1. Who is SURJ and what is this project?
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Check out our website to read mission and values.
In late April 2015, SURJ held a national action call on taking action in solidarity with Baltimore. A member of a local SURJ affiliate group in St. Louis, the Anti-Racist Collective (ARC), shared a big success story from their experiences taking out yard signs reading “Black Lives Matter” in predominately white neighborhoods in St. Louis. Fifty percent of people that they talked to took a sign, agreed to display it, and signed up to learn more about ARC.
Many white people are wanting to take action in this moment in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We believe that it is critical for white people to be building a broad base of other white people who can move together as part of a multi-racial movement for racial justice. We are taking up the project of door-knocking with Black Lives Matter yard signs in hopes of providing local organizers with tools to initiate conversations around race in predominately white communities, and to build larger bases of white people to take action for racial justice. Asking people to put up signs in their yards or windows is providing them with an immediate action step: by putting up a sign, people make their support for Black Lives Matter public and help to create a visible presence of white people in solidarity with the movement for black lives. You can read the notes from the training call we held on door-knocking here.
Along with developing and distributing signs to local groups and individuals who want to take them out to their communities, SURJ is also holding a national conference call on how to door-knock in predominately white neighborhoods, as well as providing materials and mentorship on door-knocking, outreach, and follow-up.
In addition, we are using this as a fundraiser for #BlackLivesMatter. One dollar per each sign purchased will go directly to #BlackLivesMatter.
2. How can I order signs for my group?
SURJ is working with The Gloo Factory, a local union printer in Tucson, Arizona to produce and distribute yard signs. You can order signs and stickers directly through their website. Click here to place your order.
Proceeds from these signs will go to #BlackLivesMatter. We will send out the web address as soon as possible.
3. How much are signs?
$14 for 1 sign ($16 with stand), includes shipping.
$65 for 10 signs, includes shipping.
$275 for 50 signs, includes shipping
$80 for box of 50 metal H stakes, includes shipping.
For higher bulk orders, contact our printer directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds go directly to #BlackLivesMatter. If you’d like to make an additional donation to #BlackLivesMatter upon purchase, donate here. (Click the box that says “Add special instructions to the seller”: enter for Black Lives Matter.)
4. What will my sign order include?
18″ by 24″ Coroplast yard sign and H-stakes for placing sign in ground (orders of 100 or more signs).
The signs should fit in most windows and can also be placed into the ground.
5. What will the signs say?
Our standard design will read: “Black Lives Matter” and will include our website, www.showingupforracialjustice.org.
We are looking into the possibility of getting bulk order custom messages that suit the needs of your local contexts. Please email us at email@example.com if you’d like a customized sign bulk order.
6.When will I get my sign order?
Signs are available for order beginning Saturday, Mar 9th, 2015.
7. Is there financial assistance for available if I cannot afford the cost of the signs?
For SURJ affiliate groups, local contacts, and other organizations, we will have some financial assistance available. We are asking organizations and individuals with the financial means to donate if possible to assist others in covering costs.
If you or your organization is in need of financial assistance, please indicate the amount that you need by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. I want to make a donation to help cover the costs for another organization or individual. How can I make a donation?
To make a donation to cover costs for another organization, please donate to us online through the Highlander Center. Make sure to indicate that the donation is for SURJ. Also make sure to email us at email@example.com to let us know the date that you donated online, the amount of your donation, and indicate that you’d your donation to go toward sponsoring another organization’s yard sign order.
9. What does it mean to be a SURJ Affiliate group? And how can I start a group or how can my organization affiliate with SURJ?
Please see our Start an SURJ Affiliate group for details and resources. We want to connect and support your local work!
10. Door knocking can be intimidating. Do you have a sample script and outreach materials for door-knocking in primarily white neighborhoods with our signs to start us off?
Yes, please see the script below that we modified from one created by the Anti-Racist Collective in St. Louis.
SURJ Recruitment Canvassing Script
Hi, my name is _________ and I am working with Showing up for Racial Justice or SURJ. As you know in the last few months there has been an outcry across the country about the police brutality, racial profiling, and the discrimination that black people experience. So we’re canvassing around the neighborhood today to see if people would be interested in having a“Black Lives Matter” sign in their yards to show solidarity with black communities and fighting these injustices. Would you like one?
If yes: Great! If you would like to be more involved in efforts to fight racism in this area? There are a lot of ways you can plug in:
- Do you want to come to the rally next week on ________ (date) at ________ (place).
- Our next local meeting is ____________ (day and date). Would you like to join us?
- Do you know other people in the neighborhood who care about this issue? Would you like to join us and come out door-knocking on ______ (day and date)?
- Would you like to donate to cover the cost of printing signs?
If no: That’s too bad. Would you mind explaining why?
Things that could come up….
“All Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter”
- The signs say “Black lives matter” because society has a tendency to say otherwise. I agree with you that “All Lives Matter,” but right now, from police killings to the underfunding of schools, society says otherwise. What do you think about that?
- For example, as a white person you can turn on the TV and see your race largely represented. As a white person, you probably do not fear that you will be racial profiled, harassed, or stopped by the police at an excessive rate. The point of “Black lives matter” is to lift up the lives of the most undervalued in America.
“Stop trying to make this about race. It’s not about race”
- What do you think it is about then?
- I think it is about race – we know that black people are killed a highly disproportionate rate by the police. We also know that racial disparities exist within almost every single measure. Why do you think that is?
“I was okay with what they were doing until those officers were shot”
- There are no indications that those shots came from where protestors were gathered that night
- The only way that this city can have peace and healing is through justice — that has been the demand the whole time.
“Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, or anyone killed by police was a thug.”
- What does that matter? Do you think s/he deserved to die?
- We believe all black lives matter – when a black person gets killed, the police always dig up their criminal history. Very rarely do white people with guns get killed, huh? Think about the guy that shot up the movie theater. Why do you think that happened?
If you have more questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to connecting with you!