Thousands of people have reached out over the past week to connect with SURJ and find ways to move into action against police violence and for racial justice. Below is a statement from SURJ’s leadership in light of the 136 murders of Black people by police this year and the shooting in Dallas last night.
SURJ condemns loss of life, no matter who is dead. As an organization committed to organizing white people to dismantle a criminal justice system brutalizing communities of color across the nation, SURJ condemns violence against the police and mourns the injuries and deaths of police officers killed in Dallas.
A system that brutalizes people of color communities and destroys the lives even of those who are enforcing it, is not a sustainable system, a moral system, nor a system that can serve the kind of world in which ALL people are valued and cherished.
Across this country, Black communities live in terror that someone among them, a father, a sister, a child, could be next in the rising death toll of their lives.
The silence of a majority of white people in the face of this daily horror sets up the atmosphere and the on-the-ground reality in which more Black and Brown bodies will be cut down by police, and drive the possibility that more officers will be vulnerable to individual acts of rage.
Many white people will see the deaths of police officers as an opportunity to turn away from racial justice and police violence, and focus on better policing, guns or interracial healing. While all of this is part of the conversation, only by directly challenging the ongoing violence and devastation in communities of color caused by the policies & practices of racism and white supremacy can we move forward. This is a moment where we must keep our eye on the prize: racial justice and the systemic oppression and silence of white people that keeps it in place.
As we see over and over again, this moment will be used by those supporting the status quo to target Black and Brown communities calling for more justice in a system of injustice. As an organization moving white people to take action for racial justice, to join a movement for the liberation of all oppressed communities, we will show up against attacks on Black and Brown activists, organizations and communities. In this moment, strong leadership and movements led by people of color is more important than ever.
The violence of Black and Brown deaths and the violence of police deaths is an indictment of a system far beyond a fix through a few reforms. Deep transformational change that begins with the calls for justice from the movement for Black lives and communities most impacted by the long history of police violence must be supported by a growing base of white people taking action to dismantle this broken, violent system…not for marginalized communities, not for police, not for any of us.
#BlackLivesMatter #PhiladoCastille #AltonSterling #Dallas
In the last few days, this country witnessed the recorded murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, the latest victims in this country’s failed policing system. As we have done for decades, we marched and protested to highlight the urgent need to transform policing in America, to call for justice, transparency and accountability, and to demand that Black Lives Matter.
In Dallas, many gathered to do the same, joining in a day of action with friends, family, and co-workers. Their efforts were cut short when a lone gunman targeted and attacked 11 police officers, killing five. This is a tragedy–both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy. There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this.
Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.