline volunteers will be happy to help!

Download a sharable copy of the guide here.

For more resources & a racial justice community, join the SURJ Families Facebook Group here: http://bit.ly/SURJFamiliesFacebookGroup


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Four Family Centered Collective Actions Your Family Can Take For Black Lives Matter (and Four Others You Shouldn't)


IMG_0068_(1).JPGFollowing the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, Showing Up For Racial Justice Families heard from countless parents across the country who are ready to take action to ensure that Black Lives Matter. Many families are also looking to find, build or strengthen local anti-racist communities.

Photo by Chris Crass

Below are four family collective centered actions you can organize on your own, with a few friends, or a larger parent group. These actions can be a one time occurrence or leveraged as an opportunity to bring together likeminded families and create an ongoing racial justice community. (Hint: to start a mini movement, just set a date for a next event and ask for a few volunteers to help plan it, and/or, set a monthly time to get together).

Join the conversation about racial justice with other parents and caregivers on the Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Families Facebook page.

Note that many of these ideas can also be used by local SURJ chapter and affiliate organizations to encourage family participation.

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“Act In” Where You Already Are

Screen_Shot_2016-07-22_at_9.40.59_PM.pngIf it’s hard for you to add more meetings and actions into your family schedule, “act in” where you are.

What it is: Racism is everywhere, we don't have to go to a special meeting to take action for racial justice. As families, we engage with a lot of people outside of “activist world” and can bring them into racial justice work through the mutual interest of raising kids in a world without racism.


Photo credit: Rivkah Beth Medow

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Racial Justice Story Time

BooksWhat it is: Parents, kids, and their community to come together and talk about Black Lives Matter and other racial justice issues through stories and play. This can be organized once, or as a regular event.

What you need: Children’s books (check out some good lists from Teaching For Change or Oakland Public Library) and/or activities for kids (bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring sheets, and/or crafts). Also, think of an action ask to share, like writing a letter, joining an event, or making a donation to people of color led organizing (some suggestions here). Some story time groups like We Stories have books that grownups read together also.

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Caregiver Vigil

Photo-credit:-Devin-FosterWhat it is: Parents, caregivers, their loved ones, and community gather for a vigil that is messaged around solidarity with families of color.

What you need: A location that is safe and accessible, signs, candles, flowers, children’s activities, and sound equipment for any speeches (optional)         

Photo Credit: Devin Foster 

Messaging: White Families in Solidarity With Black Lives Matter, White Families Breaking White Silence


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Family Friendly Direct Action

Z_Denver_ActionWhat it is: Parents, caregivers, their loved ones, and community take and hold space together in a call for racial justice in family friendly ways. There’s a range of possible direct actions ranging from Black Lives Matter marches in safe spaces like playgrounds or schoolyards.

Photo credit: Chris Crass

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Reaching for The Other America on the 4th of July

By Coleen MurphyColeen No More Racist Heroes

Last year, on the 4th of July, I observed the day by attending a burning of the confederate battle flag in front of one of the most prominent of my city’s symbols of white supremacy: The Robert E. Lee statue. “Don’t get arrested!” my teenage son called to me as I headed out the door. I told him that while my arrest was not likely, he should be sure to answer any calls from unknown numbers until I got home, just in case.

There are lots of 4th of July observances, celebrations, what have you, and I want you know that there are alternatives to traditional 4th of July celebrations which we can join, or even organize in our communities.

Here are some ideas about how we can mark the occasion by setting our intentions to work towards creating “the other America” that Ann Braden so often spoke of. She says:

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Make May Day Family Friendly

May Day Action with Children ToolkitBLMHeroes1.jpg

May Day is a tangible and concrete opportunity to call our youngest activists in to action. Our children have a strong, natural sense of “fairness” and May Day is a great opportunity to help them connect their sense of personal fairness to bigger questions of racial and social justice. It's a chance for them to learn how to question injustice and take action for change.

Wealthy slave owners created the concept of racism in America to divide and conquer the poor and stay in power. On May Day and everyday, we're reminded that we can only achieve freedom for all of us through racial justice.

In this toolkit you’ll find action items that come in various shapes and sizes designed for your lifestyles. Pick one or two or more that make sense to you to do. As white people showing up for racial justice, join us in engaging your youngest children in our struggle. We want dignity and justice for all people!

 2 MINUTE ACTION: In just 1 click you can spread the word

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#RaiseUpJustice #RaiseUpLove Resolutions

The morning that we learned that there would be no charges for the officer responsibleZ_Resolutions_2016for taking Tamir Rice’s life, I woke up like any other morning. As the sun broke and I snuggled into my sleeping child lost to a world of dreams a mere 350 miles away a mother most likely laid awake lost in grief for her stolen son. A life taken decades too early, murdered by a system that protects its killers and blames its victims. On December 28, 2015 Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that on his suggestion a grand jury has decided not to bring charges on Officer Timothy Lohemann, the officer responsible for taking the life of Tamir Rice. Thinking about these mothers and the coming of the new year made me realize it’s time that we, as white families, resolve to #RaiseUpLove, #RaiseUpJustice, and #Resolve2Resist Racism. - Rebecca

Zoë and their family (pictured) resolve to host racial justice story time in 2016. What's your racial justice resolution? 

This is an invitation for you to consider your racial justice resolutions for this year, and to share them confidently and call in your friends to do the same. Stay tuned for a pledge you can sign and share!        

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