Poor and Working Class Commitment

Statement from SURJ National Leadership Team 4/26/16


This is a challenging time for SURJ and for the movement to organize white people for racial justice.  Spurred by the courageous leadership of the movement for Black lives, and the struggles for immigrant and indigenous justice, more and more white people are coming to understand that our silence holds oppression in place, and that our liberation is bound up in ending white supremacy.


As a key component of growing a movement that meets this moment and builds for the long haul, SURJ leadership has made a commitment to prioritize the leadership and organizing of white working class and poor people in our efforts to organize white people for racial justice. Working class and poor people, disproportionately people of color, are the majority in our country, and have historically been the leaders and base of the struggles for social change.  While people of color bear the brunt of racism, large numbers of white people have also been failed by the system - facing job loss, inadequate housing and cutbacks in core services.  Instead of addressing real fears and insecurity, racist elites actively target white working class white people into blaming people of color for the problems their families and vulnerable communities face. Of course, middle class and other non-working class and poor people will remain critical to the work of organizing 7 million white people for racial justice.  Only a powerful cross-class movement, that includes the leadership of poor and working class people, will be strong enough to dismantle white supremacy.  This strategy was approved by  the national Leadership Team and endorsed by a meeting earlier this month of key stakeholders within SURJ.


This work is not easy.  In order to move forward, it is vital that SURJ as an organization continue to develop structures that are accountable and accessible, and decision-making processes that are inclusive and transparent.  As we go through this period of movement and organizational challenges, we are committed as a national Leadership Team to being accountable and transparent with all of our leadership and SURJ chapters on the ground.  Together, we will help one another move forward to be part of building a white flank of a multiracial movement, led by people of color, to end white supremacy and liberate all of us.



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